NHL Draft 2014: Selection Order and Latest 1st-Round Mock Projections

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 26, 2014

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 13:  Aaron Ekblad #5 of the Barrie Colts skates with the puck past Travis Konecny #17 of the Ottawa 67's during an OHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on March 13, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

The race to dethrone the Los Angeles Kings as NHL champions has already begun. Teams are posturing to put the best product on the ice next season and into the future.

On Thursday, the NHL announced the draft order for the 2014 draft. It will be held from June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. 

The order of all seven rounds was released, but here's a look at the first-round selections and projected picks. To see the entire order, visit NHL.com.

First-Round Projections for 2014 NHL Draft
PickTeamProjected Selection
1Florida PanthersAaron Ekblad (Barrie), D
2Buffalo SabresSam Reinhart (Kootenay), C
3Edmonton OilersSam Bennett (Kingston), C
4Calgary FlamesLeon Draisaitl (Prince Albert), C
5New York IslandersMichael Dal Colle (Oshawa), LW
6Vancouver CanucksNick Ritchie (Peterborough), LW
7Carolina HurricanesJake Virtanen (Calgary), LW
8Toronto Maple LeafsBrendan Perlini (Niagara), LW
9Winnipeg JetsWilliam Nylander (Sodertalje), RW
10Anaheim DucksKasperi Kapanen (Kalpa), RW
11Nashville PredatorsKevin Fiala (HV 71), C
12Phoenix CoyotesHaydn Fleury (Red Deer), D
13Washington CapitalsRobby Fabbri (Guelph), C
14Dallas StarsNikolaj Ehlers (Halifax), LW
15Detroit Red WingsJulius Honka (Swift Current), D
16Columbus Blue JacketsJared McCann (Sault Ste. Marie), C
17Philadelphia FlyersAlex Tuch (U.S. NTDP), RW/C
18Minnesota WildThatcher Demko (NCAA, Boston College), G
19Tampa Bay LightningSonny Milano (U.S. NTDP), LW
20San Jose SharksDylan Larkin (U.S. NTDP), LW
21St. Louis BluesDavid Pastrnak (Sodertalje), LW
22Pittsburgh PenguinsIvan Barbashev (Moncton), LW
23Colorado AvalancheNikita Scherbak (Saskatoon), LW
24Anaheim DucksAnthony DeAngelo (Sarnia), D
25Boston BruinsJakub Vrana (Linkoping), C
26Montreal CanadiensJoshua Ho-Sang (Windsor), RW/C
27Chicago BlackhawksAdrian Kempe (MODO), RW
28Tampa Bay LightningBrendan Lemieux (Barrie), LW
29Los Angeles KingsNick Schmaltz (Green Bay), C
30New Jersey DevilsJack Dougherty (U.S. NTDP), D
Draf order per NHL.com, picks per Brian Mazique

Here's a closer look at the top prospects available in this year's draft.

 

Top Center

Sam Reinhart, Kootenay (WHL)

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 07:  Sam Reinhart #23 of Team Canada skates against Team Finland during the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 7, 2013 in Lake Placid, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Brian Burke, the president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames, went gaga over Reinhart, per a recent article from Scott Cruickshank in the Calgary HeraldBurke described Reinhart as a: "brainiac centre. ... He dismantled our team, the Hitmen, in the playoffs. Smartest player available by a mile. This guy’s hockey IQ is off the charts. This is Albert Einstein on skates.”

In just 60 games with Kootenay, Reinhart tallied 36 goals and 69 assists. The fact that he knows his way around the ice should be no surprise.

He hails from a hockey family. His dad, Paul, played 11 years in the NHL, mostly with the Calgary Flames. Sam's brothers Max and Griffin are both currently playing professionally in the NHL's minor league system. 

Griffin was the fourth overall pick in the 2012 by the New York Islanders.

Sam could hear his name called even earlier. He's a possibility at No. 1 to the Florida Panthers or could go to the Buffalo Sabres at No. 2.

 

Top Wing

Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (OHL)

TORONTO - CANADA - MAY 29:  Michael Dal Colle performs a test during the Functional Movement screening at the NHL Combine May 29, 2014 at the Westin Bristol in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI  via Getty Images)
Graig Abel/Getty Images

Dal Colle just turned 18 on Friday, so he'll have one heck of a belated birthday present when the draft begins. He won't have to wait very long to hear his name called. He should be the first wing off the board, and that could happen as early as No. 4 to the Flames or fifth to the New York Islanders.

At 6'2", 184 pounds, Dal Colle will need to add a little strength to be ready for the rigors of the NHL. However, he's already equipped with the mental toughness and heart necessary to succeed.

Dal Colle has had to overcome family tragedy and difficulty on his way to this early point in his career. His brother is autistic and his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Dal Colle was 10.

In addition to his amazing skills on the ice, Dal Colle has already shown remarkable resilience, maturity and intestinal fortitude to overcome impediments much bigger than anything he'll face on the ice. 

If you can't root for this kid to succeed, who can you root for? Dal Colle talks about his journey in the video below:

 

Top Defenseman

Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (OHL)

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Aaron Ekblad poses for a head shot prior to testing at the NHL Combine May 29, 2014 at the Westin Bristol in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
Graig Abel/Getty Images

It may come down to Ekblad and Reinhart for the No. 1 selection overall. In fact, the Panthers are said to be considering dealing the top pick, but if they keep it, they are leaning toward selecting Ekblad.

Speaking based on information from sources close to the situation, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says:

The source also said that if the Panthers don't like any of the many offers they're fielding from other teams regarding their overall No. 1 draft pick, then they're leaning toward selecting 6-foot-3, 218-pound defenseman Aaron Ekblad because he's considered the most NHL-ready of the projected top four prospects.

Who could blame the Panthers for being smitten with Ekblad? With that type of size at the age of 18, Ekblad projects to be a monstrous defenseman in the NHL when he fills out.

He was the captain of Canada's gold medal-winning U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last year. In five games, he was plus-four with a pair of goals and assists and just four penalty minutes. Some believe he could be ready to play in the NHL as soon as the Nashville Predators' Seth Jones was after being taken No. 4 overall in last year's draft.

 

Top Goalie

Thatcher Demko, Boston College (NCAA)

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 07:  Thatcher Demko #30 of Team USA makes the save against Team Sweden during the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 7, 2013 in Lake Placid, New York. Sweden shut out the USA 4-0.  (
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Demko will probably be the only prospect from an NCAA collegiate program taken in the first round. He turns 19 in December and has established himself as the best goalie prospect in this year's draft class.

He was the youngest player in NCAA hockey this past season and could become the first American-born goalie taken in the first round since Jack Campbell went 10th to the Dallas Stars in 2010. 

Elite Prospects said this about the 6'4" prospect:

"Demko is a butterfly-style stopper with the ideal pro size. He makes himself big in net even when he drops down to his knees and has outstanding lower coverage in the butterfly."

He should hear his name called in the middle of the first round.

 

All age, height and weight references per HockeyFutures.com unless otherwise stated.