2014 Mock Draft
2014 MOCK DRAFT
1. FLORIDA PANTHERS- Aaron Ekblad, D – Barrie (OHL)
Analysis: Whether the Panthers make this pick or trade it, Ekblad is the selection. Not only did Ekblad receive exceptional status into the OHL as a 15-year old, but he has all the tools to be a top pairing defenseman for years to come. Scouts rave about how mature he is for his age, and whether the Panthers and General Manager, Dale Tallon have their socks blown off with a offer for the number one pick, passing on Ekblad could haunt them regardless of their bigger need for help on the wing. The Panthers have a lot of young defensemen in their system that could be used as trade bait for a top six winger the Panthers covet.
2. BUFFALO SABRES- Sam Reinhart, C – Kootaney (WHL)
Analysis: Called the Albert Einstein of this years draft by Brian Burke, Reinhart’s skill and leadership was put on full display in last years WHL playoffs, especially in the first round against the Calgary Hitmen (17 points in 6 GP). Reinhart fits exactly what the Sabres need, and could be a nice compliment with Cody Hodgson down the middle, and whoever the Sabres land in next years highly anticipated draft, assuming the Sabres don’t improve on their 52 points season. Hockey sense is something you can’t teach, and Reinhart almost has too much of it.
3. EDMONTON OILERS- Leon Draisaitl, C – Prince Albert (WHL)
Analysis: The struggles continue in Edmonton, and these high picks are becoming the norm up north. The Oilers definitely under estimated how long their ‘re-build’ was going to take, and you have to wonder how much more Oilers fans can handle. With the third overall pick, the Oilers should land one of the more NHL ready prospects in this years draft with Draisaitl. Compared on some nights to Anze Kopitar, Draisaitl has struggled with consistency, but that is pretty common for a kid his age. Draisaitl is the big centre the Oilers need, and should be given a lot of credit for coming over from Germany and playing in Prince Albert.
4. CALGARY FLAMES- Sam Bennett, C – Kingston (OHL)
Analysis: The highest pick in franchise history will produce another high end propsect after the Flames started their re-build off on the right foot, selecting Sean Monahan 6th overall in last years draft. Whether it is Bennett or Reinhart, one of the Sam’s seems they will be making a home in Calgary to start their NHL career. With Bennett, the Flames get a highly skilled, highly competitive player, who is not huge in size, but can be hard to play against, something both Burke and new Flames General Manager Brad Treliving love. Bennett plays for Doug Gilmour in Kingston and rivals his game after his, wearing number 93. Bennett has also been compared to Jonathan Toews, not so much for his leadership, but for his solid two-way play.
5. NEW YORK ISLANDERS- Nikolaj Ehlers, LW – Halifax (OMJHL)
Analysis: There is lots of unceratinty in this year’s draft, with many scouts saying that there is not a ton of difference between players. The obvious choice at number five for the Islanders is Michael Dal Colle, but I’m going to predict they go somewhere different. Ehlers skill and speed where on display at the Top Prospects game back in January in Calgary, and he has been often compared to his Halifax teammate, Jonathan Drouin. Ehlers might not live up to Drouins potential, but if he is anywhere as creative and can become a legitimate playmaker, he could look awfully good along side John Tavares and Kyle Okposo down the road.
6. VANCOUVER CANUCKS- Michael Dal Colle, RW – Oshawa (OHL)
Analysis: As bad as the season ended for the Canucks and their fans, they have done a very nice job revamping their front office and coaching staff. If Trevor Linden and Jim Benning can make the right moves (with this pick, trading Ryan Kesler, finding a number one goalie), they will have a chance to turn their fortunes around very quickly. Having Dal Colle slip to them at number six is a dream scenerio for the Canucks. Dal Colle probably is not ready to play in the NHL right away, but probably is not far away once he fills out. I think the Canucks will be able to deal Kesler this summer, and I will stick with my prediction that they will get a deal done with the Chicago Blackhawks (Nick Leddy + other pieces coming the other way?). Throw in Bo Horvat and possibly signing free agent Ryan Miller, it hurts me to say this, but things are not as bad as they look in Vancouver.
7. CAROLINA HURRICANES- Haydn Fleury, D – Red Deer (WHL)
Analysis: The Hurricanes seem to have made a good transition handing over the General Manager reigns to Ron Francis. Looking at the Hurricanes depth chart and prospect pool, this is one of the hardest picks to predict. The Hurricanes could go in many directions at number seven, but I think Fleury is the best choice. Fleury has excellent skating ability, and has unlimited potential. With question marks still surrounding 2011 1st round pick, Ryan Murphy, the Hurricanes need some help on the back end down the road.
8. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS- Nick Ritchie, LW – Peterborough (OHL)
Analysis: Rumors surround the Leafs with reports that the only names that are safe in Leaf land are Kessel, Reilly and Bernier. The Leafs are another team with a lot of holes in their depth chart, and do not have many young up and coming prospects who are ready to make an impact in the NHL. At number eight the Leafs should be thrilled to land Ritchie. Ritchie could be the poster boy for this draft, with so many questions surrounding him and all of the other prospects. If Ritchie can find some consistency and continue to play a power forward game at the NHL level, the Leafs could walk away with the steal of the draft.
9. WINNIPEG JETS- Jake Virtanen, LW – Calgary (WHL)
Analysis: As frustrated as Jets fans are getting with the lack of moves made by the Jets management since their resurgence, the Jets have slowly and quietly developed a strong core of prospects. Virtanen has all the tools to become a high impact top six winger in the NHL, and fits what the Jets need perfectly. It might be a stretch for the Jets to land him at nine, but being able to watch Virtanen first hand here in Calgary, the combination of his speed and shot has me bought in. Virtanen could compliment Mark Schiefele extremely well.
10. ANAHEIM DUCKS (FROM OTT)- William Nylander, C/RW – Modo (Swe)
Analysis: The rich get richer with the 10th overall pick. The Ducks are on the up swing after an excellent regular season, which saw them finish first place in the West before bowing out to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, LA Kings. The Ducks have one of the deepest pools of prospects in the NHL, and some of them started to make their impact in the playoffs (Smith-Pelley, Gibson etc.). The Ducks have their hands in a lot of conversations trying to land a centre to play behind Ryan Getzlaf, so this pick could be on the move in order to fill that need. If the Ducks keep the pick, they are in a situation where they take the best player available. Nylander, son of Michael Nylander, is one of the most skilled prospects in this years Draft, and could one day play in the Ducks top six.
11. NASHVILLE PREDATORS- Brendan Perlini, LW – Niagra (OHL)
12. PHOENIX COYOTES- Jakub Vrana, RW/C – Linkoping (Swe)
13. WASHINGTON CAPITALS- Travis Sanheim, D – Calgary (WHL)
14. DALLAS STARS- Robby Fabbri, C – Guelph (OHL)
15. DETROIT RED WINGS- Dylan Larkin, C – U.S. NTDP
16. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS- Kasperi Kapanen, RW – Kuopio (Fin)
17. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS- Sonny Milano, LW – U.S. NTDP
18. MINNESOTA WILD- Jared McCann, C – S.S. Marie (OHL)
19. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING- Julius Honka, D – Swift Current (WHL)
20. SAN JOSE SHARKS- Connor Bleackley, C/RW – Red Deer (WHL)
21. ST. LOUIS BLUES- Kevin Fiala, LW – HV71 (Swe)
22. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS- Nikita Scherbak, RW – Saskatoon (WHL)
23. COLORADO AVALANCHE- Brendan Lemieux, LW – Barrie (OHL)
24. ANAHEIM DUCKS- Anthony DeAngelo, D – Sarnia (OHL)
25. BOSTON BRUINS- Ivan Barbashev, LW – Moncton (OMJHL)
26. MONTREAL CANADIENS- Ryan McInnis, C – Kitchner (OHL)
27. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS- Roland McKeown, D – Kingston (OHL)
28. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (FROM NYR)- Alex Tuch, RW – U.S. NTDP
29. LOS ANGELES KINGS- Adrian Kempe, RW – Modo Jr. (Swe-JR)
30. NEW JERSEY DEVILS- Josh Ho-Sang, RW – Windsor (OHL)