Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.

Ottawa gets big boost from diamonds in the rough

Ryan Kennedy
Ottawa's Mark Stone (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Ottawa Senators have staged an incredible resurrection in the second half of the season, putting the squad on the precipice of a near-miracle playoff spot. And while goaltender Andrew Hammond has deserved every bit of praise he has received, he’s not the only diamond in the rough that has been shining in Canada’s capital. Read more

Israeli-born David Levin will be the first overall pick in the OHL draft

Ryan Kennedy
David Levin (photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

David Levin is going to open a whole lot of eyes when he suits up for the Sudbury Wolves next season. The Ontario League franchise announced today that the skilled right winger with the Toronto-based Don Mills Flyers would be their top choice, first overall, in Saturday’s OHL draft. Levin’s a pretty good prospect, but he’s certainly the best to ever come out of Israel.

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Ryan Kennedy’s April 2015 NHL draft rankings

Ryan Kennedy
Kingston's Lawson Crouse (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

With Central Scouting releasing its final rankings Wednesday, it seemed like a good time to weigh in on the 2015 draft again myself. But this will be the third installment of four for me. Not only do we still have championships to be decided in all North American development circuits, but there is also the world under-18s approaching this month, which often impact final rankings.

And finally, since THN’s Draft Preview edition is closing in a month, I have been honing the magazine’s top 100 list with the input of NHL scouts and executives, giving me some fascinating insights into their drafting philosophies.

So take this list as an estimation of what will happen on draft day, not a ranking of my personal faves or anything like that. I recognize that I’m courting peril here, since every team values players differently, but I feel it’s the most educational approach for fans.

One of the biggest X-factors here is potential. Some players are universally loved, while others have qualities that give them a higher draft ceiling (size, for example), but also possess flaws that will warn off a number of NHL teams (such as compete level). So who goes first in the rankings? This is a challenge and the answer won’t be known until the picks are made in Florida. But I will try nonetheless.

And since goalies get drafted later these days, I have included my top three, with the admission that the actual slot they get picked in is beyond me.

Here we go:

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Trophies for a losing season? Not in New Jersey – and that’s how it should be

Ryan Kennedy
Travis Zajac (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils got booed off the ice Tuesday night in their home finale.

A big reason for that was they were playing the New York Rangers, whose fans have no problem crossing the river for a good ol’ rivalry game. But if some Devils supporters had gotten in on the action, you couldn’t blame them, since New Jersey’s season has been an abject failure.

So perhaps it is not a coincidence that GM/coach Lou Lamoriello told local reporters that the Devils would not be handing out their traditional team awards this season. And you know what? I’m on board with that.

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Prospect Hot List: Swede future for Isles in net?

Linus Soderstrom (photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The CHL playoffs are getting intense already, with Cape Breton pushing the Memorial host Quebec Remparts to a seventh game in the first round, thanks to an overtime victory in Game 6. Some fantastic individual performances have already been logged and with the Frozen Four this week and the world under-18s on the horizon, things will only get crazier. So let’s take a look at some of the prospects we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

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Big, bang & bust for the Memorial Cup is just part of the CHL cycle

Ryan Kennedy
Quebec's Anthony Duclair  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Back in 2011, the Saskatoon Blades went for it. The WHL team traded for A-list prospect Brayden Schenn, giving up three first-round bantam picks and a second-rounder in the process, along with two players. The Blades had a serious roster before Schenn arrived, but with him, the club smelled glory. Instead, Kootenay made a splash of its own by nabbing Cody Eakin from Swift Current and in the second round of the playoffs, the Ice swept Schenn and the Blades into the dustbin.

Someone always has to lose in hockey, but hope springs eternal, especially in the CHL where the cycle of construction and destruction is a tight one. This season is no different. Read more

Jack Eichel has to win the Hobey Baker Award, right?

Ryan Kennedy
Jack Eichel (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Frozen Four hits Boston next week with the semifinal on Thursday and the final on Saturday. In between those games, the Hobey Baker Award – the most prestigious individual accolade in college hockey – will be handed out.

As a member of the Boston University Terriers, NHL draft phenom Jack Eichel has a shot at winning the Frozen Four in his home state and taking home the Hobey Baker, but it’s also possible the Terriers lose and he gets robbed for the award.

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