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2014 NHL Draft
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Prospector Files
(Page 2 of 3)
Prospector Files

Prospector Files: BC pair ready for Beanpot tradition

Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Beanpot Tournament has become a tradition like no other on the first two Monday nights in February each season.

The annual event in which Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern battle for Boston's hockey bragging rights, opens Monday with a doubleheader at TD Garden.

New Jersey Devils forward Stephen Gionta, who played in four Beanpot tournaments as a member of Boston College, is very familiar with the excitement surrounding the games. Boston College has won the past four Beanpot tournaments.

"In Boston, that's almost bigger than the national championship, especially around that area and the four schools playing in it," Gionta said. "It's a lot of fun to be a part of; I was lucky enough to win one as a sophomore [in 2003-04]."

In addition to the 17,000-plus fans who will witness the games, the tournament will also give a few 2014 draft-eligible players an opportunity to make an impact and open some eyes in a pressure-packed event.

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Prospector Files: Twin engines power Salisbury

Thursday, 01.23.2014 / 9:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Forward Mitchell Smith of Salisbury School in Connecticut was the final player ranked on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of the top draft-eligible skaters in North America at No. 210 earlier this month.

What makes the 5-foot-11, 182-pound senior an easy target for discussion, however, doesn't have anything to do with that distinction. What does is the fact his twin brother and linemate, Evan Smith (6-0, 190), is ranked six spots ahead of him at No. 204.

"They both can play a little center and wing, and they are players that really grow on you for a couple of reasons," Central Scouting's David Gregory told NHL.com. "First, they're not the biggest kids, but they work so hard and are not afraid to be proactively physical.

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Prospector Files: Inside the midterm meetings

Wednesday, 01.15.2014 / 5:31 PM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Center Samuel Bennett is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters for the 2014 NHL Draft, but that doesn't mean he's the favorite to be in that spot when the final rankings are released in April.

At least that's what Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr has said since the group's first numerical list was released Monday.

"The meetings weren't easy, but once we got the discussion flowing with what everyone was saying and what everyone saw in the players and within the games, it wasn't tough," Marr said. "Some might have had an idea what the list might turn out to be prior to walking into the meetings, but once everyone saw it up on the board and you took everything into consideration, everyone was good with the order."

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Prospector Files: OHL battle pits Ekblad vs. McDavid

Thursday, 01.09.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad and forward Connor McDavid were teammates on the Canadian National Junior Team for nearly two weeks during the recently completed 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden.

Now it's time to resume regular duty for their respective Ontario Hockey League teams as opponents when Ekblad of the Barrie Colts meets McDavid of the Erie Otters on Thursday night at the Barrie Molson Centre.

Ekblad is considered to be the best defenseman available in the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, June 27-28. Partnered with Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Derrick Pouliot for much of the tournament, Ekblad had one goal, one assist and eight shots.

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Draft prospects using WJC to showcase skills

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Now that preliminary-round play at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship has concluded, there's no better time to check in on those top players eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft making the most of their opportunity to impress NHL scouts entering medal-round play Thursday in Malmo, Sweden.

The 2013 WJC in Russia featured 11 players among the 10 participating teams who went on to be picked in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft -- Seth Jones (No. 4, Nashville Predators) and Ryan Hartman (No. 30, Chicago Blackhawks) of the United States; Nathan MacKinnon (No. 1, Colorado Avalanche) and Jonathan Drouin (No. 3, Tampa Bay Lightning) of Canada; Elias Lindholm (No. 5, Carolina Hurricanes) and Alexander Wennberg (No. 14, Columbus Blue Jackets) of Sweden; Aleksander Barkov (No. 2, Florida Panthers) and Rasmus Ristolainen (No. 8, Buffalo Sabres) of Finland; Valeri Nichushkin (No. 10, Dallas Stars) of Russia; Mirco Mueller (No. 18, San Jose Sharks) of Switzerland and Marko Dano (No. 27, Columbus Blue Jackets) of Slovakia.

"When a 17- or 18-year-old is able to play in the World Juniors it is a considered a positive factor which does carry weight in the player's overall evaluation even if he doesn't get a lot of ice time," NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr said. "If the player contributes while playing at this level then it lends favorably toward his NHL projection. In the final rankings it sometimes aids in determining the ranking order."

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Prospector Files: Finns still strong without Kapanen

Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Just because the Finnish National Junior Team is without one of their top 2014 draft-eligible players at the IIHF World Junior Championship in forward Kasperi Kapanen, that doesn't mean one of the six other prospects on the roster couldn't grab the spotlight.

Kapanen, an A-rated prospect on NHL Central Scouting's December players to watch list, sustained a shoulder injury during a Dec. 20 practice that will keep him out for at least three weeks. The son of former NHL player Sami Kapanen had five goals and eight points in seven games at the Under-18 World Championship last season and figured to be a star performer in this year's U-20 tournament.

"Kapanen is a big loss for Finland," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "Now, the team will be much more dependent on just one line."

That top line might consist of Artturi Lehkonen (Montreal Canadiens), Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago Blackhawks) and Saku Maenalanen (Nashville Predators), which should turn out to be one of the more offensively dynamic trios in the tournament.

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Prospector Files: A-listers impress at selection camp

Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS -- Goalie Thatcher Demko and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo certainly weren't out of place this past week at U.S. National Junior Team selection camp here on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

Both are considered A-rated players on NHL Central Scouting's December players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft and were involved in a regular rotation during four practice sessions at the camp held at Mariucci Arena this week.

The only difference is Boston College freshman Demko will be traveling with the team when selection camp continues in Sweden beginning Thursday while DeAngelo will be returning to the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting. DeAngelo was informed of his release Wednesday morning as the U.S. managerial team pared its roster to 26 players.

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Prospector Files: World Junior players to watch

Thursday, 12.12.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Several top NHL Draft prospects have historically made their mark at the IIHF World Junior Championship each year and, in effect, boosted their draft stock.

"When a 17- or 18-year-old is able to play in the World Juniors, it is a considered a positive factor which does carry weight in the player's overall evaluation even if he doesn't get a lot of ice time," NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr told NHL.com. "If the player contributes while playing at this level, then it lends favorably toward his NHL projection. In the final rankings, it sometimes aids in determining the ranking order."

Just last year, two-way center Aleksander Barkov and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had impressive showings despite a seventh-place finish for Finland. Center Elias Lindholm had two goals and four points for silver medal-winning Sweden. Jonathan Drouin not only earned a roster spot for fourth-place Canada while playing in the shadow of fellow prospect Nathan MacKinnon, but was promoted to the country's top line alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Scheifele at one point.

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Prospector Files: London pair eyeing 2014 draft

Thursday, 12.05.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The London Knights have seen their share of elite prospects come and go over the seasons.

The Knights are the only team from the Ontario Hockey League, in fact, to have at least one player selected in the NHL draft every year since 1983. London also has seen a League-high six players selected in each of the past two NHL drafts. It seems the Knights have been the top destination for the best players, as notable retired numbers include Rob Ramage (5), Dino Ciccarelli (8), Darryl Sittler (9), Brendan Shanahan (19), Brad Marsh (22), Rick Nash (61) and Corey Perry (94).

"The Knights are competitive every year and the facilities are second to none," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "There is an excellent coaching staff in place who have developed several players into NHL stars. The players are given every opportunity to be successful on the ice and in life. They're one of the best organizations in the [Canadian Hockey League]."

There are two young players hoping to continue that trend of pipeline dominance this June when the 2014 NHL Draft is held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Defenseman Santino Centorame and left wing Christian Dvorak are both C-rated skaters on NHL Central Scouting's November players to watch list.

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Prospector Files: Frolunda again boasting top talent

Thursday, 11.28.2013 / 3:00 AM / Prospector Files

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

No European country in the past nine years has seen more top prospects drafted into the National Hockey League than Sweden.

And within Sweden is a junior hockey team that has produced at least one NHL Draft pick in each of the past 16 years: Frolunda. No other club team in the country can match that streak of pipeline popularity. Over that 16-year stretch, in fact, 48 players have been chosen, almost twice as many as Djurgarden (27) and Brynas Gavle (26).

This year's group of budding prospects from Frolunda's team in Sweden's under-20 league is also sure to please.

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Quote of the Day

Not only is it a great idea, but if you don't [start using analytics] you're going to fall behind. You have to be on the cutting edge. It was [Arizona Coyotes assistant general manager] Darcy Regier who said, 'If you didn't invent it, you have to be the second- or third-best copier, because if you're fourth or fifth you've got no chance.'

— Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock on his interest in advanced statistical analysis