2014 NHL Mock Draft

2014 NHL Mock Draft: Projections for Top 30 Picks After 3rd Round of Playoffs

Allan MitchellFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

2014 NHL Mock Draft: Projections for Top 30 Picks After 3rd Round of Playoffs

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    The Stanley Cup Final is here, and the new season begins at the draft in Philadelphia June 27-28. Teams have conducted exhaustive interviews, watched prospects go through the combine and had lots of time to talk about trades.

    It's the beginning of the business portion of the season. Trades, free agency and buyouts are all on the horizon. First comes the entry draft, and this year's edition has seen a lot of players shuffling up and down lists over the last several weeks.

    Here's a projection for the top 30 picks in the 2014 NHL entry draft.

1. Florida Panthers: Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie (OHL)

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    Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 23 G, 30 A with the Barrie Colts (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Aaron Ekblad has a wide range of skills, as explained by Brock Otten of OHL Prospects:

    The best thing about Ekblad is how physically and mentally mature he is. IMO, he's ready to jump right into the NHL next year and have an impact at both ends of the ice. The offensive game may still take a bit of time at the NHL level (as it took him time to gain confidence at the OHL level), but he's a potential franchise defenseman and future captain who also happens to be one of the few top notch defensive prospects in a weak draft year at the position.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Florida Panthers spent their lottery pick on Aleksander Barkov a year ago when there were more prominent prospects like Seth Jones available. Scott Luce, the Panthers' director of scouting, told Mike Morreale of NHL.com (via Florida's team site) that Barkov wasn't the sexy pick, but he was the correct one.

    After passing on a franchise defender one year ago, the Panthers fall into Ekblad at No. 1 overall.

2. Buffalo Sabres: Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay (WHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 60 GP, 36 G, 69 A with the Kootenay Ice (WHL).

    The Skill Set: Sam Reinhart is an outstanding offensive player. Corey Pronman of ESPN (subscription required) does a very nice job of describing him:

    Reinhart is the best pure passer in this draft class. His ability to dictate the tempo of a hockey game, in terms of increasing or decreasing pace and making plays at all those speeds, elevates his game to a distinct level. Reinhart can make all kinds of plays with the puck, and his elite hockey sense stands out regularly in terms of the passing lanes he sees.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Buffalo Sabres need offense, and Reinhart is the best offensive player available. He's also the most NHL-ready player among the forwards and should be able to have an impact on the power play. He scored 40 power-play points in 60 WHL games last season, and that kind of production will help the Sabres with their rebuild.

3. Edmonton Oilers: Leon Draisaitl, C, Prince Albert (WHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 64 GP, 38 G, 67 A with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL).

    The Skill Set: Leon Draisaitl is one of the heaviest forwards available in this year's draft. As Draisaitl told NHL.com, via Chris Wescott of the Edmonton Oilers' official website, that's not all he brings to the game: "I think I’m more of an offensive player, skilled player, a playmaker who sees the ice very well and who is able to make good plays."

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Edmonton Oilers need to build up the middle, and big Leon Draisaitl is a perfect fit. He projects as a skill center with size and terrific offensive potential. The Oilers can afford to send him back to junior and have him develop, but a strong training camp may persuade the club to keep Draisaitl on the roster.

    As Red Line Report's Kyle Woodlief told Jason Gregor of Oilers Nation, the selection of Draisaitl makes sense for Edmonton:

    I think just because of the fact that Edmonton has drafted a lot of really good players, but similar style players, who are all kind of like  Reinhart in some respect, I think if Edmonton sat still at number three and were looking for a player to take they'd be a little bit better off taking a big centre who could give you some size and strength down the middle in Draisaitl.

4. Calgary Flames: Sam Bennett, C, Kingston (OHL)

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    Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 57 GP, 36 G, 55 A with the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Sam Bennett possesses a wide range of skills, and scouts see him as being something special. NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr told NHL.com as much:

    There are guys who elevate their game when it matters most, and you're looking to project which players will do that consistently at the next level. The guys we have at the top all are in that mold, but when we look at Sam Bennett we see a guy who could potentially have a Jonathan Toews type of career.

    Bennett's birthday is in June, making him much younger than most of the top-end contenders in this year's draft. His development window is longer, leaving more room to grow.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Calgary Flames are confident they'll get a quality player. Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald tells us the Flames would trade up if they felt a need but are satisfied with the quality available at No. 4 overall. 

5. New York Islanders: Michael Dal Colle, LW, Oshawa (OHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 60 GP, 36 G, 56 A with the Oshawa Generals (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Michael Dal Colle is a terrific prospect with great scoring potential. Brock Otten of OHL Prospects gives a description of him:

    His wrist shot is phenomenal, more specifically it's release. And he uses his body (6'2) to shield the puck well to create the space he needs to get it off. Dal Colle is going to score his share of goals in the NHL. He's improved his skating a lot since joining the league and is now terrific at coming off the wall and creating chances, showcasing a more explosive stride. He'll likely still put work into his skating too, and it should only continue to improve. Dal Colle also has good vision for a big man and is a very effective player with the man advantage, as he draws defenses to him only to find open linemates. While Dal Colle can play either center or wing, I think it's safe to assume he projects as a winger because it's been his primary position the last few years.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The New York Islanders have a strong young group of forwards and should be a playoff contender for years to come. Adding Dal Colle as a scoring option adds to the overall depth. It may also give the team a future sniper to play with John Tavares. 

6. Vancouver Canucks: Jake Virtanen, LW, Calgary (WHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 71 GP, 45 G, 26 A with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL).

    The Skill Set: Craig Button of TSN is a former scouting director, and his description of Virtanen is thorough:

    Jake has undeniable skill. Excellent skater who has speed, quickness and power. Can beat defenders with his skating and when he gets an advantage, his size makes it almost impossible for a defender to get back on equal footing. Very strong shot and can beat goaltenders from out but also has the quickness in his hands to score in tight. Has the potential to be a dynamic scoring winger.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Vancouver Canucks have a new general manager in Jim Benning and a roster in transition. Part of Benning's job will be to build on recent draft successes like Bo Horvat, Cole Cassels and Brendan Gaunce. Virtanen's rugged style and offensive ability are traits that will be a nice match for Vancouver.

    Jason Botchford of The Province details Benning's experience at the NHL combine and his opinion of Virtanen.

7. Carolina Hurricanes: Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough (OHL)

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 61 GP, 39 G, 35 A with the Peterborough Petes (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Nick Ritchie is a unique player, and OHL Prospects' Brock Otten does a fine job describing Ritchie as a player:

    We're talking about a 6'3, 230lbs winger who can lead the rush across the blue line. That's a special player. He's not a plug. Ritchie has the hands and skill to match everything he's capable of physically. And we haven't even talked about how effective he is without the puck, as a steamroller on the forecheck. He hits and he hits hard. Bottom line is you're looking at a throwback power forward. They don't make many like this anymore (think Kevin Stevens).

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Carolina Hurricanes are a strong drafting team. Recent history shows some gems, including Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk and last year's first-round pick, Elias Lindholm. Ritchie is a splendid prospect, and he gives Carolina skill, size and strength up front.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs: Robby Fabbri, C, Guelph (OHL)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 45 G, 42 A with the Guelph Storm (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Robby Fabbri is a splendid center, and as Brock Otten from OHL Prospects describes, he has a range of skills:

    He impacts the game on so many different levels. He's a tireless worker at both ends of the ice. He excels without the puck and is a real puck hound. If he doesn't have the puck, he's going to fight to get it and is great at forcing turnovers in the neutral zone, using his smarts and an active stick. On the forecheck, he showcases deceptive speed and despite his lack of size, wins a lot of battles along the boards.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Toronto Maple Leafs need help up the middle and have a historic shortage of quality at center. Fabbri is undersized, but he's a brilliant player, and the Leafs would do well to draft him.

9. Winnipeg Jets: Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 70 GP, 8 G, 38 A with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL).

    The Skill Set: Haydn Fleury is the consensus No. 2 defenseman in the draft on merit, as described by TSN's Craig Button:

    Haydn has all the attributes of a two-way defenseman. Excellent skating base and he uses it defensively and to jump into the attack offensively. Very good puck skills and he passes well out of his zone and in the offensive zone to create scoring chances. Very good awareness with the puck and is threat with his shot which makes it hard to keep him from contributing. Competitive and continues to gain confidence and get better.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Winnipeg Jets march to a different beat, but they're a very effective team at the draft table. Adding Fleury in this year's first round would mean three defensemen in the first round in the last three drafts.

10. Anaheim Ducks: Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 63 GP, 49 G, 55 A with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL).

    The Skill Set: Nikolaj Ehlers is an offensive force. Future Considerations gives the scouting report (via Elite Prospects):

    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 complemented by an explosive wrister. He's equally good with the puck and can handle it both at top speed and in traffic.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Anaheim Ducks scored well with Hampus Lindholm, and Ehlers could be another quick-developing prospect. Ehlers is a blue-chip winger who could make a difference as soon as he arrives.

11. Nashville Predators: William Nylander, LW, MODO (SHL)

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    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 22 GP, 1 G, 6 A with MODO (SHL).

    The Skill Set: William Nylander might be the most skilled forward in the draft. TSN's Craig Button talked about him as an offensive player:

    William exudes confidence when he plays. Exceptional poise with the puck and is always looking to make threatening plays in the offensive zone. Excellent skater who is very difficult to check because of his agility and because he is always changing pace. Can make pinpoint passes in traffic and if you are his line mate, best be ready, as he will provide opportunities. Top line type player.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Nashville Predators have a tough time scoring goals. They are especially vulnerable on the power play, and Nylander can drive results with the man advantage. This marriage would be considered a perfect match if it happened.

12. Phoenix Coyotes: Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 34 G, 37 A with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Brendan Perlini is a fine prospect with offensive skills and legitimate NHL size. Brock Otten of OHL Prospects tells the story:

    Perlini has three great things going for him. Size, skating and one heck of a shot. Once he gets going down the wing, he's incredibly difficult to stop and he has both a great slapper and a terrific wrist shot, which he needs little space to get off. He does a great job of getting himself in scoring position to use his shot and has gotten better at fighting through traffic to get open.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Phoenix Coyotes have shown an affinity for Canadian juniors. They have selected eight CHL players out of 14 draft picks in the last two seasons. Perlini is excellent value at this point in the draft.

13. Washington Capitals: Kevin Fiala, HV71 (SHL)

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    Darko Bandic/Associated Press

    2013-14 Stats: 17 GP, 3 G, 8 A with HV71 (SHL).

    The Skill Set: Kevin Fiala is a trending player in the 2014 draft. His amazing performance at the U-18 World Championships caught the eye of Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report. This is what Woodlief wrote in USA Today:

    The one true high-end prospect who did more than just solidify his ranking was super-slick Swiss puck wizard Kevin Fiala. He had been hanging around the mid-to-late teens area of our list much of the season, primarily because of his middling size. But in Finland he once again reminded us of just how dynamic he can be, and we're now inclined to overlook the size issue and push him up near top 10 status.

    Why They'll Pick Him: The Washington Capitals are going through a period of transition, and Fiala represents exceptional value at this point in the draft. His totals at the U-18 tournament confirm his status as a top-flight prospect in this draft.

14. Dallas Stars: Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (SM-Liiga)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 47 GP, 7 G, 7 A with KalPa (SM-Liiga).

    The Skill Set: Kasperi Kapanen is gifted with a complete player's skills, as described by TSN's Craig Button

    Kasperi can be termed an 'all-round' player. More than that, he's comfortable playing in all the important areas of the game. He has all of the necessary skills and understanding to impact the game in all of its areas. Has an ease to his skating and he uses it to his advantage. Smart and takes advantage of opportunities. Competitive and determined, he finds ways to contribute and help the team be successful.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Dallas Stars scored big at last year's draft, picking Russian Valeri Nichushkin at No. 10 overall. That pick looks like a steal today, and Kapanen may also be a real bargain one year from now.

    Kapanen had a subpar showing at the U-18 World Championships, and as Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report wrote in USA Today, that may hurt him at the draft.

15. Detroit Red Wings: Jakub Vrana, LW, Linkoping (SHL)

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    Lyle Stafford/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 24 GP, 2 G, 1 A with Linkoping (SHL).

    The Skill Set: Jakub Vrana is a complete-player type who may end up making the NHL in a variety of roles. Per Craig Button of TSN:

    Jakub is a very gifted offensive player. Excellent hands and is able to maneuver the puck into advantageous positions for himself. Very good shot with a quick release and is able to handle the puck in traffic. He sees offensive opportunities and is ready to exploit them. Skating is good, more quickness than speed but when he has a step or an opportunity, he holds it. A scoring winger.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Detroit Red Wings are a possession team and look for players who can handle and pass the puck well. Vrana has those skills and more, making him an outstanding value pick at No. 15.

16. Columbus Blue Jackets: Alex Tuch, RW, USNTDP (USHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 26 GP, 13 G, 19 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).

    The Skill Set: Alex Tuch is a big power forward with skill. Kirk Luedeke of Red Line Report tells us about him (via New York Hockey Journal):

    Massive power forward has every physical tool in the kit: an enormous frame and strength, long reach, powerful skating stride and booming shot. Shields the puck and is dominant on the cycle. Displays surprisingly soft hands and finishing skills around the net. Lightning-quick release on a hard shot; can find the back of the net from just about anywhere around the faceoff circles.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Columbus Blue Jackets are a strong drafting team with plenty of homegrown talent on their current roster. Tuch would be a solid addition to an emerging team. 

17. Philadelphia Flyers: Dylan Larkin, LW, USNTDP (USHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 26GP, 17 G, 9 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).

    The Skill Set: Dylan Larkin is a power forward who impressed at the U-18 World Junior Championships. Corey Pronman from ESPN and Hockey Prospectus told Guy Flaming of TSN 1260 about Larkin: "He's a fun player to watch. He's a tremendous skater, high end acceleration, he works hard at both ends. He has a good power game. He's not a dynamic player but he has a good skill level."

    Why They'll Take Him: The Philadelphia Flyers like big forwards who can score goals. The last time the Flyers took a player from the U.S. National Development Team in the first round, they landed James van Riemsdyk in 2007. Larkin is a perfect fit for them at No. 17.  

18. Minnesota Wild: Roland McKeown, D, Kingston (OHL)

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    Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 62 GP, 11 G 32 A with the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Roland McKeown is a big, mobile defender with a terrific shot. Brock Otten from OHL Prospects gives more detail:

    He's a very solid all around player and he's an effortless skater. He makes smart decisions with the puck in his own end and is adept at making a first pass or skating the puck out of trouble. Defensively, he's better than people give him credit for. His positioning and smarts are excellent. He's certainly not ever going to be the type that engages a ton physically, but he's a very smart positional/stick defender who'll become a better one on one player as he gets stronger.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Minnesota Wild have chosen a defenseman with each of their first picks in the last three seasons. McKeown's skill set is good enough to warrant them doing it again. He'll likely take some time to arrive, but his mobility makes him a worthy selection.  

19. Tampa Bay Lightning: Sonny Milano, LW, USNTDP (USHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 25 GP, 14 G, 25 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).

    The Skill Set: Sonny Milano is a skilled forward with electric moves. Kirk Luedeke from Red Line Report sums up the story for New York Hockey Journal:

    Average height, but compact build with room to add strength and mass. … Fine skater with quick initial burst, extra separation gear and excellent lateral agility/edging to shake defenders in 1-on-1 coverage. Slick puckhandler who can make moves at speed and leave opponents grasping at empty air. … Attacks aggressively in the offensive zone and possesses an array of individual skills and creativity to generate scoring chances. … Sees the ice and thinks the game at an elite level. … Three-zone game a work in progress, but improving after always playing a scoring role and not being asked to backcheck or pick up defensive responsibilities.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Tampa Bay Lightning have been collecting stunning skill in the first round since 2008, starting with Steven Stamkos. Similar in style and quality to Robby Fabbri, Milano would be considered extreme value at No. 19 overall.  

20. San Jose Sharks: Julius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)

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    LUDVIG THUNMAN/Associated Press

    2013-14 Stats: 62 GP, 16 G, 40 A with the Swift Current Broncos (WHL).

    The Skill Set: Julius Honka is an undersized, puck-moving defender with a lot of natural ability. The inside scoop comes from Future Considerations (via Elite Prospects):

    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.

    Why They'll Take Him: The San Jose Sharks will draft from any league in the hockey world. The Sharks love mobile defensemen, and Honka is tailor-made for the role.

21. St. Louis Blues: Ivan Barbashev, LW, Moncton (QMJHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 48 GP, 25 G, 43 A with the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL).

    The Skill Set: Ivan Barbashev is a skill player with a good range of ability. Craig Button from TSN describes him this way:

    Ivan is a determined and spirited player. Excellent leader who does so by example and has a focus on the team's best interests in all regards. Excellent hockey IQ in all regards and there is not a situation in the game that he can't make a difference in. Has the ability to 'step up' his game when necessary. Very good skills and can score as well as set up a play and is always in the 'guts of the action.' Off-the-charts character.

    Why They'll Take Him: The St. Louis Blues are a solid drafting team, but they didn't have a first-round pick last season. They'll need to score on their pick in 2014, and Barbashev is a safe and worthy selection at No. 21 overall. 

22. Pittsburgh Penguins: David Pastrnak, RW, Sodertalje (Allsvenskan)

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    2013-14 Stats: 36 GP, 8 G, 16 A with Sodertalje (Allsvenskan).

    The Skill Set: David Pastrnak is an outstanding offensive prospect. Craig Button from TSN fills in the blanks: "Pastrnak's ability to challenge defenders with his skating from both straight-ahead and darting positions makes him dangerous. He has very good hands and is always looking to create scoring opportunities."

    Why They'll Take Him: The Pittsburgh Penguins need complementary offensive players to help Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Pastrnak is probably some time away from his Pittsburgh arrival, but he's the kind of player who would flourish in that role.

23. Colorado Avalanche: Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 64 GP, 27 G, 35 A with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Jared McCann is a quality two-way center and among the best defensive forwards in the draft. Brock Otten from OHL Prospects gives us a report on McCann:

    Firstly, he's a terrific skater who is both explosive to holes, but also has a great top end speed. He can also carry and receive passes at top speed and can be a dangerous player in transition Secondly, his shot and release are top notch. He's terrific in the slot and has no trouble playing through traffic. McCann is also a terrific player away from the puck who's great in puck retrieval and plays with a high energy level. He can play a physical game at times, but it's not a consistent part of his game at this time.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Colorado Avalanche hit paydirt one year ago with Nathan MacKinnon at No. 1 and will have a high-octane offense for years to come. McCann helps with the defensive side of the game but can also chip in with some offense. 

24. Anaheim Ducks: Josh Ho-Sang, RW, Windsor (OHL)

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    Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 32 G, 53 A with the Windsor Spitfires (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Josh Ho-Sang is a terrific skill-player. OHL Prospects' Brock Otten has the scouting report:

    He was a danger to create scoring chances nearly every time he hit the ice because he was able to display more poise and utilize his teammates better. His stick handling ability is so terrific, that he's able to draw a lot of attention to himself and he bides time for his line mates to find holes in the defence. He is starting to develop patience with the puck and is more comfortable letting defenders come to him, rather than constantly attacking in a north/south style of way. His play away from the puck and effort on the back check got better as the season went on and it's clear that Windsor's coaching staff was harping on him to improve in that area.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Anaheim Ducks are going to have a great first round because they have two picks. The selection at No. 10 comes via the Ottawa Senators and the Bobby Ryan trade, and this one is the Ducks' selection. Ho-Sang is a fine scoring prospect.  

25. Boston Bruins: Adrian Kempe, LW, MODO (SHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 45 GP, 5 G, 6 A with MODO (SHL).

    The Skill Set: Adrian Kempe is a skill player with size and determination. Per Craig Button from TSN: "Adrian is an excellent skater with speed and he uses it to get to openings and to back off defenders. He's a player who understands how to use that skating to maximum benefit and to create chances."

    Why They'll Take Him: The Boston Bruins would be thrilled to get Kempe at this point in the draft. His style is well-suited to the Bruins' template, and his pro experience may mean he'll be one of the first to graduate from the 2014 draft class. 

26. Montreal Canadiens: Brendan Lemieux, LW, Barrie (OHL)

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 65 GP, 27 G, 26 A with the Barrie Colts (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Brendan Lemieux is a load. Brock Otten from OHL Prospects tells the story:

    Brendan Lemieux is definitely Claude's son. He's a chip off the ol' block and plays the game the same way his father does. His compete and intensity levels are off the charts. If he loses the puck, he's going to go through a wall to get it back. He's certainly not the fastest player on the ice, but he's a very effective forechecker because of his anticipation and because of his strength along the boards.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Montreal Canadiens play in a tough division where grit and fortitude count for a lot. Lemieux has the agitator role built into his DNA, and that alone makes him a player of value. He also showed he can score goals, and that will help him make it to the NHL as a role player. 

27. Chicago Blackhawks: Nikita Scherbak, LW, Saskatoon (WHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 54 GP, 26 G, 43 A with the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).

    The Skill Set: Nikita Scherbak is a skilled, rugged winger. Christian Roatis from Future Considerations has the story:

    His incredible puck skills and vision have been on display for nearly six months and scouts are taking serious notice. He also carries with him a crisp passing ability and heavy shot to compliment his diverse and impressive offensive arsenal. In addition, his ability to effortlessly transition from one brand of hockey to another also speaks volumes of his flexibility and adaptability, another key intangible NHL teams value.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the best organizations in the NHL, and their procurement department is top-of-the-line. Scherbak took a big step forward this year, and the Hawks would be thrilled to get him at No. 27 overall.

28. Tampa Bay Lightning: Anthony DeAngelo, D, Sarnia (OHL)

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    Derek Leung/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 51 GP, 15 G, 56 A with the Sarnia Sting (OHL).

    The Skill Set: Anthony DeAngelo is a tremendous offensive defenseman with major defensive issues. Brock Otten from OHL Prospects explains the positive:

    He's like having a 4th forward out there. His skating ability is absolutely phenomenal, as is his ability to carry the puck and avoid checks. DeAngelo also runs the powerplay very effectively. He makes smart decisions there and does a great job of getting himself open to use his shot.

    He also touched on the negative:

    For all of his amazing talent as an offensive defenseman, he has major short comings as a defensive player. The effort level just isn't there defensively a lot of the time. He tends to chase in the defensive zone and gets himself caught out of position. DeAngelo is the ultimate boom or bust prospect for this draft.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Tampa Bay Lightning received this pick courtesy of the New York Rangers in the Martin St. Louis trade, and this will be the portion of the draft where players could jump up and grab a first-round spot. The earlier pick allows the Lightning to take a risky player like DeAngelo, and it could pay off in a big way.

29. Los Angeles Kings: Thatcher Demko, G, Boston College (NCAA)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 24 GP, 2.24 GAA, .919 SV with Boston College (NCAA).

    The Skill Set: Thatcher Demko is a butterfly goalie with size. Al Jensen from Central Scouting told NHL.com's Mike G. Morreale about Demko:

    He's a huge, strong goalie with excellent net coverage. He has that NHL presence in the net. He's more of a positional-style goalie that relies on his angles and size and he plays big in his stance. When he drops in the butterfly he gets his body in front of a lot of shots. He's smart at reading the play and gets set quickly; strength is definitely not an issue with him.

    Why They'll Take Him: The Los Angeles Kings are set in goal with Jonathan Quick, but Demko represents great value at this point in the draft. The Kings drafted Jonathan Bernier the year after taking Quick, and that kind of depth is a nice problem to have for an NHL team. 

30. New Jersey Devils: Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 55 GP, 18 G, 45 A with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL).

    The Skill Set: Nick Schmaltz is a skill center with soft hands and an ability to create offense. Craig Button from TSN offers this scouting report:

    Nick has elite skill. His skating is excellent and it appears as if he’s gliding past opponents. Exceptional agility and he’s capable of beating opponents quickly in tight areas. Excellent puck skills and he can make plays that create outstanding offensive opportunities. Good shot and combined with his playmaking, keeps defenders off balance. Very smart and poised and can hold puck to allow plays to develop. Top line type.

    Why They'll Take Him: The New Jersey Devils have gone the USHL route for the top selection in each of the last two drafts. Schmaltz is a worthy first-round selection, and the Devils would be fortunate to land him with the No. 30 pick. 

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