2014 NHL Draft Day 1

    After plenty of talk about trades and changing positions, the 1st round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft saw very little movement.

    Florida Panthers were subject of much discussion but when it came time to make the selection, the Panthers kept their pick and took Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad of Belle River, Ontario. With the second pick the Buffalo Sabres took a player with excellent bloodlines, Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart. With the third overall pick the Edmonton Oilers didn’t shock anyone by selecting big forward Leon Draisaitl. The German forward would be the only non Canadian taken in the top 7. Their Alberta rivals kept the trend going selecting Kingston Frontenacs forward Sam Bennett. New York Islanders wrapped up the top 5 by selecting Oshawa Generals forward Michael Dal Colle.

    The sixth pick was the first real off the board selection with Calgary Hitmen Jake Virtanen going to the Vancouver Canucks. Carolina Hurricanes would take the second defenseman of the draft in big Haydn Fleury. Toronto Maple Leafs took the first player out of Sweden in William Nylander, son of former NHLer Michael Nylander. 9th overall saw an outstanding value pick for the Winnipeg Jets in Nikolaj Ehlers. The Anaheim Ducks made a splash to wrap up the top 10 taking big power forward Nick Ritchie.

    2014 NHL Draft by the numbers (or almost)

    The second half of the first round saw several prospects selected very close to the number they were ranked by HockeyProspect. Here’s a look at those picks.

    HP’s 16th ranked Travis Sandheim went 17th overall to the Philadelphia Flyers.

    HP’s 24th ranked Robby Fabbri went 21st overall to the St. Louis Blues

    HP’s 19th ranked Kasperi Kapanen went 22nd overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins

    HP’s 22nd ranked Conner Bleackley went 23rd overall to the Colorado Avalanche

    HP’s 25th ranked Jared McCann went 24th overall to the Vancouver Canucks

    HP’s 29th ranked Nikolay Goldobin went 27th overall by the San Jose Sharks

    Biggest steals of the First Round

    This is a look at a few players we had ranked higher on our board, but fell to teams slightly later than our ranking.

    – Nikolaj Ehlers falls to the Winnipeg Jets at #9

    – Nicholas Ritchie falls to the Anaheim Ducks at #10

    – Dylan Larkin falls to the Detroit Red Wings at #15

    – Alex Tuch falls to the Minnesota Wild at #18

    – Nikita Scherbak falls to the Montreal Canadiens at #26

    Biggest surprises of the First Round

    Here is a look at a few things that surprised us the most in the 1st round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft

    – Chicago Blackhawks trade up to #20 to select Nick Schmaltz who they believed would be gone by their original pick at 27. The Hawks traded to a spot ahead of St. Louis who had drafted Nick’s brother in the 2012 NHL Draft.

    – New York Islanders pay a high price to trade up to #28 to select Josh Ho-Sang despite their next selection being just a few picks away.

    – John Quenneville goes off the board with the final pick of the first round to the New Jersey Devils

    – Ivan Barbashev slipping out of the first round.

    HockeyProspect.com 31st NHL team

    We approach the draft rankings as if we were the 31st team and as such would theoretically hold the 31st pick. With the 31st selection HP would select from the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL centre Ivan Barbashev.

    Barbashev was ranked 13th overall in HockeyProspect.com’s final ranking and would be our selection if we had the next pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Yes the “Russian Factor” can be a concern to some but Barbashev is simply too talented to pass up at this point. Despite standing 6’1″ – 190lbs Barbashev is a strong skater. He drives the net hard and protects the puck very well. He is more of a playmaker than a finisher but is capable of doing both. Ivan plays a very complete game and will battle defensively. It’s all of these attributes and more that make Barbashev HP’s first round selection at #31