The 2014 NHL draft is a few weeks away, and there will be a few explosive playmakers to watch for who will likely be taken early in the first round.
In last year's draft, the Colorado Avalanche definitely found a big-time playmaker with the No. 1 overall pick in Nathan MacKinnon. The 18-year-old took the league by storm, putting up 24 goals and 39 assists, and he will likely be the winner of the Calder Memorial Trophy.
As this year's draft approaches, let's take a look at a few of the most exciting prospects who will likely put up plenty of points during their NHL careers.
Sam Reinhart, C
As the top center in this year's draft, Sam Reinhart looks like he'll be able to put up points in bunches once he reaches the NHL, and he'll likely be one of the first players selected.
Reinhart has been a very productive center over the past few years in the WHL. This past season, he was especially productive, putting up 36 goals and 69 assists while posting a plus-minus rating of 24. In just four seasons with the Kootenay Ice, he's recorded 101 goals and 153 assists.
At just 18 years old, Reinhart already looks the part of an NHL center. He's very mature and has terrific awareness when on the ice, almost always making the right play. He can get creative with some passes, but he's also able to find the back of the net.
NHL draft analyst Brendan Ross thinks Reinhart could be in the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick, and that he looks like a franchise center:
2nd Sam Reinhart (@WHLKootenayICE) - almost a coin flip for 1st overall...love his demeanor...owns everything you want in a franchise centre— Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) June 7, 2014
It'll be hard for Reinhart to have the kind of season that MacKinnon did as a rookie, but expect big things from the young center in the near future.
Sam Bennett, C/LW
He's not even 18 years old, but Sam Bennett continues to be in the discussion as one of the top prospects in this class.
Bennett will turn 18 years old on June 20, but he's already had an impressive career so far in the OHL. In two seasons, he's put up 131 points, including 36 goals scored with the Kingston Frontenacs. While he can put up points, Bennett is more concerned about playing well on both sides of the ice.
"Being a two-way player is really important to me," Bennett told Mike G. Morreale from NHL.com. "You can't play in the NHL if you're a one-dimensional player. I really take pride in the 200-foot game and playing both ends of the ice, so that's really important to me."
As a winger, Bennett has a ton of speed and quickness that he uses to burn by defenders. He's still developing physically as a teenager, but the speed and potential are there for him to make a big splash in the NHL.
Michael Dal Colle, C
As a member of the gold-medal-winning Canadian U18 team in 2013, Michael Dal Colle looks like a top-five pick for a number of reasons.
This past season was a promising one for Dal Colle with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. In 67 regular-season games played, he finished with 95 total points, including 39 goals and 56 assists. He was even more impressive in the 12 playoff games, putting up eight goals and 12 assists.
Jeff Marek from Sportsnet believes that Dal Colle has top-five potential.
Michael Dal Colle of the @Oshawa_Generals is just such a treat to watch. just a solid, smart, talented player. Top 5 in the draft for sure.— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) March 23, 2014
It's hard to argue with Marek's opinion. He won't be the biggest player at 6'2'' and 171 pounds, but there's room for him to grow into his frame. Along with arguably the best wrist shot in this draft, Dal Colle also has a great release and has the potential to be a dominant two-way player wherever he goes.
Dal Colle is a productive player on the power play, and with all of the skills he brings to the table, he'll likely be an effective special teams player for whichever team selects him.