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2015 NHL Draft
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Prospects

Vladimir Kuznetsov picked first in CHL Import Draft

Tuesday, 06.30.2015 / 4:20 PM / Prospects

NHL.com

Russian forward Vladimir Kuznetsov, a prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, was selected by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the first pick of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-2, 189-pound right wing had seven goals and five assists in 43 games with Yekaterinburg in Russia's Junior League this season. He also had one point in six games to help Russia win the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

"We are very excited to select a player like Vladimir," Titan general manager Sylvain Couturier said. "He is a big and strong winger with skill. Being 17 years old, it fits exactly with our age group. The future is continuing to look really good for our organization."

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Eriksson Ek, Larsson to head to Sweden WJC camp

Tuesday, 06.30.2015 / 2:25 PM / Prospects

NHL.com

Center Joel Eriksson Ek and defenseman Jacob Larsson, first-round picks at the 2015 NHL Draft, are among the 24 players who will take part in a summer evaluation camp for Sweden. It's one of the first steps toward picking the team that will represent Sweden at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The camp will be held Aug. 2-8 in Lake Placid, N.Y., as part of the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. Sweden will practice and play games against the United States and Finland.

Larsson, selected at No. 27 by the Anaheim Ducks, had eight goals and 19 points in 30 games with Frolunda's team in Sweden's under-20 league and one goal and two assists in 20 games with Frolunda in the SHL. The 6-foot-2, 191-pound defender was No. 3 on Central Scouting's final ranking of the top European skaters.

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Sprong hoping to become next Dutch-born NHL player

Thursday, 05.21.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Daniel Sprong might have been considered an outsider growing up in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In a country where most young athletes aspire to become professional soccer players, Sprong had a different passion.

"There was only one hockey rink in Amsterdam; soccer in Amsterdam is like hockey in Canada," Sprong said. "It's very rare that kids in Amsterdam play hockey. When I first started working on fundamentals when I was 4 or 5 years old, I played on a team with 12- and 13-year-old kids."

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Boston U. freshman Eichel wins Hobey Baker

Friday, 04.10.2015 / 9:01 PM / Prospects

Connor Mellas - NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- As clips of Boston University freshman Jack Eichel played on the video board at Matthews Arena, Harvard forward Jimmy Vesey turned to Eichel and laughed, shaking his head.

With the way Eichel scores goals, sometimes that's only appropriate response.

"That goal he scored against Wisconsin, it was pretty hilarious," Vesey said. "It was just a highlight-reel goal. He's just such a good skater and he uses edges so well there, and his reach and then the shot."

"He's a great player, and giving him the Hobey Baker is very well-deserved. He's been the most dominant player in college hockey."

Eichel won the 2015 Hobey Baker Award on Friday, becoming the second freshman to earn the award and the first since Paul Kariya led the University of Maine to the national championship in 1992-93. The award is given annually to the top player in NCAA men's hockey. It's named after Baker, a hockey and football standout at Princeton University who died test piloting a plane for the Army Air Service at the end of World War I. It's the highest individual honor in men's college hockey, the equivalent of college football's Heisman Trophy.

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Eichel among must-see players at Frozen Four

Thursday, 04.09.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Connor Mellas - NHL.com Correspondent

Boston already is a college hockey hotbed, but things have been turned up a notch with the arrival of the teams for the Frozen Four, which starts Thursday at TD Garden.

One national semifinal (5 p.m. ET; ESPN2) will feature Nebraska-Omaha, in its first Frozen Four, facing Providence, which has advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time since 1985.

The second semifinal (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2) will see Boston University and Jack Eichel, college hockey's leading scorer and the No. 2 player on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2015 NHL Draft, facing North Dakota. BU is in the Frozen Four for the first time since winning the NCAA title in 2009, while North Dakota is back for the second straight year and seventh time in the 11-season tenure of coach Dave Hakstol.

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White overcomes illness, injury to excel for USNTDP

Thursday, 04.02.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO – When it comes to finding players who can score at a high rate in the 2015 NHL Draft, there will be a big pool to choose from. One player who may fly under the radar is forward Colin White.

White played for the United States National Under-18 Team Development Program this season and finished sixth on the team in scoring. That may not sound impressive, but White dealt with a case of mononucleosis and a wrist injury that limited his ability to play. Through all that he ended the season with 16 goals and 42 points in 45 games.

"When I'm talking about [White], there's no doubt in my mind this kid is one heck of a hockey player," Under-18 coach Don Granato said. "He's going to be a great pro player. The details you need at the professional level, he has. He does them naturally. He competes naturally. I don't care if he had 100 points, that doesn't make anybody better than anybody else at this level. It might make him only better at this level. It has no bearing on the future.

"The detail in his game, the way he focuses on game plan execution, on hockey concepts… His numbers, hey everybody's numbers could be higher, but his performance has been exceptional. And as a coach who's coached at those next levels, the appreciation I have for what he does far exceeds any point accumulation. To me he's done an unbelievable job."

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Eichel remains a hot topic entering NCAA Frozen Four

Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Boston University senior forward Evan Rodrigues is pretty confident in the fact a team can devise a strategy to deny teammate Jack Eichel, a projected top-two pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, for only so long.

Rodrigues said he hopes that trend continues when the Terriers play against the University of North Dakota in the semifinal round of the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four at TD Garden in Boston on April 9 (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2).

Boston University is headed back to the Frozen Four for the first time since winning its fifth NCAA title in 2009. North Dakota advances for the seventh time in coach Dave Hakstol's 11 years as coach.

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Hanifin finishes freshman year at Boston College

Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 10:27 AM / Prospects

Connor Mellas - NHL.com Correspondent

PROVIDENCE -- Boston College’s offensive zone possession collapsed, and suddenly, Denver forward Daniel Doremus faced a stretch of wide-open ice. With a few seconds remaining in the second period, Doremus skated through the neutral zone and into Eagles territory, focusing his attention on the only player in front of the net, BC goaltender Thatcher Demko.

He should have been more worried about who was behind him.

BC freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin skated about 130 feet and caught Doremus before he could challenge Demko, defusing the threat with a sweeping poke check.

“The puck is transitioning, and he picked it up,” Hanifin said. “I saw the trail guy behind, so I didn’t know if it was going to be a 2-on-1 or not, so I was kind of pacing myself because I didn’t want to go to him and have him throw it across for an open guy. I looked back and [Michael Matheson] was there, so I told him to go to him, and I basically got stick on puck and luckily, the puck went into the corner.”

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Top prospects for 2015 draft provide self-evaluations

Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Prior to every season, NHL Central Scouting has already evaluated hundreds of the top prospects eligible for the upcoming NHL Draft.

In addition to putting together meticulous reports and sharing those details with their colleagues, it's also required that each prospect submit some necessary paperwork.

So even before Erie Otters captain Connor McDavid and Boston University freshman Jack Eichel begin to impress, they've already completed the NHL Central Scouting questionnaire.

When asked for his ambition outside of hockey in September 2014, Eichel wrote: "Be a good father someday."

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Scouts see value in enhanced stats if applied properly

Friday, 03.27.2015 / 5:00 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Will the age of enhanced statistics one day change the way NHL Central Scouting goes about its business in evaluating the top players eligible for the NHL Draft?

There's no denying the fact enhanced stats have taken the NHL and its fans by storm. In February, the League announced a partnership with enterprise software company SAP to provide many new statistics via NHL.com. If this stats revolution changes the way people now analyze the game, what could it do for NHL scouts?

"If you add ingredients to help you evaluate someone, you have to use those ingredients," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "But you can't go overboard; we've been baking a cake our whole life and now, if you put icing on the cake, it's better. But if it's all icing it's not a good cake, so I think if you take it too far it might not work.

"The eyeball test still has to be there, you still have to apply what analytics do. It could help you decide between one guy or the other, and I believe it is good for the game."

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Quote of the Day

I definitely think going back down helped me, I had a lot of confidence down there, I played a lot of minutes and I think that helped me a lot. With the 37 games up here, that gave me experience as well. I know what it takes to play in the NHL and now it's time for me to show that I'm capable of being a full-time NHL player.

— Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on finishing the 2014-15 season in juniors after playing 37 games with Edmonton to begin the season