Having BC players and recruits go early in the NHL Draft has become a tradition at Boston College, but this year looks likely to be to most exciting draft night yet for Jerry York & co. Three Boston College players are pretty much locks to go in the first round. For three other current and future Eagles, the question is whether or not they'll have their name called.
The first round of the NHL Draft, held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, begins tonight at 7 PM on NBC Sports Network. Rounds 2-7 take place tomorrow, starting at 10 AM.
Boston College Prospects to Watch:
Alex Tuch, forward (SB Nation College Hockey draft profile)
The 6'3'', strong skating incoming freshman has drawn comparisons with Kevin Hayes and is considered to be a very solid pro prospect. Expect to see Tuch go in the top 15-20 picks.
DraftSite's 7-round mock draft has Tuch going 12th to the newly-rebranded Arizona Coyotes. TSN's Craig Button sees Tuch falling to Pittsburgh at #22. Most of the mock drafts I've seen have him going much earlier than that, but Canada gonna Canada when it comes to American prospects, I guess. Button doesn't have Demko in his first round (more on this later).
Sonny Milano, forward (SB Nation College Hockey draft profile)
Another incoming freshman, Milano is considered one of the most dynamic, electrifying offensive talents in the draft. He had a record-breaking season with the US U-18 team in the USHL, skating on a line with Tuch and BU prospect Jack Eichel. There are questions about his defensive game and pro readiness that generally have him being considered a mid-first round pick -- though most scouts and mock drafts say he has the potential to be one of the draft's very best players.
DraftSite and TSN are inverted on this one, with DraftSite projecting Milano to Colorado at #23, and Button slotting him in at #16 to Columbus.
Thatcher Demko, goalie (SB Nation College Hockey draft profile)
Demko is considered the #1 goalie prospect in the draft and most mock drafts have him going in the mid-to-late first round. However, there are apparently some red flags about his health, which I had not heard prior to the last few days. Sports Illustrated's mock draft, which has him going to Chicago at #27, had an NHL scout make the following comment:
"He passed on the [physical testing at the combine], and that has everyone wondering about his hips. Lots of talk he might need surgery to repair both. He's damaged goods."
However, the same scout also called him a surefire #1 goalie, talent-wise. DraftSite joins TSN's Button in dropping Demko out of the first round, projecting him at #44 to Washington.
Scott Savage, defenseman
Savage, coming off a pretty good freshman year with the Eagles, is considered a borderline draft pick. DraftSite is the only mock draft I've seen that goes all seven rounds, and their list leaves him undrafted. The most recent NHL Central Scouting rankings had him ranked #194 among all North American skaters.
J.D. Dudek, center (SB Nation College Hockey Draft Profile)
Dudek is expected to arrive at BC in the fall of 2015 and bring some much needed depth at center ice. Dudek is another electrifying offensive playmaker. He's a borderline pick in the draft as his size (5-11') and his defensive game are question marks at the moment. His final ranking with Central Scouting was #109, which generally speaking is good enough to get the call. I'm going to go ahead and predict that he gets drafted, although DraftSite leaves him off their mock draft. If he's not selected this year, he'll certainly have the potential to impress and improve his stock next year.
Christopher Brown, forward
Christopher Brown is another borderline pick who will be arriving at BC in the fall of 2015. The Michigan native finished off a prolific high school career this season, scoring 84 points in 28 games. He then joined the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, where he will play his first full season next year. #138 in the central scouting rankings, Brown's lack of experience against likely pros and older players has the potential to keep him undrafted this year. Like Dudek, he's likely a lock to go next year if not selected tomorrow.
Other College Hockey Notables
-Dylan Larkin, an incoming Michigan forward, is in the race with Tuch and Milano to be the first NCAA player selected. DraftSite has him at #15 and TSN projects him at #14.
-Nick Schmaltz (North Dakota commit) is also likely to go in the first round (projected by DraftSite at #21 to St. Louis.)
-Jonathan MacLeod is likely to be the first BU commit drafted, with DraftSite listing him at #84. The third round is probably when he'll go. Brandon Hickey and Maxim LEtunov are also incoming Terriers who are likely to be drafted in the first four rounds.
First Round Draft Order:
1. Florida Panthers
2. Buffalo Sabres
3. Edmonton Oilers
4. Calgary Flames
5. New York Islanders
6. Vancouver Canucks
7. Carolina Hurricanes
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
9. Winnipeg Jets
10. Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa Senators)
11. Nashville Predators
12. Arizona Coyotes
13. Washington Capitals
14. Dallas Stars
15. Detroit Red Wings
16. Columbus Blue Jackets
17. Philadelphia Flyers
18. Minnesota Wild
19. Tampa Bay Lightning
20. San Jose Sharks
21. St. Louis Blues
22. Pittsburgh Penguins
23. Colorado Avalanche
24. Anaheim Ducks
25. Boston Bruins
26. Montreal Canadiens
27. Chicago Blackhawks
28. Tampa Bay Lightning (from New York Rangers)
29. Los Angeles Kings
30. New Jersey Devils
Best of luck to all the draft-eligible Eagles, and may they be drafted by teams with relationships with BC/college hockey already - those are usually the ones that work out best for everyone!