Photo: Connor McDavid answers questions after being taken 1st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. (Courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Edmonton Oilers used the first pick in the 2015 NHL Draft to select Erie Otters phenom, Connor McDavid. McDavid has long been considered the top talent in his draft class, and probably the top draft-eligible talent available to the NHL since Sidney Crosby was chosen in the 2005 NHL Draft.
Photo: Edmonton Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl, the third overall pick at the 2014 NHL Draft, was not quite ready for NHL duty with the Oilers but led the Kelowna Rockets to a WHL title (courtesy of Steve Alkok/Icon Sportswire)
Somewhere out there, the NHL Draft Gods are looking out for the Edmonton Oilers. After finishing 28th in the league at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, Edmonton looked poised to pick up a top defensive prospect such as Noah Hanifin after some lucky franchises claimed generational talents Connor McDavid as the top pick and Jack Eichel as the second. But on April 18th, Bill Daly held aloft an Oilers logo on his placard indicating the team who would select first overall after winning the draft lottery. This is the fourth time in the last six seasons that the Oilers have been awarded the privilege.
Photo: 2015 NHL Draft prospects (front l-r) Mitch Marner and Lawson Crouse, and (back I-r) Noah Hanifin, Jack Eichel, Connor McDavid, and Dylan Strome are players expected to be chosen at the top of the draft being held in Sunrise, FL on 6/26 & 27 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Just like that, another year is over. The Chicago Blackhawks have won their third Stanley Cup in six years, elevating the team’s exciting roster to dynasty status. For the rest of the league, the 2015 NHL Draft now looms large on the calendar, taking place June 26th and 27th at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Read more»
Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen had a somewhat disappointing 2014-15 season in Finland’s Liiga but finished well competing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL playoffs (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)
Liiga has steadily seen some of the top young forward prospects in Finland head elsewhere rather than pursuing careers in the nation’s top domestic pro league. That happened once again in 2014-15 as two of the heroes from the 2014 World Juniors — KalPa Kuopio left wing Artturi Lehkonen (Montreal) and Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago), Liiga’s sixth-leading scorer skating for Jokerit in 2013-14 — are no longer playing in Finland. Read more»
Photo: Oshawa Generals forward and Calgary Flames prospect Hunter Smith turned in his best offensive season of his OHL career, posting 23 goals and 49 points in 57 games in 2014-15 (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The month of May is reserved for hockey championships, and this week’s Prospect Impressions takes a look at a trio of players who helped seal their team’s success. The NAHL, OHL, and USHL all concluded play, with a nice mix of top prospects and role players being the catalyst for those championships. In the AHL, one player potentially ready to make the jump to the NHL has been an unexpected beacon of hope for Hartford. Finally, what happens when nearly 500 pounds of mass collide in a hockey game? Prospects from the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames answer that question for you in a collision that has to be seen to be believed. Read more»