Day one of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft is in the books. Calgary picked a really good hockey player in one Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs. All appears well in Flames-Land, as the team’s new brass didn’t overpay to get an asset, or leverage picks for magic beans or any such non-sense.
And there’s six more rounds remaining, with the Flames owning six more draft picks!
THE BEST OF WHAT’S LEFT
I’m assuming that the Flames don’t draft a college goalie, as they have a pretty good one in Jon Gillies. Thatcher Demko’s at Boston College and is good, but he’s a year behind Gillies and bunching up on college goalies may not be smart. But he’s there, as is PEI’s Mason MacDonald and Plymouth’s Alex Nedeljkovic. I bet they wait ’til the late rounds for a goalie, but that’s a guess.
The Flames’ biggest need is probably on defense. Per Central Scouting, the best remaining blueliners: Brycen Martin (Swift Current, WHL), Roland McKeown (Kingston, OHL), Jack Dougherty (USNDP), Jack Glover (USNDP), Luc Snuggerud (Eden Prairie HS), Joshua Jacobs (Indiana, USHL) and Johnathan MacLeod (USNDP). All of the USNDP kids are big, as is Jacobs. Calgary’s defense is generally not full of huge guys who can play hockey well, so the ideal may be one of the USNDP kids, who are both big and play hockey well. McKeown plays with Bennett but he’s a bit lankier than the other defenders listed here. Martin may be this year’s version of Tyler Wotherspoon, very steady.
Best remaining forwards? Ivan Barbashev (Moncton, QMJHL), Ryan MacInnis (Kitchener, OHL), Eric Cornel (Peterborough, OHL), Brendan Lemieux (Barrie, OHL), Reid Gardiner (Prince Albert, WHL), Nick Maygar (Kitchener, OHL), Dylan Sadowy (Saginaw, OHL) and Brett Pollock (Edmonton, WHL). Barbashev may be the best offensive talent here, along with Moose Jaw’s Brayden Point, who’s amazing but tiny. Gardiner and Pollock are great sleepers, as they are good at everything and well-rounded. Cornel is big but raw. Lemieux is a great agitator but it’s unclear if he has much potential beyond that. MacInnis is lanky and raw, and the hope is he’ll grow into his body in a Jankowski-esque manner.
As you can see – on the blueline and in the forward ranks, there is a lot of variation in terms of style and physical attributes. I anticipate them erring towards size, but the team’s scouts have drafted a lot of different types and styles of players over the past three or so years, so I also expect some variety as well.
Calgary picks as follows on Saturday, pending trades:
- 34th overall
- 54th overall
- 64th overall
- 83rd overall
- 175th overall
- 183rd overall
The second day of the draft kicks off at 8am MT. Follow along on NHL.com, the NHL Network, on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and, of course, right here.
Doncha dare miss it!