April 15 2014 06:28PM
So, with the official lottery order set for the top 14 picks and using reverse standing order for the rest of the teams, here is the first version of our 2014 NHL Mock Draft:
1. Florida Panthers: D Aaron Ekblad - 6'4, 215lbs, 58GP 23G 53P
Winning the Draft Lottery, the Panthers moved up to the 1st overall pick. They drafted forwards with their past two high picks in Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, so the Panthers switch it up and shore up their blueline with far and away the best blueliner available.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: An exceptional talent, Ekblad has an impressive blend of size and strength for his age. He's mature, confident and poised in all three zones, skates well and is strong in transition.
2. Buffalo Sabres: F Sam Reinhart - 6'1, 183lbs, 60GP 36G 105P
The Sabres have loaded up on the blueline in the past few drafts and boast an impressive arsenal of young defenseman so it's they probably feel fortunate to have a player of Reinhart's calibre fall to them. Probably would've been their pick at 1, as well.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Reinhart is a nice blend of poise, maturity and a high hockey IQ. He's got creative hands, excellent vision and superb instinct in the offensive end. He's able to slow things down and dissect the play. He battles hard and is a true team leader.
3. Edmonton Oilers: F Leon Draisaitl - 6'2, 210lbs, 64GP 38G 105P
The Oilers have been rumoured to be interested in the big German import - even over Sam Reinhart - so they'd be quite content with landing him at the 3 spot. I wouldn't, however, be surprised if the Oilers traded down for defenseman Haydn Fluery, the next best rearguard available, or deal the pick all together for reinforcements in the present.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Draisaitl is a playmaking center who isn't overly physical but uses his size effectively to shield himself and the puck. He has excellent vision and knows where his options are. He has soft hands and a steady stride, but his smarts are his most important asset.
4. Calgary Flames: F Sam Bennett - 6'0, 180lbs, 57GP 36G 91P
The Flames compliment their selection of centerman Sean Monahan in 2013 with another centerman, in Sam Bennett. The slick forward has proven he can score with the best of them in the OHL and brings a similar element to the game as another Flames prospect Emile Poirier, in that he's quick and physical, racking up 118 PIM this year.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Bennett is an energetic, skilled winger who is quick on his feet and has deceptive speed. He generates chances with his quickness, awareness and constant effort. He's not flashy, but energetic and does possess an excellent release.
5. New York Islanders: F Michael Dal Colle - 6'2, 180lbs, 67GP 39G 95P
Thomas Vanek fit with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo like a glove, so drafting a similar player in that similar pure goal scorer mold makes sense. Dal Colle needs to bulk up but has a heck of a shot and could finally provide Tavares with an elite triggerman to rely on.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Dal Colle is a bull who uses his natural talents well. He's got an imposing frame and already shows great balance and strength on his skates. He plays a two-way game, battles hard and displays quick hands for his size.
6. Vancouver Canucks – F William Nylander – 5’11, 170lbs, 35GP 15G 27P
An electric, young Swede to play with your two older, electric Swedes? Seems like a match made in heaven for the Canucks. Nylander, son of Michael, is one of the slickest, most offensively talented forwards available in the class. He’s proven he can score among men at a fair pace in both the SHL and Allsvenskan this season. Decent consolation prize for imploding like the Canucks did.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Nylander is an extremely skilled, dynamic player who has quick hands and feet that make him dangerous offensively. He has great top-end speed, a strong burst and elite vision. He can distribute the puck like few other his age. An intelligent player, he out-thinks opponents regularly.
7. Carolina Hurricanes – F Nick Ritchie – 6’2, 230lbs, 61GP 39G 74P
Opting to go with size and skill, the Hurricanes pick up one of three skilled tanks available in this area of the draft. Carolina was already one of the biggest teams, statistically, this season and will get even scarier with the future addition of Ritchie.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Ritchie is a prototypical power forward with an impressive blend of size, skill and strength. He skates well for a big player and has agile feet. He bulls his way around the ice and has an impressive, erratic shot.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs – D Haydn Fluery – 6’3, 200lbs, 70GP 8G 46P
Defense was a serious problem this year in Toronto, and the team already has a couple young, dynamic offensive type defensemen with Morgan Reilly and Jake Gardiner on the big team, so they add to their young D core with safe, responsible blueliner Haydn Fluery. He won’t “wow” you, but Fluery gets the job done in all three zones.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Fleury is a big, physical blueliner who shows good offensive ability. He's strong and balanced on his skates, keeps his head up and understands developing plays. He rulbs opposing forwards out and isn't shy to make a solid hit.
9. Winnipeg Jets – F Jake Virtanen – 6’1, 210lbs, 71GP 45G 71P
Talking to people, I got the sense the Jets may not like Virtanen all that much, but at 9th overall, I think they warm up to the Hitmen spark plug a little. When he’s “on”, Virtanen can dominate any opposition and has the potential to be one of the best players to come out of the 2014 class, only problem is he’s far from consistent with that sort of play. He’s a very similar specimen to current Jets forward Evander Kane, who is rumored to be on his way out.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Virtanen is a heads-up player who thinks the game well and is willing to get his nose dirty. He has slick hands, a dynamic shot and a strong stride that makes him dangerous. He can be outright dominant at times offensively with his blend of size, skill and speed.
10. Anaheim Ducks (via Ottawa) – F Brendan Perlini – 6’2, 205lbs, 58GP 34G 71P
The already incredibly stacked Ducks prospect pool gets another big boost, with the addition of the hard working goal scorer. The Ducks’ quality NHL roster will ensure Perlini has ample time to properly develop before making the jump to the NHL.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Perlini is a lethal combination of speed, puck skills, and hockey sense which allow him to make dynamic plays in all three zones. He plays a high puck possession game and thrives when the puck in on his stick.
11. Nashville Predators– F Nikolaj Ehlers – 5’11, 165lbs, 63GP 49G 104P
The Preds jump for joy landing an elite offensive talent - the type the franchise has been starved for since they entered the league. David Legwand was great and all but…
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Ehlers is an explosive player who can beat even the quickest defensemen wide with his speed. He plays on his off wing and creates chances with sharp cuts to the middle comple- mented by an explosive wrister. He's equally good with the puck and can handle it both at top speed and in traffic.
12. Phoenix Coyotes – F Kasperi Kapanen – 6’0, 181lbs, 47GP 7G 14P
Speaking of elite offensive talent which a team needs, the Coyotes goal scoring improved this year but still wasn’t in top echelon of teams. I was going to compare Kapanen to Tuevo Teravainen until he grew like a weed. Came into the year at 5’11, 170, and now sits at 6’0 and 181.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Kapanen is a small and slippery with very creative hands and impressive 1-on-1 arsenal. He has a decent shot with good release but needs added velocity. He has quick feet and impressive lateral agility and is a dangerous goal scorer who can make skilled passes and offensive zone reads.
13. Washington Capitals – F Jared McCann – 6’0, 180lbs, 64GP 27G 62P
Caps go with the best player available which just so happens to be two-way forward Jared McCann, a player built in the mould of a Brandon Saad. NHL teams aren’t letting that type of player slip to the second round again.
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: McCann is a hard-working, two-way forward who displays strong agility and mobility. He's effective at both ends of the ice and has the ability to produce strong numbers due to his hands, patience, shot and sense.
14. Dallas Stars – F Alex Tuch – 6’3, 215lbs, 51GP 28G 57P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Tuch is a big power winger who skates well with strong balance. He typically is called upon to be the meat and potatoes guy on a skilled line and does so very effectively. Impressive fore-checker. Uses his frame to protect the puck and physically supporting his linemates.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets – F Robby Fabbri – 5’10, 165lbs, 58GP 45G 87P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Fabbri is a below average sized buzz saw who works hard and has some of the best feet in the entire draft. He uses his speed and mobility to be shifty and elusive but is also willing to play physical. His hands are skilled; he shows some creativity on the ice and has a quick shot release.
17. Philadelphia Flyers – D Julius Honka – 5’11, 174lbs, 62GP 38G 56P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Honka is a small offensive-minded blueliner who skates very well with strong lateral movements and agility. He's extremely elusive and hard to contain or catch. He possesses good recovery speed and quick on the transition from defense to offense.
18. New York Rangers – F Ivan Barbashev – 6’0, 181lbs, 62GP 11G 43P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Barbashev is a skilled playmaking winger with impressive vision and passing ability. He thrives in a high-paced offense. Has a good, hard shot and isn't transparent about making a pass or firing it on net. Has dynamic talent but inconsistent in his efforts.
19. Minnesota Wild – F Kevin Fiala– 5’11, 194lbs, 17GP 3G 11P
Scouting Report via EliteProspects: Kevin Fiala is an offensive forward with game-breaking potential. Fiala is not very big or strong yet, but his quickness and agility lets him avoid getting hit or held back along the boards. Has a wealthy arsenal of shooting tools which, combined with his creativity and finishing abilities, makes him the player you turn to if you need a goal.
20. LA Kings – D Jack Dougherty – 6’2, 185lbs, 47GP 5G 17P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Dougherty is an intelligent defenseman who tries to blend strong positioning while trying to inflict a physical dimension on his opponent. He isn't the fleetest of foot, but does get where he needs to go. He also makes a strong first pass and has solid offensive instincts.
21. Montreal Canadiens – F Dylan Larkin – 6’1, 190lbs, 51GP 28G 48P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Larkin has shown he can be an elite-level power forward in addition to showing a high level of offensive ability. His ability to take the puck hard to the net allows for unique scoring chances most players would not be able get because of a lack of size and strength.
22. Tampa Bay Lightning– F Nikolay Goldobin – 6’0, 185lbs, 67GP 38G 94P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Goldobin is a dangerous shooter with a wicked release on his wrist shot. He is quick and creative and can make defenders look foolish. He's weak against bigger opponents and can look lost in his own zone but is extremely dangerous and can quietly slide into prime scoring areas.
23. Chicago Blackhawks– D Roland McKeown – 6’1, 200lbs, 62GP 11G 43P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: McKeown is a strong, do-it-all defensemen whose biggest asset is his ability to think the game and know his position. He makes strong, simple plays, has a good shot and distributes the puck effectively.
24. Pittsburgh Penguins– F Brendan Lemieux – 6’1, 209lbs, 65GP 27G 53P
Scouting Report via EliteProspects: Perfectly fits the cliche has a player you hate to play against but love to have on your team. Like his father Claude, Brendan will drive the opposing team crazy as he is the perfect agitator. Lemieux also has the ability to burn you offensively as he is a top 5 scorer on Barrie. He showed the ability to both agitate and score in the CHL top prospects game.
25. San Jose Sharks– F Nick Schmaltz – 6’0, 172lbs, 55GP 18G 63P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Schmaltz possesses good vision, shows good quickness and a strong ability to read the play in the offensive end. While he can also play in his own zone, Schmaltz's quick hands and ability to move in tight make him an attractive package.
26. St. Louis Blues– F Connor Bleackley – 6’1, 195lbs, 71GP 29G 68P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Bleackley is a nice blend of size, skill and speed. He's strong and balanced on his skates, uses his size to his advantage and has a very good shot with his quick release. He finds lanes and soft zones well and has quick hands in tight spaces.
27. Colorado Avalanche– F Josh Ho-Sang – 5’11, 165lbs, 67GP 32G 85P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Ho-Sang is a small but skilled forward with some incredible hands. He's shown impressive skating ability and agility with the puck on his stick. He's a crafty player that has the excitement factor in his favor. He can rely too heavily on himself at times, but has great offensive instincts and pounces on chances.
28. Anaheim Ducks– F Sonny Milano – 5’11, 185lbs, 48GP 21G 67P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Milano is a skilled winger with good hands who likes to carry the puck and have it on his stick. He has a quick first step as well as good straight line speed and able to use his edges well to elude and evade. He uses finesse puck skills and change of direction to beat defenders.
29. Boston Bruins – F Eric Cornel – 6’2, 185lbs, 68GP 25G 62P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Cornel is a big rangy centre who skates well with strong balance, a powerful stride and good overall mobility. He is not afraid to use his size to push his way into scoring areas as well as protect the puck. The two-way playmaking centre has strong hands and a rocket shot.
30. New Jersey Devils – F Nikita Scherbak – 6’2, 174lbs, 54GP 26G 69P
Scouting Report via Future Considerations: Scherbak is a skilled but gritty forward who has a strong shot and offensive senses plus the ability to evade would be checkers by using his quick agility and slick hands. He puts pressure on opposing defenses every game. Has some work to do with regards to rounding out his defensive game and effort levels.