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2015 NHL Draft
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Features

College hockey's impact on NHL continues to grow

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 8:27 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- There's an underlying theme to college hockey players becoming a more attractive option in recent years for NHL scouts and general managers.

New Jersey Devils forward Mike Cammalleri, who played three seasons at the University of Michigan, isn't surprised by the fact that 30 percent of NHL players developed in the NCAA, or that all 30 NHL teams had at least one prospect enrolled in college during the 2014-15 season, with the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks' 13 leading the way.

"College hockey not only allows for a readiness on the ice in terms of skill, but there's a social and outside-the-classroom aspect to developing a personality and comfort within your own skin enabling players to enter the NHL and be successful," Cammalleri said. "I think that's an important development stage for an adolescent person regardless of athletics and why some players are able to come in and do well out of college."

There's a chance college hockey will break new ground at the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., on Friday, when Boston University center Jack Eichel, Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin and University of Michigan defenseman Zachary Werenski each might be selected in the top 10. No draft has ever had three top-10 picks from the college ranks.

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Rantanen, top prospects anxious for draft night

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 7:23 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Mikko Rantanen, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top European skaters eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, said Thursday it won't be easy to fall asleep knowing the biggest moment of his life will occur in less than 24 hours.

"It's pretty weird knowing that [Friday] we'll know what team you will play for and begin work," Rantanen said. "I know this is just the first step. We'll have to keep working to be an NHL player. But I'll be pretty nervous tomorrow. They say it'll be hard to get sleep because it's such a big day. It's once in a lifetime, so I'm excited."

Rantanen, who was an alternate captain for TPS in Finland in 2014-15, was one of 10 top prospects in the spotlight at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in the last pre-draft media availability before NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announces the Edmonton Oilers are on the clock with the No. 1 pick at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

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Capitals' MacLellan hasn't closed door on Green, Fehr

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 3:40 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

NHL.com

Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan didn't completely rule out re-signing any unrestricted free agent Thursday, including defenseman Mike Green and forward Eric Fehr.

"We're in contact with our UFAs and we're going to have to see what the contract demands are in the end for them and what's going to work for us," MacLellan said. "We're trying to balance all of our priorities here."

However, Green and Fehr's agent told CSNwashington.com that the pair will not return to the Capitals next season.

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Hanifin, draft prospects bond with kids at clinic

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 1:25 PM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin considered it unusual that young, aspiring hockey players would even think of calling him Mr. Hanifin.

But that's what happened on Thursday when Hanifin and five other top North American prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft took part in a Top Prospects Clinic here at the Panthers Ice Den, the practice facility of the Florida Panthers.

"They were calling me Mr. Hanifin and I looked at them and said, 'Hey, call me Noah because I'm just 18 years old,'" Hanifin said. "They were young kids out there but a lot of them could skate and had some good moves. It's great to see the future of USA Hockey. It just shows the how much the hockey in this country is spreading; it's awesome."

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BU coach thinks Eichel will be in NHL 'all next year'

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 9:11 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Boston University coach David Quinn doesn't know how many 19-year-old players are actually ready for the NHL, but he's willing to make an exception for freshman Jack Eichel.

Eichel, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top North American players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, said he has a good idea of his intentions to either turn professional or return to Boston University as a sophomore following the draft. He just isn't ready to announce his decision publicly.

The first round of the draft will be held Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 are Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports).

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Top 5 five goaltenders available via free agency

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Potential unrestricted free agents can begin negotiating terms of contracts with teams on Thursday. They can't sign a contract until noon ET on July 1, when the free agent market opens. NHL.com is examining the top potential UFAs at each position.

The goaltending market is flush with intrigue because of potential trades that could happen this weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., where the 2015 NHL Draft, which begins Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), will be held.

At least three teams and potentially more will be looking to trade goalies, which could have a profound effect on the market for goalies who can become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

The Ottawa Senators likely will trade either Robin Lehner or Craig Anderson. The Vancouver Canucks are expected to move either Jacob Markstrom or Eddie Lack. The New York Rangers might trade backup Cam Talbot.

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Top 10 defensemen available via free agency

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Potential unrestricted free agents can begin negotiating terms of contracts with teams on Thursday. They can't sign a contract until noon ET on July 1, when the free agent market opens. NHL.com is examining the top potential UFAs at each position.

The Montreal Canadiens made sure one of the top potential unrestricted free agent defensemen this year never made it to the open market when they re-signed Jeff Petry to a six-year, $33 million contract on June 2.

Petry hit it big, and now it's fair to wonder if his contract set the bar for others to come once the signing period opens at noon ET on July 1.

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McDavid, Eichel could challenge top draft tandems

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel will forever be linked whenever conversation shifts to the 2015 NHL Draft class.

Many believe McDavid and Eichel are generational talents in the making; they might even finish neck and neck in the voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year in 2015-16. Perhaps an even bigger topic is where the McDavid-Eichel tandem will ultimately stand in NHL history.

The most heralded one-two punch drafted might be Guy Lafleur to the Montreal Canadiens and Marcel Dionne to the Detroit Red Wings in 1971. Lafleur, a six-time NHL All-Star, won two Hart Trophies, a Conn Smythe Trophy and has five Stanley Cup championship rings. Dionne, who ranks sixth all-time in points, won the Art Ross Trophy and was a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy.

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Central Scouting to present E.J. McGuire Award

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The late E.J. McGuire, who served as NHL director of Central Scouting for seven years before dying of cancer in April 2011, has always remained in the hearts and minds of those attending the NHL Scouting Combine and NHL Draft each season.

In honor of its beloved friend and dedicated colleague, NHL Central Scouting this year will present the first E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence to a 2015 Draft prospect. The award will be presented Saturday prior to the start of the second day of the draft at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

"Excellence is what E.J. personified," NHL Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "It was imperative that the winner have strength of character and competitiveness because these traits exemplify what E.J. brought to the hockey community every day."

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Mock drafts differ after picks of McDavid, Eichel

Thursday, 06.25.2015 / 3:00 AM / 2015 NHL Draft

NHL.com

The Arizona Coyotes have the third pick of the 2015 NHL Draft and could go in a number of different directions. The route they choose will set the tone for how the rest of the draft plays out.

That same unpredictability played out in NHL.com's final mock drafts.

Staff writers Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale were in agreement that the Edmonton Oilers would select Erie Otters center Connor McDavid at No. 1 and the Buffalo Sabres would take Boston University center Jack Eichel at No. 2.

After that, however, there was little consensus.

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