It's been over a week since the 2013 NHL Draft was in the books, but that also means that another edition will be out soon enough. And that is the 2014 NHL Draft, which will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27-28.
As the recent draftees and those who were bypassed look to make a good first impression at their NHL team's development camp, the 2014 draft eligible players look to impress NHL scouts and general managers in the upcoming season. Believe it or not, training camp for all the CHL teams isn't that far away and the players will be ready to lace up the skates and take the ice.
Last year, the slogan for the rights to the top pick was "Not Winnin' For MacKinnon", but this time it could be "Thwart For Reinhart" (referring to Kootenay Ice forward Sam Reinhart) or "Bad For Ekblad" (referring to Barrie Colts' defenseman Aaron Ekblad). Here's a some names to remember for next year's NHL Draft.
1. Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL), 72-35-50-85
The youngest of former NHLer Paul Reinhart's three sons, Sam has an incredible Hockey IQ with the offensive skills to match. After finishing the season with 85 points in 72 games, Reinhart could emerge as a contender for the league's scoring title in 2013-14.He has drawn comparisons to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
2. Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts (OHL), 54-7-27-34
Ekblad become the second player to have been granted 'exceptional' player status. A grizzled veteran of two World U-17 tournaments, Ekblad has NHL size as a 17-year old and will get bigger by the time he walks up to the podium in Philadelphia next year. His physical game is comparable to Chris Pronger at the same age.
3. Jake Virtanen, LW, Calgary Hitmen (WHL), 62-16-18-34
The power forward brings a lot of energy to the ice. He's got the size and shot as well as the wheels. Virtanen was brilliant at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he scored five goals and added two assists with eight penalty mintues in five games for Team Pacific.
4. Blake Clarke, LW, North Bay Battalion (OHL), 68-19-32-51
Clarke is a powerful winger with good speed and good on-ice vision. He can shoot the puck from anywhere. He also led team in playoff scoring. The Chesterfield, Missouri native has improved on his defensive play.
5. Michael Dal Colle, C, Oshawa Generals (OHL), 63-15-33-48
Dal Colle showed plenty of promise in his first year in the junior ranks. He's a playmaking forward who plays a smart two-way game and is unselfish. He excelled by playing on a line with Tyler Biggs and Boone Jenner.
6. Roland McKeown, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), 61-7-22-29
McKeown is an effortless skater who plays in all situations whether he joins in on the rush or quarterbacking a power play. He's part of the youth movement in Kingston by playing with Spencer watson and Sam Bennett.
7. Ivan Barbashev, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), 68-18-44-62
The top pick in last summer's CHL Import Draft, Barbashev showed what he could do in North America and finished third in the 'Q' in rookie scoring. He found his niche when he played on a line with Dmitrij Jaskin. His 44 assists showed that he is creative with the puck, but he has a laser of a shot.
8. Nikolay Goldobin, RW, Sarnia Sting (OHL), 68-30-38-68
The Moscow, Russia native showed game-breaking abilities in his first year in North America. Most notably was his four-goal game that snapped the London Knights'24-game winning streak on New Year's Day.
9. Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough Petes (OHL), 61-18-17-35
Ritchie showed consistent displays on offense on a regular basis in his second OHL season, especially in the final 20 games where he racked up 22 points.
10. Josh Ho-Sang, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) 63-14-30-44
The former Toronto Marlboro standout came to Windsor as the team's most anticiapted player since Taylor Hall and showed Spitfire fans what he can do on the ice. Ho-Sang has the puck skills and skating patted down, but needs to improve on his defensive game.
Other 10 2014 Draft Eligible to watch out for (in no particular order):
Anthony DeAngelo, D, Sarnia Sting (OHL); Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (OHL), Matt Mistele, LW, Plymouth Whalers (OHL), Daniel Audette, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL), Jacob Middleton, D, Ottawa 67's (OHL), Leon Draisaitl, LW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL), Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer Rebels (WHL), Sam Bennett, C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), Sonny Milano, LW, US-NTPD (USHL), Eric Cornel, C, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Five European Players for 2014:
William Nylander, C, Sodertalje (Sweden), Anton Karlsson, RW, Frolunda (Sweden), Adam Olias Mattsson, D, Djurgarden (Sweden), Jakub Vrana, C, Linkoping (Sweden), Kasperi Kapanen, LW, KalPa (Finland)
Five Goaltenders for 2014:
Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth Whalers (OHL), Nikita Serebryakov, Plymouth Whalers (OHL), Justin Paulic, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL), Brayden Lee, Vancouver Giants (WHL), Julio Billia, Chicoutimi Segueneens (QMJHL)