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2015 NHL Draft Preview: Eichel leads bumper crop from the NCAA ranks

by DJ Powers
on
2015 NHL Draft Preview: Eichel leads bumper crop from the NCAA ranks

Photo: Boston University players Jack Eichel (L), A.J. Greer (C), and Brien Diffley (L) could make it a hat trick of selections for the Terriers at the 2015 NHL Draft (all courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

Following a draft that saw no players chosen directly out of an NCAA program in the first round, the 2015 NHL Draft class from the collegiate ranks could well be one of the strongest classes ever. As many as three NCAA prospects could be chosen in the top 10 of the first round, quite a turnaround from last year’s quiet showing. Read more »

Minnesota Wild 2015 NHL Draft Preview

by Peter Prohaska
on
Minnesota Wild 2015 NHL Draft Preview

Photo: Minnesota Wild prospect Alex Tuch, taken in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, led Boston College in scoring as a freshman (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Wild seemed to take a step forward in 2014-15 though it took nearly the whole season to clinch its wild-card berth in a very tough division and conference. The team overcame, individually and collectively, a series of obstacles that could have devastated men of less character. The Wild managed to beat a St. Louis Blues team many thought capable of winning it all, but faltered against an experienced Chicago Blackhawks squad whose top talent overwhelmed the Wild’s in a clean sweep en route to its third Stanley Cup in six years.

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2015 NHL Draft Preview: Czech Republic draft crop led by Spacek, Vladar

by Chapin Landvogt
on
2015 NHL Draft Preview: Czech Republic draft crop led by Spacek, Vladar

Photo: Pardubice forward and 2015 prospect Michael Spacek (#21) played most of the 2014-15 season in the Czech Extraliga, posting five goals and 12 points in 44 games (courtesy of Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The 2015 NHL Draft is looking like a pretty decent one for players born and raised in the Czech Republic, although some of the best didn’t actually spend the season playing in their native country. Read more »

Winnipeg Jets 2015 NHL Draft Preview

by Patrick Allen
on
Winnipeg Jets 2015 NHL Draft Preview

Photo: Winnipeg Jets prospect Nikolaj Ehlers, drafted ninth overall at the 2014 NHL draft, led the QMJHL playoffs in scoring despite playing only two rounds (courtesy of Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

Since the move from Atlanta after the 2011 NHL season the Jets organization has fully committed to a slow and steady process of building up a young nucleus of players through the draft.

The franchise’s playoff berth this year, earned by outlasting the defending Stanly Cup champion Los Angeles Kings to clinch the 8th and final playoff spot in the difficult Western Conference is definitely a sign that this arduous process is finally coming to fruition.

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Los Angeles Kings 2015 NHL Draft Preview

by Jason Lewis
on
Los Angeles Kings 2015 NHL Draft Preview

Photo: Los Angeles Kings prospect Adrian Kempe, the team’s first round pick at the 2014 NHL Draft, had a brilliant playoff run for the Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

Though the Manchester Monarchs are the 2014-15 AHL champions, the Los Angeles Kings are on the links, and the 2015 NHL entry draft is coming soon. The Kings have seen outstanding performances from a number of their young prospects this year, and it is showing in the way of Memorial Cup performances and AHL heroics. Meanwhile, the Kings have started to hit a potential point of transition, where young prospects may need to rise to the occasion soon. With a sort of mini-rebuild seemingly on the horizon, the Kings are going to need to get down to business with strong drafting in order to stave off any sustained dip in results. They have ironically picked a decent year to get into the top 15, as the 2015 draft looks to be one of the strongest in a decade.

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2015 NHL Draft Preview: Cernak leads slim crop of prospects from Slovakia

by Chapin Landvogt
on
2015 NHL Draft Preview: Cernak leads slim crop of prospects from Slovakia

Photo: HC Kosice defenseman and 2015 prospect Erik Cernak appeared in 43 games in Slovakia’s top league, posting five goals and 13 points in 2014-15 (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

When Slovakia beat Sweden 3-1 to kick off the 2015 U18 World Championship, it was very much looking like the year of Slovakian junior success would continue. A thoroughly unexpected bronze medal at the 2015 World Junior Championship was a huge success for an ice hockey nation that faces many developmental challenges, especially in the financial department. Read more »

2015 NHL Draft Review: Dergachyov, Guryanov top the 2015 Russian crop

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
on
2015 NHL Draft Review: Dergachyov, Guryanov top the 2015 Russian crop

Photo: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg forward and 2015 prospect Alexander Dergachyov competed in the MHL in 2014-15, posting 10 goals and 39 points in 45 games, then adding 18 points in 19 playoff games (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

While the number of Russian players in the NHL has decreased when compared to the early 2000’s, a trend reversal is expected in the next few years, especially considering the difficult economic situation of the KHL. Some evidence of this change includes the offseason movement of some of the KHL’s top players crossing the Atlantic in a fashion that hasn’t been seen in many years, with players like Artemi Panarin, Evgeny Medvedev, Sergei Plotnikov and others venturing forth to the NHL. Read more »

Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Preview

by Chau Vo
on
Colorado Avalanche 2015 NHL Draft Preview

Photo: Colorado Avalanche prospect Conner Bleackley served as captain for the Red Deer Rebels for the last two seasons, and was Colorado’s first round pick (23rd overall) at the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

For the fourth time in six years, the Colorado Avalanche will be selecting in the top ten at the NHL Draft. Despite a late surge to attempt to salvage their season, the team could not overcome their poor start to make back-to-back postseason appearances. Read more »

Virtanen gained valuable experience with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica

by Tony Androckitis
on
Virtanen gained valuable experience with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica

Photo: Utica Comets forward and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen had a busy 2014-15 season with a stop in the WHL, a gold medal win at the 2015 World Juniors, and his first pro action in the AHL (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

When Jake Virtanen arrived in Utica after his WHL playoff run with the Calgary Hitmen came to an end, he was expecting to come in and practice with the Vancouver Canucks‘ top minor league affiliate, the Utica Comets, to learn about the game at the professional level. Read more »

NHL Draft Primer: Top ten for 2015 more than just McDavid, Eichel

by David Hahn
on
NHL Draft Primer: Top ten for 2015 more than just McDavid, Eichel

Photo: Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid and Boston University forward Jack Eichel are the top-ranked prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft according to NHL Central Scouting (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images (L) and Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images (R))

The cream of the crop won’t have to wait long to hear their names called at the 2015 NHL Draft. Unlike most years, this truly is a deep draft, where numerous talents will be counted on as possible franchise players, and could possibly include every name on this list. Read more »

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