The 2014 draft along with the 2015 draft will go down as two of the most important days in the Buffalo Sabres franchise history. They already have one of the strongest systems in hockey and have plenty of ammo to make it one of the strongest the NHL has ever seen. With that being said they do have some areas within their system that they need to address.
State of the System
Even with Girgensons graduating there are plenty of quality options in the system. Compher, Larsson, Baptiste, Fasching, Carrier, Deslauriers, Kea, and Schaller are all players who can play a game that can fit bottom 6 roles if they don’t fit in the top 6. Buffalo’s system also has players like Grigorenko, Armia, Hurley, and Bailey who are highly talented players that could be top 6 players but have to continue and develop the raw ability they possess. What their lacking up front is a sure fire star caliber forward and more forwards with top 6 potential. They can address one need at number two but may need to trade back into the first round to get another player with top end potential in the top 6.
In Ristolainen, Zadorov, Pysyk, McCabe, and Ruhwedel, Buffalo has five defenseman in their system that are as good or better than any other team has in their system. All five should be out of the system within the next two years which will leave a big hole in their system after that. The top half of the first round is very weak for defenseman but after that there are a lot of good options. Buffalo would be wise to look at Europeans or NCAA options because of the extra couple years they can get to let them develop while they have a full system.
Buffalo has two strong prospects in Ullmark and Petersen but are early in their development and are a ways a way from being a factor in Buffalo. Lieuwen showed some decent potential this year and recently got an endorsement from Tim Murray that might hint he’s Buffalos favorite option right now between him Makarov and Hackett. Hackett had a decent showing in his time with Buffalo and Makarov had strong showing in a short stint with Rochester. Both will need to be more consistent in the AHL or ECHL to have a future in the franchise. Any goalie Buffalo takes in the draft is going to be a long term project but there are some good options in rounds 3 through 5 that could add to their depth.
Draft Positional Preview
Forwards- The first round will be heavily favored with forwards. There will be players available through the first half of the first round that are high end scoring options such as Nylander, Ehlers, and Perlini. The second half of the first round will consist of players who fit other roles whether such as physical two way players like Bleackley, Karlsson, and Kamenev. Once you get about half way through the second round the players with high end scoring potential will be almost gone. At that point in the draft it’s going to be trying to find players who can fit a role in your bottom 6 or taking a swing on guys with scoring potential but low chance of reaching that potential.
Defense- The first round is very weak if you’re looking to find high caliber defenseman. Ekblad and Fleury are the only two players who are a lock as first round selections, Honka most likely will go in the first but I could see teams waiting on him until the second round. Once the second round comes around their will be plenty of options. Four Defenseman could go from the USNTDP between rounds 2 and 3 and there are plenty of smooth skating Europeans to choose from as well. Roland McKeown will be the prize of the Canadian Hockey Leagues to go in that range.
Goalies- Thatcher Demko is the prize of this year’s goaltending class and could go as high as the end of the first but most likely will early in the second round. After him theirs numerous goalies that an argument could be made for going off the board next but it will most likely be one of three players, either Villie Husso, Jonas Johansson, or Alexander Nedeljkovic. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds there should be quite a few goalies coming off the board, towards the end of the draft the pace should slow back down to one or two coming off the board in rounds 4 through 7.
Players Murray may be Targeting
One thing to be excited about is that Murrays done well in the past with high picks. His top 2 rounds over the past three drafts have included. Curtis Lazar, Cody Ceci, Mika Zibanejad, Stefan Noesen, Mattew Puempel, and Shane Prince all of which have had strong showings early on in their careers. If Murray makes a move to get a higher pick in this draft his history shows fans should have a reason to be excited about the player he moves to get.
If there’s one thing Murray has been consistent with its been stating his desire to add size up front. He also stated in one of his opening press conferences as General Manager that he’s looking for defenseman who can skate saying the day of the hulking defenseman who can’t move and just clear the crease are done.
When looking at his past drafts Murray has not been of fan of Russians, and even in a recent interview he acknowledged the Russian factor and doesn’t like how they have an option to go back home and play if things don’t work out right away. So that could rule out players like Scherbak, Barbashev, Kamenev, and Goldobin if Murrays looking to trade back into the first.
Other tendencies include over the past three drafts Murray has only possessed one second round pick, which resulted in his smallest player taken in the top 2 rounds Shane Prince, who was still 5’11 180 when picked. His first round pick last year was his next smallest player in Curtis Lazar at 6’ 190. Two conclusions I can draw from this is that he doesn’t value second round picks as much adding to the belief that Buffalo will try to move those picks and get back in the first. The second is more conformation that Murray wants a heavier team and may try to avoid players like Fabbri, Honka, Point, and DeAngelo.
I believe Murray will have a heavy influence on Buffalo’s first 2 rounds before handing the draft over to Kevin Devine and company in the third when the draft gets weaker. Players I believe Murray may be looking at in a trade back into the mid first include….
1. Jared McCann
- If Murray doesn’t like the options at center he could be looking to move up and grab a player like McCann who has a good combination of size and skill. He works hard in all zones and can help a team in multiple ways.
2. Jake Virtanen
- One of a couple players he acknowledged in his last press conference that could be a possible option when trading up. Plays a heavy game that Murray covets and is a natural goal scorer. Goal to assist ratio hasn’t bothered Murray in the past, check Matt Puempel’s stat line.
3. Alex Tuch
- Another big forward with a heavy game and another player acknowledged by Murray that he could possibly target Friday. Has great hands and is a good skater for his size.
4. Adrian Kempe
- Murray has taken Swedes in the past and Kempe could be another he looks at making a move for. Plays a similar game to both Virtanen and Tuch.
Once you get to the bottom of the first and into the second round there could be a couple more names Murray looks at before theirs a big drop off in talent. Possibly targeting a defenseman to keep the pipeline strong is an option in this part of the draft. Players might include…
1. Jack Glover
- Glover has the skating and two way potential that Murrays coveted in the past. Murray did make reference to possibly preferring junior players that could hurt Glover and Tuch if they choose to go through with their NCAA commitment.
2. Roland McKeown
- Would be another player who’s a great skater and potentially a strong two way defenseman. Safer option to if Murray isn’t looking for a homeroom.
3. Anton Karlsson
- Another Swede that plays a heavy game and can help a team in multiple ways. Even though he doesn’t have the highest offensive potential he plays a strong all-around game.
4. John Quennville
- Is a poor man’s version of Murrays first round pick Curtis Lazar. Not quite the battler Lazar is but is a two way forward and provide more depth down the middle.
All players fit the criteria that Murray has been known to target in the past. The Defenseman have good size and are good skaters. The forwards also have good size and have a fallback game that Murray referred to in his past press conference. For more of a scouting report check out the draft board below.
Guessing on players who might be available at each selection is how I based my picks. If I were in charge of this draft for Buffalo my first goal would be to get another selection around the top 15 where I believe there are some real good players to be had. My next goal would be to get as many players as possible in my top 58 before there’s a big drop off in talent. Rather than try to predict what picks Buffalo will have after trades, I’ll make their 8 selections as is. With the 8 selections I’d be looking to add 4 forwards, 3 defenseman, and a goalie.
1 (2)- Sam Reinhart, Center
2 (31)- Jack Glover, Defenseman
2 (39)- Anton Karlsson, Right Wing
2 (49)- Brett Pollock, Center
3 (61)- Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Right Wing
5 (121)- Brandon Halverson, Goalie
6 (151)- Stefan LeBlanc, Defenseman
7 (181)-Joni Tulola, Defenseman
With the forwards I’m getting some size and players who aren’t one dimensional as well as an elite talent in Reinhart. The defenseman I’m looking at specifically high end potential, with so many players in Buffalo’s system that are close to NHL ready I can stand to take a chance on some long developing prospects. In Halverson I’m adding a big goalie who adds to the depth already in the organization.
My Draft Board
Normally I’ll have roughly 200 players but the bottom of the draft gets so weak I stopped a little short. There’s also a brief scouting report on the first 6 tiers which I believe could cover their first three rounds of selections. A brief explanation of my tier system, each tier has players that I think are relatively close together in rating. I start a new tier every time I see a big drop off from one player to another, it helps organize my rankings and judge when I think they should trade up to take a player. Anytime over ager is written it means they were previously eligible for a draft.
2014 Draft Rankings
1. Sam Reinhart 6’1 185 (C) Kootenay (WHL)
- Unbelievable hockey sense and maturity for an 18 year old. Doesn’t blow you with a way his skating ability, but manages to dictate the game speed with his incredible vision and offensive skills. He’s an elite offensive talent, strong leader, reliable two way player, and will battle for pucks in the dirty areas. Was absolutely dominant after the World Juniors averaging over 2 points a game. Projects to be a do it all number 1 center with no holes in his game.
2. Aaron Ekblad 6’4 215 (D) Barrie (OHL)
- First thing that jumps out at you is his imposing frame. Already has the body to be a NHL player, may be the only one who makes the jump this year. Is good in every facet of the game with no obvious weakness. Projects to be a top pairing defenseman with the upside of being one of the game’s best.
3. Sam Bennett 6’0 180 (C/LW) Kingston (OHL)
- Has a gritty style of game to go with his elite offensive abilities. Very good skater and is strong two forward as well. Plays with a little bit of an edge that can get him in trouble now and then. Like most prospects will need to continue to get bigger and stronger, when he does is game could take off even more so. Projects as a top line forward with the flexibility to play center or wing.
4. Leon Draisaitl 6’1 210 (LW) Prince Albert (WHL)
- Big bodied forward who’s very dangerous in all facets of the game offensively. Despite his size he isn’t a power forward, uses size to create space but isn’t a physical player. Prefers to play on outside and utilize his vision, passing, and stick handling. Might be the biggest boom or bust prospect that has top 5 potential. Has a lot of skills but needs to develop every part of his game before he makes the leap to the NHL. . Skating is good but doesn’t have the high end speed. Projects to be a top line forward who could be an elite offensive talent, but not a great 2 way player or overly physical player.
5. Michael Dal Colle 6’2 185 (C/LW) Oshawa(OHL)
- Power forward with the frame to put on another 20 pounds. A lot of skills to go with his frame that includes one of the better shots in the draft. Not an overly fast skater but is extremely strong on them. Needs to continue to develop the physical aspect of his game before he becomes truly dominant. With so much room to grow both in his game and physically it’s hard to know how good he could he could be. Projects to be a top 6 power forward, probably not a franchise player.
6. William Nylander 5’11 170 (C) MoDo (SWE)
- Could be the most highly skilled player in the draft. Is very creative with the puck, can make tape to tape passes and be a finisher even though he’s more of a playmaker. Also a great skater, both in straight line speed and agility. Consistency isn’t there yet, dominated WJC-18 but couldn’t be found majority of the season. Needs to be much better defensively as well. Another concern is his frame, only 170 pounds right now and doesn’t have a big frame for adding a lot of weight. Skills to be a number 1 center if he brings everything together, probably at least 2 years away from NHL debut.
7. Nikolaj Ehlers 5’11 160 (LW) Halifax (QMJHL)
- World class speed, their won’t be many players in the league that can skate faster than him. Just as impressive is his ability to handle the puck and make quick decisions while moving so quickly. Very good in transition and space, has a knack for finishing. Will always be small, may never weigh 180 pounds which could limit his game down the road. Needs the puck on his stick, not nearly as effective of a player moving without it. Projects as top 6 forward, might not every be dominant but will always be dangerous.
8. Haydn Fleury 6’2 200 (D) Red Deer (WHL)
- Very reliable defenseman that has good size and a physical side to his game. A good skater that projects him to be an above average puck mover in the NHL. Will play a two way game but will be better known in his career for a strong defensive game and having a physical presence. Doesn’t have the elite offensive skills or play with the pace to be a franchise defenseman. Projects as a solid top pairing defenseman that can play in all situations.
9. Jared McCann 6’0 180 (C) Sault Saint Marie (OHL)
- One of the most under rated players in the draft. Strong 2 way player with high end speed that plays very hard. Has good hands and is an intelligent player that makes him a threat offensively. Has a good frame that needs to be filled out, once he does his physicality should improve as well. Projects as a top 6 forward who does everything well but isn’t an elite offensive talent.
10. Brendan Perlini 6’3 195 (LW) Niagara (OHL)
- Natural goal scorer that has ideal size and a lot of talent. Not a bad skater, has a long powerful stride. Also is lucky to have a long reach that he uses very well. Needs to improve the physical aspects of his game, doesn’t like to battle in the corners. Also needs to be more responsible defensively. His game will be putting the puck in the net he will never be much of a setup man. Projects as scoring line winger that could potentially be a consistent 30 goal scorer.
11. Jake Virtanen 6’1 190 (C/LW) Calgary (WHL)
- Had offseason shoulder surgery which could affect his stock a little bit. A natural goal scorer who can flat out dominate the game at times. Has a very good shot and slick hands to go along with his good frame. Needs to increase awareness in all zones, doesn’t use teammates well offensively and isn’t defensively responsible yet. Could be a dominating top 6 power forward.
12. Alex Tuch 6’3 225 (C/LW) USNTDP (USA)
- Huge power forward that has a well-rounded game. Gives you the versatility to play anywhere in your top 9. Can be a thumper in your top 6 or play on a checking line that also provides offense. Is also a very good skater for his size and is defensively responsible. Only question will be how much of an offensive force will he be going forward. A safer pick because of how many different ways he can help a team. Projects as a top 9 power forward.
13. Adrian Kempe 6’2 190 (C) MoDo (SWE)
- Power forward who’s still developing his offensive game. Right now he plays a game that is perfect for a 3rd line center. Is a strong fore checker, finishs his checks, and isn’t bad defensively. Also is a strong skater with a powerful stride. Isn’t very strong offensively right now, but has the skills to further develop his game. Has a good shot and is always attacking the net. Projects as 2nd or 3rd line center depending on how much he improves offensively.
14. Dylan Larkin 6’0 185 (LW) USNTDP (USA)
- Power forward who is a very hard worker. Is not a perimeter player, gets a lot of his chances by using his size and strength and taking the puck straight to the net, pretty fast as well making him a very hard person to defend. Is a very responsible two player as well. Question is how high his offensive upside is. Projects as a top 9 power forward who plays in all situations
15. Nick Ritchie 6’2 205 (RW) Peterborough (OHL)
- Looks like a man amongst boys at times on the ice. Their won’t be many players who can just physically impose his will on a game like Ritchie can. Possess a pretty good skill set to go with his size and isn’t a bad skater. Big question is can his style of play translate to the NHL at the same effectiveness. He won’t have the same huge physical edge in the NHL he has now which makes him so dominant at times. If it does translate he could be one of the best players to come from this draft, if not he’ll be an average top 9 power forward.
16. Ivan Barbashev 6’0 180 (LW) Moncton (QMJHL)
- Not your typical Russian player, has a lot of skill but has physical side to his game as well as being defensively responsible. Is a dangerous playmaker and is at his best when in transition, but also has a solid shot that makes him a dangerous scoring threat. Concerns come with his consistency. The amount of talent he possesses can leave you wanting more. If he can bring consistent effort to every game he could be a top 6 winger.
17. Connor Bleakley 6’0 200 (C) Red Deer (WHL)
- One of the safer options available in the first round. Defined by his nonstop motor and strong two way game. Engages in the physical aspect of the game and is a strong fore checker. Will only be ok offensively and while he’s a not a bad skater doesn’t have high end speed. Could be a 2nd line center with his all-around skills if he can keep proving offensively, if not could kick out to a wing with his style of game or be a excellent 3rd line center.
18. Nikolay Goldobin 5’11 180 (RW) Sarnia (OHL)
- Has the potential to an absolute deadly winger. Great shot with impressive stick handling ability to go with it. Very good passer but tends to be a shoot first player. Not very strong right now and can get pushed around, also not very good in his own zone. Is a boom or bust player, has to play in a top 6 to be a NHL player. Doesn’t have the skill set to play in a bottom 6 role.
19. Kasperi Kapanen 5’11 170 (LW) KalPa (FIN)
- There aren’t many players that have a better combination of skating and playmaking ability then Kapanen. Unbelievable with the puck on his stick, not many players more exciting once he gets the puck. Not a physical player, slight frame will allow him get pushed around. Productivity hasn’t matched the talent he has, has good blood lines but might be higher up some boards then he should because of the last name. Boom or bust, can be a playmaking top 6 winger. Will need to play on a scoring line doesn’t have the skill set to be a bottom 6 player.
20. Nikita Scherbak 6’2 175 (LW) Saskatoon (WHL)
- Big gritty winger who has a lot of ability. Uses his frame well to get to the net. Has a very good shot and good hands that always make him a threat with the puck. Is surprisingly agile for a guy with his size. Not very strong defensively yet and not always consistent. Can be a top 6 winger with his skill set, also could project to a checking line down if he continues developing the physical aspects of his game.
21. Sonny Milano 5’11 185 (LW) USNTDP (USA)
- Has some of the slickest hands in the draft. Very skilled playmaker who’s an excellent skater. Controls the pace of the game and can finish even know he’s more of a passer. Needs to continue to improve defensively and his play away from the puck, benefits a lot now from playing with Jack Eichel and Alex Tuch who are very talented and good without the puck. Has the potential to be a big time playmaker on the wing in the top 6, game doesn’t translate outside the top 6.
22. Vladimir Kamenev 6’2 175 (C) Magnitigorsk (MHL)
- Another Russian who is not your typical Russian prospect. Plays a strong 2 way game and is a very physical player, has been known to take his physical play a little too far at times. Has offensive upside but still needs to continue to grow in that phase to be a top 2 center. There’s always a little of a risk that a player from the KHL might decide to not come over. If he continues to develop offensively he could be a 2nd line center someday. He also has the skill set to be a bottom 6 player with his two way game and physicality.
23. Nick Schmaltz 5’11 175 (C/RW) Green Bay (USHL)
- Smaller forward who’s very creative with the puck on his stick. Has the flexibility to play center or wing. Is a pin point passer and has good vision. Is a very good play maker but not much of a finisher at this point. Works very well with the puck and is a shifty skater but needs to improve away from it. Not bad defensively but could stand to improve. Skill set only fits him to be a top 6 player but can make it as wing or center, will need to get bigger.
24. Jacub Vrana 6’0 185 (C/RW) Linkopings (SWE)
- Has all the skills to play in the top 6 as a center or wing. Has a good shot, is a good passer with good vision, and good skater. While his offensive awareness is very high his defensive awareness is lacking. He’s also lacking consistency, looked dominant in WJC-18 but didn’t show those same skills through his league play. Will be a project for whoever takes him but the payoff could be very high. Very much a boom or bust player.
25. Kevin Fiala 5’10 195 (RW) HV71 (SWE)
- Had very strong showings at the WJC-18 and WJC-20 which has seen him fly up some boards. Is a quick skater and is a good stick handler which allows him to control the puck and the pace of the game. Projects to be more of a finisher then playmaker. Isn’t very strong defensively and his size could be a problem down the road even though he’s pretty heavy for his size, might be one prospect who doesn’t add much weight as he gets older.
26. Jack Glover 6’3 175 (D) USNTDP (USA)
- Big rangy two way defender who has a ton of potential to grow. Very aware in all zones and is physical enough to clear the front of the net and battle for pucks in the corners. Offense should come down the road, has a good outlet pass and good vision. Has the mobility to jump in the rush, will be better as his game continues to grow. Is going to be a project, he needs to fill out his body and be much more consistent. Has all the talent to be a top 3 defenseman, will probably have to stay in college through his junior year to develop it.
27. David Pastrnak 6’0 170 (RW) Sodertalje (SWE)
- Is an extremely exciting player to watch play. Puck is glued to his stick no matter where he goes, has extremely quick feet and good top end speed. Uses his stick handling and speed to put himself in position to score and has a great shot to put the puck in the back of the net. More of a finisher then play maker. Not a big player, if you can catch him he’s easy to knock off the puck. Also needs to utilize his team mates a little better, has the potential to be a good set up man. Consistent effort doesn’t seem to always be there, shows little interest in playing defense. Long term project, boom or bust player that could be one of the more exciting players in the league.
28. Anton Karlsson 6’1 190 (RW) Frolunda J-20 (SWE)
- Winger with good combination of size, speed, and strength. Is a straight ahead skater who engages in the game physically and works hard every shift. Has shown the ability to be both a playmaker and a finisher. Doesn’t have an extremely high potential offensively but plays a strong 2 way game to make up for it. Struggled to score in the world juniors which has hurt his stock on other boards. His strong all-around game projects him to key piece in a team’s top 9 who contributes in all aspects of the game
29. Roland McKeown (D) 6’1 185 Kingston (OHL)
- Very good skater and very smart player. Responsible in his own end, anticipates plays well and has a knack for making the simple play. Shot is average, finds a way to get it on net. Relatively safe pick as far as defenseman go, should be a do it all top 4 defenseman. Does everything well but not one thing great which could prevent him from being a top pairing defenseman.
30. Eric Cornel 6’1 185 (C) Peterborough (OHL)
- Has a great frame to build on. A lot of skills including a big shot and good vision that’s made him dangerous in all facets offensively this year. Has a developing two game and has made huge strides this year. Could be a number two center, full potential might not be realized yet with how much he’s improved.
31. Jack Dougherty 6’2 185 (D) USNTDP (USA)
- Is pretty good in all areas of his game except his skating which isn’t fantastic. Is a physical player who shows good awareness and makes good passes. Should be a top 4 defenseman after a couple years at Wisconsin.
32. Ryan MacInnis 6’3 185 (C) Kitchener (OHL)
- Has the size you look for in center but has a long way to go before he sees a NHL game. Has a good shot and decent offensive awareness but needs to add a lot of weight to his big frame and become a better skater. Has high end offensive potential with his combination of size and ability but looks to be a boom or bust player.
33. Josh Jacobs 6’2 195 (D) Indiana (USHL)
- Very good skater and a skill set that should translate him to being a strong two way defender down the road. Is a good passer and is fairly physical too. Already has frame that looks close to NHL ready. Very inconsistent and is going to need patience for whatever team takes him. Another year in the USHL will benefit him a lot, might be four years before he turns pro but the payout could be big.
34. Brendan Lemieux 6’1 210 (LW) Barrie (OHL)
- One of the hardest guys to play against in this draft. Is an agitator who’s got the size to back it up. Is good enough offensively to play as high as a second line role down the road. Won’t be much of a playmaker but will pucks away when he gets the chance. Pretty safe pick with the different ways he could help a team.
35. John Quenneville 6’1 185 (C) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
- Two way center with a pretty good frame. Is strong on his skates and uses his body well to create space. Has made major strides in his second season with Brandon and could be a do it all second line center for someone. Will need to improve his skating and doesn’t have high end potential offensively.
36. Josh Ho-Sang 5-11 165 (C/RW) Windsor (OHL)
- Exciting player, really good with the puck on his stick and has natural offensive ability especially putting the puck in the net. Has some character concerns and concerns about his slight frame. Needs to work better without the puck. Boom or bust player, someone will grab him higher because of game breaking ability.
37. Marcus Pettersson 6’4 170 (D) Skelleftea (SWE)
- Tall lanky stay at home defenseman. Has very good mobility for a person his size. Has good defensive zone awareness and makes good crisp passes out of the zone. Needs to pack on a lot of weight and add consistency, struggled towards the end of the season. Will be a long term project because of much he’ll need to add to his frame and become more consistent. Is a boom or bust.
38. Brett Pollock (C) 6’2 180 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
- Late riser throughout the year once his offense started to take form. Is a tenacious player that’s solid in all zones. Still is growing offensively but will never be a power house. Is a very good fore-checker and has some grit to his game. Fall back game if he doesn’t fit in someone’s top 6. Has questions about conditioning.
39. Travis Sanheim 6’3 180 (D) Calgary (WHL)
- Late riser with strong 2nd half of season and a real strong WJC-18. Has good size and is a very good skater with a solid two way game. Needs to add weight and become a more physical player. Also needs to show strong play through a whole season. Has a very high ceiling.
40. Brycen Martin 6’1 180 (D) Swift Current (WHL)
- Calm and collected player who’s a very good skater. Makes the little plays and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Has good size but could stand to add some physicality to his game. Projects to be a top 4 defenseman who doesn’t make many mistakes.
41. Julius Honka (D) 5’10 180 Swift Current (WHL)
- Small defenseman with a lot of offensive ability. Very dangerous on the power play and does a good job jumping in on the rush. Very good skater as well. Defensive zone awareness was better this year but still not great. His size makes it easy to knock him off the puck which could prohibit him from being a top 4 defenseman.
42. Nick Magyar (C/RW) 6’2 195 Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
- Big forward with some decent playmaking skills. Burst on to the scene a little this year after not having a strong showing last year. Has a physical aspect to his game that complements his all-around solid game.
43. Juho Lammikko (RW) 6’2 190 Assat U-20 (FIN)
- Gets compared to Joel Armia a lot because of size and playing for the same Finnish team. His game differs quite a bit then Armia however, is a little more of a set-up man and plays a better defensive game as well. Very good passer and has good vision and at this point is just an adequate finisher. Needs to improve skating and consistency. Lots of potential.
44. Jayce Hawryluk 5’10 190 (C) Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
- A little undersized but plays bigger than his size suggest. Has a solid all-around offensive game including a very good shot. Is reliable defensively and adds some grit to his game. Size might hurt him down the road with the game he plays. Might not have the size and game to play a bottom 6 role.
45. Robert Fabbri (C/LW) 5’10 165 Guelph Storm (OHL)
- Great offensive talent. Great skater with high end speed and is a finisher. Has an edge to his game despite his small stature. Same small stature could make his game very hard to translate to the NHL. For every Tyler Ennis theirs a Nathan Gerbe.
46. Hunter Smith (RW) 6’6 215 Oshawa (OHL)
- Over ager. Absolute giant of a winger. Scoring output this year has changed the perception of him now being regarded as a power forward rather than just an enforcer. If he continues to grow offensively he’ll be a valuable asset to a team with his combination of size, physicality, and offense.
47. Justin Kirkland (LW) 6’3 190 Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- Project with a potentially big payout. Still filling out a big frame and adding the physicality that will need to come with it. Seems to have a good all-around hockey sense and work ethic that could help him reach his potential.
48. Ryan Donato (C) 6’0 175 Dexter School (HS)
- Intelligent player with good blood lines. Has slick hands and good vision that’s made him successful so far. His skating isn’t spectacular and will need to improve in that aspect. Will probably take three years before going pro.
49. Andreas Eglund (D) 6’3 190 Djurgården (SWE)
- Big defensive defenseman that makes all the simple plays. Is a good skater and is also pretty physical player. Won’t offer to much offensively to a team. Has at least two more years in Europe before he can go to the AHL which will benefit round his all around game.
50. Thatcher Demko (G) 6’3 190 Boston College (NCAA)
- Big goalie who’s got good reflexes, strong fundamentals, and positions himself very well. Is very athletic which allows him to move through the crease with ease. Concentration lapses allow occasional soft goals and will need to continue develop in all areas as goalies are so early in their development when drafted.
51. Vaclav Karabacek (LW) 5’11 185 Gatineau (QMJHL)
- Not a lot of flash to his game. Is at his best when he’s in tight spaces are in the corners battling for pucks. Is much more of a finisher then a set-up man, has a good offensive zone sense that allows him to get open for a shot. Isn’t a bad skater but is more likely to use his body to create space then skate by someone. Not very good defensively and needs to continue to develop offensively in his second year in North America.
52. Ryan Collins (D) 6’5 200 USA U-18 (USHL)
- Big Defensive Defenseman who is a very good skater. Is very aware in his own zone and has a long reach to break up opponent’s opportunities. Won’t provide much offensively and has to continue to get bigger and stronger. Could use three years of college hockey before going pro.
53. Warren Foegele (LW) 6’1 180 St. Andrews (HS)
- Has the size, soft hands, and compete level you look for in a forward. Has also been known to play a strong two way game. High potential but hasn’t played the high level completion others have in this draft.
54. Michael Bunting (LW) 5’11 175 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
- Is an all-around good two way player who missed part of the season due to an injury. Does everything pretty well but nothing great which includes having some grit in his game. His two way game gives him a good fall back game if he doesn’t reach offensive potential, not a great skater at this point in his development.
55. Nicolas Aube Kubel (RW) 5’11 190 Val-d’Or (QMJHL)
- A do everything two way player. A real high energy player that has great speed. Has the versatility to play multiple roles, offensive upside is his biggest question mark.
56. Shane Eiserman (LW) 6’2 200 Dubuque (USHL)
- Big forward who’s very hard to play against. Already has a NHL frame and works well in the dirty areas. Shows some skill offensively but it’s not what will make him a NHL player. Is a good skater and plays a two way game.
57. Villie Husso (G) 6’2 185 HIFK (Liiga)
- Over ager. Does a good job positioning himself and moving within the crease. Challenges skaters well and can recover when he needs to. Needs to be better fundamentally and become much more consistent in every aspect of his game.
58. Adam Ollas Mattsson 6’4 210 Djurgarden (SWE)
- Big defensive defenseman through and through. Already has a pretty filled out frame and can have a mean streak. Won’t give you much offensively and has to bring more consistent play. Doesn’t have high end speed.
59. Dylan Sadowy (LW) 6’1 180 Saginaw (OHL)
60. Spencer Watson (LW) 5’9 170 Kingston (OHL)
61. Brayden Point (C) 5’9 160 Moose Jaw (WHL)
62. Johnathan MacLeod (D) 6’2 200 USA U-18 (USHL)
63. Blake Siebenaler (D) 6’0 190 Niagara (OHL)
64. Julius Bergman (D) 6’0 190 Frolunda J20 (SWE)
65. Connor Chatham (RW) 6’1 210 Plymouth (OHL)
66. Julien Nantel (LW) 6’0 180 Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
67. Jake Wallman (D) 6’1 175 Toronto Jr Canadians (OJHL)
68. Jonas Johansson (G) 6’4 200 Brynas J20 (SWE)
69. Reid Gardner (C/RW) 5’11 185 Prince Albert (WHL)
70. Anthony DeAngelo (D) 5’11 170 Sarnia (OHL)
71. Gavin Bayreuther (D) 6’1 175 St. Lawerence (NCAA)
72. Lucas Wallmark (C/RW) 6’0 175 Lulea (SWE)
73. Alexander Nedeljkovic (G) 6’0 185 Plymouth (OHL)
74. Aaron Irving (D) 6’0 185 Edmonton (WHL)
75. Alex Peters (D) 6’3 210 Plymouth (OHL)
76. Edgars Kulda (LW) 6’0 180 Edmonton (WHL)
- Over ager.
77. Brandon Hickey (D) 6’2 180 Spruce Grove (AJHL)
78. Dexter Dancs (LW) 6’2 200 Vernon (BCHL)
79. Chase De Leo (C) 5’9 175 Portland (WHL)
80. Kyle Jenkins (D) 6’1 165 Sault Ste Marie (OHL)
81. Maxim Letunov (C) 6’2 160 Youngstown (USHL)
82. Luke Philp (C) 5’10 180 Kootenay (QMJHL)
83. Alexis Vanier (D) 6’5 225 Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
84. Beau Starrett (LW) 6’4 185 South Shore (USPHL PRE)
85. Shanye Gersich (C) 5’11 170 Omaha (USHL)
86. Julien Nantel (C/LW) 6’0 190 Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
87. Pierre Engvall (LW) 6’4 190 Frolunda J-20 (SWE)
88. Richard Nejezchleb (RW) 6’2 190 Bradon (WHL)
- Over ager.
89. Brett Lernout (D) 6’4 205 Swift Current (WHL)
90. Aaron Haydon (D) 6’2 185 Niagara (OHL)
91. Mason McDonald (G) 6’3 180 Charlottetown(QMJHL)
92. Alexis Pepin (LW) 6’2 235 Gatineau (QMJHL)
93. Jacob Middleton (D) 6’3 210 Ottawa (OHL)
94. Ondrej Kase (RW) 6’0 165 Chomutov (Czech)
95. Alexander Goulet (C) 5’11 190 Charlottetown (QMJHL)
96. Rinat Valiev (D) 6’1 200 Kootenay (WHL)
97. Mattew Berkovitz (D) 6’1 180 Ashwaubenon (HS)
98. Julien Pelletier (LW) 5’11 175 Cape Brenton (QMJHL)
99. Dominick Masin (D) 6’2 190 Slavia U-20 (CZECH)
100. Adam Helewka (LW) 6’0 170 Spokane (WHL)
101. Matheson Iacopelli (RW) 6’2 190 Muskegon (USHL)
- Over ager.
102. Dysin Mayo (D) 6’0 180 Edmonton (WHL)
103. Darby Llewellyn (RW) 6’0 175 Kitchener (OHL)
104. Francis Perron (LW) 6’0 165 Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
105. Ben Thomas (D) 6’1 190 Calgary (WHL)
106. Edwin Minney (G) 6’4 200 USNPDT (USHL)
107. Colby Cave (C) 6’0 190 Swift Current (WHL)
- Over age.
108. Kelly Summers (D) 6’2 190 Carleton Place (CCHL)
109. Nelson Nogier (D) 6’2 190 Saskatoon (WHL)
110. Keegan Iverson (C) 6’0 215 Portland (WHL)
111. Christian Dvorak (LW) 6’0 180 London (OHL)
112. Noah Rod (C/RW) 6’0 190 Genève-Servette (NLA)
113. Michael Amadio (C) 6’1 190 North Bay (OHL)
114. Dominic Turgeon (C) 6’2 190 Portland (WHL)
115. Brandon Halverson (G) 6’4 180 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
116. Miles Gendron (D) 6’2 170 River County (HS)
117. Daniel Audette (LW) 5’8 175 Sherbrooke (QMJHL
118. Reid Duke (C) 6’0 190 Lethbridge (WHL)
119. Tyler Bird (RW) 6’2 190 Kimball Union (HS)
120. Anders Bjork (C/LW) 6’0 185 USNTDP (USHL)