Now that the first round of the 2013 NHL draft has concluded, it’s never been a better time to dive into a 2014 mock.
Prospects who will be eligible for next year’s draft are young, but it’s still possible to project their professional potential based on their body of work, even if it’s small.
Here is an early prediction on how the 2014 draft will play out.
1. Florida Panthers: C Sam Reinhart, Kootenay (WHL)
The 6’1”, 177-pound Sam Reinhart is a wonder with the puck. He’s racked up 63 goals and 84 assists the past two seasons for the Kootenay Ice.
2. Colorado Avalanche: D Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (OHL)
When Aaron Ekblad is on the ice, his team is usually in the lead. He finished with a plus/minus rating of plus-29 this year for the Barrie Colts.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning: LW Blake Clarke, Brampton (OHL)
At 6’1”, 190 pounds, the 17-year-old is a terror for opposing defenders. Blake Clarke notched 51 points this year for the Brampton Battalion.
4. Nashville Predators: D Roland McKeown, Kingston (OHL)
Roland McKeown is an elite playmaker. He delivered 22 assists this past season for the Kingston Frontenacs, also hammering home seven goals.
5. Carolina Hurricanes: C William Nylander, Sodertalje SK (Allsvenskan)
William Nylander is extremely skilled offensively. He just hasn’t showed off those skills as much as a center like Reinhardt. Nylander scored six points in eight games for Sodertalje SK in the 2012-13 campaign.
6. Calgary Flames: RW Nick Ritchie, Peterborough (OHL)
Nick Ritchie has shown consistency creating offense for himself and his teammates the past two years. He scored 34 goals and delivered 74 assists over that time frame.
7. Edmonton Oilers: RW Jakub Vrana, Linkopings HC (SEL)
Jakub Vrana isn’t the passer that the prospects who heard their names called earlier are, but he knows how to get his. He scored 20 goals in 32 games for Linkoping J20 this past season.
8. Buffalo Sabers: C Josh Ho-Sang, Windsor (OHL)
Back to the assist specialists, Josh Ho-Sang recorded 30 in 63 games for the Windsor Spitfires this year.
9. New Jersey Devils: LW Jake Virtanen, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Another plus/minus king, Jake Virtanen—who recorded 34 points this past season—finished with a rating of plus-25.
10. Dallas Stars: D Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia (OHL)
Anthony DeAngelo’s coach definitely didn’t start him at defenseman because he can’t handle the puck. He racked up 49 assists and 58 total points for the Sarnia Sting this past season.
11. Philadelphia Flyers: LW Ivan Barbashev, Moncton (QMJHL)
Ivan Barbashev puts a dent in the scoreboard more times than not when he skates out onto the ice. He finished the 2012-13 campaign with 62 points in 68 games.
12. Phoenix Coyotes: LW Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert (WHL)
Leon Draisaitl finished the 2012-13 regular season with 58 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-22. He stepped his game up even further in the playoffs, dishing out four assists in four games.
13. Winnipeg Jets: C Brayden Point, Canada
Brayden Point is only 5’8”, 155 pounds, but don’t let his size fool you. He packs a punch offensively. Point recorded 57 points for the Moose Jaw Warriors this past season.
14. Columbus Blue Jackets: RW Nick Schmaltz, Green Bay (USHL)
Nick Schmaltz knows how to put the puck in the net. He did so 18 times in 64 games this year. He’d rather set up his teammates, though, as Schmaltz recorded 34 assists.
15. New York Islanders: LW Robbie Fabbri, Guelph (OHL)
Robbie Fabbri really emerged as a go-to offensive weapon on Canada Ontario U17. He scored three goals and notched an assist in just five games.
16. Minnesota Wild: D Jordan Thomson, Kamloops (WHL)
Jordan Thomson isn’t the all-around defender a prospect like Ekblad is, but few prospects protect their goalie better.
17. Detroit Red Wings: LW Brandon Robinson, Brampton (OHL)
If the 6’2”, 195-pound Brandon Robinson keeps growing, he could physically impose his will on opponents at the next level. He finished this past season on the Battalion with 34 points.
18. Ottawa Senators: D Joshua Jacobs, Indiana (USHL)
Joshua Jacobs, like Thomson, isn’t an offensively skilled defenseman, but at 6’2”, 190, he punishes opponents who are offensively skilled.
19. New York Rangers: RW Keegan Iverson, Portland (WHL)
One could call Keegan Iverson a punisher. He’s 6’1”, 210 pounds and he just turned 17 in April.
20. San Jose Sharks: C Michael dal Colle, Oshawa (OHL)
Michael dal Colle finished this past season with 48 points and a plus/minus rating of plus-19, proving to be an asset for the Generals.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs: C Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Jared McCann can kill a defense by setting a teammate up, or he can do the deed himself. He recorded 21 goals and 23 assists in the 2012-13 campaign.
22. St. Louis Blues: RW Anton Karlsson, Frolunda HC (SEL)
Anton Karlsson is only 16 years old and he’s 6’1”, 187 pounds. His size made up for his age as he notched eight points in 171 games of Frolunda J20 action this season.
23. Washington Capitals: D Jacob Middleton, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Jacob Middleton continues the trend of one-dimensional defensemen, but at 6’3”, 190 pounds, no one doubts his potential.
24. Vancouver Canucks: RW Oskar Lindblom, Brynas IF (SEL)
The 6’1”, 192-pound Oskar Lindblom is only 16 years old. That didn’t stop him from racking up 41 points in 22 games on Brynas J18.
25. Los Angeles Kings: D Adam Ollas Mattsson, Djurgarden (Allsvenskan)
Scouts can’t talk size in the 2014 draft without mentioning the 6’4”, 209-pound Adam Ollas Mattsson. No wings want to take a hit from this 16-year-old against the glass.
26. Anaheim Ducks: LW Damian Bourne, Mississauga (OHL)
Prospects in this mock continue to get bigger as the 6’4”, 211-pound Damian Bourne goes off the board. He only recorded 10 assists this past season, but his ceiling makes him worth the risk.
27. Los Angeles Kings: LW Kasperi Kapanen, KalPa Kuopio (SM-liiga)
Kasperi Kapanen is only 16 years old, but he still managed to rack up 29 points in 26 games against older competition on KalPa U20.
28. Pittsburgh Penguins: D Haydn Fleury, Canada
The 16-year-old Haydn Fleury’s greatest asset is his size at 6’3”, 204 pounds, but he has some skill with the stick as well. He finished this past season with 15 assists.
29. Boston Bruins: LW Sonny Milano, USNTDP (USHL)
On the U.S. National Development Team, Sonny Milano showed solid development offensively. He scored 10 goals and dished out 12 assists this year.
30. Chicago Blackhawks: C Sam Bennett, Canada
Sam Bennett recorded 40 points in 60 regular-season games for the Kingston Frontenacs and made his presence felt even more in the playoffs, delivering three assists in four games.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.