NHL Central Scouting finalizes 2015 draft rankings


McDavid is the sure-fire No. 1 pick come June. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Don Cherry will be pleased.

NHL Central Scouting finalized its 2015 draft rankings and of the 211 listed players competing in North America, 141 are from the Canadian Hockey League.

The balance across the three Canadian leagues is refreshing as well with 48 skaters from Western Hockey League, 47 from the Ontario Hockey League and 46 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

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It comes as no surprise Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters and Boston University’s Jack Eichel sit one-two, respectively, since that has been the case all season.

McDavid finished third in OHL scoring with 120 points despite only playing in 47 games this season and helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the world juniors. Meanwhile, Eichel was a Hobey Baker Award finalist as a freshman – a rare feat – and will become the first NCAA player to be a top-five pick since Jonathan Toews and Phil Kessel went in 2006.

After these two franchise centres, defenceman Noah Hanifin of Boston College ranks third followed by a trio of OHL standouts Dylan Strome, Lawson Crouse and Mitchell Marner.

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Of the 30 North American goalies, 16 are from the CHL including top-ranked Mackenzie Blackwood of the Barrie Colts. WHL netminders Adin Hill of the Portland Winterhawks, Prince Albert Raiders’ Nick McBride and Nick Schneider of the Medicine Hat Tigers also cracked the top 10.

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Finnish right winger Mikko Rantanen, big Swedish defenceman Gabriel Carlsson and Russian goalie Ilya Samsonov sit atop the international rankings.

For the full list of draft rankings, visit the official NHL Central Scouting’s 2015 final rankings page.

The 2015 NHL Draft takes place June 26-27 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.

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