Welcome to the third and final instalment of my 2014 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Overlook. We have already taken a look at picks 11-30 and are now in the final stretch to see what players could possibly be in an NHL uniform at the start of the 2014-15 season. Picks 11-30 are:
11. Leon Draisaitl
12. Chase De Leo
13. Joni Tuulola
14. Michael Dal Colle
15. Alex Nedeljkovic
16. Tyson Baillie
17. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda
18. Haydn Fleury
19. Ryan Falkenham
20. Jared McCann
21. Nikolaj Ehlers
22. Shane Gersich
23. Nick Ritchie
24. Jack Ramsey
25. Kyle Jenkins
26. Sonny Milano
27. Josh Ho Sang
28. Jakub Vrana
29. Pierre Engvall
30. Spencer Watson
Now, on to the top 10!
10. Vladimir Tkachyov, LW, Omsk (KHL)
5’9″, 132 lbs
47 GP, 13G, 22A, 35 pts, +32, 20 PIM
Tkachyov is a small winger with great speed and skill. Russians are starting to disappear from the NHL draft, and selecting them is usually sketchy, but Tkachyov is full of talent, makes players around him better and is a confident skater. He will need to bulk up to make an NHL in the future.
9. Matt Mistele, LW, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
6’2″, 172 lbs
68 GP, 34G, 26A, 60 pts, +32, 69 PIM
Mistele is big, mean and full of skill. He’s a natural goal scorer and drives to the net, running over anyone who has anything to say about it. He plays the defensive side of the game very well and will make significant strides this season.
8. Oskar Lindblom, RW, Brynas (Sweden)
6’1″, 192 lbs
22 GP, 20G, 21A, +40, 4 PIM
Lindblom is not a name I have seen even close to this high on any other scouting report so far, and I can’t fathom why. He is over a point-per-game player for his career, plays the defensive game better than any other player in this draft (another defensive swedish forward, imagine that) and is already 6’2″, 192 lbs at 16 years old (birthdate: Aug. 15, 1996). He has won multiple junior medals and point/goal awards and comes out of the great Brynas program. If he doesn’t crack the top 10 next year, I will be surprised.
7. Ivan Barbashev, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
6’0″, 181 lbs
68 GP, 18G, 44A, 62 pts, +9, 36 PIM
Barbashev is another big winger from the QMJHL. He is more of a passer than a shooter, but can do both and is still as complete a player as you can find. He’s big, but not too big that he can’t skate if he works on conditioning, but he will be worth the work.
6. Blake Clarke, LW, North Bay Battalion (OHL)
6’2″, 196 lbs
68 GP, 19G, 32A, -2, 42 PIM
Year of the big power forward continues with Blake Clarke from the North Bay Battalion. Clarke has excellent vision and hockey sense and can pass the puck pretty much anywhere on the ice. He has no problem playing on the edge and making sure other players know he’s on the ice. He goes hard to the net and makes opposing goalies hate him. Still looking into whether or not he is related to former Philadelphia Flyer Bobby Clarke.
5. Nikolai Goldobin, LW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
5’11, 165 lbs
68 GP, 30G, 38A, 68 pts, -7, 12 PIM
One of the few russians in the draft, Goldobin looks to be this year’s Valeri Nichushkin. He has the skill level to go top 5 and the points to back it up, but may slip just because teams are leery about having Russian players with the current spike in KHL popularity. Nonetheless, the team that drafts Goldobin will be getting a speedy winger who can both score and pass. He will be big and strong enough to make an NHL roster next year.
4. William Nylander, C/RW, Sodertalje (Sweden)
5’10″, 170 lbs
27 GP, 15G, 28A, 47 pts, +14, 14 PIM
Son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, William has just as much, if not more offensive potential than his father. Scoring almost 2 points per game in the ever-defensive Swedish league is no easy task, but Nylander managed 43 points in 27 games last season, while still employing the Swedish defensive game. Well-disciplined with a big frame, Nylander should see NHL time not long after his drafting.
3. Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)
6’3″, 212 lbs
54 GP, 7G, 27A, 34 pts, +29, 64 PIM
What isn’t there to like about Aaron Ekblad? Besides his PIM, which are to be expected from such a monster of a 17 year old, Ekblad does it all. He’s 6’3″ and 212 lbs, but he’s a strong skater and can shoot the puck like nobody’s business. He hits hard and will make you regret even looking at his goalie, then he’ll take the puck up ice and fire it through the back of your net. Additionally, Ekblad was considered an exceptional player and was bumped up to the OHL a year early. The only other player to have that honor this year was…
*2. Connor McDavid, C, Erie Otters (OHL)
5’11″, 170 lbs
63GP, 25G, 41A, 66 pts, -24, 36 PIM
Connor McDavid was another player granted exceptional status at the start of last season so he could be drafted into the OHL a year early. Before all this, McDavid put up 281 points in 121 AAA games, scoring a ridiculous 112 goals. His productivity dipped a little bit at the OHL level, but he still put up 66 points in 63 games to be voted the OHL’s best first year player. His defensive play needs to improve, but he still has another season to work on that, and will most certainly be ranked 1 or 2 going into the draft.
1. Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
5’11″, 165 lbs
72 GP, 35G, 50A, 85 pts, +8, 22 PIM
Sam Reinhart is the son of Paul Reinhart, who played nearly 20 years in the NHL with Vancouver and Calgary, and the brother of Max and Griffin, who were drafted in 2010 and 2012, respectively; Max was picked in the 3rd round, 64th overall by the Calgary Flames and Griffin was selected in the 1st round, 4th overall by the New York Islanders. Sam, however, has quickly made his own name in the WHL and is the current favorite to go 1st overall in 2014. The kid is a dynamic, fiery centreman with explosive speed and a bullet of a shot. When he isn’t burning the mesh with his laser beams, he’s dishing passes out that shouldn’t even be thought of. It will be tough for anyone on this list to knock Reinhart out of No. 1, but as we saw with this year’s draft, anything can, and most likely will happen.
Personally, the draft is the one thing I look forward to most out of the hockey year (besides playoff beards, of course) and after researching these players, my stance has definitely not changed! Let me know what changes you would make in the comments section below! i look forward to seeing what everyone thinks! Check back soon for another prospect profile and, as always, thanks for reading. Cheers!