Jack Eichel is the other very highly anticipated prospect, he and McDavid projected to go first and second in the draft. I have to say, I am more of a fan of Eichel than McDavid. His game is definitely more rounded. McDavid is more skilled, but Eichel has the same skill sets. His vision is great. His passes are crisp and accurate. He has very good skating and a solid shot, making him an offensive threat.
What separates him from McDavid and makes him a better choice is his intelligence and defensive strengths. While he has moments where he waits too long and gets trapped, which could always be a problem in the NHL, he protects the puck well and finds ways out of the tough situation by finding seams between the defenders or shaking them off with his skating, whereas McDavid tends to cough up the puck. Eichel will many times get rid of the puck when he sees two or three guys on him, instead of trying to skate through them. He will find a teammate or dump the puck in and go chase after it, whichever one is more convenient.
He is much more active on the defensive end. I see him skating down and trying to get back defensively as quick as he can. He continually tries to pressure the puck carrier and keeps his stick down and knees bent. His positioning skills helps him pick off pucks. His stick checking is very good, and he knows when to stay in between two players on the rush and when he can afford to attack the puck carrier.
Forechecking is something very visible in his style of play. He’ll get in along the boards and battle for the puck, and is very effective with it. If he does have the puck poked away from him, he battles to get it back and seems to be able to the majority of the time.
I don’t like to make player comparisons because that sets an unfair expectation for the player, and if he doesn’t reach that expectation, he comes off as being a bust, but his style of play reminds me of a confident Alex Semin who is at the top of his game (like in the 2013 shortened season). He is a guy who seems to love to be a playmaker, but also has a very good shot, is very smart with and without the puck, and is active defensively. I’d take Eichel first overall, being a great pick for a team looking for an smart, two-way star player.