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Eichel aims to shrug off comparisons to fellow blue chipper McDavid


Canada’s forward Connor McDavid (R) vies with US forward Jack Eichel during the IIHF U18 International Ice Hockey World Championships final game in Sochi on April 28, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

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When two high-end prospects vie to be the top pick of a given draft, it’s basically inevitable that media types will compare and contrast them for the rest of their careers.

Even with that in mind, Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid almost beg to be compared before and after the 2015 NHL Draft takes place.

For one thing, they’re two of the best prospects to come along in some time, give or take a Nathan MacKinnon here or there. The juicier stuff is that they’re following contrasting paths. Eichel (pictured to the left of McDavid in international competition) is an American-born talent who opted to take the NCAA route with Boston University. McDavid is your almost-typical Canadian wunderkind, drawing the usual Sidney Crosby comparisons when people tire of linking the Pittsburgh Penguins star with MacKinnon.

As natural as these comparisons may get, Eichel told the Canadian Press that he’ll do his best to ignore the comparisons.

“I just try to concentrate on what I can control and myself,” Eichel said. “There’s going to be comparisons wherever you go. I just try to focus on myself and making sure I’m doing the right things and trying to get better.”

This doesn’t mean Eichel is just going to shrink from the challenge, though.

“To be No. 1, obviously, it’s in anyone’s competitive nature to be No. 1,” Eichel said. “You dream about that your whole life. So if I sat here and told you that I didn’t want to be in the No. 1 pick, I think I’d be lying because I do. But I’m not going to lose sleep on it.”

Sounds like a wise strategy, even if it might be filed under “easier said than done.”

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins