The 2014 NHL Draft takes place this weekend in Philadelphia. This draft isn't as deep as some of the past few we've seen, but there are a handful of very good players available. As usual, I don't do any trading in my mock, just actual draft order from one through thirty.
1) Florida Panthers – D Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts (OHL): It’s been eight years since a defenseman went first overall. The Panthers have a handful of great young forwards, and Ekblad gives them a stud to add to the likes of Dmitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson…if they don’t trade the pick.
2) Buffalo Sabres – C Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice (WHL): They got hosed out of the top pick, but it’s likely that they would have gone with a forward anyway, thanks to their selections of two blueliners in the first round last year. Reinhart gives them a high-end offensive threat and a player to build around.
3) Edmonton Oilers – C /W Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL): The Oilers miss out on the stud blueliner, but Draisaitl gives them yet another offensive weapon to add to their stable of young stars. The Oilers trading down would surprise exactly nobody.
5) New York Islanders – LW Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa Generals (OHL): Tell me a mock draft that doesn’t have Dal Colle going to the Isles here. He’s an offensive forward who would look darn good with the likes of Tavares and Okposo.
6) Vancouver Canucks – RW Jake Virtanen, Calgary Hitmen (WHL): He’s a pure sniper, going to a team that finished 28th in goals-per-game last year. He’s a BC boy to boot.
7) Carolina Hurricanes – LW Nick Ritchie, Peterborough Petes (OHL): The top power forward available, going to the ‘Canes to play with Jeff Skinner and the Staals makes sense here.
8) Toronto Maple Leafs – D Haydn Fleury, Red Deer Rebels (WHL): There’s talk that the Leafs want to move up to grab Ekblad. That means that they have defense in their sights, and whereas this mock doesn’t allow trades, the Leafs grab the next best blueliner.
9) Winnipeg Jets – LW Nikolaj Ehlers, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL): The Jets have a potential game breaker in Evander Kane, but he’s been a bit of an enigma. Ehlers gives the Jets a sure-fire game breaker, with possibly the best hands in the draft.
10) Anaheim Ducks (Ottawa) – C/W Willie Nylander, MODO (SHL): With the pick they received from the Senators in the Bobby Ryan trade, the Ducks get a talented pivot who may one day be the coveted number two behind Ryan Getzlaf. (If they don’t get one by trade first)
11) Nashville Predators – RW Kasperi Kapanen, Kalpa (Finland): The Preds may be changing their style with Barry Trotz gone, and a responsible two-way guy like Kapanen is a great piece to build around.
12) Arizona Coyotes – LW Brendan Perlini, Niagara IceDogs (OHL): The guy scores goals…lots of goals. The Coyotes are a team that struggles to score, Perlini can help.
13) Washington Capitals – RW Alex Tuch, USNTDP (USHL): Tuch ("Tuck") is committed to Boston College this fall, and when he goes pro he’ll give the Caps one heck of a power forward.
14) Dallas Stars –LW Kevin Fiala, HV71 (SHL): The Swiss forward is an offensive wizard, and moving to Sweden to play was a great move for his development. He’d make a great complement at left wing to Jamie Benn.
15) Detroit Red Wings – C Dylan Larkin, USNTDP (USHL): Larkin will be heading to the University of Michigan this fall, so the Wings can keep close tabs on his development. He’ll give the Wings a versatile forward when he’s ready to make the jump.
16) Columbus Blue Jackets – D Julius Honka, Swift Current Broncos (WHL): The Jackets are well stocked at forward after taking three in the first round last year. This year they grab an offensive defender that looks like the ideal partner for Ryan Murray down the line. Honka partnered with Jackets’ prospect Dillon Heatherington in Swift Current this past year as well.
17) Philadelphia Flyers – D Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia Sting (OHL): There are some off-ice concerns with DeAngelo, but if he can get past that he can offer the Flyers loads of offense from the back end.
18) Minnesota Wild – LW Sonny Milano, USNTDP (USHL): He’s committed to Boston College, but when he’s ready for NHL duty he’ll bring a sick set of mitts with him. He’s known for his stickhandling and ability to produce points.
19) Tampa Bay Lightning – C Jared McCann, Soo Greyhounds (OHL): With their first of two first round picks, the Bolts grab themselves a solid, two-way center who will complement the stable of scorers the Lightning possess.
20) San Jose Sharks – C Robbie Fabbri, Guelph Storm (OHL): He’s a bit undersized, but the kid can flat-out score. He’ll be part of the next wave with Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl.
21) St. Louis Blues – RW David Pastrnak, Sodertalje (Sweden 2): The Blues are deep everywhere, but the Czech sniper gives them yet another weapon down the road.
22) Pittsburgh Penguins – G Thatcher Demko, Boston College (NCAA): Demko is the heir apparent to Marc-Andre Fleury. It’ll be a few years before Demko is NHL-ready, but he gives hope for the future of the position for Pens fans.
23) Colorado Avalanche – D Roland McKeown, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL): Everybody knows about the huge amount of talent the Avs have up front- McKeown gives the Avs a well-rounded, two-way guy to boost the talent level on defense.
24) Anaheim Ducks – C/W Josh Ho-Sang, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): The Ducks have the luxury of taking a guy with question marks surrounding him thanks to having multiple first round picks. Ho-Sang is a boom or bust type.
25) Boston Bruins – LW Adrian Kempe, MODO (SHL): Kempe doesn’t wow you, but he brings the secondary elements that winning teams covet. He’ll fit in well on a deep Boston team.
26) Montreal Canadiens – C/W Ivan Barbashev, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL): Barbashev is a two-way winger, who has the offensive skill and defensive responsibility to contribute anywhere in the lineup. He’s not really a flight risk, as he’s already made the commitment to playing in North America.
27) Chicago Blackhawks – RW Nikita Scherbak, Saskatoon Blades (WHL): The rich get richer. Scherbak came out of nowhere this year to put up a boatload of points in the Western League. He’s pure offense.
28) Tampa Bay Lightning – LW/RW Jakub Vrana, Linkoping (SHL): After taking McCann earlier, the Lightning add another forward in Vrana, though where McCann is more of a two-way guy, Vrana is an offensive weapon.
29) Los Angeles Kings – C Nick Schmaltz, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL): The Kings can afford to wait for their prospects, so drafting a kid destined for college makes sense. Schmaltz is one of the highest-scoring commits, and will bring his talents to North Dakota this fall.
30) New Jersey Devils – LW Brendan Lemieux, Barrie Colts (OHL): Like his old man, he likes to stir it up. Lemieux to the Devils is just one of those picks that seems like destiny.