2014 NHL Mock Draft: Predicting Every Pick for Rounds 1 and 2
The 2014 NHL draft has finally arrived. League executives are flying to Philadelphia for what will be a two-day process at the Wells Fargo Center Friday and Saturday.
Months and months of evaluation have culminated in 30 distinct draft lists. Miles and miles of travel, many weary nights of filing scouting reports and loud meetings have refined each list to its conclusion.
Now, it's time to make the picks. Here is a projection, in final order, for the first and second rounds of the draft.
1. Florida Panthers: Aaron Eklbad, D, Barrie (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 23 G, 30 A with the Barrie Colts (OHL).
Final Update: Ross MacLean, a scout for ISS Hockey, told Steven Whyno of The Canadian Press a few interesting things about Aaron Ekblad (h/t The Vancouver Sun):
He's a kid that I think probably could've played in the NHL this year, let alone next year. I think we saw that with Seth Jones, as well, last year. They've just been put into positions where they've been able to acclimatize and get comfortable and confident and develop their skills at the appropriate pace, and they're ready for the next step.
Best Player Available? The 2014 draft doesn't have a generational talent—a Sidney Crosby or a Steven Stamkos—but Ekblad is close. His 16 power-play goals in the OHL last season suggests he may be able to help in that area and assist him in his transition to the NHL.
2. Buffalo Sabres: Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 60 GP, 36 G, 69 A with the Kootenay Ice (WHL).
Final Update: ESPN Insider writers Rank Provenzano and Corey Pronman describe Sam Reinhart, who is the best offensive player in the draft, as their top selection:
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.
Best Player Available? Reinhart wears No. 23 for Kootenay—it's the number his Dad wore in the NHL. The Buffalo Sabres will draft him, and it's a good bet he'll make the team and post impressive offensive numbers as a rookie in 2014-15.
3. Edmonton Oilers: Leon Draisaitl, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 64 GP, 38 G, 67 A with the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL).
Final Update: NHL Central Scouting's B.J. MacDonald tells us what makes Leon Draisaitl special:
He’s the best prospect I’ve seen from this draft class at protecting and handling the puck; he’s very Jaromir Jagr-esque. He protects the puck, makes those button hooks and hits guys coming in late. He’ll hold onto that puck until he sees the right play to make. He has a great wrist shot and good snap shot, and can surprise a lot of goalies with it.
Best Player Available? The Edmonton Oilers may be locked and loaded on Draisaitl. Only an overwhelming trade offer or Aaron Ekblad's availability will keep the big German from becoming an Oiler. His scouting report sounds like an excellent complement to current Oilers right wing Nail Yakupov.
4. Calgary Flames: Sam Bennett, C, Kingston (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 57 GP, 36 G, 55 A with the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL).
Final Update: Calgary Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce what he liked about potential No. 4 overall pick Sam Bennett. Scott Cruickshank was there to record it for the Calgary Herald:
A Doug Gilmour-type centre, who scores, puts up big numbers, has leadership skills. And this kid is a mean little (expletive). They’re making fun of him because he couldn’t do any pull-ups at the combine last week. I don’t give a (hoot) if he can do pull-ups.
Best Player Available? The Flames are not certain to take Bennett at No. 4 overall. There are big, tough wingers available like Nick Ritchie and Jake Virtanen. There's also Michael Dal Colle, who is a scoring-winger with projected power forward size. The smart bet is on the best player available, and that's Bennett.
5. New York Islanders: Michael Dal Colle, LW, Oshawa (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 60 GP, 36 G, 56 A with the Oshawa Generals (OHL).
Final Update: Central Scouting's Chris Edwards tells us about Michael Dal Colle:
He quietly goes about his business, not flashy but always good. He kills penalties and plays the point on the power play. Dal Colle is a versatile guy. He’s fluid and capable of scoring big goals. He’s going to be a really good pro.
Best Player Available? The New York Islanders look like they're about to outsmart themselves. Arthur Staple of Newsday is reporting that GM Garth Snow is shopping the No. 5 overall selection for immediate help. Dal Colle may not help immediately, but he would be a tremendous addition to the Islanders in the future.
6. Vancouver Canucks: Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
2013-14 Stats: 63 GP, 49 G, 55 A with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Final Update: Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr had high praise for Nikolaj Ehlers while speaking to NHL.com:
The big question was how he would handle the durability of playing in the QMJHL and playing more games. But he's proven to be a skilled forward who can work some magic with Jonathan Drouin. He's got that quickness where he can separate from a check and get to the net. He's got soft hands and passes with authority, is a clever playmaker and very unselfish.
Best Player Available? The Vancouver Canucks may be tempted to draft a power winger, but it's a good bet they won't be able to resist the offensive package that is Ehlers.
7. Carolina Hurricanes: William Nylander, LW, MODO (SHL)
2013-14 Stats: 22 GP, 1 G, 6 A with MODO (SHL).
Final Update: Corey Pronman from ESPN Insider gave his take on this outstanding prospect:
William had a so-so first half when he struggled to find a role, but had a tremendous second half. Because of that turnaround, I've heard NHL scouts rank him anywhere from No. 2 overall to the 20s. He was over a point per game pace with Sodertalje in the SHL-2, setting a season record for points by an under-18 player, and played around 20 minutes per game with Modo down the stretch. Nylander's puck skills are elite, as he can be described as "an artist" by some scouts in terms of how well he controls the puck, and the unique plays he makes.
Best Player Available? As Pronman indicated, there's a range of opinions about William Nylander. History teaches us when in doubt, most NHL teams will go with the offensively-gifted option. The Carolina Hurricanes may be getting the best offensive player in the draft if he slides to No. 7 overall.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs: Jake Virtanen, LW, Calgary (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 71 GP, 45 G, 26 A with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL).
Final Update: Mike Williamson, former head coach of the Calgary Hitmen, told Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun about Jake Virtanen:
Jake is just so dynamic. He's an explosive skater. He can go from standing still to full speed in no time flat. He's strong on his skates and he's got a bit of a mean streak. I don't think I've seen a 17-year-old player that has the skill set as early as he does. He shoots the puck well, he's got a great release. You can't knock him off the puck. He projects to be a high-end power forward and he's going to continue to get better.
Best Player Available? Virtanen has size, speed, a terrific shot and an edge to his game. The Toronto Maple Leafs have good prospect depth on the wing, and would be well served taking a center at No. 8 overall. Virtanen's talent may be too much to resist.
9. Winnipeg Jets: Kevin Fiala, W, HV71 (SHL)
2013-14 Stats: 17 GP, 3 G, 8 A with HV71 (SHL).
Final Update: Corey Pronman from ESPN Insider gave a positive review of Kevin Fiala's game (h/t Brandon Worley of SB Nation):
He can make highlight-reel plays with the puck, and he's also a really good passer with great hockey IQ, and doesn't seem to turn the puck over. On the power play, Fiala is the kind of player you want controlling the puck and starting the puck movement. He's 5-11, and while that isn't ideal, he does battle hard and has a lot of drive to his game.
Best Player Available? The Winnipeg Jets have quickly established themselves as an astute drafting team, and taking Fiala at No. 9 overall would continue the trend.
10. Anaheim Ducks: Alex Tuch, RW, USNTDP (USHL)
2013-14 Stats: 26 GP, 13 G, 19 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).
Final Update: Hockey writer Kirk Luedeke wrote an article on Alex Tuch for the New York Hockey Journal and it included a scouting report:
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.
Best Player Available? The Anaheim Ducks received this pick as part of the Bobby Ryan trade with the Ottawa Senators. Tuch is off to Boston College next season, and will take some time to emerge, but he's going to be a load upon arrival.
11. Nashville Predators: Nikita Scherbak, LW, Saskatoon (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 54 GP, 26 G, 43 A with the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).
Final Update: Cody Nickolet of WHL from Above has an excellent scouting report on Nikita Scherbak:
He's got a full arsenal of offensive tools at his disposal including a "heavy" wrist shot with a quick release and some very adept vision and passing ability. His skating isn't a strength, but it's not a huge weakness either. His top gear is just fine, but he does tend to be a bit slow out of the gate due to having a low and long stride. He's got a high hockey IQ and shows the ability to arrive at the right place at the right time in offensive situations. He comes from an athletic background as his father is a former soccer player, his mother a basketball player, while his sister plays tennis.
Best Player Available? Scherbak is from Russia and may fall at the draft because of it. Marc Dumont from SB Nation's Eyes on the Prize talks about the Russian factor and how it could impact Scherbak. If Nashville takes him, it will be on merit.
12. Phoenix Coyotes: Robby Fabbri, C, Guelph (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 45 G, 42 A with the Guelph Storm (OHL).
Final Update: Brock Otten from OHL Prospects gives an excellent description of Robby Fabbri:
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.
Best Player Available? The Phoenix Coyotes are a solid drafting team and Fabbri is the best offensive forward still available based on these projections. Fabbri is among the best CHL players offensively, according to Extra Skater. He'll be a bargain at No. 12 overall.
13. Washington Capitals: Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 70 GP, 8 G, 38 A with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL).
Final Update: The second-best defenseman available in this year's draft, Haydn Fleury is a fleet defender with some skills. B.J. MacDonald from Central Scouting has more:
He's got good, strong mobility, great vision and has a knack for making that first good outlet pass. He's composed and calm with the puck and has an ability of knowing when to join the rush at the right moments
Best Player Available? The Washington Capitals have holes in several areas, and it makes sense for them to grab a mobile defender who could play in the top two pairings down the line. Fleury should be considered the best player available if he falls this far in the draft.
14. Dallas Stars: Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 61 GP, 39 G, 35 A with the Peterborough Petes (OHL).
Final Update: Michael Traikos of the National Post talks to Craig Button of TSN about Nick Ritchie:
Physically, he’s so far advanced. If you put him in the NHL right now, he’s a big man. But the biggest thing with Nick is developmental. He needs maturing.
Best Player Available? The Dallas Stars acquired a big forward last season in Valeri Nichushkin, and this time it's a monster player from the OHL. Ritchie's combination of size and speed could get him taken in the top 10, and he'll be an absolute bargain at No. 14 overall.
15. Detroit Red Wings: Jakub Vrana, LW, Linkoping (SHL)
2013-14 Stats: 24 GP, 2 G, 1 A with Linkoping (SHL).
Final Update: Central Scouting's Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb tells us an impressive story about Jakub Vrana:
He plays with determination and drive, has an excellent work ethic and is a very fast skater with excellent all-round skills. He is able to control the game and create a lot of scoring possibilities with his quick moves
Best Player Available? The Detroit Red Wings always draft interesting players, and Vrana's range of skills are a nice match for the club's best draft picks. He will take a while to develop, but the Red Wings are comfortable with that development timeline.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets: Ivan Barbashev, C, Moncton (QMJHL)
2013-14 Stats: 48 GP, 25 G, 43 A with the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL).
Final Update: Central's Director of Scouting Dan Marr talked to NHL.com about Ivan Barbashev:
Ivan is a strong skater. He reaches top speed quickly and is a very good playmaker with quick hands. He's not afraid to mix it up, competes one-on-one and battles for pucks. He can be a gamebreaker.
Best Player Available? The Columbus Blue Jackets haven't drafted many Russians since Nikita Filitov in 2008, and that relationship was not a good one. However, this is a different regime in Columbus and Barbashev represents terrific value at No. 16 overall.
17. Philadelphia Flyers: Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (SM-Liiga)
2013-14 Stats: 47 GP, 7 G, 7 A with KalPa (SM-Liiga).
Final Update: Central Scouting's director, Goran Stubb, told NHL.com about Kasperi Kapanen and his skill set:
He’s a good-skating wing and can also play center. He has a smooth and surprisingly fast style that has surprised many unsuspecting defensemen. His tricky puck skills and quick release have paid off in many games and he has good hand-eye coordination. He’s not overly physical, but does not shy away from rough situations
Best Player Available? The Philadelphia Flyers will be getting a quality two-way player in Kapanen, a teenager who has played at the pro level for some time. Kapanen has played the past two seasons on the same team as his father, former NHL player Sami, for Kalpa of the Finnish Elite League.
18. Minnesota Wild: David Pastrnak, RW, Sodertalje (Allsvenskan)
2013-14 Stats: 36 GP, 8 G, 16 A with Sodertalje (Allsvenskan).
Final Update: Central Scouting's European director, Goran Stubb, talked about David Pastrnak and his range of skills. It appears at NHL.com:
David is an offensive-minded player with smooth hands, great instincts and a very quick shot. He's an excellent skater with speed and acceleration. He's very smart on ice but will need more weight and strength to excel at the next level. He's creative and dangerous in 1-on-1 situations.
Best Player Available? The Minnesota Wild may be tempted to take a goaltender at this spot. Thatcher Demko of Boston College is a strong candidate for first-round selection, and he could go No. 18 overall. Pastrnak is a terrific offensive prospect, and the best player available at this slot.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 64 GP, 27 G, 35 A with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL).
Final Update: Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com about Jared McCann. It's interesting to note the offensive potential—McCann is often mentioned for his defensive acumen:
Jared is a highly skilled and creative playmaker. He has excellent hands and puckhandling ability. He sees the ice very well and can get the puck through traffic with great saucer passes. He is not a guy who will always bring you out of your seat but is dangerous every shift. An excellent penalty killer who reads the play very well.
Best Player Available? The Tampa Bay Lightning will be getting another outstanding forward for their young group. McCann's range of skills make him a future candidate to play alongside some of those wonderful young wingers in Tampa Bay.
20. San Jose Sharks: Dylan Larkin, C, USNTDP (USHL)
2013-14 Stats: 26GP, 17 G, 9 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).
Final Update: Brendan Savage of MLive.com quotes Red Line Report on Dylan Larkin:
We're suckers for silky smooth pivots who create tons of chances and make their linemates better. Really fluid skater with a great edge who accelerates out of his cuts. Has such deceptive speed that he's able to glide past defenders effortlessly – gains the zone easily and forces defenders to back in off at the blue line and give up too much ice. Has a knack for holding onto the puck that extra split second to give wingers a chance to break free, then hits them with perfectly placed passes.
Best Player Available? The San Jose Sharks are a strong drafting team and possess a dynamic forward group. Dylan Larkin is the best offensive playmaker remaining in the draft and represents great value at No. 20 overall.
21. St. Louis Blues: Sonny Milano, LW, USNTDP (USHL)
2013-14 Stats: 25 GP, 14 G, 25 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).
Final Update: David Gregory of Central Scouting reported on Sonny Milano for NHL.com:
He's so dynamic, very good with the puck in traffic and in open ice and can make defensemen look silly… he likes to get under your skin. He certainly has the potential of becoming a complete player
Best Player Available? The St. Louis Blues would be very fortunate to get a potential impact player at this point in the draft. He has some work to do without the puck, but Milano is golden in the offensive zone.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins: Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 34 G, 37 A with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL).
Final Update: Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr updates us on Brendan Perlini for NHL.com:
He plays an unselfish game moving the puck around and he gets his stick on pucks and arrives on time for chances. He's a good shooter and has a good touch finishing chances
Best Player Available? The Pittsburgh Penguins would be getting a fine two-way player at No. 22 overall should Perlini fall down the draft list. He may go anywhere after No. 10, but lacks the top-end offense of others taken before him. At this point in the draft, he is the best player on the list.
23. Colorado Avalanche: Adrian Kempe, LW, MODO (SHL)
2013-14 Stats: 45 GP, 5 G, 6 A with MODO (SHL).
Final Update: Goran Stubb is the Director of European Scouting for NHL Central Scouting. He gave this report to NHL.com:
He's a big, strong, bullish forward who can play center or wing. He likes to drive hard for the net, using his strength and skating to his advantage. He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills; mobile, solid and strong. He's a power forward, strong along the boards with smooth hands and is a very speedy skater. He's a solid two-way forward.
Best Player Available? The Colorado Avalanche could go for a defenseman here—there are only two off the draft table so far—but Kempe is skilled and tough to play against for opponents.
24. Anaheim Ducks: Travis Sanheim, D, Calgary (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 5 G, 24 A with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL).
Final Update: Cody Nickolet of WHL From Above talks about Travis Sanheim and his impressive second half of the season:
He went from being a "who is this guy?", as a 9th round WHL bantam pick, to a player that has a chance at being taken in the 1st round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Truly impressive growth for a player. Sanheim seems to be the total package. He's got the size, the skating ability, the hands, the shot, the hockey smarts and the willingness to engage physically and defensively. There's a lot to like.
Best Player Available? The Anaheim Ducks have the pick at No. 9, a remnant from the Bobby Ryan deal, and this one at No. 24, their own selection. Sanheim is trending in a big way this year, and Anaheim may take him if he's still available when the Ducks make their second pick.
25. Boston Bruins: Julius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 62 GP, 16 G, 40 A with the Swift Current Broncos (WHL).
Final Update: Cody Nickolet from WHL from Above tells us about Finland's Julius Honka, who played this season in Swift Current:
His best asset is his skating. He's extremely quick and explosive for such a small blueliner. His edgework is impeccable as he's able to shift his angles on a dime, cutting through traffic or using that explosive ability to transition into backwards skating.
Best Player Available? The Boston Bruins have nice options at the end of the first round. The club's prospect depth chart features some quality forwards, and they've graduated several defensemen to the NHL recently. Julius Honka is a quality propsect, and a good fit in Boston.
26. Montreal Canadiens: Josh Ho-Sang, RW, Windsor (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 32 G, 53 A with the Windsor Spitfires (OHL).
Final Update: Chris Edwards from Central Scouting tells NHL.com about Josh Ho-Sang and his considerable talents:
He handles the puck very well at top speed and sees the ice well. His skating is excellent and his first step is explosive. He cuts to the middle often and can split the defense with surprising speed.
Best Player Available? The Montreal Canadiens draft skill and have been known to take undersized forwards. In terms of pure skill, Ho-Sang is among the best in the draft, and at No. 26 he's the best player available.
27. Chicago Blackhawks: Conner Bleackley, C, Red Deer (WHL)
2013-14 Stats: 71 GP, 29 G, 39 A with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL).
Final Update: Conner Bleackley is a quality NHL prospect. Cody Nickolet of WHL from Above tells us about him:
Bleackley is the extremely well-rounded and talented captain of the Red Deer Rebels. He's a very smart player with a high-end level of hockey IQ, poise and leadership. His offensive game really developed this year, going from 18 points last year to 68 in 2013-14, including 29 goals. His offensive game is highlighted by both the ability to create plays and finish them.
Best Player Available? The Chicago Blackhawks are a successful drafting team, and Bleackley offers them a range of skills. He could end up playing on a skill line, or make his way to the NHL as a checker. Great value at No. 27 overall.
28. Tampa Bay Lightning: Roland McKeown, D, Kingston (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 62 GP, 11 G 32 A with the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL).
Final Update: David Gregory from Central Scouting talks about Roland McKeown and his skills:
I love this kid … he can play offensively and move the puck and has a bomb of a shot. When defending you, he presents himself as a big, strong and mobile guy. He'll push guys to the side; he's a legitimate top prospect
Best Player Available? The Tampa Bay Lightning received this selection in the Marty St. Louis trade and didn't know the actual number of the pick until the completion of the Stanley Cup Final. McKeown has some chaos to his game, but he can play with the talented forwards and help a power play. He's good value this late in the first round.
29. Los Angeles Kings: Brendan Lemieux, LW, Barrie (OHL)
2013-14 Stats: 65 GP, 27 G, 26 A with the Barrie Colts (OHL).
Final Update: Director of NHL Scouting Dan Marr has the lowdown on Brendan Lemieux, and he shared it with NHL.com:
Brendan is a guy you can put in front of the net because he can agitate and be a pest; I think that's in his DNA. He has the same skating stride as his father. He's also got a great one-timer and can finish. He's one of these guys who has an equal number of goals and assists, and he brings an important ingredient to a hockey team.
Best Player Available? The Los Angeles Kings are a brilliant possession team, and part of that comes from their physical play. Brendan Lemieux should fit right in with the group of big, physical wingers already employed by the team.
30. New Jersey Devils: Jack Glover, D, USNTDP (USHL)
2013-14 Stats: 51 GP, 1 G, 22 A with the USNTDP Juniors (USHL).
Final Update: David Gregory from Central Scouting told NHL.com about Jack Glover:
Jack has a pro style, especially when he's being physical. He does a good job at letting the play develop and moving the puck to the correct man. He competes hard and he's tough to play against on almost every shift.
Best Player Available? The New Jersey Devils have used their first pick on a National Development prospect two years running, and Glover could make it three. He has size, mobility and a range of skills, and New Jersey may take him at the end of Round 1.
Round 2: 31-40
The second round of this year's draft is considered to be lesser in quality compared to last season, and next year will be stellar based on early reports. Still, there's value here and NHL teams will have an opportunity to add to their prospect list.
31. Buffalo Sabres: Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL).
Nick Schmaltz is a quick skill player and a tall, lean teenager. He is on his way to North Dakota (NCAA) in the fall and posted two very nice seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers.
32. Florida Panthers: John Quenneville, C, Brandon (WHL).
John Quenneville is a skilled center who had a solid regular season and blossomed in the playoffs. NHL.com quoted Central Scouting's David Gregory:
He has the pro makeup and is a hard-worker. He makes good plays very quickly and is good at moving the puck. I'd like to see more consistency from him, but I like the way he finds open spaces and his ability to make any kind of pass.
33. St. Louis Blues (from Edmonton): Vladislav Kamenev, LW, Magnitogorsk 2 (Rus Jr).
Vladislav Kamenev is a skilled two-way center with size. His final draft number will likely be impacted by the fact he is Russian and the KHL may be an attractive lure. Based on skill alone, he belongs in the first round.
34. Calgary Flames: Anthony DeAngelo, D, Sarnia (OHL).
Anthony DeAngelo is a brilliant offensive player with defensive issues. Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com:
Anthony is a skilled offensive defenseman. His puck skills and playmaking ability are excellent. He sees the ice very well and creates offensive scoring chances with great passes. He has a very good shot and gets it on net. DeAngelo likes to jump up into the rush and makes good decisions with the puck.
35. New York Islanders: Thatcher Demko, G, Boston College (NCAA).
Thatcher Demko is a successful NCAA goalie who has been posting quality numbers for some time. NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen picks up the story via NHL.com:
He has that NHL pro-type potential. I can see him three or four years down the road becoming a monster in the net, and for any franchise in need of a future top goalie that’s what you want. He’s big, aggressive and confident, and has remained strong and focused most of the year.
36. Vancouver Canucks: Marcus Pettersson, D, Skelleftea (SHL).
Marcus Pettersson is a tall, thin defenseman with a massive wingspan. He's an effective two-way defender who is capable of impacting the game in all areas, although his strength is on defense. The Vancouver Canucks have had great success with Swedish defensemen over the years, and Pettersson should fit right in.
37. Carolina Hurricanes: Jack Dougherty, D, USNTDP Juniors (USHL).
Jack Dougherty is a quality two-way defender who impresses scouts with his shutdown ability. Greg Rajanen from Central Scouting tells us more, courtesy NHL.com:
Even as a high school player, he was a smart two-way player and proved to be very responsible. He's also tough and can play the powerplay and work the point well.
38. Anaheim Ducks (from Toronto): Jayce Hawryluk, C, Brandon (WHL).
Jayce Hawrlyuk is a fine offensive prospect who plays bigger than his size. Hawrlyuk performed very well at even strength (59GP, 24 G, 40A) and is one of the better draft-eligible players at the discipline.
39. Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota via Winnipeg): Nikolay Goldobin, LW, Sarnia (OHL).
Central Scouting's Chris Edwards tells NHL.com about Goldobin:
Goldobin has a high energy level and is smooth out there. He's got good playmaking ability and he probably would have a lot more points if players were able to finish for him. He's the type of kid who receives a lot of ice time because he plays a complete game.
40. Ottawa Senators: Brayden Point, C, Moose Jaw (WHL).
Brayden Point is a fine offensive center for the Moose Jaw Warriors. Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports tells us about him via The Hockey Writers:
Point is a very good skater. He has good top end speed, very good acceleration and a quick first step. His agility and edgework are both very good, and his balance and strength on the puck is surprising for a player his size. He skates with a low centre of gravity and is very tough to take off the puck when he has it, and he can be gritty and win board battles due to this good balance. He plays bigger than his size as a result, throwing hits and being gritty in all three zones.
Round 2: 41-50
41. New Jersey Devils: Brett Pollock, LW, Edmonton (WHL)
Brett Pollock is a scoring winger who had terrific success with the Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings in 2013-14. He scored 25 goals in 71 games and is regarded as a quality scoring prospect.
42. Nashville Predators: Ryan Donato, C, Dexter School (USHS)
Elite scorer who has dominated the prep circuit for two years now, taking his production to another level this season. Not a dynamic skater in terms of top-end speed and explosiveness, but is highly fluid and elusive, with superb balance and edgework. Elite hands and hockey sense.
43. Phoenix Coyotes: Josh Jacobs, D, Indiana (USHL)
Joshua Jacobs is a two-way defenseman with a nice wingspan. He's a mobile defender who can jump up into the play and still get back in time to cover defensively.
44. Washington Capitals: Justin Kirkland, LW, Kelowna (WHL)
A nice combination of size and skill, he's a late-breaking prospect who Red Line Report identified in January as a trending forward.
45. Dallas Stars: Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Plymouth (OHL)
Described by NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen as one of the quickest goalies in the draft. Nedeljkovic had a .925 save percentage in the OHL this season. He possesses a solid resume.
46. Nashville Predators (from Detroit): Ryan MacInnis, C, Kitchener (OHL)
Ryan MacInnis is a tall, rangy two-way center who delivered less offense than anticipated this season. That impacted his draft number, but his scouting report at NHL.com suggests a smart, capable prospect.
47. Columbus Blue Jackets: Mason McDonald, G, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
Mason McDonald is a tall goaltender who enjoyed a strong season in the QMJHL. Central Scouting's Al Jensen tells NHL.com about McDonald:
He has a very quick and athletic style and his play reminds me a lot of the way Steve Mason (Philadelphia Flyers) plays. He has impressed me with his steady improvement over the season. He squares himself to shots and he plays at the top of the paint on initial shots. He has excellent recovery ability.
48. Philadelphia Flyers: Eric Cornell, C, Peterborough (OHL)
Eric Cornell is a tall skill center who enjoyed a lot of success in Peterborough playing with Nick Ritchie in 2013-14. He combines size, speed and passing ability for a quality draft package.
49. Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota): Dysin Mayo, D, Edmonton (WHL)
Dysin Mayo is a mobile defenseman with considerable skill. He's a rover who can create chaos and opportunities in equal measure, and could be a steal at this point in the draft.
50. Tampa Bay Lightning: Brycen Martin, D, Swift Current (WHL).
Brycen Martin is a big defender who skates well and moves the puck smartly. Central Scouting's Dan Marr has more via NHL.com:
Brycen is a very appealing player because you don’t often see him make mistakes. He’s got very good hockey sense, he’s a strong skater, and he moves the puck well. He has all the ingredients of today’s NHL defensemen.
Round 2: 51-60
51. San Jose Sharks: Spencer Watson, RW, Kingston (OHL)
Spencer Watson is a scoring-winger who enjoyed a 33-goal season with the Kingston Frontenacs this season. He lacks size, but has terrific offensive ability.
52. St. Louis Blues: Ondrej Kase, Chomutov (Czech)
Ondrej Kase is an undersized skill player with great potential. Goran Stubb, Director of Central Scouting for Europe, tells the story via NHL.com:
Ondrej is a good mobile skater with speed and acceleration. He's a very good playmaker with excellent puck-handling skills. He needs to bulk up, but he's still a fearless competitor who leads by example.
53. San Jose Sharks (from Pittsburgh): Alex Peters, D, Plymouth (OHL)
Alex Peters is a throwback defender. He stays at home, closes gaps and covers opposition forwards. He won't deliver much offensively, but Peters is a quality defenseman.
54. Calgary Flames (from Colorado): Dominik Masin, Slavia Praha (Czech Jr)
Dominik Masin is a tall, rangy defenseman with a range of skills. Craig Button from TSN explains:
Dominik helps a team win some way, some how. His poise is outstanding yet he competes with it at an very high level. Makes a difference in so many ways and his actions and leadership speaks volumes about his winning intentions.
55. Anaheim Ducks: Vaclav Karabacek, RW, Gatineau (QMJHL)
Vaclav Karabacek is a skill player who delivered 47 points in 65 QMJHL games this season. Is that enough to project onto a skill line in the NHL? Button has more:
Very good offensive scoring awareness, instincts and determination. Equally adept at finishing a play as he is at making a play. Has very good determination to get chances in the offensive zone. Good, quick release and plays at good pace.
56. Boston Bruins: Hunter Smith, RW, Oshawa (OHL)
Hunter Smith was passed over in last year's draft, and this time there's no doubt the big man will be selected. Button has the story on Smith:
Has continually improved to the point where he is an imposing figure in the game who is not delightful to play against. Smart, good offensive awareness, handles puck with confidence and asserts himself with intent to make an impact.
57. New York Islanders (from Montreal): Anton Karlsson, RW, Frolunda (Swe Jr)
Anton Karlsson is a big, strong forward with speed and skill. Here is a scouting report from Button:
Anton is a catalyst for positive results. He can do it multiple ways; skill wise, physically, skating and smarts and understands what may be needed at any given point of a game and delivers. Competes at every turn.
58. Phoenix Coyotes (from Chicago): Daniel Audette, C, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Daniel Audette is an undersized skill center and the son of former NHL player Donald Audette. Based on results, Audette should be a higher selection. He's a very good skill center with vision and terrific passing ability.
59. New York Rangers: Chase De Leo, C, Portland (WHL)
Chase De Leo is a dynamic offensive center. Central Scouting's B.J. MacDonald has more courtesy of NHL.com:
Chase is another buzz saw out of Portland. He's a very good skater and pays attention to detail at both ends of the rink. He has quick hands with good vision and offers nice playmaking capabilities. The thing I like is that he really competes in all areas and in key situations and plays bigger than his size.
60. Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles): Nicolas Aube-Kubel, C, Val d'Or (QMJHL)
Nicolas Aube-Kubel is a solid two-way prospect and an impressive even-strength scorer. Button has this to say:
Has an offensive flair to his game and with his skating, stick handling, shot and confidence, he is not only capable of making things happen, he does so with a positive attitude and approach that screams; "I can do this."
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!