Prospect Series - Jack Eichel, USA
Jack Eichel is the current number two prospect for the 2015 NHL Draft. He is neck and neck with Connor McDavid for the number one overall pick, although most people do not think he has a chance to catch him. Eichel is 6'2" and 195 lbs. He is a freshman playing at Boston University after a successful run with the USA National Development Program.
Eichel had 45 points in 24 games with the USA team. Currently to open the season, Eichel has 9 points in 5 games with Boston University, although this does not include several star exhibition games that he has had.
The US born center may not be as good as the top guy but he sure looks like a generational player in his own right. He is a quick off the face-off circle skater who can jump onto defender can get pucks before they know it. A power player who could also project to wing, because he has tremendous jump, balance and punch when he engages. So light on his edges, with a powerful long stride, and a really long reach, he is beyond dangerous with the puck. Finds himself the open spaces. Can enter and exit the face-off circle with the the puck and ramp to high gear and let it go as quick as the best. Reads situations and can go end to end like the 200 foot player he is. Plays center and is very good there, but his quick release and wall work might have teams projecting him as a attack winger too. He is a lunchpail team player with impact player toolbox. He was selected to the roster for the World Junior Under-18 Tournament in April. Already committed to Boston University where he began with strong goal and point totals from the onset. There's no doubt in my mind he could dethrone McDavid, based on his all-around smarts and play. So many of the recent early first rounders are kept on the NHL rosters because the braintrust think they better off developing there, and giving the fans a look at what might be coming. In Eichel's case, you will see him take a top center role away from someone, because he is a game-changer from shift one.
Several scouts believe that if Eichel was playing in the NHL this season, he would be number one center. I am very excited to see how he compares to McDavid at the upcoming World Junior championships.
An update to this article, Eichel lived up to all expectations. Eichel won the Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Hockey East Player of the Year. Eichel then went on to win the Hobey Baker award as the nation's best player. Eichel was only the 2nd freshman ever to win the award. Eichel and Boston University would get to the National Championship game, but lose a heartbreaking game to Providence. Eichel finished the season with 71 points in 40 games for BU.