2015 NHL Draft
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Kristen Nelson

Move to North America suited Honka's style of play

Thursday, 10.03.2013 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

All European-born players treat the decision differently on when and why to move to North America to continue their hockey career. Some opt to stay home until they're NHL-ready, while others wait until after they've gone through their draft year.

But for Finnish defenseman Julius Honka, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft, he knew exactly where he wanted to be in his draft year.

Taken by the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League with the 34th pick of the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, Honka wasted little time booking a plane ticket for Saskatchewan.

"That is the best choice for me," Honka told NHL.com of going to Swift Current. "[This season] I have the draft and that is the best choice for me. … It wasn't that hard of a choice."

Iverson wins MVP at prospects game

Thursday, 09.26.2013 / 11:17 PM / Prospects

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Keegan Iverson's two points earned him Player of the Game honors in Team Mark Johnson's 5-2 win over Team Joe Mullen in the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game at Consol Energy Center on Thursday night.

Iverson, who plays for the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks, broke a 1-1 tie 6:57 into the third period. Dylan Larkin, who like Iverson finished with a goal and an assist, whipped the puck on the net from the blue line, forcing Alex Nedeljkovic to make a pad save. Iverson grabbed the rebound and slid the puck into the back of the net.

"It's a great experience," Iverson said. "Coming in, I was a little nervous. I didn't know what to expect, but it's a great experience to be here and get Player of the Game."

AAPG to feature top American prospects for 2014 draft

Wednesday, 09.25.2013 / 9:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- The second CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game will be a great opportunity for the finest 2014 NHL Draft-eligible players to showcase their talents in an all-star setting before hundreds of scouts in search of the next best American-born player.

"What it also allows for, and why it's different, is because it's a prospects game that has players coming from all sorts of levels and leagues," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "We'll have players from prep school, the NCAA and [United States] National Team Development Program, and from major junior in the Canadian Hockey League, playing with and against each other."

Donato replacing Turgeon at prospects game

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 12:11 PM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

USA Hockey on Monday announced that forward Ryan Donato of the Dexter School in Massachusetts will serve as an injury replacement at the 2013 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, which will be played Thursday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Donato will replace Portland Winterhawks (Western Hockey League) forward Dominic Turgeon, who sustained a lower-body injury and is out indefinitely. Donato, a "B"-rated skater among Massachusetts high school players on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft, will play for coach Joe Mullen at the event.

Donato is the son of former NHL forward Ted Donato, who spent 13 seasons in the League with eight different teams.

NHL Central Scouting: Goalies to watch

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Goalies Thatcher Demko of the Boston College Eagles and Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League have the privilege of being the only players at their position with an "A" rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Demko, a San Diego native, and Nedeljkovic, born in Ohio, each could become the first American-born goalie drafted in the first round since the Dallas Stars selected Jack Campbell with the 11th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. Demko was the youngest goalie invited to USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., in August.

Kapanen, Nylander among 2014 top-ranked Europeans

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

There are currently five European players identified on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list who are potential first-round picks for the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia on June 27.

Among them are four players competing for teams in Sweden, center Jakub Vrana of Linkoping, center/right wing William Nylander of Rogle, right wing David Pastrnak of Sodertalje and left wing Adrian Kempe of Modo Jr. The player who might very well be the best among the European contingent is starring in Finland, right wing Kasperi Kapanen of Kalpa.

Goran Stubb, NHL director of European Scouting, feels "B"-rated Finnish goalie Kaapo Kahkonen of the Espoo Blues junior team is also right on the cusp of earning an "A" rating as a potential first-round draft choice. He enters the 2013-14 season as the top European goalie on the draft board.

Kingston trio rank as potential 2014 first-round picks

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League hope to make quite the impression in the early stages of the 2014 NHL Draft, which will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Three players from the team potentially could be picked in the first round -- left wing Samuel Bennett, right wing Spencer Watson and defenseman Roland McKeown.

All three were identified as "A" prospects, or potential first-round candidates, on NHL Central Scouting's 2013-14 preliminary players to watch list from the OHL. The PTW list is comprised of players Central Scouting feels have the best chance at hearing their names announced at some point during the two-day selection process.

"This is our hit list of prospects at the start of the season from all the major leagues throughout North America and then those from Europe," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. "It'll change once our scouts have cycled through their league a few times."

Kasperi Kapanen set to take family name to next level

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

For Kasperi Kapanen, getting into the family business was a no-brainer.

Kapanen, 17, has emerged as a third-generation star in SM-liiga, Finland's top professional league.

His grandfather, Hannu Kapanen, was a forward for five seasons with Jokerit and HIFK, and also played for Finland at the 1976 Canada Cup and 1976 Olympics.

His father, Sami Kapanen, was drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the fourth round (No. 87) of the 1995 NHL Draft, and had 458 points in 831 games in 12 seasons with the Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. He left the NHL after the 2007-08 season, but has played five of the past six seasons with Kalpa in SM-liiga. Kapanen also is the majority owner of the team.

And for the second straight season, one of Sami's teammates will be his oldest son, Kasperi.

Demko goes from California to possible top pick

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 10:00 AM / Prospects

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Watching Thatcher Demko in action, it's obvious why the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is considered one of the top goaltending prospects available for the 2014 NHL Draft.

"He looks like a pro," NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen told NHL.com. "He's big, strong, great positionally. He's got a great feel for the game. He's able to sustain pressure, holds his ground. … He's quiet, he's calm, he's poised, he doesn't get rattled. He's a big kid. I just like his approach. I like his presence out there. There's a lot to like."

How Demko arrived at that high level, though, is a bit of a surprise.

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