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Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel add excitement to NHL youth movement
2:07 | NHL
Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel add excitement to NHL youth movement
Wednesday October 7th, 2015

Despite the volume of hype centered around the top-two picks of the 2015 draft, there’s more to this season’s rookie class than Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. We asked three scouts for their impressions of some of the youngsters who are hoping to make the most of their spots on NHL rosters. Here’s what they had to say:

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• DYLAN McILRATH, D, RANGERS
(6' 5", 200 pounds, age 23) 

Scout’s take: “A mountain of a man and as tough as they come. Will drop the mitts with anyone and can be a very intimidating presence. He’s figured out how to keep his game simple and that’s made him more effective in his own zone. No offensive game ... not the best skater, although he’s not sluggish or anything. He’s not a classic goon, but he definitely keeps the other team honest.”

• DYLAN LARKIN, C,  RED WINGS
(6' 1", 190 pounds, age 19)

Scout's take: “His skating is the first thing you’ll notice, how quickly he gets to top speed. He’s got that acceleration ... [and] he’s really tough to knock off his feet. A very smart player. He’s shown in the preseason that he can think the game at this level. He reads and reacts well ... if he makes a mistake, he knows how to fix it. There’s no panic in his game. A very mature player.”

• NOKOLAJ EHLERS, RW, JETS
(6', 172 pounds, age 19)

Scout's take: “A pure goal scorer. The total offensive package. Effortless skater who can make plays at top speed. He’s a difference maker ... [the kind of player who] can elevate a good team to a great one.”

• ARTEMI PANARIN, LW, BLACKHAWKS
(5' 10", 170 pounds, age 23)

Scout’s take: “Dynamic winger ... [with] high-end speed and puck skills. Doesn’t need much space to make the magic happen. Terrific hands. He’ll put points on the board.”

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• CONNOR BRICKLEY, LW, PANTHERS
(6', 203 pounds, age 23)

Scout’s take: “He’s made himself into a player. Nothing fancy about him. Brings a lot of energy, attacks hard on both sides of the puck. Goes hard to the net. Reads the play well. There’s no questioning his effort. He’s involved every shift.”

• MIKKO RANTANEN, RW, AVALANCHE
(6' 4", 211 pounds, age 18)

Scout’s take: “A big, NHL-ready body ... but not a big banger. Uses size well to protect the puck and earn his space. Won’t dazzle anyone with his finesse, but a very skilled player. Good hands down low. Reads the play well and makes good decisions with the puck. Good quickness.”

• COLTON PARAYKO, D, BLUES
(6' 5", 225 pounds, age 22)

Scout’s take: “Love that kid. An absolute beast. He has a howitzer of a shot from the point. You gotta pray for everyone who stands in front of the net when he lets it go. It’s scary. He uses his size effectively in his own zone. He hits hard but he hits clean. He’s a smart kid ... reads the play well. A lot of poise with and without the puck. You like to see a kid like that who can handle the pressure of the situation without buckling. He’s got that mettle.”

• ANTON SLEPYSHEV, LW, OILERS
(6' 2", 194 pounds, age 21)

Scout’s take: “He’s bigger and stronger now [than when he was draft eligible] and I think that’s made him a more versatile player. He still has the scorer's instincts and the heavy shot, but he can player a heavier game now. He’s more effective battling for pucks, he can work the corners, he can be a load in front of the net. Give him a role and he can play up and down [the roster].”

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• MATTIAS JANMARK, C, STARS
(6' 1", 195 pounds, age 22)

Scout’s take: “A real useful bottom-six guy. He’s got surprising speed ... just when you think you’ve got him he can turn it on and blow past you. Good offensive instincts. He doesn’t need a lot of room to make a play. Excellent defensive game. Really adds to the skill level of the group [but he’s also] someone who is reliable without the puck. Great details.”

• MATT PUEMPEL, LW, SENATORS
(6' 2", 204 pounds, age 22)

Scout’s take: “He can put the puck in the net. Good hands, earns his space. I saw him drop the mitts a couple times the year before last ... tough kid. He’s had a lot of injury problems in the past. This is a critical year for him. He needs to stay healthy.”

• TYLER RANDELL, RW, BRUINS
(6' 1", 198  pounds, age 24)

Scout’s take: “Kind of a throwback to the old Bruins. Hard nosed, energy-type who'll grind it out along the boards [and go] hard on the forecheck. Won't score much, but you know they'll love his heart in Boston.”

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• DANIEL SPRONG, RW, PENGUINS
(6' , 180 pounds, age 18)

Scout’s take: “Sprong comes with a lot of baggage. His family isn't the easiest to deal with. Maybe his defensive game isn't where you'd want it to be. But you know, at the end of the day, the kid's a player. Everything with him is high pace. He's skates fast, he thinks fast, he shoots fast. He has all the physical tools [to become] someone who can score consistently. I don't think [he'll stick in Pittsburgh all season], but the fact that he made it this far shows how much he impressed that team. That's something.”

• KYLE BAUN, LW, BLACKHAWKS
(6' 2", 209 pounds, age 23)

Scout’s take: “Classic power-forward type. Big body, protects the puck well, wins the battles. Strong skater, tough to knock off the puck, has some finish. Could see spot duty on the power play. Nice skill upgrade for the bottom six...has some upside.”

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• MIKE CONDON, G, CANADIENS
(6' 2", 197 pounds, age 25)

Scout’s take: “Him being there says more about what [the Canadiens] thought about [Dustin] Tokarski and [Zach Fucale] than anything. Decent size, good rebound control. Keeps it simple. Just has to be good enough that [coach Michel] Therrien can trust him with a spot start with [Carey] Price needs a rest.”

 

JOONAS DONSKOI, LW, SHARKS
(6', 183 pounds, age 23)

Scout’s take: “Slick, creative, offensive-minded forward. Pretty flashy when he has the puck. Has a real knack for finding the back of the net. Can definitely help a team's power play. Not sure if he has the same commitment without [the puck]. Needs to play in the top-six to be effective.”

• ROBBY FABRI, C, BLUES
(5' 10", 170 pounds, age 19)

Scout’s take: “An elite offensive player. Dangerous every time he touches the puck. [It] just flies off his stick. Really makes things happen with his speed. Excellent first step...just when you think he's hit top speed he shifts into another gear. Very agile skater. Some guys play hungry. That's Fabbri. He wants to be an impact player...I think he will be.”

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JAKE VIRTANEN, RW, CANUCKS
(6' 1", 208 pounds, age 19)

Scout’s take: “Smart, smart move by the Canucks. You look at their forward group... [he'll bring] exactly what they need. He's a terrific skater, great acceleration. Plays with a real edge. Strong along the boards. He's just as happen to go through you as around you. Wouldn't expect big numbers from him this year, but he'll be a big part of their top-six down the road. A really fun player to watch.”

NIC PETAN, C, JETS
(5' 9", 179 pounds, age 20)

Scout’s take: “Elite, elite skill. Every game he'll do something that'll leave you shaking your head. Small, [but makes up for it with] his speed, intelligence [and] work ethic. Has a big heart. Won't back down to anyone. Effective in all three zones. [Coach Paul Maurice] will be playing him in every situation before long.”

JARED McCANN, C, CANUCKS 
(6', 185 pounds, age 19)

Scout’s take: “Not as dynamic as Virtanen, but he's a guy that can win you games. Excellent hockey sense, sees the ice exceptionally well, has a knack for finding a hole in traffic that allows him to set up his teammate. Very dedicated to [improving his game]."

• JOEL EDMUNSON, D, BLUES 
(6' 4", 207 pounds, age 22)

Scout’s take: “Has the size, smarts and drive to play a shutdown role. No offensive upside to speak of. Effective when he keeps it simple, uses his body to clear the crease [and] win battles along the boards.”

JOONAS KEMPPAINEN, C, BRUINS
(6' 3", 223 pounds, age 27)

Scout’s take: “A really detail-oriented player. Good on the draw, disciplined on both sides of the puck. Reads the play well...so he's pretty useful on the penalty kill. Big body...very effective physical presence. Won't score much but he's reliable [in his role].”

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