NHL Draft 2014: TV Schedule, Live Stream, 1st-Round Order, Prospect Projections

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 15:  National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces the Florida Panthers as winners of the first pick at the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery on April 15, 2014 at the TSN Studios in Toronto, Ontario.  (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Bill Wippert/Getty Images

The excitement surrounding the 2014 NHL draft has climbed since the Los Angeles Kings clinched the Stanley Cup, and hockey fans around the world are focused on where the top prospects in this year’s class will land.

With the season over and the first-round order finally set in stone, organizations can begin putting their game plans into action. Buyouts and trades will likely play a major factor in how this year’s draft shakes out.

Here is all the vital viewing information for the 2014 NHL draft.

 

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When: June 27 and 28

Watch: NBC Sports Network

Live Stream: NBC Live Extra

2014 First-Round Draft Order and Projections
OrderTeamProjected Pick
1Florida PanthersAaron Ekblad, D, Barrie (OHL)
2Buffalo SabresSam Reinhart, C, Kootenay (WHL)
3Edmonton OilersSamuel Bennett, LW, Kingston (OHL)
4Calgary FlamesLeon Draisaitl, LW, Prince Albert (WHL)
5New York IslandersMichael Dal Colle, LW, Oshawa (OHL)
6Vancouver CanucksKasperi Kapanen, LW, Kalpa (FIN)
7Carolina HurricanesBrendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL)
8Toronto Maple LeafsJared McCann, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
9Winnipeg JetsHaydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL)
10Anaheim Ducks (from Ottawa Senators)Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
11Nashville PredatorsNicholas Ritchie, LW, Peterborough (OHL)
12Phoenix CoyotesIvan Barbashev, C/LW, Moncton (QMJHL)
13Washington CapitalsJake Virtanen, LW, Calgary (WHL)
14Dallas StarsDylan Larkin, C, U.S. U-18 (USHL)
15Detroit Red WingsWilliam Nylander, C/RW, Modo (SWE)
16Columbus Blue JacketsAnthony DeAngelo, D, Sarnia (OHL)
17Philadelphia FlyersAlex Tuch, C/RW, U.S. U-18 (USHL)
18Minnesota WildThatcher Demko, G, Boston College (H-EAST)
19Tampa Bay LightningJulius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)
20San Jose SharksDavid Pastrnak, RW, Sodertalje (SWE-2)
21St. Louis BluesAdrian Kempe, LW, Modo (SWE)
22Pittsburgh PenguinsNikita Scherbak, RW, Saskatoon (WHL)
23Colorado AvalancheBrendan Lemieux, LW, Barrie (OHL)
24Anaheim DucksKevin Fiala, LW, HV 71 (SWE)
25Boston BruinsRyan MacInnis, C, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
26Montreal CanadiensJoshua Ho-Sang, C/RW, Windsor (OHL)
27Chicago BlackhawksNick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)
28Tampa Bay Lightning (from New York Rangers)Roland McKeown, D, Kingston (OHL)
29Los Angeles KingsSonny Milano, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)
30New Jersey DevilsConner Bleackley, C, Red Deer (WHL)
Order via NHL.com and projections via Donald Wood

 

Top Prospect to Watch: Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie (OHL)

The 2014 class is unusually deep, but the top prospect in the eyes of many scouts and experts is Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Not only is he the top defender in the NHL draft, but he is also considered a favorite to be taken No. 1 overall.

According to Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel, the Florida Panthers have an interesting choice to make with the first pick:

Ekblad spent the last three seasons honing his craft in the Ontario Hockey League (one of the most elite junior hockey leagues in the world) and earned his role as captain of the team with his elite play on the ice and his leadership in the locker room.

The team that drafts Ekblad will be getting not only the best two-way defender in the class but also one of the smartest prospects available. Add his leadership intangibles, and this is the correct long-term investment for almost any team in the NHL.

Florida just happens to be lucky enough to be able to take him at No. 1 overall.

Keeping his emotions in check and showing the maturity for which he has become known, Ekblad told Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com about his feelings on possibly being the first pick.

"There's always the chance that one of the five of us will go No. 1; you just don't know because it's such a tight draft," Ekblad said. "But wherever I get picked I'm going to go, and I want to make that team better next year and for many years after that. That's my goal and what I believe in, so I think I can do it."

While teams are excited about the intangibles Ekblad offers on and off the ice, there is no questioning the raw physical tools that make him such a valuable asset immediately.

Ekblad is 6’4” and 216 pounds, and few experts think the prospect won’t start in the NHL right away.

Ekblad is one of the best shutdown defenders in the 2014 class, and he has a knack for clearing the puck out of the zone, but teams are also very interested in the offensive burst he showed during the 2013-14 season.

Through his 58 games with Barrie, he racked up an impressive 23 goals and 30 assists for 53 points. Add his 91 penalty minutes, and it is clear that Ekblad will do whatever it takes to help a team win each game.

That’s the kind of impact player the Panthers need.

 

Stats via NHL.com.