McDavid, Eichel top NHL’s final draft rankings

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In news that won’t come as much of a surprise, OHL Erie’s Connor McDavid and Boston University’s Jack Eichel finished one-two in the NHL’s final rankings for this June’s entry draft.

“At the start of the year McDavid and Eichel were considered Nos. 1-2,” NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. “I don’t know if it’s a surprise that it ended up that way but I think a lot of credit has to go to Eichel in the way he was able to at least keep it interesting.

“But McDavid has clearly shown himself to be the No. 1 prospect.”

There’s been plenty of hype around the ’15 Draft, though not just because of McDavid and Eichel. This is regarded to be one of the deepest, strongest classes in quite some time with a number of prized talents available at the top of the first round.

Joining McDavid and Eichel in the top six North American skaters are Boston College d-man Noah Hanifin, McDavid’s teammate with the Otters, Dylan Strome, OHL Kingston forward Lawson Crouse and OHL London scoring sensation Mitch Marner.

“There’s a good group of guys there,” Central Scouting’s John Williams said. “If you look at the top 10, it’s a really good group compared to some other years. That’s just the way it is sometimes and I think you can see it flipping back and forth from now until draft day for sure.”

The European side of the ledger has an influx of talent as well, headed by Finnish winger Mikko Rantanen. At 6-foot-3, the 18-year-old spent this season playing professionally with SM-liiga outfit TPS Turku, scoring 28 points in 56 games while serving as an alternate captain.

“Rantanen is in a class of his own at present in Europe,” NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said. “After Mikko you can pick almost anyone for the next spots.”

As for goalies, OHL Barrie’s Mackenzie Blackwood tops the North American list, while Russian junior Ilya Samsonov is No. 1 on the European list.

For all of the NHL’s final draft rankings, click here.