Photo: Ottawa Senators first round pick at the 2015 NHL Draft, forward Colin White, will move on from the U.S. NTDP program to play for Boston College starting in the Fall (courtesy of Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Despite yet another gold medal at the U18 World Championship, this time around in Zug, Switzerland, the U.S. NTDP saw relatively few players taken at the 2015 NHL Draft. To a degree that can be accredited to having a number of key players on the team who will first be eligible for the 2016 draft, including no less than captain Luke Kunin, top scorer Auston Matthews, Matt Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Chad Krys, and Jamie McAvoy. As many as three of these players are looking like surefire first round picks for next summer’s draft. Read more»
Photo: Kladno goaltender and Boston Bruins prospect Daniel Vladar was one of four goalies chosen out of the Czech Republic in the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Despite a year that didn’t see the Czech Republic get much done internationally at the junior level, the 2015 NHL Draft saw a total of 11 Czech players taken by NHL teams, albeit the top three of Pavel Zacha (6th overall), Jakub Zboril (13th), and Filip Chlapik (48th) having spent this past season strutting their stuff in North America. Read more»
Photo: Metallurg Magnitogorsk goaltender and Washington Capitals prospect Ilya Samsonov was the only goaltender chosen in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
After a few years in which drafting Russians was considered a risky practice, NHL teams turned their attention back to that country, selecting 18 Russian players at the 2015 NHL Draft, including 10 playing in the different Russian leagues. Read more»
Photo: Joel Eriksson Ek, selected 20th overall at the 2015 NHL draft, becomes the Wild’s top center prospect (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Coming into the 2015 NHL Draft the Minnesota Wild‘s prospect pool was one of the league’s weakest thanks to a combination of graduations, misses at the 2011 NHL draft, bewildering picks in other recent draft classes, valuable picks (especially the 2013 first-rounder) sent away for established players, and lack of late-round successes lately. The team needs to win more than one playoff round to justify such costly gambles, but it seemed to readjust its prospect development strategy for this draft. Moving away from drafting players with limited ability and upside is a major step in the right direction.
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.