March 17, 2014 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Saint John GM: Eichel Will Evaluate After Under 18 Championships

by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer

Saint John Sea Dog general manager Darrell Young was in the Boston area last week to scout the Beantown Classic tournament.

The Sea Dogs own the Canadian Hockey League draft rights to highly-touted Boston University recruit Jack Eichel, who is projected to be one of the top picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Eichel is currently playing for the U.S. National Development Program.

While in the region, he reached out to Eichel's family via telephone and met with Eichel's family advisor, Peter Fish.

"I had a great talk with the family," Young said. "His mom and I had a good discussion. They're a very nice family and great people. I was able to meet with Peter Fish and his partner, Peter Donatelli, and we also had a good discussion. We talked with both of them about what I feel the pros of Major Junior are."

Major Junior teams have been locked in a battle with NCAA teams for years when it comes to players. Under NCAA rules, a player who competes in any Major Junior league relinquishes their NCAA eligibility.

"They have a wide open mindset," Young said. "They want to evaluate things after the World Under-18 Championships. I know a lot of people have been in Jack's ear about the benefits and there was a large media blitz with Bob (McKenzie) tweeting a few weeks back."

Young continued, "I'm not going to hassle or harrass them. He's focused on winning a gold medal right now with the U.S. and we're going to keep that line of communication open after that."

TSN's Bob McKenzie tweeted almost two weeks ago that there were whispers in Major Junior hockey circles that Eichel wanted the chance to go head-to-head against Connor McDavid, a prospect in the Ontario Hockey League. Eichel and McDavid are considered the top two prospects for the 2015 draft.

"We start earlier," Young said. "Jack is in a different position than some other players. He's looking to be one of those top players in the draft. We start in August, so Connor McDavid might have 30 or 40 points before Jack even plays a game, then the hype goes in one direction. If he were to get hurt and misses four weeks, that could be a good chunk of his schedule gone. I'm biased, but I see all kinds of plusses."

Eichel is from Chelmsford, Mass. and committed to BU in April 2012. He's slated to start his college career at BU this coming fall.

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