2014 Draft: Potential Mid-to-Later Round Picks (Part 1)
Pictured (from left to right): Michael Bunting, Rourke Chartier, Juho Lammikko, Luke Philp
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 forwards 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 (Defenders & Goaltenders)
C | 5’09” 176 | Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 68GP 21G 55A 76P
Audette was selected 1st overall in the 2012 QMJHL Entry Draft; however, took until his sophomore year to make his mark on the league. Audette can flat out fly. He’s extremely shifty, very explosive, and owns dynamic speed. His hands are fantastic and definitely can keep up to his feet. He’s smart offensively and primarily is a playmaker. Don’t doubt his ability to score, either. He’s one-dimensional in the sense that he his defensive game is just okay and he avoids physical contact. He’s easily removed from the puck, but his offensive upside is interesting.
LW | 6’00” 178 | Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Regular Season: 48GP 15G 27A 42P | Playoffs: 9GP 5G 1A 6P
Bunting has a great story. Made the Soo seemingly out of nowhere and really emerged as a fantastic contributor. He’s all hustle. He plays his heart out every shift. Great 200 foot game and plays physical. He’s a smart offensive player, who doesn’t really have a stand out skill. He’s a good playmaker and owns a quality shot. Lack of exposure and stand out skill probably are his main flaws. Considering his work ethic, he could really surprise down the road.
“I like the word ‘relentless.’ I never give up, no matter what. Where I came from, I’ve always had to be self-motivated and always thinking, ‘I can do this.’ That’s the kind of head I had going into this year” – Michael Bunting (Quote via Yahoo! Sports)
RW | 6’03” 225 | Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Regular Season: 54GP 13G 18A 31P | Playoffs: 5GP 3G 0A 3P
Chatham’s OHL rookie year got off to a tough start, but once he got healthy and figured the out league, he looked very good. He’s a big player, who hits like a truck and plays a solid two-way game. He’s poised with the puck, drives the net hard, and owns a variety of shots. He skates quite well, owning good agility and top-end speed. He could stand to improve his acceleration and perfect his technique. His playmaking ability is wildly inconsistent.
Chase De Leo
C | 5’10” 175 | Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Regular Season: 72GP 39G 42A 81P | Playoffs: 21GP 10G 9A 19P
De Leo is undersized, but he’s a fiery player with skill. He’s a tremendous skater, owning terrific agility and breakaway speed. He’s got very good hands, which allow him to easily walk around defenders. He uses his stocky frame in order to protect the puck well. He plays an aggressive, power-type game. He’s a great defensive player and always backchecks. The size, combined with his style of game is concerning, but his skill level indicates that he could overcome that issue.
LW | 6’01” 180 lbs | St. Andrews College (CAHS)
Regular Seasons: 52GP 58G 49A 107P
An offensive winger who has dominated against a low level of competition. He skates quite well. He’s a hard-working player, particularly in the offensive zone. He owns a powerful shot and a good playmaking ability. Despite his solid frame, he doesn’t play physical at all and shies away from contact. His hockey sense has really come under question and he’s extremely raw. A long-term project.
“All of this is a credit to his determination and hard work and his coachability to continue to grow and learn to continue to be the best player he can be. He has been great to have as part of our program.” – David Manning (St. Andrews College)
LW | 6’00” 215 | Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Regular Season: 67GP 22G 20A 42P | Playoffs: 21GP 4G 4A 8P
Iverson is a sizeable rugged forward. He hits hard and often. At best down low and around the goal, where he battles hard and creates space. He controls the puck quite well, especially considering his “grinder” style of game. He shoots the puck hard and has pretty good top-end speed. Plays hard defensively, too. He appears to be more of a complimentary player, but considering his size, smarts, and skill, he could be a very good one.
RW | 5’11” 185 | Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 65GP 21G 26A 47P | Playoffs: 9GP 6G 6A 12P
There’s no doubt that when Karabacek comes to play, he looks fantastic. He’s a great skater with an explosive first few steps. He loves to beat defenders wide using his speed and can catch even the best defenders off-guard. Additionally, he’s a crafty stickhandler, with a quick release, and smart passing ability. He protects the puck well and plays a smart two-way game. Solid opportunist and extremely poised. However, when he’s not, Karabacek plays soft and is invisible.
“Among the league’s best in terms of puck control as he constantly has his head up to survey options .. passes are generally kept short, as he elects for the safe percentage play .. does an excellent job of sneaking into open areas to utilize his most potent weapon – a quick wrist shot which he can fire with little to no warning.” – McKeen’s Hockey
RW | 6’00” 165 | KLH Chomutov (Czech)
Regular Season: 37GP 4G 3A 7P
Kase is a highly skilled player who spent the year playing against men. He’s a great skater–very fast and agile. Hands keep up with his feet, creating a tough-to-contain player, especially when he gets going. He owns a hard wrist shot and good instincts. Not a fancy player by any means, but he plays hard and has solid fundamentals.
“A slippery player who can do a bit of everything, Kase is playing against men back home and has started off strong with two points in two games, despite playing only 12 minutes per night.” – Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News)
RW | 6’00” 188 | Geneve-Servette (NLA)
Regular Season: 28GP 1G 2A 3P | Playoffs: 12GP 1G 3A 4P
A hard-working, physical player who really impressed both against men and at the U18s. He’s a really hard hitter and he knows it; he’s always looking to set the tone of the game. Additionally, he’s a smart player, who gets the job done. Great penalty killer, as his natural aggressiveness allows him to force players into making quick decisions. Not particularly skilled, in fact he really needs to improve his puck skills, but he can effectively play the role of a complementary player.
LW | 6’01” 180 | Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Regular Season: 68GP 27G 9A 36P | Playoffs: 5GP 4G 0P 4P
An energetic goalscorer. Sadowy plays the game hard and smart. He’s an average skater, but he uses smarts and deceptive bursts of speed in order to win footraces. He’s great around the crease and owns good hand-eye. A great defensive player, especially on the penalty kill. Has lots of sandpaper in his game and can lower the boom from time to time. However, he fumbles the puck a lot and struggles to receive passes at top speed. Not much of a playmaker, either. Considering his upward development curve, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him improve those areas significantly.
It’s worth mentioning the Canadiens interviewed him at the Draft Combine.
“I think [Sadowy’s improvement] speaks for itself. That’s why he’s going to be drafted where he is. People really like him, and that’s why he’s probably going to play in the NHL . . . He’s a great competitor.” – Jim Paliafito (Saginaw Spirit General Manager)
LW 5’09” 163 lbs Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 20GP 10G 20A 30P Playoffs: 6GP 7G 2A 9P
Tkachev joined Moncton mid-way through the year and developed instant chemistry with Ivan Barbashev. He’s a flashy, dynamic offensive talent. His hands can dazzle you and he’s a very smart offensive player. He’s not a incredible skater by any means, which is a bit concerning considering his size, but he gets around the ice quite well. He’s a great puck distributor and is dangerous around the goal mouth. He doesn’t shy away from the tough areas of the ice either. Tkachev is not only short, but incredibly slight. Additionally, Tkachev has to limit the turnovers.
C | 5’11” 180 | Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Regular Season: 72GP 24G 37A 58P | Playoffs: 14GP 6G 6A 12P
Chartier is a hard-working, two-way player. He’s very determined and takes his defensive responsibilities very seriously. He’s a relentless forechecker and backchecker. He covers a lot of ice quickly due to his speed. Offensively, he possesses good hands and awareness. He’s not always noticeable while slipping behind defences and playing positional hockey. One of the most intriguing middle round picks due to his complete game.
C | 6’00” 188 | Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Regular Season: 62GP 15G 25A 40P
Despite playing on an extremely weak team, Duke still produced. He’s a smart, gritty player. He skates and handles the puck quite well. He’s a terrific passer and can make passes of high difficultly. Not one to back down, Duke hits hard and with a purpose. He’s extremely good in the dot and pays attention to detail in his own zone. Duke doesn’t really have a high skill level by any means, but he could be a good role player down the road.
LW/C | 5’11” 174 lbs | USDP U18 (USNTDP)
Regular Season: 61GP 16G 16A 32P
First and foremost, Gersich is a speedster. His top gear is fantastic, as well as his first few steps. His edge work is fantastic and he’s hard to contain. He’s not much of a stickhandler or sniper, but he ventures to the front of the net where he has shown quality finish. He’s a good passer, too. Good hockey sense and a solid understand of playing in his own zone. Gersich is extremely inconsistent, often not using his tools the way he should. He also has to improve his puck control.
“He is a kid whose gotten better every year, hasn’t seen his best hockey. Going to be a Guy Carbonneau kind of guy. Plays all 200 feet, wins draws . . . Could be a great 3rd line checking center that plays against the best lines in the NHL.” – Over The Boards (Scouts on Top Prospects)
LW | 6’02” 190 | Assat U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)/Assat (Liiga)
Jr. A. Sm-Liiga: 37GP 17G 25A 42P | Liiga: 20G 0G 1A 1P
Lammikko is a big, north-south player with a consistent work ethic. Lammikko plays hard every shift and demonstrates the ability to play a variety of roles. He’s got a pretty good skill level, including a hard shot with good accuracy. He drives the net hard and opens up space for his teammates. He understands his limitations and plays within them. His skills definitely come and go, but his work ethic does not.
LW | 5’10” 160 | Barrie Colts (OHL)
Regular Season: 68GP 24G 27A 51P | Playoffs: 11GP 2G 5A 7P
Mangiapane made the Colts as a training camp invitee and emerged as a consistent contributor. He’s a slippery player, combining great hands and tremendous edge work. He possess high hockey sense and is equally as good at scoring as he is playmaking. He’s terrific down low and plays much bigger than his size. He can the lower boom on much bigger opponents. Also a solid two-way player. Undersized and lack of stand out skill are his biggest flaws.
LW | 6’02” 190 | Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Regular Season: 56GP 18G 19A 37P | Playoffs: 5GP 0G 2A 2P
Mistele failed to improve on his strong sophomore, but still is a solid prospect regardless. At his best, he’s a hard-working powerforward with a powerful shot. He’s a good playmaker, particularly off the wall and has flashes of above-average puck skills. He’s good down low and works the cycle well. Mistele doesn’t always play and hard and lacks consistency. He’s still has a lot to learn in his own zone and seems to have momentary lapses of focus. He tries to play above his skill level and it typically results in disaster.
LW | 5’11” 178 | Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 67GP 25G 25A 50P | Playoffs: 4GP 1G 1A 2P
Pelletier had a really solid rookie season in the QMJHL. He’s a hard-working player with quality goalscoring ability. Despite lacking an explosive first step, Pelletier has a good top-end speed and terrific edge work. He protects the puck well and is surprisingly strong. He’s more of a goalscorer than a playmaker. He owns a hard shot and easily finds holes in defences. He’s not particularly good at passing and has an inconsistent physical game.
LW | 6’00” 168 lbs | Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 68GP 16G 39A 55G | Playoffs: 9GP 1G 7A 8P
Perron is a really slick stickhandler and playmaker. He’s a very shifty player, due to excellent edge work and fantastic hands. He loves challenging forwards and attempting to dangle around them. His natural flash draws defenders towards him, and because of his vision, he’s able to find an open teammate. He has a very good saucer pass, which he love to use. He’s definitely has a “wow” factor in his game. Perron is not an instinctive goalscorer. Additionally, he’s very slender and gets pushed off the easily. Despite that, he doesn’t shy away from tough areas.
“After Christmas, I felt my work ethic was more consistent from game to game. I was going in the corners more and winning more of my battles. Even though I’m not very big, I was finishing my checks.” – Francis Perron (Quote via Yahoo! Sports)
RW | 6’01” 198 | Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Regular Season: 55GP 19G 12A 31P
It took a while, but Poganski finally gained consistency in the second half of the season. He’s a hard-worker, who definitely plays a north-south game. He thrives along the boards and in the tough areas of the ice. Always puts the effort into forechecking and backchecking, but his reads in both situations need work. He’s got a pretty soft set of hands and hard shot. Pretty good skater as well, especially once he gets going. Poganski needs to improve his decision making and awareness, as he has a tendency to waste possession.
“I see the ice pretty well. I like to pass more than shoot and my strongest asset is going into the corners and playing strong. You can always improve on strength and speed. So that’s what I work on.” – Austin Poganski (Quote via the Hockey News)
RW | 6’01” 194 | Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Regular Season: 72GP 18G 18A 36P | Playoffs: 21GP 3G 2A 5P
Much like Keegan Iverson, Schoenborn is a combination of brute strength and skill. He makes the boards and the front of the net his home when in the offensive zone. He’s hard to move and will battle for every inch of ice he gets. He plays a physical game and protects the puck quite well. He’s a solid defensive player, but there’s room for improvement. He’s great around the crease and simple, yet effective passer. Most importantly, he’s smart–he knows his role. He will have to improve his skating and hands, but his versatility and smarts could make him a solid complementary player.
LW | 6’01” 196 lbs | Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Regular Season: 54GP 8G 15A 23P | Playoffs: 21GP 3G 9A 12P
Lars’ brother, Mads, is a second year eligible. He played in the WHL this past season, where he was emerged as a solid grinder. First and foremost, Eller loves to hit. He is always seeking out big hits. An endless motor makes him a presence on both the forecheck and the backcheck. He’s very solid in own zone. However, Eller lacks offensive upside. His skills are limited, as is his hockey sense.
C/LW | 6’03” 183 | Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Regular Season: 58GP 13G 19A 32P | Playoffs: 4GP 1G 1A 2P
Foss enjoyed a solid rookie campaign, eventually working his way up to the shutdown line with Brady Vail and Ben Johnson. Foss is a big player, who protects the puck well. He creates space for his teammates and understands where to go on the ice. He’s not particularly skilled, but he makes things happen of the rush due to his smarts and size. He doesn’t throw his weight around often, but when he does good things happen. He’s a solid two-way player as well. A well-rounded player, who needs to improve his consistency and skill level.
RW | 6’02” 204 | Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Regular Season: 52GP 9G 9A 18P
After being a non-factor in the OHL with Erie, Hodgson was traded to Sarnia. He really turned it around following the trade and put himself on the draft radar. Hodgson loves to throws his weight around and can demolish players in open ice. He knows his role; he plays hard and drives the net. He does the dirty work. Apart from a hard, erratic shot, he doesn’t own much in the way of offensive tools. He skates alright, but needs to improve substantially in order to play his game at the next level.
C | 6’02” 185 | Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Regular Season: 55GP 17G 21A 38P | Playoffs: 3GP 0G 0A 0P
Joshua is skilled powerforward from the USHL. He plays a pretty good two-way game, mainly based on smarts and positional play. He’s a strong player and can throw his weight around. He’s got soft hands, especially in tight. Could improve his acceleration and stride, but his top-end speed is excellent. He drives the net with a purpose. Joshua lacks consistency, in all facets of the game. He doesn’t always come prepared to play and it shows with the inconsistent nature of his game.
“Joshua has a big frame and is magnificent at using his size and long reach to protect the puck from attacking players. He’s still relatively skinny for his size, but once he fills out, he has the potential to be a true power forward that handles the puck well enough to be a consistent scoring threat.” – Chris Dilks (College Hockey)
C | 5’11” 195 | Regina Pats (WHL)
Regular Season: 62GP 21G 19A 40P | Playoffs: 4GP 4G 1A 5P
Hunt is a solid combination of work ethic and skill. He’s a tenacious player, who aggressively forechecks and battles. He has a strong two-way game and loves to engages physically. He owns a hard shot and a soft touch around crease. However, Hunt’s puck skills as well as playmaking remains highly inconsistent. Additionally, he’s suffered three concussions in the last 18 months.
LW | 5’11” 185 | Barrie Colts (OHL)
Regular Season: 65GP 11G 24A 35P | Playoffs: 11GP 3G 4A 7P
Labanc is the definition of a puck hound. He’s all hustle all the time. He’s undersized, but he plays a hard-nosed game and doesn’t back down from anyone. He’s got quick feet, which allow him fully utilize his motor. Great backchecker, although he could stand to improve his reads, and a heavy forechecker. Labanc has shown flashes of offensive upside, particularly in terms of stickhandling. The flashes of skill became more common as the year wore on.
C | 6’02” 157 lbs | Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Regular Season: 60GP 19G 24A 43P
Letunov experienced a tremendous rookie season in the USHL. He’s a very skilled player, which really shines on the powerplay. He’s a great stickhandler, with a fantastic shot. The release on his shot fools goaltenders to no end. An impressive playmaker, especially off the rush. A very talented offensive player. Additionally, he competes hard. He engages physically and shows commitment defensively. He desperately needs to add more mass to lanky frame and is certainly a long-term project.
LW | 6’02” 224 | Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Regular Season: 60GP 17G 17A 34P | Playoffs: 8GP 4G 1A 5P
After a good rookie season, expectations were really higher for the 2012 QMJHL draft’s second overall pick. There was lots of talk about him entering the season overweight and completely disinterested. Following a trade to Gatineau, Pepin got his season on track. He’s a big player, who uses his size well by venturing to the tough areas of the ice. He controls the puck extremely well, combining soft hands and excellent body positioning. He’s also a really hard hitter. He shoots quite hard as well, and definitely has quality goalscoring instincts. Pepin’s skating is quite poor and his game is extremely inconsistent.
“Massive winger has good overall strength and excels when playing a punishing style by bulldozing towards the goal .. however, too often he would stray and attempt to make skilled plays on the half boards .. vision and creativity are subpar – he does have a hard, heavy shot and was used on the second unit PP with the Olympiques” – McKeen’s Hockey
C | 5’10” 179 | Kootenay Ice (WHL)
Regular Season: 71GP 31G 46A 77P | Playoffs: 13GP 5G 8A 13P
Undersized, but highly skilled sniper. Philp has an exceptional shot, which he loves to unload. He’s can make pretty flashy moves from time to time, but his hands are a little clunky. Not a fantastic skater, but gets around the ice quite well. Has the ability to slow the play down. He’s an adept playmaker and rarely puts himself in a position where he will give away the puck. He’s a committed to playing a two-way game. He needs to improve his defensive game, but there’s no doubt the effort is there.
Once again, it’s important to remember that these just a handful of the forwards that could be selected. These are my favourite mid-to-later round picks.
Chatham, Kase, Rod, Sadowy, and Tkachev all stand out to me as players who could sneak into the late second or early third, where they would be out of the Habs range. Teams love their grit and hard-working players and the first four fit that. Chatham and Sadowy are very interesting OHLers–both are hard-workers and both have the ability to put the points up. Tkachev is supremely skilled and if it weren’t for his late jump to the QMJHL, I think he would be much higher.
There’s a lot of interesting players in the tier below those guys: Chartier, Lammikko, Mangiapane, and Perron. There’s a good mix of skilled forwards and bigger players. Pelletier also fits the bill of a skilled player. Lots to like.
In the last two rounds, Hodgson and Philp are the two players who intrigue me the most. Hodgson is raw, but there’s upside there, while Philp is a solid two-way scorer.
Check back soon for my favourite mid-to-later round defencemen and goaltenders!