By Mike Harrington
NHL Central Scouting has released its Future List for prospects from North America and Europe and there are plenty of names on it that will become familiar as potential first-round choices in what's billed as a stocked 2015 draft.
But for the next year, every draft list you see will be like this one: The names of Erie center Connor McDavid and Boston University center Jack Eichel will cause the most chatter and have fans of teams in the NHL's low-rent district like the Sabres dreaming big.
As NHL.com draft expert Mike Morreale writes, the league web site did an impromptu poll of nine talent evaluators and four of them said they would actually take Eichel with the No. 1 pick over McDavid. So it will be a fascinating year to watch the two of them play, starting with Eichel's likely appearance in the All-American Prospects Game Sept. 25 in First Niagara Center.
And here's a reminder I'll probably give 200 times before the NHL Draft Lottery next April: If the Sabres do in fact finish last overall next year, they will likely have a 75-80 percent chance of NOT getting the No. 1 pick. Just like this year. So if it turns out McDavid becomes a consensus No. 1 choice during the season based on his play in the OHL and World Juniors, Eichel is the guy more likely to come to Buffalo.
Here's the complete North American futures list. After McDavid and Eichel, US National Development Team defenseman Noah Hanifan has gotten a lot of recent play as a high pick as well. The list also includes 2015-16 Niagara University commitment Dennis Gilbert of the Buffalo Junior Sabres, a draftee of the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. He's the nephew of Sabres Vice President of PR Mike Gilbert.
The International futures list is topped by Czech center Pavel Zacha, who has said he wants to go the Tomas Hertl route right from Czech play into the NHL.
taggedNHL Entry Draft