The 2014 NHL draft brought 210 of the world's brightest athletes to play on one of hockey's largest stages.
Whether a prospect was selected at No. 1 overall or with the 210th pick, each has a fair shot at becoming a future star. After all, we've seen plenty of hockey's greats come from the later rounds of the draft.
Although it's safe to say we won't know the full impact this draft will have on the league for another couple of years, it's never too early to speculate.
Here's a team-by-team look at the grades for each franchise, followed by some analysis for a few standout draft hauls.
2014 NHL Draft Grades
|2014 NHL Draft Grades|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||B|
|Detroit Red Wings||B-|
|Los Angeles Kings||B|
|New Jersey Devils||B|
|New York Islanders||A|
|New York Rangers||B-|
|San Jose Sharks||B|
|St. Louis Blues||A-|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||B+|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||C-|
|Sean O'Donnell's Grades|
Using the first pick of the draft to select defenseman Aaron Ekblad practically cemented the Panthers with a high grade so long as the rest of their draft remained solid.
Ekblad is a can't-miss prospect at 6'3" and 216 pounds. With 23 goals and 30 assists last season, he certainly looks to fit the bill as a two-way player. His size, strength and refined ability should allow him to contribute immediately in Florida.
The Ekblad selection ended the drought of defenders going No. 1 overall, according to SportsCenter:
Florida continued to balance its depth in the following rounds, selecting versatile centers Jayce Hawryluk and Juho Lammikko. Both of these players are capable of playing multiple positions up front.
Later in the draft, the team added a couple of selections to increase depth at the wing as well.
New York Islanders
The Islanders could have dealt their No. 5 overall selection, but they were wise to hang on to it in order to select Michael Dal Colle.
Dal Colle stands at 6'2" and weighs 171 pounds, and at just 18 years of age, he has the ability to build upon his current frame. The center is versatile and can play multiple positions up front due to his great puck-handling ability.
The Islanders tweeted Dal Colle's impressive numbers from last season:
Because he can be a great setup man, expect to see him used more on the wing with the Islanders. His well-rounded skill set should make him a big contributor in the NHL.
New York traded back into the first round to grab another great offensive prospect at No. 28 overall. This time, the team nabbed Josh Ho-Sang. The speedy forward already has a great amount of talent on the offensive end of the ice and could turn into a major point-scorer with a little development.
The Islanders finished their draft the same way they started it—with great value.
New York selected Lukas Sutter in the seventh round. Sutter was initially drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round in 2012. The re-entry center may not have the upside to be a star, but he should find his way onto the second or third line.
Things didn't exactly go swimmingly for every team in this year's draft.
It's not as though the Canucks selected poorly. After all, the team came away with a solid player in Jake Virtanen with the No. 6 selection. The 6'1" former Calgary Hitmen standout was impressive last season, according to a tweet from NHL:
The team also nabbed a couple of nice NHL-ready players in Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa.
However, Vancouver was graded unfavorably due to some questionable draft-day deals.
Trading Jason Garrison, the rights to Jeff Costello and a 2015 seventh-round pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for their second-round selection appeared to be a raw deal for the Canucks.
Garrison is still quite a serviceable player, even if he will turn 30 later this year. A stout defender with good offensive capability—especially on the power play—he came away with 33 points in 81 games last season.
Costello has already been a journeyman, with this marking the second time he was traded this season, but he's a strong depth player who flashed ability in college with Notre Dame when he accumulated 30 points in 33 games back in the 2012-13 season.
The Canucks then traded away a third-round pick to the New York Rangers for Derek Dorsett.
Dorsett resembles more of a boxer than a skater when he takes the ice, and that was reflected in his 128 penalty minutes in 51 games last season (with a total of just eight points).
We'll see how this all plays out for the Canucks, but for now, these deals look they could hurt more than they'll help.
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