McDavid and Eichel Top the CSS Midterm Draft Rankings

This afternoon, the NHL Central Scouting Service (CSS) released their midterm prospect ratings of the top hockey players available for the 2015 NHL draft. It comes as no surprise that future superstars Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel sit at the top of the forward rankings as number 1 and 2. Despite missing six weeks of action due to a broken hand, in just 23 games played for the Erie Otters, McDavid has tallied 21 goals and 39 assists for a total of 60 points. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of his season for the Otters pans out. With around 25 games remaining in the OHL season, McDavid is well on his way to scoring over 120 points.

Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters is ranked first to go in the 2015 NHL draft. He currently has 60 points in 23 games played.  Image courtesy of NHL.com

Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters is ranked first to go in the 2015 NHL draft. He currently has 60 points in 23 games played. 

Image courtesy of NHL.com

Eichel continues to light the lamp for Boston University in the Hockey East conference. After providing a central role for team USA in the World Junior Classic, Eichel returned back to Boston to continue his scoring ways. On January 10th, he was named Hockey East Rookie of the week after recording 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in a 6-1 win over Wisconsin. This is Eichel’s third time receiving these honors in a season that started in October. 

Ranked number 2 on the CSS midterm draft rankings, Jack Eichel, a Freshman at the University of Boston played a central role as captain for Team USA in the WJC. Image courtesy of NHL.com

Ranked number 2 on the CSS midterm draft rankings, Jack Eichel, a Freshman at the University of Boston played a central role as captain for Team USA in the WJC.

Image courtesy of NHL.com

As Sabres fans continue to look at the bottom of the league standings and watch their team continually go through the wringer night by night, there is a light at the end of the tunnel according to the Director of NHL Scouting, Dan Marr. He shared the group’s rationale behind selecting McDavid as #1 in the CSS midterm rankings:

"Central Scouting has a philosophy for ranking players which is very subjective and it's not always easy to reach a consensus especially when discussing such elite caliber [players], but our consensus vote at midterm is that Connor McDavid is ranked ahead of Jack Eichel," he said. "McDavid possesses a natural quickness, an ultra-quickness if you will, in all areas of his game that sets him apart from the pack. Whether it's skating quickness, speed and agility or his hands, passing and shooting, or his anticipation, awareness and reaction time; all these components of his game are performed with a quickness that at times is truly amazing, and that ability places him in the company of [Wayne] Gretzky and [Sidney] Crosby.

"The club with the first overall selection will ultimately have the tremendous opportunity to select one of these two super prospects and both clubs will come out winners for years to come."

Those last few lines of his statement should resonate well for any Sabres fan that has followed this team through the rebuild. Talk is cheap, but as McDavid and Eichel continue to daze the hockey world with their highlight goals and impressive hockey IQ, Sabres fans can start dreaming and believing in the days of wearing shorts to First Niagara to watch a playoff hockey game.

Connor McDavid (97) undresses a Plymouth defender to get one on one and score a highlight reel goal on a dazed goalie.  GIF courtesy of NHL.com

Connor McDavid (97) undresses a Plymouth defender to get one on one and score a highlight reel goal on a dazed goalie. 

GIF courtesy of NHL.com

If Sabres fans are looking to catch some of the top prospects in the 2015 draft, the Canadian Hockey League is hosting its Top Prospects game this Thursday, January 22nd, in St. Catharines, ON. A forty minute ride over the Canadian border with tickets to this game will give you the chance to see names such as McDavid, Lawson Crouse, Dylan Strome, and Mitchell Marner. Of the 210 North American skaters available for the 2015 NHL draft, 132 are from the CHL. The draft is slated to take place June 26-27 in Sunrise, Florida.