Jack Eichel wins the Hobey Baker, Connor McDavid sets another record, Max Domi and Robby Fabbri have likely played their final OHL games.
Wednesday, April 15th
Connor McDavid continues to tear apart the Canadian Hockey League and was recently named CHL Player of the week scoring seven times and picking up 12 points in three playoff games. More recently, McDavid scored an empty net goal and had an assist in last night’s 3-2 win over the London Knights to complete the Otters’ sweep of the Knights. With 14 points in four games against the Knights, Connor McDavid set a new franchise record for points in a series. I absolutely love how deceptive McDavid proves to be …in his skating, in his puck skills, in his decision makings. His ability to separate and turn up speed in transitions is unmatched. His ability to use clever intentional bank plays around the net cannot be strategized against. The kid just knows how to exceed the lofty and nearly impossible expectations set on him. Never bet against him. I think he’ll be better than Sidney Crosby when it’s all said and done.
McDavid’s draft rival, Jack Eichel, is no slouch himself and was the main reason that Boston University marched their way to the Frozen Four championship. Eichel was named the 2015 Hobey Baker award winner last Friday before their National Championship game against Providence. Eichel won the coveted award over Harvard junior standout Jimmy Vesey (Predators draft pick) who racked up 32 goals and 58 points in only 37 games himself. Eichel’s 26 goals and 71 points in 40 games topped all NCAA players. That’s damn impressive for an 18 year old in College hockey.
Eichel put on an absolute show versus the University of North Dakota in the semi-final game where he not only showed his elite offensive skillset but impressed me even more with his defensive abilities. He uses his length extremely well and it’s why he draws some comparisons to Mario Lemieux that way. Of course, he’s a beautiful skater with a long stride that rockets up to top speed. Defensively, I was especially impressed with Eichel’s face off abilities. Unfortunately for Eichel and BU, the Terriers lost to Providence in the Frozen Four final. Don’t expect Eichel to be back with BU next season as the Buffalo Sabres guaranteed (at worst) drafting Eichel as they finished last in the NHL.
Jack Eichel wins the 2015 Hobey Baker Award:
After watching most of the Frozen Four tournament, It was nice to see how well Flames 1st rounder Mark Jankowski played. Calgary was questioned a lot at the draft for taking a flier on Jankowski with the 14th pick but he’s coming along nicely. Plays a great two way game and was one of Providence’s most impactful forwards on both sides of the puck. He’s got a lot more room to grow as a player too so that’s promising for Calgary.
Other prospects from the Frozen Four who I was impressed with include: Matt Grzelcyk (BU, Boston Bruins), Danny O’Regan (BU, San Jose Sharks), Brandon Hickey (BU, Calgary Flames), Nick Schmaltz (UND, Chicago Blackhawks), Luke Johnson (UND, Chicago Blackhawks), Jordan Schmaltz (UND, St. Louis Blues), Jon Gillies (Providence, Calgary Flames), Zane McIntyre (UND, Boston Bruins), Paul Ladue (UND, Los Angeles Bruins), Drake Caggiula (UND, undrafted/unsigned).
One year after a great OHL season with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Matt Murray (Pittsburgh Penguins) wins the AHL Rookie of the Year after a dominant season between the pipes for Wilkes-Barre Scranton.
“A third-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2012, Murray has spent much of his rookie season rewriting the AHL’s record book. The 20-year-old native of Thunder Bay, Ont., is 25-9-3 in 39 appearances for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while leading the league with a 1.51 goals-against average, a .943 save percentage and 12 shutouts, more than any other rookie goaltender in AHL history. From Feb. 8 to Mar. 8, Murray held Penguins opponents off the scoreboard for 304 minutes and 11 seconds, the longest shutout streak by a goaltender in the AHL’s 79-year history. Murray has been named CCM/AHL Player of the Week and CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month twice each, and last week earned AHL All-Rookie Team and AHL All-Star First Team honors.”
Back to Jimmy Vesey – there were plenty of rumours swirling that Vesey was considering leaving college to turn pro with Nashville but has decided to finish out his college career out with Harvard
There were some players who did decide to turn pro early including New York Rangers’ defensive prospect Brady Skjei (Unive