NHL Draft 2014: Order, Schedule and Projections for Elite Prospects

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 15: National Hockey League team representatives attend the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery on April 15, 2014 at the TSN Studios in Toronto, Ontario. Seated (L-R) are Trent Klatt, head amateur scout, New York Islanders; Brian Burke, president-hockey operations, Toronto Maple Leafs; Scott Howson, senior vice president-hockey operations, Edmonton Oilers; Travis Viola, vice president-hockey operations, Florida Panthers and Tim Murray, general manager, Buffalo Sabres. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Bill Wippert/Getty Images

The first round of the 2014 NHL draft takes place on Friday, June 27, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the excitement surrounding the top prospects has hockey fans ready for the festivities.

The two biggest names being talked about are Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart and Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, but this is also a deep class that features several players who could eventually blossom into stars.

Here is the full 2014 NHL draft order, vital viewing information and projections for the top prospects.


Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When: June 27-28

Watch: NHL Network


2014 First Round Selection Order
Overall PickFranchise
1 Florida Panthers
2 Buffalo Sabres
3 Edmonton Oilers
4 Calgary Flames
5 New York Islanders
6 Vancouver Canucks
7 Carolina Hurricanes
8 Toronto Maple Leafs
9 Winnipeg Jets
10 Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa)
11 Nashville Predators
12 Arizona Coyotes
13 Washington Capitals
14 Dallas Stars
15 Detroit Red Wings
16 Columbus Blue Jackets
17 Philadelphia Flyers
18 Minnesota Wild
19 Tampa Bay Lightning
20 San Jose Sharks
21 St. Louis Blues
22 Pittsburgh Penguins
23 Colorado Avalanche
24 Anaheim Ducks
25 Boston Bruins
26 Montreal Canadiens
27 Chicago Blackhawks
28 Tampa Bay Lightning (from New York Rangers)
29 Los Angeles Kings
30 New Jersey Devils
Source: TSN.ca


Prospects to Watch

Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice

The best prospect in the 2014 draft class is Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart. According to TSN.ca, the International Scouting Services has Reinhart as the No. 1 player available, and that should make the Florida Panthers' first overall selection easy.

After winning the draft lottery, Florida has the chance to add a future star to the franchise.

Many scouts are high on the Kootenay Ice center, but the words of former NHL player (and Sam’s father) Paul Reinhart when he spoke to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com showcased how much pride he has in his son:

He sees the game extremely well and he's a very cerebral player. All three are [cerebral]. I think I was a very good player but marvel when I have an opportunity to watch Sam play. I marvel at some of the small things he does with the puck and away from the puck and his ability to understand the game.

Reinhart has exploded over the last two seasons with his WHL team. Not only did he rack up an incredible 85 points in the 2012-13 season, but he also scored 36 goals and added 69 assists for 105 points in 60 games during the 2013-14 campaign.

That’s what you call offensive production.

At 6’1” and 185 pounds, Reinhart is already at a size that will translate to the NHL. While he could use some time in a professional gym adding the mass needed to be a top center, there is nothing but upside for the prospect.

Predicted Landing Spot: Florida Panthers, No. 1 Overall


Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts

The Buffalo Sabres were forced to settle for the No. 2 overall selection, but the franchise will be lucky enough to draft one of the best defensemen prospects in a long time with Barrie Colts captain Aaron Ekblad.

While Buffalo would be a great destination for Ekblad, the Florida Panthers could still throw a wrench in the works, according to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel:

If Ekblad does fall to the Sabres, though, the franchise will have the leader on defense and in the locker room that it has needed. As arguably the most mature player in the draft and measuring in at 6’4” and 216 pounds, the young defender is ready to step right into the NHL.

Jason Brough of NBC Sports shared how well-spoken Ekblad is for a young player:

One of the biggest changes that Ekblad made over the last season with the Colts was his focus in the offensive zone. He is already one of the best pure defenders in the class, but his 53 points (23 goals and 30 assists) in 58 games shows the strides he has made with his shot.

Not only does Ekblad have the hockey IQ and ice vision to make the proper outlet passes and zone-clearing attempts, but it will also be his ability to rally his team using his words and effort that will make him a star regardless of where he lands.

Predicted Landing Spot: Buffalo Sabres, No. 2 Overall


*Stats via NHL.com.