Optimism reigns supreme with the introduction of each and every future NHL draft class. Or at least that is the way it seems to this evaluator who has been closely following the NHL draft and its developing prospects for a couple of decades now.
Every season it is the same phrases uttered around the rinks the year before, “wait for the talent coming next year” or “have you seen that kid who is playing for so and so and is eligible next year? He is going to be a real superstar.”
Most of the time the lofty expectations are brought back down to earth as the draft class progresses through its eligible season. However to this prospect hound, the 2015 draft feels a little different from the norm.
The early indication is that the draft class of 2015 feels a little more like the draft in 2005 when there was a sure-fire NHL superstar playing in Rimouski or in 2008 when everyone knew Sarnia had a potential future Rocket Richard trophy winner on its roster. Better yet, maybe 2004 when there were two “elite” talents headlining the draft in Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.
Regardless of comparisons, 2015 has two of the most exciting and highly anticipated prospects to come along in more than a few years; you might have heard of them, does Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel ring any bells?
Both are considered franchise type players and have the skills to become perennial NHL All-Stars for the next fifteen seasons. They could battle for the top spot all season long with McDavid starting out with the slight advantage in our eyes here at Future Considerations.
The talent does not stop after these top two headlining prospects as there are plenty of other exciting players to watch. From flashy offensive minded forwards, intimidation power forwards, strong two-way forwards, big punishing physical blue liners to fleet-footed puck movers; even a handful of goaltenders with an NHL size and skillset that have the true potential to become big league starters one day. No matter what style or type of player they covet, all 30 NHL teams should be happy with the talent pool they get to choose from next June.
An initial look at the 2015 Entry Draft leaves our evaluators very excited as it has the potential to become a very well-rounded, balanced and deep draft; not just one known for the top names.
For many the depth of this draft comes in the form of known names like forward Travis Konecny, the OHL’s reining rookie of the year; forward Mathew Barzal, one of the top scoring rookies in the WHL last season; forward Kyle Connor, the top draft eligible USHL forward this year; big Noah Hanifin, the drafts top defenceman and Swedish two-way defender Oliver Kylington, the top European available.
Soon names like Roy Radke, Noah Juulsen, Jakub Zboril, Jesper Lindgren and Kirill Kaprizov, among many others, will start to gain traction with the mainstream media as their talents move forward towards the 2015 draft class.
As it stands right now (and it is still extremely early to make these types of predictions), we at FC feel confident that every NHL team has a chance to draft not just one but two or three future NHL contributors and many with top line type potential from this impressive crop that already looks multi-round deep.
As the eligible talent further develops and more kids step up and add their names to the ever-growing list of draft-worthy prospects this year, the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has a chance to be one of those benchmark draft classes that future selections could be compared too.
And that conclusion is not based on what was heard about this class around the rinks last season.
Join me again next month as ‘Directors Cut’ continues to take a look at more NHL draft prospects and news. Until then, see you at the rink.
Director of Scouting