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BLOG: Scouting generational talents

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

BUFFALO, NY – Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel have been ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the number one and number two North American skaters, respectively. They’ve also been touted as generational talents and have each lived up to the hype.

A sea of reporters surrounded McDavid and Eichel at today’s media availability in Buffalo at the 2015 NHL Scouting Combine. Following remarkable years for both players, this is just another step until they are drafted at the end of the month.

When you rewind to the beginning when scouts first started doing homework on these two, it’s amazing how much the players lived up to the hype.

“Nobody was surprised, everybody was impressed,” said Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr. “We didn’t spend an overabundance of time and we weren’t going to go watch to see if they would do something in a negative sense or not develop their game or grow. We just were comfortable following their play. You still go check in every once in a while and say, ‘yeah, it’s the real deal.’”

McDavid finished this season with 120 points (44-76-120) in just 47 games for the Erie Otters. He set fire to the OHL playoffs with 49 points (21-28-49) in 20 games as the Otters fell short to Oshawa in the final. It was a season in which McDavid showed everyone what he is made of.

“It’s just the way he processes the game,” said Marr. “He’s got exceptionally quick wits about him and he’s got anticipation. It’s the way he can execute plays really without even looking. I think his linemates know to just go to the net, have your stick on the ice and he’ll deliver the puck to them. He’s got some slick moves about him. When you get that type of player that just has that kind of hockey IQ… and he’s got those quick wits about him there, he ends up being a difference maker in more cases than not. What we like about him is almost every time you watch him play he can show you something new. We think the best is really yet to come.”

Jack Eichel also had a season to remember. As a freshman at Boston University, he recorded 71 points (26-45-71) in 40 games and took home the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in the NCAA.

“I think if anyone had predicted that, they’d be telling you a fib,” Marr said of Eichel’s freshman year. “He not only lived up to that projection, he exceeded it to come in and do what he did. He was given an opportunity and he seized that opportunity. He’s going to do the same thing next year. He’s going to be given an opportunity, he’s going to seize it and nobody should be surprised of what either of these two are going to accomplish.”

The 2015 NHL Draft will take place June 26-27, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

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