Center Connor McDavid will be the big prize in next year's NHL Draft. (Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
Top 2015 NHL draft prospect Jack Eichel reportedly has considered blowing off his commitment to Boston University in order to go head-to-head with rival Connor McDavid next season in the OHL.
Since that's not likely to work out--Eichel's junior rights belong to the QMJHL--maybe he'd consider another option.
Like, say, the KHL.
Eichel, who was selected 52nd overall by Vityaz Chekhov in the 2013 KHL Junior Draft, could finally get his wish now that McDavid was tabbed 77th overall this morning by Medvescak Zagreb.
The KHL would love to see that scenario play out, but the odds against either player setting foot on Russian (or Croatian) ice are astronomical.
Still, KHL teams routinely take fliers on foreign players in a draft lacking enough local talent to go beyond a couple of rounds.
A year before going first overall in the 2013 NHL draft, Nathan MacKinnon went 114th to Vityaz Podolsk. The KHL club followed that selection by taking defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the NHL's possible 2014 first-overall pick, 171st overall in 2013.
Oddly, McDavid wasn't even the first Canadian taken in this year's talent grab. Travis Konecny of the Ottawa 67's, the OHL's Rookie of the Year this season, went 25th overall to Dinamo Riga, which then added 16-year-old Sherbrooke defenseman Jeremy Roy at 26.
Medvescak took another 2015 draft-eligible forward, Jesse Gabrielle of the Brandon Wheat Kings, with the 156th pick.
None of those players are likely to head overseas, either, but you can't blame the KHL for trying. At some point there will be a player who decides that the money to be made while developing in the KHL is a lot more appealing than the $50 a week he can pull down in the Canadian Hockey League. And when he does, these picks won't look so desperate.