Top NHL prospects McDavid, Eichel meet the media

Jun 5, 2015

As the National Hockey League's Scouting Combine winds down this weekend in Buffalo, the players expected to be selected first and second in the league's draft met with media in the HarborCenter.

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel were among a handful of prospects who met a large media scrum, one by one. McDavid, who most recently played junior hockey with the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League, is expected by most everyone to be chosen first overall by the Edmonton Oilers, who hold the top pick at the 2015 NHL Draft.

So, does McDavid also feel he's the best among this year's talent pool?

Connor McDavid, the projected first-overall pick at this month's National Hockey League Draft, speaks with reporters in Buffalo, where he and other prospects are taking part in the league's Scouting Combine.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

"That's not up for me to decide," said McDavid. "A lot of people will do a lot of talking and they'll judge for their own eyes. I believe in my abilities and that's the main thing."

Also expressing belief in his abilities was Jack Eichel, the projected second-overall pick in the NHL Draft, the pick held by the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel, though, addressed comments he made during his interview process at the Combine. According to media reports, Eichel told Sabres management that he is the top pick in the draft.

He didn't deny the remarks but felt those comments would remain behind closed doors.

"I know everyone's making a big deal," Eichel said. "It wasn't me comparing myself to Connor, it was more of me thinking 'I'm the best player in draft' is more of just confidence in my own self.

"I didn't really think it was going to be a big deal, that it was pretty confidential within the team."

Eichel, who recently finished his first year with Boston University, has not yet decided whether to immediately turn pro or return to the Terriers, who lost the NCAA championship this past season.

"If it ends up that if my heart tells me it's time to move on and try to play in the NHL, then that's what I'm going to do," he said. "If my heart says I want to go back to BU, then that's what I'm going to do."

After he carefully stated if he were to be selected by the Sabres, Eichel expressed praise for the team's new head coach, Dan Bylsma. Bylsma, who was hired by the Sabres last week, coached Eichel for Team USA at the recent International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.

The player also spoke of exploring a little bit of Buffalo during his visit for the combine, checking out chicken wings while here.

Saturday marks the final day for the NHL Scouting Combine, which will end with physical fitness tests of players. Buffalo will also host next year's Combine.

The NHL Draft, meanwhile, takes place June 26 and 27 in Sunrise, Florida.