The first round of the 2014 NHL Draft was held on June 27 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Now that the top prospects have been chosen by their respective teams, it is time to dive into analyzing the picks, and to see where they will fit in in their new lineups.
1- Florida Panthers: With the first overall pick in the NHL Draft, the Panthers drafted Aaron Ekblad, defenseman for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). This was the predicted pick, and is a great pick since most of their defensemen are nearing retirement. Ekblad will pair with last year’s rookie star Jonathan Huberdeau to become the new face of the Panthers.
2- Buffalo Sabres: Second overall, the Sabres selected Sam Reinhart, center for the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Reinhart has used his offensive skill to tally many goals in four seasons in the WHL, and has even won a gold medal with U18 Canadian National Team. Reinhart is surely going to turn into a future star who could hopefully add more success in Buffalo.
3- Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers took Leon Draisaitl, a center for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL with the third pick. Draisaitl quickly became an all-star in the WHL, and impressed several GMs and coaches with his offensive vision, and passing ability. Draisaitl is an excellent addition to an already young and potent Edmonton offense.
4- Calgary Flames: The Flames used their fourth overall pick to draft Sam Bennett, a center for the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL. Bennett is highly touted for his all-around offensive ability, and the way offense is always created while he is on the ice. The Flames are in a transition period, and are bringing in many young forwards, and Bennett will definitely help them return to the playoffs in the future.
5- New York Islanders: With the fifth overall pick, the New York Islanders selected Michael Dal Colle, a left winger for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL. Dal Colle has tallied tons of points on offense, yet has also shown the ability to use his great size to help his team defensively. He reminds many of another Oshawa Generals player turned NHL superstar, Eric Lindros.
6- Vancouver Canucks: Sixth overall, the Vancouver Canucks selected Jake Virtanen, right winger for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. Virtanen will add to the already deadly Vancouver offense with his point-producing ability, yet will also play a huge role in their progression with his physicality. He will quickly become another great NHL two-way forward.
7- Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes took Haydn Fleury, a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL, with the seventh pick. Fleury is a proven talent who won Best Defenseman at the U18 world games, and can do anything on the ice with his fabled skating ability. Fleury will look to progress along with Justin Faulk another talented young two-way defenseman for the Hurricanes.
8- Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs used their eighth overall pick to draft William Nylander, a right winger for the Sodertalje SK in the HockeyAllsvenskan, a Swedish hockey league. Nylander has some of the best young offensive talent in the world right now, as he won Best Forward at the 2014 world games. Nylander scored about a goal per every two games in Sweden, and if he keeps that up, he could rise up through the star-studded forward lines of Toronto.
9- Winnipeg Jets: With the ninth overall pick, the Jets selected Nikolaj Ehlers, a left winger for the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). This talented goal scorer tallied 104 points in 63 games in his rookie season this year, and was Rookie of the Year and an All Star. Ehlers will learn from Evander Kane in Winnipeg, and will turn into an even bigger threat in the near future.
10- Anaheim Ducks (From Ottawa Senators): Tenth overall, the Ducks took Nick Ritchie, a left winger for the Peterborough Petes in the OHL. Ritchie has been the OHL Rookie of the Year, and has won gold with the U18 Canadian National Team. His ability to use his body to generate offense and to guard defensively should pair well with new signing, Ryan Kesler.
11- Nashville Predators: The Predators took Kevin Fiala, a left winger for the HV 71 in the Swedish Hockey League with the 11th overall pick. Fiala has scored at numerous international tournaments, as well as in Swedish leagues and has shown that he is versatile and dangerous offensively. The Predators will surely need him in the future.
12- Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes used their 12th overall pick to draft Brendan Perlini, a left winger for the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL. Perlini has shown that he can do it all, scoring goals, adding assists, and providing a necessary level of physicality. Watch out for Perlini in the near future to erupt alongside other young Coyotes stars.
13- Washington Capitals: With the 13th overall pick, the Capitals selected Jakub Vrana, a center for the Linkoping Hockey Club in the Swedish Hockey League. At the 2014 U18 World Championships, Vrana led the Czech Republic to a silver medal with eight goals. Vrana will fit in very well in Washington, as he has proven that he has what it takes to produce at the highest level.
14- Dallas Stars: 14th overall, the Stars drafted Julius Honka, a defenseman for the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL. Honka led his team in goals, assists and points in his only season in the WHL, where he has tried to model his play after NHL superstar, and fellow offensive defenseman, Erik Karlsson. The Stars are a fantastic young team, who will use Honka to generate even more offense.
15- Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings took Dylan Larkin, a center for the Michigan Wolverines in NCAA hockey, with the 15th overall pick. The Michigan native has won gold with the US U18 team, and tallied goals at all levels of his career. Watch for him to come up big in the future as the Red Wings try to add more youth to the team.
16- Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets used their 16th overall pick to draft Sonny Milano, a left winger for the Boston College Eagles in NCAA hockey. This season, Milano tallied 85 points in 58 games for the US U18 team, and led them to a gold medal at the U18 World Championship. Milano is a fantastic steal this late, and will be a great NHL player in the near future.
17- Philadelphia Flyers: With the 17th overall pick, the Flyers selected Travis Sanheim, a defenseman for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. Sanheim had a plus-25 rating for the Hitmen this season, along with several assists, showing that offense will be generated while he is on the ice, something the Flyers will look out for.
18- Minnesota Wild: 18th overall, the Wild drafted Alex Tuch, a right winger for the Boston College Eagles in NCAA hockey. This season in the US U18 development league, Tuch 64 points in 61 games, and a plus-35 rating. This young offensive threat will only better the already young, deadly offense of the Wild in the near future.
19- Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning took Anthony DeAnglelo, a defenseman for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL. DeAngelo is a great offensive blueliner who has led OHL defensemen with 56 assists and 71 points this season. DeAngelo will surely help the shoddy defense of the Lightning in the near future.
20- Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks used their 20th overall pick to draft Nick Schmaltz, a center for the Green Bay Gamblers in the US Hockey League. Schmaltz is young and relatively untested, yet has already shown dazzling offensive ability, with 63 points in 55 games this season. He will be another offensive star for the Blackhawks in the near future.
21- St. Louis Blues: With the 21st overall pick, the Blues selected Robert Fabbri, a center for the Guelph Storm in the OHL. This season, Fabbri tallied 87 points in 58 regular season games, 28 points in 16 postseason games and the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. Fabbri has lots of talent, and will be the new face of the Blues in the future.
22- Pittsburgh Penguins: 22nd overall, the Penguins drafted Kasperi Kapanen, a right winger for KalPa in the Finnish Elite League. In this injury-riddled season, he tallied 14 points in 47 games. Although the points didn’t show it, Kapanen will be another young Finnish star for the Penguins in the future.
23- Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche took Connor Bleackley, a center for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL, with the 23rd overall pick. Bleackley led the Rebels in points this year in just his second season, with 68. He has already shown great offensive skill, and will be well-received on the young, high-scoring Avalanche squad.
24- Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks used the 24th overall pick to draft Jared McCann, a center for the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. This season he totaled 27 goals and 62 points in a great campaign for the Greyhounds. McCann and Jake Virtanen will be great together in the future in Vancouver.
25- Boston Bruins: With the 25th overall pick, the Bruins selected David Pastrnak, a left winger for Sodertalje in Sweden’s Second Division. Pastrnak had 24 points in 36 games this season, showing that he is reliable, and not streaky. His style of play will fit well in Boston in a few years.
26- Montreal Canadiens: 26th overall, the Canadiens drafted Nikita Scherbak, a left winger for the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL. Scherbak led the rookies of the WHL this season with 19 points in 65 games, and was the Blades’ MVP, top scorer, Rookie of the Year and plus/minus leader. Although he hasn’t had tons of experience, Scherbak could be great in the NHL in the near future.
27- San Jose Sharks: The Sharks took Nikolay Goldobin, a right winger for the Sarnia Sting in the OHL, with the 27th overall pick. Goldobin led Sarnia and was sixth in the OHL with 94 points in 67 games this season. This potent offensive threat will be a great forward for the Sharks in the future.
28- New York Islanders: The Islanders used the 28th overall pick to draft Joshua Ho-Sang, a right winger for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL. Ho-Sang had 85 points in 67 games in a dominant season this year, where he was able to showcase his offensive ability and his physical edge. Ho-Sang will be excellent in a few years for the Islanders, and will be able to do it all.
29- Los Angeles Kings: With the 29th overall pick, the Kings selected Adrian Kempe, a right winger for MODO in the Swedish Hockey League. This year, Kempe had 19 points in 20 games with MODO’s under-20 team, and then 11 points in 45 games on the real team. Kempe needs some grooming, but definitely has the talent to star on the Kings in the future.
30- New Jersey Devils: 30th overall, the Devils drafted John Quenneville, a center for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL. Quenneville had 58 points in the regular season, and 13 in the postseason in a great campaign. His scoring ability and his defensive prowess will make him a key asset for the Devils in the near future.