Ranking the Top 10 American Players in the 2014 NHL Draft

Allan MitchellFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

Ranking the Top 10 American Players in the 2014 NHL Draft

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    Elise Amendola

    The NHL Entry Draft is June 27 and 28, and fans are counting down the days. The 30 teams are making their lists and checking them twice, and as always, American players will be a major factor.

    There are four American prospects who are likely to go in the first round. An equal number will probably be selected in Round 2 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

    Here are the top 10 American players for this year's entry draft.

10. Jack Daugherty, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

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    The Stat Line: 23GP, 4-8-12 with Team USA (USHL).

    The Story Line: Jack Dougherty is a defensive defenseman, who uses his size and physicality to get the job done. His bio at Elite Prospects, courtesy Future Considerations, suggests he has offensive potential and can make a solid first pass. 

    Where Will He Go? The skating concerns mentioned in the report will probably keep Daugherty outside the first two rounds.

9. Ryan MacInnis, LW, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The Stat Line: 66GP, 16-21-37 with Kitchener (OHL).

    The Story Line: Ryan MacInnis is the son of famous hockey player Al MacInnis. As this article by Mike G. Morreale for NHL.com explains, Ryan is a different player-type but should have an NHL career. OHL Prospects details his promise and his issues. A team taking MacInnis will need to be patient.

    Where Will He Go? Bob McKenzie's mid-season rankings has MacInnis at No. 36. He will take some time to develop, so he could fall, but should be taken before the end of the second round.

8. Josh Jacobs, D, Indiana (USHL)

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    The Stat Line: 56GP, 5-18-23 with Indiana (USHL).

    The Story Line: Josh Jacobs is a smooth-skating two-way defenseman with good size, as indicated by his resume. Future Considerations provides the description, and it's available via Elite Prospects. Craig Button talks about his skating abilities in this USA Today article by Kevin Allen. 

    Where Will He Go? Jacobs has a range of skills, which usually means a higher selection. Although not mentioned in McKenzie's midseason rankings, he should go in the top 60 overall. 

7. Jack Glover, D, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    The Stat Line: 24GP, 1-9-10 with Team USA (USHL).

    The Story Line: Jack Glover is an effective defenseman, as described by Leslie Treff at Hockey Prospectus. His size and coverage are his main strengths. 

    Where Will He Go? Bob McKenzie has Glover going in the middle of the second round. His impressive showing at the World U-18's will help his cause.

6. Thatcher Demko, G, Boston College (NCAA)

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    Artur Lebedev

    The Stat Line: 24GP, 2.24 GAA, .919 save percentage with Boston College (NCAA). 

    The Story Line: Thatcher Demko is a highly regarded goalie from San Diego, California. He could be the first goaltender selected in the draft. Central Scouting's Al Jensen told Mike G. Morreale at NHL.com about Demko:

    He is more of a positional-style goalie, relying on his angles and size. He plays big in his stance and when he drops in the butterfly, gets his body in front of a lot of shots. He's smart at reading the play and gets set quickly.

     

    Where Will He Go? Demko's window for selection begins later in the first round of the draft, and he should be selected inside the top 40 in Philadelphia.

5. Anthony DeAngelo, D, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    The Stat Line: 51GP, 15-56-71 with Sarnia (OHL).

    The Story Line: Anthony DeAngelo is a classic offensive defenseman, as described in an article by Shaun Bisson of the Sarnia Observer. The article also offers interesting quotes from Craig Button and coaches Trevor Letowski and Andy Delmore.

    Where Will He Go? Bob McKenzie's mid-term rankings have DeAngelo near the end of Round 1. The importance of mobile, puck-moving defenders in the NHL playoffs highlights the value of players like DeAngelo.

4. Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    The Stat Line: 55GP, 18-45-63 with Green Bay (USHL).

    The Story Line: Nick Schmaltz is a skill player with a great ability to read the play, as described by Future Considerations in the Elite Prospects player page. This Green Bay Press Gazette article by Andrew Pekarek details a very successful season for Schmaltz.  

    Where Will He Go? Bob McKenzie's mid-term rankings have Schmaltz as a first-round selection. Things may have changed since then, and teams can assess players differently. Schmaltz is a good bet to go inside the top 30 at this year's draft.

3. Dylan Larkin, LW, U.S. NTDP (USHL).

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    The Stat Line: 26GP, 17-9-26 with Team USA (USHL).

    The Story Line: Dylan Larkin is a quality NHL prospect who possesses a wide range of skills. Craig Button from TSN gives the details:

    Larkin has the ability to play the game at a very high pace, with tempo and intensity. Combine that with very good hockey sense and his impact becomes significant. He wants to make a difference in the game.

    Where Will He Go? Bob McKenzie's mid-term rankings had Larkin as a first-round pick. He's a late birthday who could have more growth potential than some older players in this year's draft. That could give him a higher value with some NHL teams.

2. Sonny Milano, LW, U.S. NTDP (USHL).

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    The Stat Line: 25GP, 14-25-39 with U.S. NTDP (USHL).

    The Story Line: Sonny Milano is a slightly undersized skill-forward with exceptional ability. In an NHL.com article about Milano, USNTDP U-18 coach Danton Cole told Mike G. Morreale:

    "He probably has as much skill and puck skills as anyone I've coached in 15 years. He does some amazing things with the puck."

    Where Will He Go? Bob McKenzie's mid-term rankings placed him inside the top 20. Milano's ability to impact offensively will see him selected in the first round. His performance at the World U-18's will draw attention.

1. Alex Tuch, RW, U.S. NTDP (USHL)

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    The Stat Line: 26GP, 13-19-32 with Team USA (USHL).

    The Story Line: Alex Tuch is a massive power-forward with every physical tool in the kit, as described by Kirk Luedeke in this article for the New York Hockey Journal. The same article quotes Tuch saying he patterns his game after Jordan and Eric Staal.

    Where Will He Go? Tuch is a lock for the first round this year. A May 1996 birthday, he is already 6'4", 215 lbs. NHL teams covet size and skill in a big way, and especially when it comes from a good skater.