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2014 NHL Draft Thread (6/27-7PM; 6/28-10AM)

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Old
11-14-2013, 11:51 PM
  #1
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2014 NHL Draft Thread (6/27-7PM; 6/28-10AM)

As the NHL season wears on, we're nearing the heart of the junior hockey season. The time of year when most of the speculating is being tossed aside in favor of real talk about who is a legitimate top prospect, and who is heading in the wrong direction. For the Jackets, though they have showed plenty of promise at times, consistency has been an issue; and there is the chance that they will find themselves in the mix for a top-10 pick next summer. There is still plenty of season left though, so I will go no further than to make early speculations on some of the top prospects. Here is a brief example of what to expect from me and this thread as the season wears on:

My own (current) top-15:

1. Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
2. Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)
3. Michael dal Colle, LW, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
4. William Nylander, F, Rogle/Modo (SWE)
5. Sam Bennett, C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
6. Anton Karlsson, RW, Frolunda (SWE)
7. Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
8. Leon Draisaitl, LW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
9. Adrian Kempe, RW, MoDo Jr. (SWE)
10. Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)
11. Nick Ritchie, C, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
12. Ivan Barbashev, F, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
13. Julius Honka, D, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
14. Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)
15. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Kalpa (FIN)

Notes:

For my money, Sam Reinhart is going to be extremely tough for Aaron Ekblad - or anyone else - to overtake in this draft. Currently, the 18 year old sits 5th in the WHL with 34 points. His 25 assists have him tied for 3rd in the league in that department; and he has already been the captain for his team for an entire season. Since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Reinhart is easily the top prospect to come out of the WHL. With the potential to be a game breaking first line center for many years to come, Reinhart is exactly the type of players that NHL teams covet; he is a rarity that only comes along every few years, and could certainly step into the NHL as early as next year.

Speaking of Aaron Ekblad, the smooth skater was granted "exceptional" status by the OHL, allowing him to already have two full years of junior hockey under his belt - at only 17. Ekblad has clearly proven the decision makers in the OHL right; as he has developed into a dominant two-way defenseman, who is as effective in the defensive zone as he is in the offensive zone. Ekblad's 18 points in 19 games keeps him at a scoring pace well above his prior years in the league. He has shown toughness and a willingness to do the dirty work, and has the size to match up against anyone else in the league. The excitement surrounding Seth Jones will definitely carry over to Aaron Ekblad, who may be the only player that can contend for #1 overall ... if a team is looking for a defenseman.

After those two players, the pack spreads out a little, depending on who you ask. The next tier of players almost unanimously being Michael dal Colle, William Nylander, Sam Bennett, and Anton Karlsson. In dal Colle, you have a lanky winger that can score in bunches. Should he fill out, he could be a (pause for effect ... ) Rick Nash type of player. William Nylander shares several similarities with his father Michael, who had a long NHL career as a set-up man. Where William separates himself is in his willingness and ability to shoot the puck. Sam Bennett may not have dal Colle's size or Nylander's skill; but he makes up for it in effort and blazing speed. Bennett has a rare type of speed that catches defenders off guard, and has a very good shot in his own right. After selecting Alexander Wennberg last summer, Jackets fans will immediately notice some similarities with Anton Karlsson, who plays a similar type of two-way game. Karlsson has a nice skillset and competes in every zone, effective in any situation.

After that group, things get very murky. For myself, the size and overall upside of Haydn Fleury may be too much to pass up. He's not a standout in any particular area, but does everything above standard and could be an anchor on the blueline for several years. I've flip-flopped between he and Leon Draisaitl at least twice already this year. The German winger's offensive vision is right up there with the best in this draft, and he has the size and physical willingness to back it up.

In essence, this is a draft with plenty of size and skill, and really a lot of players to like. For the guys I see every night in the WHL, I'm seeing a consistency that I can't recall seeing in the past few years; which is something to be said, since several of the guys that I like aren't in my top-15. For the Jackets, this draft may be even more meaningful than the last, as they will need to build upon the strong crop that they came away with last summer, continuing to add depth to the prospect pool.

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11-15-2013, 12:15 AM
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What kind of impact do you see Reinhart making right after being drafted?

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11-15-2013, 01:13 AM
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What kind of impact do you see Reinhart making right after being drafted?
Really, it's hard to say. For the Kootenay Ice, he took a team that had no business even being competitive last year, and led them into the playoffs. He's the type of guy that makes everyone around him (namely, Jaedon Descheneau) much better. He and Deschenau led the Ice by 30 points in scoring last year, and look to be on pace for an even further margin this year. He's a dynamic player; incredible vision and playmaking skills, and an underrated shot. Really comparable to Nugent-Hopkins when he was drafted, but Reinhart is a year older, and is bigger and stronger than Nugent-Hopkins was when he was drafted.

If he goes to a team with any sort of talent on the wings, it's easy to see him being a Calder candidate right off the bat. I think he can be a Jonathan Toews type of player; maybe with a little less two-way upside and a little more offense.

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11-15-2013, 05:22 AM
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Not terribly excited by this draft. It seems like most of the players with the exception of Reinhart and Ekblad have low ceilings. (and while I like Ekblad he concerns me due to the part his physical maturity plays in him being a dominant force) It will be interesting to see what happens this year as there are some solid options at left wing, which is a black hole for us organizationally.

I honestly would target more picks in 2015 which is shaping up to be a better draft IMO, much easier said than done I know as no one wants to give up their shot at McDavid. But Beyond, McDavid guys like Eichel, Strome, Hanifin are all looking like guys with major offensive potential, and also for name value Maxim Tretiak is going to be available (and while no one should expect the kid to be as dominant as his dad what little I've seen indicates the kid is gonna be pretty good)

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11-15-2013, 06:13 AM
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Nice to see you start this thread up now. Arguing over who to take last year was a key to our strong finish.

I still think it is offense first last and always. Although the way the D has been this year a D here and there might not hurt.

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11-15-2013, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by EspenK View Post
Nice to see you start this thread up now. Arguing over who to take last year was a key to our strong finish.

I still think it is offense first last and always. Although the way the D has been this year a D here and there might not hurt.
I would tend to agree, unless we have a shot at Ekblad.

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11-15-2013, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by alphafox View Post
Not terribly excited by this draft. It seems like most of the players with the exception of Reinhart and Ekblad have low ceilings. (and while I like Ekblad he concerns me due to the part his physical maturity plays in him being a dominant force) It will be interesting to see what happens this year as there are some solid options at left wing, which is a black hole for us organizationally.
Nylander, Kapanen and Draisaitl are high risk/high reward type of players who could end up to be first liners or could bust.

It's hard to get a read on Nylander since he's a very skilled boy playing with men. He shows glimpses of his skill, but how does his game translate to the NHL? He's maybe 5'10, 165 lbs and can't physically match up against grown men. It will be more telling how well he plays in international competition, but he's so skilled he can skate rings around his peers. Scouts likely will have very different takes because it's all about projection and where he'll be in 5 years not right now.

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11-15-2013, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by alphafox View Post
Not terribly excited by this draft. It seems like most of the players with the exception of Reinhart and Ekblad have low ceilings. (and while I like Ekblad he concerns me due to the part his physical maturity plays in him being a dominant force) It will be interesting to see what happens this year as there are some solid options at left wing, which is a black hole for us organizationally.

I honestly would target more picks in 2015 which is shaping up to be a better draft IMO, much easier said than done I know as no one wants to give up their shot at McDavid. But Beyond, McDavid guys like Eichel, Strome, Hanifin are all looking like guys with major offensive potential, and also for name value Maxim Tretiak is going to be available (and while no one should expect the kid to be as dominant as his dad what little I've seen indicates the kid is gonna be pretty good)
That's fair, but I think some people are selling the kids short this year. Surely, there are some guys to be really excited for in 2015, but the 2014 crop is nothing to sneeze at, and in my opinion looks similar to the 2009 crop.

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I still think it is offense first last and always. Although the way the D has been this year a D here and there might not hurt.
Our draft could go either way, and I think we'll be more in a spot for "BPA" than ever before. On the one hand, we have Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon, David Savard, Dalton Prout, and guys like Dillon Heatherington (not to mention the current blueliners we have) ... but on the other hand, you have a solid crop of upcoming forwards that has a little bit of everything. We also have some good prospects in goal, so really anything is possible - trading up, down, or picking whatever falls to us ... it will be harder to judge than ever.

The only other argument against taking forwards is that, the Jackets have taken forwards in the first round 9 times (prior to last year) and it has honestly hurt more than it's helped. With the exception of a few, most of those picks have busted. Blame can land wherever we want for that, but it hasn't served us terribly well.

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Nylander, Kapanen and Draisaitl are high risk/high reward type of players who could end up to be first liners or could bust.

It's hard to get a read on Nylander since he's a very skilled boy playing with men. He shows glimpses of his skill, but how does his game translate to the NHL? He's maybe 5'10, 165 lbs and can't physically match up against grown men. It will be more telling how well he plays in international competition, but he's so skilled he can skate rings around his peers. Scouts likely will have very different takes because it's all about projection and where he'll be in 5 years not right now.
I agree with what you said in the first paragraph here. As for Nylander, this is a guy that will either benefit or suffer hugely from his results at the WJCs (should he be there, naturally) ... it will probably be the only time all year that we'll see him against only peers.

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11-15-2013, 08:56 PM
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Was just going to look for a thread like this after tonight's game...nice to see it already at the top of the forum.

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11-16-2013, 12:19 PM
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Was just going to look for a thread like this after tonight's game...nice to see it already at the top of the forum.
Season isn't over yet ... team had a similar start last year, and this is a full 82 game season.

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11-16-2013, 12:35 PM
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Jake Virtanen is a guy I expected a bit more from, offensively atleast. I like his size and game but with that shot, size and skating you really would expect a few more points from him. Kid does everything else, just needs his offense to catch up a bit more

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11-16-2013, 02:34 PM
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Jake Virtanen is a guy I expected a bit more from, offensively atleast. I like his size and game but with that shot, size and skating you really would expect a few more points from him. Kid does everything else, just needs his offense to catch up a bit more
Skating is a bit of an issue for Virtanen, and he's also struggled to find consistency. He reminds me of what Kyle Beach was - but without the headcase issues. He could be a very good find for someone; but at this point he's looking like a stretch to be a first rounder. Another issue he's facing is that he's caught in a depth chart struggle ... Calgary has some very good players playing ahead of him.

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11-17-2013, 11:36 AM
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Skating is a bit of an issue for Virtanen, and he's also struggled to find consistency. He reminds me of what Kyle Beach was - but without the headcase issues. He could be a very good find for someone; but at this point he's looking like a stretch to be a first rounder. Another issue he's facing is that he's caught in a depth chart struggle ... Calgary has some very good players playing ahead of him.
Do you think he can play his way out of the 1st round? I just dont see it. some people pegged him as top 10 before the season and he has the tools to be a good NHLer and im sure a couple gms would be willing to bet with better coaching and some maturity he could put it together and project as a 2nd-3rd liner

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11-17-2013, 11:49 AM
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As for Nylander, this is a guy that will either benefit or suffer hugely from his results at the WJCs (should he be there, naturally) ... it will probably be the only time all year that we'll see him against only peers.
Nylander wasn't part of the Swedish U20 team at the 4 Nations tournament earlier in the month. He still could make the WJC team, but it isn't clear his role. The bottom 6 may be primarily older, more defensive players like Zaar than a smallish 17 year old like Nylander. If there are injuries, he could have a substantial top 6 role on a very good Swedish team.

This draft year should be interesting at least. If he was playing in the CHL, odds are no one would be questioning whether he would go in the top 3. It'd be nice if the Jackets could luck out with a very skilled player dropping to them.

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11-17-2013, 12:01 PM
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Do you think he can play his way out of the 1st round? I just dont see it. some people pegged him as top 10 before the season and he has the tools to be a good NHLer and im sure a couple gms would be willing to bet with better coaching and some maturity he could put it together and project as a 2nd-3rd liner
I do think he can play his way out of the first round. There are plenty of guys who have both size and talent in this year's draft - several of them will go in the top-10. For Virtanen, he currently sits with 9 goals and 14 points in 20 games. Putting that into perspective, Leon Draisaitl plays down the road for an arguably worse team, and has 10 goals and 31 points in 23 games. They are almost identical in size, and play a similar style.

At some point, the stigma of being the first overall pick in the bantam draft wears off, and it becomes more about who is performing better. As of right now, Virtanen simply hasn't wowed me enough to merit being anywhere near my top-15 ... or even top-25.

Another guy I'll compare him to is Connor Bleackley, playing for the Red Deer Rebels. Again, roughly the same size, but scoring at more than a point/game pace (and captaining his team) ... 10 goals, 25 points in 23 games. He's a guy that I have right around the 22-25 range.

Naturally, it's not all about numbers, but in the case of Virtanen, he hasn't been overwhelming in the other aspects of the game this year either. Consistency has to get better, and he has to prove that he can play with and against the best of the best.

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11-17-2013, 12:02 PM
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Nylander wasn't part of the Swedish U20 team at the 4 Nations tournament earlier in the month. He still could make the WJC team, but it isn't clear his role. The bottom 6 may be primarily older, more defensive players like Zaar than a smallish 17 year old like Nylander. If there are injuries, he could have a substantial top 6 role on a very good Swedish team.

This draft year should be interesting at least. If he was playing in the CHL, odds are no one would be questioning whether he would go in the top 3. It'd be nice if the Jackets could luck out with a very skilled player dropping to them.
I think he's good enough to make the team, but it's definitely far from a lock. If he doesn't, then your hope that he falls may definitely come true.

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11-18-2013, 12:08 AM
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It looks like a weak year from the OHL. Ekblad is the clear #1 out of the league, but I don't think there's a ton in the pipeline after him. My own #2, #3, and #4 guys out of the league as of right now aren't anyone else's.

My next three after Ekblad are Roland McKeown of the Kingston Frontenacs, Jared McCann of SSM, and Anthony DeAngelo of Sarnia. After that, it starts to get into more project players who are either boom-or-bust or who will likely be third-line types because their game is unlikely to translate. I wasn't a fan of Sam Bennett from Kingston, who seems to be everyone else's consensus #1 or #2 out of the OHL and is likely to go in the top five this June.

I haven't yet decided whether to make a trip back to North America this year like last year. Right now it's not looking too likely, but we'll see.

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11-18-2013, 01:10 AM
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It looks like a weak year from the OHL. Ekblad is the clear #1 out of the league, but I don't think there's a ton in the pipeline after him. My own #2, #3, and #4 guys out of the league as of right now aren't anyone else's.

My next three after Ekblad are Roland McKeown of the Kingston Frontenacs, Jared McCann of SSM, and Anthony DeAngelo of Sarnia. After that, it starts to get into more project players who are either boom-or-bust or who will likely be third-line types because their game is unlikely to translate. I wasn't a fan of Sam Bennett from Kingston, who seems to be everyone else's consensus #1 or #2 out of the OHL and is likely to go in the top five this June.

I haven't yet decided whether to make a trip back to North America this year like last year. Right now it's not looking too likely, but we'll see.
I like Bennett, but I still have him behind dal Colle, who I think projects as a higher upside player. Outside of that, I really can't disagree that it's a soft year for the OHL. I think the European class is one of the better ones in recent years though, and there are some guys from the WHL that are showing some talent. Really, several of these guys project as second/third line players, with some hope that under proper tutelage, they become first line players ... or at least guys that can fit into that role with other talent around.

Still, the one thing I like about this year's class, is the diversity ... most of these guys are on my list because they are versatile and can do it all.

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11-18-2013, 11:31 AM
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2014 Draft

Maybe if we keep losing games we could end up snagging a first overall pick in 2015 and grabbing Connor McDavid .

In all seriousness what are things looking like for the 2014 draft? I haven't heard much about any of the prospects but the way things are going for the CBJ right now I expect a high pick for us.

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11-18-2013, 08:12 PM
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Where is Nikolaj Ehlers on your list considering he doesn't get as much time with Drouin as stat watchers would anticipate?

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11-18-2013, 08:18 PM
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Maybe if we keep losing games we could end up snagging a first overall pick in 2015 and grabbing Connor McDavid .

In all seriousness what are things looking like for the 2014 draft? I haven't heard much about any of the prospects but the way things are going for the CBJ right now I expect a high pick for us.
It's been billed as a "weak draft," but that could be because people are already looking ahead to 2015 which has guys like Connor McDavid. I have also heard it related to 2011 here and elsewhere but I think it could be closer to 2012. Just replace 2012's strength of defense with 2014's strength of 2nd/3rd line forwards. There are also a good deal of boom or bust players like there are every year.

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11-18-2013, 09:36 PM
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Where is Nikolaj Ehlers on your list considering he doesn't get as much time with Drouin as stat watchers would anticipate?
I don't have him in my first round. He's a lot like a guy who went undrafted from the WHL (and was part of a BIG scandal with one of the teams), Alessio Bertaggia. Blazingly quick, shifty, good in every zone and can light up the scoresheet. But, size and strength are huge concerns, and whether or not the player's game will translate. I would say he's similar to Oliver Bjorkstrand ... he could got as early as the late first, or as late as the mid/late third.

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11-19-2013, 01:09 AM
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I think he's good enough to make the team, but it's definitely far from a lock. If he doesn't, then your hope that he falls may definitely come true.
It might be best for Nylander's development to drop since he needs time to develop and far too many Swedes are being rushed to the NHL like Elias Lindholm. They're played in a mens league but it doesn't mean they're ready to make the jump.

This time last year Nylander was dominating U20 SuperElit as a 16 year old and rumor/speculation was he didn't want to be promoted to Södertälje's senior team so he kept his NCAA eligibility. He's the type of smaller forward who will need some time to develop physically which the NCAA would have provided. He's also bounced around so much between teams and played in Maryland and states not known for developing NHLers, so he could use solid coaching to round out his game. He's the most exciting Swedish prospects in a long time, but he's the type of player that needs to be drafted by the right team.

His last game for MODO he was -2, played less than 8 minutes in a loss. There's going to be a lot of ups and downs this season for him. Yet, no one in Sweden worries about rushing prospects in the SHL/SEL.

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11-19-2013, 07:30 AM
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It's been billed as a "weak draft," but that could be because people are already looking ahead to 2015 which has guys like Connor McDavid.
"Guys like"? I keep hearing that phrase, and yet as someone who frankly doesn't bother following prospects at all until May of their draft year, his name is the only one I've heard.

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11-19-2013, 08:13 AM
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"Guys like"? I keep hearing that phrase, and yet as someone who frankly doesn't bother following prospects at all until May of their draft year, his name is the only one I've heard.
Who could be more like Connor McDavid?

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