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Canada selects team for U-18 World Championships

Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 7:20 PM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

Seven players ranked in the top 30 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft were picked for Canada's team that will play in the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Forwards Frederik Gauthier, Jason Dickinson and Morgan Klimchuk, along with defensemen Shea Theodore, Joshua Morrissey, Chris Bigras and Madison Bowey were among the 23 players picked for the tournament, which will be held April 18-28 in Sochi, Russia.

Canada is in Group B, along with Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. Canada plays its first game April 18 against Slovakia.

Gauthier, a center with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, is No. 7 on Central Scouting's rankings. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder had 60 points in 62 games and a plus-22 rating. He is highly regarded for his ability to produce offense as well as excel in the defensive zone.

Prospects joining playoff chase in NHL, AHL

Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 5:15 PM / Prospects

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

The veterans who changed teams before the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline consumed much of the attention in the past week, but there is another group of talented players making moves at this time of year.

As the season winds down for the NCAA, Canadian juniors and European leagues, top prospects are free to join the NHL organizations that have drafted them, or in the case of undrafted NCAA players, sign free-agent contracts.

Many of these players will end up in the American Hockey League and earn valuable professional experience to help them be better prepared for NHL training camp in September. Others will see NHL action, and, as Chris Kreider proved with the New York Rangers a year ago, can have a tangible impact.\

Erie's Connor McDavid named OHL's top rookie

Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 3:27 PM / Prospects

Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid, at 16 the youngest player in the Ontario Hockey League, was named the OHL Rookie of the Year on Thursday.

McDavid was second among OHL rookies with 66 points, and third with 25 goals. He was the youngest player to skate in the Subway Super Series, when he played for Team OHL in November, and led Team Ontario with six goals and nine points at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in December.

"It's a tremendous honor," McDavid said on a conference call. "I was fortunate to have a good enough year to win. It was a fun year with the Otters. The coaches, players and staff were all so welcoming."

Jordan vs. Jordan more than name game for Michal

Friday, 03.01.2013 / 12:15 PM / Prospects

Davis Harper - Staff Writer

In sports, whether individual or team, there's always talk of creating a legacy. Everyone wants to succeed, thereby making a name for themselves.

Except what happens when your name has already been made -- by another player, in another sport? And what if that player was widely considered one of, if not the best athlete, of all time?

Enter Michal Jordan.

Throughout his burgeoning career, the 22-year-old Czech defenseman has faced a unique set of circumstances borne from something beyond his control: his name. When he was born in Zlin, Czech Republic, on July 17, 1990, his parents had no knowledge of his basketball-playing namesake, who had just won his fourth-straight scoring title in the National Basketball Association.

McDavid, Ekblad proving quite exceptional in OHL

Friday, 02.22.2013 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

In addition to charting the progress of this year's top draft-eligible players throughout the season, NHL Central Scouting always is busy projecting those young players on the horizon for future drafts.

Such is the case with 2014 NHL Draft-eligible defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts and 2015 draft-eligible forward Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters.

They're the only players besides New York Islanders center John Tavares to be awarded exceptional player status over the last decade, meaning they were deemed eligible for the Ontario Hockey League draft as 15-year-olds -- a year younger than the standard of age 16.

McDavid leads all OHL rookies this season with 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists) in 54 games for Erie. NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards, who specializes in Ontario-based prospects, has liked what he's seen in the 5-foot-11, 175-pound center.

Tavares knows what is awaiting Connor McDavid

Friday, 02.22.2013 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The fact Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid already is under the microscope as a 16-year-old is pretty impressive when you consider he's still more than two years away from hearing his name called as the potential top pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.

New York Islanders center John Tavares knows the feeling.

Like Tavares in 2005, McDavid was granted exceptional-player status by Hockey Canada last year, making him eligible for the 2012 Ontario Hockey League draft as a 15-year-old. He was taken by the Erie Otters with the No. 1 pick.

McDavid counting on good times with Erie Otters

Friday, 02.22.2013 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Connor McDavid leads OHL rookies this season with 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists). (Photo: Mark Bell/Erie Otters)

Connor McDavid had no idea what to expect as a 15-year-old rookie with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League this season.

So the 5-foot-11, 175-pound center just set out to do what he does best: frustrate opposing defenders with a dazzling display of puck skills and shiftiness.

He's doing just that, even though he turned 16 in January and is the youngest player on the Erie roster. McDavid leads OHL rookies this season with 56 points (24 goals, 32 assists). His minus-17 rating is deceiving, particularly because Erie has struggled with 17 wins in 59 games.

"Personally, I think it's been a pretty good year, but team-wise, it's been a little frustrating," McDavid told "We're a young team still developing, so hopefully next year will be the year."

Finland beats USA at Five Nations Tourney

Wednesday, 02.06.2013 / 2:03 PM / Prospects

Aleksi Ainali and Janne Puhakka connected for goals in the third period to give Finland a 4-2 victory against the United States in the 2013 Five Nations Tournament on Wednesday at Kinnarps Arena in Jonkoping, Sweden.

Ainali, rated No. 68 on NHL Central Scouting's list of 2013 draft-eligible European skaters, converted a feed from Puhakka 2:50 into the third to snap a 2-2 tie. Puhakka, No. 84 on the European list, then scored off a pass from Ainali 11:18 into the frame to close out the scoring for the Finns, who received a stellar 36-save performance from Central Scouting's top-ranked European goalie, Juuse Saros.

Tyler Kelleher, who was named Team USA's player of the game, scored both goals for the Americans. Hunter Miska, No. 38 on Central Scouting's midterm list of the top North American goaltenders, made 18 saves for the United States, which will next play the Czech Republic on Friday.

"We had a number of chances but just couldn't convert," U.S. coach Don Granato said. "We'll take [Thursday] to regroup and focus our efforts on facing the Czech Republic."

U.S., Canada in same group for 2014 WJC

Monday, 02.04.2013 / 3:10 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

The 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation host committee announced Monday the preliminary-round schedule for the 2014 World Junior Championship, slated for Malmo, Sweden.

The United States, which won gold at the 2013 WJC in Russia, will be in Group A, along with Canada, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, and play its preliminary-round games at Isstadion Arena. Host Sweden, which won the silver medal after a 3-1 loss to the United States in the 2013 WJC title game, will play in Group B, along with Finland, Russia, Switzerland and Norway. Their preliminary-round games will be played at Malmo Arena

The highlight games of the preliminary round will be New Year's Eve, when the United States plays Canada and Sweden battles Russia.

All-American Prospects Game coming to Pittsburgh

Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 1:50 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Pittsburgh Penguins president David Morehouse admitted it was another great day for hockey Tuesday after the announcement that the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game would be coming to Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Sept. 26.

"We're fortunate Pittsburgh has become one of the great hockey cities in America," Morehouse told reporters at a press conference announcing the second annual event.

"Those in Pittsburgh may remember the Dapper Dan Roundball Classic," he said. "I used to go to a lot of them growing up … it allowed us to see the greatest basketball players in the country before they became NBA players. This game is very similar in that fans will get an opportunity to see the best hockey players in America before they get drafted."

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