McDavid Still Number One

It has been nearly a month since Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid fractured his fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand after inadvertently punching the glass during a fight with Mississauga Steelheads center Bryson Cianfrone. The ill-advised fight has McDavid sidelined until later this month and barring any setbacks, he should be able to return in time to suit up for Team Canada in the upcoming World Junior Championships.

This summer, there was a minority group who thought Jack Eichel could challenge McDavid as the favorite to go first overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Eichel, a North Chelmsford, Massachusetts native, is currently playing Division 1 hockey with Boston University and is a product of the U.S. NTDP in Michigan.

Jack Eichel of Team USA - 2014 World Juniors (WJHC)
Jack Eichel is just one of highly coveted prospects available for the 2015 NHL Draft. (USA Hockey/Ellen DeLuca)

Before McDavid left the game holding his right hand in pain on that fateful night in Erie, Pennsylvania, he was showing why he has been the consensus 2015 first overall pick since he was a Bantam player. Through 18 games, he had already scored 51 points. To put things into perspective, he was scoring at a higher rate than Sidney Crosby’s final year of juniors when he posted 168 points in 62 games for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL.

After McDavid went down with his hand injury, there was a stir within the hockey community about whether or not this was time for Jack Eichel to usurp the throne from McDavid. The NCAA brand of hockey requires a much more physical game as well as two-way play and even though he had just turned 18 at the start of the season, Eichel has already proved he can be dominant against players as old as 24 years of age. How dominant? In just 13 games, Eichel has 21 points to lead the third ranked Terriers in scoring.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to convince scouts to drop McDavid down a spot.

ISS, an independent scouting service based out of Guelph, Ontario, just released their December rankings which still show McDavid as the top overall ranked prospect for the 2015 draft and Eichel right behind in second. and DraftBuzz, two other similar scouting services, also ranked McDavid and Eichel first and second, respectively.

There is still a lot of hockey left to be played and McDavid is scheduled to return by December 26th when the WJC kicks off at the Bell Centre in Montreal. If he can continue where he left off, his name should be the first announced at the podium this summer in Florida.

4 thoughts on “McDavid Still Number One”

  1. Did you say that NCAA hockey is more physical that the OHL? Not sure I’d agree. You really don’t see too many physical players in the NHL from the NCAA ranks.
    JVR Kessel Gardiner?

    • Thanks for reading.

      There are a few reasons as to why I see the NCAA as more physical than major junior.

      First is the age range. In college hockey you have a few kids coming in at 18 but for the most part most players will play out their junior eligibility then jump to college hockey. Meaning you will have seniors who are 24. Junior eligibility is 16 to 20. There is a big difference in physical maturity.

      Players in college hockey also play fewer games with entire weeks in between games they can use to hit the gym and focus on strength and power. In the CHL, you might be playing three or four games spaced out in a week. That means rest and recovery is prioritized above all else.

      The players you mentioned were all high caliber players. Not every school can attract that type of talent. BC, BU, ND State, Minnesota, etc. can. Robert Morris or UAH cannot. If you watch those teams you will notice a game that is more grit than finesse.

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