2014 Draft: Potential Mid-to-Later Round Picks (Part 2)

Mid-to-later defencemen

Pictured (from left to right): Aaron Irving, Alex Peters, Michael Prapavessis, Julio Billia

The Montreal Canadiens hold the 26th, 87th (3rd round), 117th (4th round), 125th (5th round), 147th (5th round), 177th (6th round), and the 207th (7th round) overall picks in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, which takes place on June 26th and June 27th. Even though this draft isn’t held in the same regard as last year’s, there are many interesting players available. This article covers the defencemen and goaltenders who could potentially be taken in the mid-to-later rounds. Of course, this doesn’t cover everyone. There are so many intriguing players and there is tremendous variance between lists. These are some of my favourite prospects, but it doesn’t mean that they are the best. Also, I probably wouldn’t put too much stock in the pick projections. It’s just a projection and in a year with such variance anything can happen.

If you would like me to cover any additional prospects, feel free to let me know in the comments or on twitter (@MitchLBrown).

More 2014 Draft articles:
An Examination of Trevor Timmins’ Drafting
2014 Draft: Potential First Round Targets (Part 1)
2014 Draft: Potential First Round Targets (Part 2)
2014 Draft: Potential Mid-to-Later Round Picks (Forwards)

 

Third:

Gustav Forsling
D 5’11” 176 Linkoping J20 (SuperElit)
Regular Season: 44GP 6G 12A 18P Playoffs: 2GP 1G 3A 4P

Forsling enjoyed a tremendous second half, capped off with an excellent performance at the U18s. Forsling is a mobile offensive defenceman. He skates extremely well, especially once he gets going. He’s a cerebral defender, favouring smarts and an active stick over hitting. He’s got a rocket from the point and distributes the puck effectively. Fantastic passer as well. Forsling lacks the ideal size for a defender and is sometimes shy of contact.

 

Aaron Irving
D 6’01” 190 | Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Regular Season: 63GP 9G 21A 30P | Playoffs: 20GP 0G 2A 2P

Irving enjoyed a tremendous first half to his WHL rookie season; however, he hit a wall following December and found himself unable to produce. Irving plays an aggressive brand of hockey and thrives on the rough stuff. He’s a solid positional defender, too. He’s an above-average skater, solid passer, and hard shooter, but he lacks the hockey sense in order to make full use of his offensive tools. Additionally, Irving makes poor decisions, typically from being overly aggressive.

Quote:

“Irving is a rugged and physical defenceman for the Edmonton Oil Kings.  He’s got only an ok skating stride, although he is a powerful skater.  His first pass isn’t a huge strength, but it’s not a noted weakness either.  He has a strong shot from the point and should be a guy that continues to grow his offensive numbers at the junior level.” – Cody Nickolet (WHL From Above)

 

Dysin Mayo
D 6’01” 181 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Regular Season: 63GP 7G 28A 35P Playoffs: 21GP 3G 12A 15P

Mayo is a solid two-way defenceman. He’s a smart player, who has tremendous awareness and a continually improving defensive game. He makes quick decisions with the puck, and is a great puck mover. He’s got an accurate shot, which he always gets on net. He’s also shown flashes of having a edge to his game and certainly isn’t a shy defender. He’s still quite inconsistent, especially in his own zone, but there’s no doubt that he’s got upside.

Quote:

 “Mayo is a smooth and effective two-way defenceman from the Oil Kings.  I use the word smooth, because that’s the way he operates.  He’s got a nice stride, strong, powerful and efficient.  He is not afraid to join the rush or start it with a good breakout pass.  His offensive skills are solid but could use more improvement, which will come with increased ice time in junior the next two years.” – Cody Nickolet (WHL From Above)

 

Brent Moran
G 6’03” 185 Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Regular Season: 40GP, 14-19-2-2, .891 SV%, 3.85 GAA

Moran’s stats won’t blow you away, but his play can. He’s goal the ideal size for an NHL goaltender, which he uses quite well. He’s a great technical goaltender and a very good athlete. Like most goaltenders his age, his rebound control needs tons of improvement. Furthermore, Moran’s glove hand is quite weak and he gets handcuffed far too often. He’s a long-term project, but considering his size, athleticism, and already dominant ability down low, he could be a tremendous goaltender.

 

Alex Peters
D 6’04” 205 | Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Regular Season: 50GP 3G 6A 9P Playoffs: 5GP 0G 0A 0P

Peters is a towering defenceman who’s got lots of upside. He’s a great defender, both off the rush and in sustained pressure situations. He uses his body and reach well and rarely gets beat. He’s an awkward skater, but he moves quite quickly for a player his size. He possesses a hard shot and good passing ability, but he doesn’t seem to have the offensive smarts to make full use of them. He also can play above his skill level at times, which has obvious negative results.

 

Blake Siebenaler
D 6’02” 192 Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Regular Season: 68GP 6G 24A 30P Playoffs: 7GP 1G 4A 5P

Siebenaler has to be one of the improved draft eligible prospects from the start of the season to the end. By season’s end, he was Niagara’s best defender. He’s an absolutely fantastic skater; excellent agility, top-end speedy and acceleration. He’s an aggressive puck rusher and a threat from the point. He shoots hard and passes effectively. Defensively, he’s improved so much in so little time. He’s prone to poor reads, but his skating ability largely masks this problem. He has to use his frame a bit more, but he’s definitely trending upwards.

 

Alexis Vanier
D 6’05 214 Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 61GP 15G 21A 36P

After an incredible first half of the season, Vanier cooled off, but he’s still a legitimate NHL prospect. Vanier’s a hulking defender with a booming shot. He can shoot to score as well as to set up plays. It’s a cannon and extremely accurate. He uses his reach quite well to disrupt plays and can play mean. He’s not particularly agile and actually quite awkward, but once he gets going he moves well enough. He can get beat defensively and backs poor reads quite often. Additionally, his offence really dried up in the second half.

 

Fourth-Fifth:

Sebastian Aho
D 5’09” 170 Skelleftea (SHL)
Regular Season: 21GP 1G 4A 5P | Playoffs: 13G 0G 0A 0P

Aho is an undersized, offensive defenceman who spent most of the season with the SHL Champions. Aho skates extremely well, allowing him to get up and down the ice quickly. He’s a shifty player and a smart player. He possesses a tremendous outlet pass as well as great puck moving ability and a hard, low shot. He’s tremendous on the powerplay, where his combines all his tools effectively. He also can play physical, but relies mostly on smart positioning and an active stick to defend. Really the only flaw is size.

Quote:

 “He compensates for his lack of size with his positional play, hockey sense, mobility and skating. He plays a tough, aggressive style of hockey, plays bigger than he is and with a lot of confidence. He is one of the most improved 1996-born players in Europe.” – Goran Stubb (NHL Central Scouting)

 

Kaapo Kahkonen
G 6’02” 201 Blues U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)
Regular Season: 38GP .912 SV% 

A big, athletic goaltender from Finland. Kahkonen is extremely quick and has excellent lateral movement. He’s a well-rounded keeper and has quality rebound control. He can make highlight reel saves and flash the leather. He’s a a fairly good puckhandler as well. Kahkonen has a tendency to lose focus and he definitely has to improve his positioning. He leaves the post to early and doesn’t always come out far enough.

 

William Lagesson
D 6’03” 203 Frolunda J20 (SuperElit)
Regular Season: 44GP 8G 12A 20P Playoffs: 3GP 0G 1A 1P

Lagesson is set to head to the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints next season, following a strong year in the SuperElit. Lagesson isn’t particularly skilled, but he does a lot well. He’s not the most mobile player, nor is he the smartest offensive player. He’s plays a tough brand of hockey and loves to mix it up. He’s also a fairly good defensive player, but needs to improve his reads and reaction time.

 

Olivier Leblanc
D | 6’00” 159 | Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 56GP 7G 26A 33P

Leblanc was the the number one defenceman on the QMJHL’s second worst team. Despite the heavy competition and huge minutes, Leblanc really shined. He’s an excellent skater, which is the key element of his game. He’s a great backwards and lateral skater, which makes him incredibly hard to beat. He’s an aggressive defender, using his mobility to lay hits and have near-perfect gap control. He’s got a good shot and makes an excellent breakout pass. However, Leblanc is undersized and has to improve his consistency. Sometimes prone to bad reads.

 

Adam Ollas-Mattson
D 6’04” 209 Djurgarden J20 (SuperElit)
Regular Season: 33GP 1G 8A 9P

A hulking defenceman and he knows it. His best asset is his physical play. He hits hard and often. He’s very aggressive down low, were he loves to punish the puck carrier. He’s a pretty good defensive play, who anticipates the play well. Despite not being a puck mover, he makes smart decisions with the puck and can occasionally contribute. There’s question about his overall upside, as well as his skating. He’s a clumsy and lumbering skater.

 

Nelson Nogier
D 6’02” 194 | Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Regular Season: 37GP 1G 5A 6P

A highly mobile, shutdown defender. Nogier skates extremely well. He’s got great four-way mobility and has terrific balance. He’s a physical player, who plays a controlled, aggressive game. He’s tough to beat one-on-one and clears the crease with a purpose. Wins the majority of puck battles. He lacks offensive upside, but he does show poise with the puck and a adequate passing ability.

 

Michael Prapavessis
D | 6’01” 174 Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL)
Regular Season: 47GP 5G 49A 54P Playoffs: 19GP 2G 13A 15P

Prapavessis exploded this season with a tremendous offensive season. He thinks the game like few do and makes incredible passes. He’s creative, effective, and smart. He seems to have complete control with the puck. He doesn’t shoot particularly hard, but he’s accurate. He’s a good–although choppy–skater and understands how to handle things in own zone. He doesn’t have any semblance of a physical game.

Quote:

 “While posting 5 goals and 54 points in 47 games, the talented defenseman went on to win the OJHL Championship, Ontario National Jr. A Championship, OHA Top Prospect honours, the OJHL Best Defenseman award and more at the young age of 18. In terms of play making skill, Prapavessis comes in as one of the biggest potential steals in the draft, as some people, including Craig Button, think he could go as high as the second round in the draft.” – Steven Ellis (The Hockey House)

 

Sixth-Seventh:

Julio Billia
G 5’11” 181 | Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 41GP, 10-27-0, .894 SV%, 3.52 GAA

Billia lacks the ideal stature for a goaltender, but it certainly doesn’t affect him much. Billia is extremely aggressive in the crease and constantly challenges shooter. He’s quite athletic and pushes off the posts well. His lateral movements are extremely good. Additionally, he’s got a calm mentality and never seems phased. Like most young goaltenders, he can improve in every area. He needs to especially improve his rebound control. Don’t be fooled by the stats, he played for a very weak team .

 

Brandon Halverson
G | 6’04” 179 | Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Regular Season: 19GP .904 SV% 2.96 GAA

Halverson played back up to Matt Murray this past season, but his talent still shone in his limited actin. He’s got a fantastic frame and is quite athletic. He moves well for a goaltender of his stature and does a great job of fighting through traffic. He’s also an excellent puck-handling goaltender. Rarely makes a bad decision and always seems in control. His rebound control needs serious work, but there’s no denying his abilities–even if it’s a small sample size.

Quote:

“Al Jensen of [NHL Central Scouting] told me that No. 6-rated goalie Brandon Halverson might be the best puck-handling keeper he’s seen in 13 [years].” – Mike Morreale (NHL.com)

 

Joe Hicketts
D | 5’08” 187 | Victoria Royals (WHL)
Regular Season: 36GP 6G 18A 24P Playoffs: 9GP 0G 2A 2P

Hicketts missed much of the year due to injury, but when he was healthy, he looked really good. He’s a great skater, especially laterally. Hicketts also has a soft set of hands, allowing him to lead rather spectacular rushes. He’s a good shooter, owning an accurate shot that’s tough to handle from the point. He’s a solid positional defender and also can mix it up. He doesn’t back down from anyone and plays hard-nosed hockey. His size, especially because he’s a defender, is a major concern and that could cause him to go undrafted altogether, despite his high skill level.

 

Brett Lernout
D | 6’04” 205 Swift Current Broncos (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 72GP 8G 14A 22P Playoffs: 6GP 0G 1A 1P

Lernout has lots of tools at his disposal, and started to put them all together throughout the year. Lernout loves to use his frame and has developed a mean streak. He’s a hard hitter and will drop the gloves. He’s a solid skater for his size, especially in terms of straight-line speed. Also has a hard shot, which is where most of his offensive output comes from. Not a particularly good passer, and still has to improve his defensive play.

 

Ryan Rehill
| 6’03” 214 | Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Regular Season: 72GP 4G 16A 20P

Much like Lernout, Rehill is an aggressive defender who really improved. Rehill was forced into a top-pairing role with a weak team, and he performed admirably. He’s a pretty good skater and has shown tremendous improvement in that regard. He will jump into the rush and can contribute offensive from time to time. Good, active stick and a desire to play physical make him to tough to beat. He’s clearly limited offensively and he takes far too many penalties.

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