One title down, two to go for 2015 draft superstar Jack Eichel

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

When the Boston University Terriers needed Jack Eichel the most, he was there. For the first 60 minutes of the Beanpot final against Northeastern, the consensus No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft was crazy dangerous, but had yet to make his mark on the scoresheet. But seconds into overtime, Eichel swooped towards the Northeastern net, drawing a controversial penalty on Huskies defenseman Matt Benning.

“His speed is intimidating; teams know when he’s out there,” said Terriers coach David Quinn. “He gives us a swagger and it’s infectious. But it’s a respectful swagger.”

Less than a minute later, Eichel helped set up Matt Grzelcyk’s winning goal on the power play and the Terriers were celebrating.

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Flames prospect Sam Bennett to make OHL season debut tonight

Sam Bennett (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

He’ll be taking a bus to the game instead of a charter flight, his sweater will have a big ‘K’ on the front instead of a ‘C’ and he’ll be playing with teenagers instead of men, but when you go 145 days between games the way Sam Bennett has, it’s impossible not to be excited.

Bennett draws into the Kingston Frontenacs lineup tonight in Belleville for his Ontario League season debut tonight – and his home debut against the Sudbury Wolves Friday night – 4 ½ months after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder while in training camp with the Calgary Flames. And if the fourth overall pick is harboring any bitterness about not having a chance to play in the NHL this season, he’s doing a very good job of hiding it. Read more

If Maple Leafs have to start from scratch, they picked the right time to do it

Ryan Kennedy
Morgan Rielly (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

All is not well in Leaf Land, as Toronto has sunk into a funk that has eclipsed the cataclysmic slumps of the recent past. As reported by Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston yesterday, Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas has publicly stated that if the team needs to start from scratch, that’s what they’ll do in order to make things right.

Luckily, this is a great time to do so.

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Prospect Hot List: San Jose’s Swiss grinder, Noah Rod

Switzerland's Noah Rod celebrates at the world juniors (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

Weather permitting, Boston’s NCAA Beanpot tournament will end next week and hopefully I’ll be there. In the meantime, some more important dates were established when the CHL announced the hosts of next year’s Super Series with Russia: Kamloops, Kelowna, Owen Sound, Windsor, Rouyn-Noranda and Halifax. With that out of the way, let’s take a trip around the world of prospects.

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2015 draft prospect Timo Meier headlines The Hot List

Timo Meier (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year if you’re an NHL scout, as all-star games for draft hopefuls are in full swing. Last week, the United States League held its Top Prospects Game, while this week the CHL takes its turn. Though the USHL game was a bit lopsided (a 7-4 contest that was never close), many players stood out. And injuries in the CHL have given some previously overlooked players a second chance. Let’s take a look at some of those kids and more in our weekly wrap-up of players we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

Timo Meier, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

You could say that Meier has been lucky to line up beside two of the most dynamic teenagers in the world this year – Kevin Fiala on the Swiss world junior team and Nikolaj Ehlers with Halifax – but there’s a reason the talented right winger earned those plum assignments: He’s pretty good in his own right, as evidenced by the 25 goals and 56 points he has put up for the Mooseheads in 37 games.

“I had a good start to the season, it’s going pretty good,” Meier said. “We’re a young team and we’re improving every day. It’s been fun so far.”

The Swiss may have bombed out at the world juniors, but Meier showed a lot of great attributes and he’ll be back to defend his country’s honor next year as well. In the meantime, the late 1996 birthday is honing his skills in the Quebec League as he prepares for the NHL draft.

“It’s a fast league, with a lot of fast players,” he said. “It’s really intense. I can improve my game a lot in this league.” Read more

2015 draft phenom Jack Eichel does it again for Boston University

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

When Boston University needs a boost, the Terriers know where to find it. Freshman Jack Eichel has been money for the team all season long, leading the Terriers in scoring and coming through in the clutch. The latest example came this weekend with B.U. facing off against UMass-Lowell in a game that would decide first place in Hockey East.

The Terriers got a power play in overtime and that’s when Eichel went to work. Fast-forward to 1:45 in the clip below to see Eichel win the faceoff and then moments later blast home the winner:

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Losing Whalers, gaining U.S. NTDP an upgrade for Plymouth

Jack Eichel  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

There have been a lot of proposed names bandied about for Flint’s new Ontario League team that will hit the ice next season. I’m kind of partial to Hurricanes. After all, that’s what the team was named the last time Peter Karmanos played a key role in a city losing its Whalers.

The Plymouth Whalers, who began their life as the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors in 1989, then became the Detroit Jr. Wings, then became the Detroit Whalers and have been in Plymouth since 1997, were sold today to a group that plans to move the team to Flint in time for next season. The purchase still has to be approved by the OHL, which is expected to do so at its next board of governors meeting Feb. 2. Read more

Portland’s powerful Paul Bittner leads off The Hot List

Paul Bittner (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

The United States League holds its Top Prospects Game in Dubuque tonight, with draft dandies such as Kyle Connor, Brock Boeser and Tom Novak leading the charge. And with the world juniors in the books, it’s interesting to look back at the CHL and see which players upped their games with extra responsibility and opportunity. So that’s part of what we’re doing this week in our weekly look at prospects we’re excited to see in the NHL some day.

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