Jack Eichel is an 18-year-old American center who plays for the Boston University Terriers. The Terriers play the Providence Friars for the 2015 National Championship at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday night, but lost a heart-breaker 4-3.
Eichel has been deemed a super prospect and will most likely be a top three pick in the upcoming 2015 NHL Entry Draft with center Connor McDavid and defenseman Noah Hanifin.
Eichel is already an elite center at the college level, but projects into an even more special player at the next level. While his draft partner McDavid has earned comparisons to Sidney Crosby, Eichel is no slouch next to him, and projects as a Claude Giroux (would be a stronger and better two-way player) or John Tavares type at the NHL level.
Here is what you need to know about Eichel:
1. Eichel Had a Historical Freshman Season at Boston University
Boston University has struggled during the last few years in comparison to their rivals down Commonwealth Avenue, the Boston College Golden Eagles — BC won the National Championship in both 2010 and 2012. This season, Eichel has been the best player not only in the Hockey East conference, but the entire nation as well.
In Eichel’s historically good freshman season at BU, he accomplished:
– Winning Hockey East Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, the third freshman in league history to win both in same season
– Was a Hobey Hat Trick Finalist
– Was the Hockey East Tournament MVP, named to the Hockey East All-Tournament Team and a Hockey East First Team All-Star
– He led the nation in points (70), assists (44) and plus-minus (+51)
– Helped BU win the 2015 Beanpot Championship
– He broke the BU record for most points in a single Hockey East Tournament with 11 and most points ever for a BU freshman
2. Eichel Played for Team USA at the 2015 World Junior Championship
Eichel played with the United States Hockey Men’s National Development Program from 2012-14. He was the country’s top-line center at the 2014 World Juniors in Montreal. He also served as captain of the United States.
He finished the tournament with one goal, four points, a minus-3 rating, 21 shots-on-goal and a 45-percent faceoff efficiency in five games. The team’s average age was 18 years, 10 months.
3. Eichel Won the 2015 Hobey Baker Award
Eichel won the 2015 Hobey Baker Award. The award is annually given to the best player in NCAA men’s hockey.
He also became the second freshman to earn the award and the first since Paul Kariya led the University of Maine to the national championship in 1992-93. Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau won the award in 2014.
4. Eichel Helped Lead BU to the 2015 National Championship Game
Boston University entered the 2015 Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament as a top seed and the third seed overall, mostly thanks to Eichel’s play during the second half of the regular season.
BU defeated Yale 3-2 in the First Round, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in the Second Round and advanced to their 23rd Men’s Frozen Four. In the Frozen Four the Terriers defeated North Dakota 5-3 to advance to play Providence in the National Championship Game. After leading 3-2 entering the third period, BU gave up two goals with under 10:00 remaining in the game. The Terriers never scored again, and lost the Championship Game to Providence 4-3. The Friars won their 1st National Championship.
5. Eichel Will Be a Top Pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft
When it comes to scouting, Eichel checks out across the board. Among many draft-scouting sites — Hockeyprospect.com, ISS Hockey, Future Considerations, McKeen’s Hockey, NHL Central Scouting — Eichel is the No. 2 rated prospect for each. He has also been a point-per-game player at every level he’s played at.
According to Hockey’s Future, the talented Eichel comes as close to McDavid’s overall skill-level and potential as any prospect in this class:
While Eichel may not be quite the high-end talent that Connor McDavid is, he is very close. Eichel has the ability to control the game with a high hockey IQ, a good, powerful skating stride, and offensive skills that are second to none among American prospects for the 2015 draft. Eichel has good strength, allowing him to win battles for the puck and control it in space. He may be guilty of trying to do too much at times, but there is little doubt that he will be a top player once he arrives in the NHL.