2014 Draft: Potential First Round Targets (Part 1)

Pictured (from left to right): Conner Bleackley, Nikolay Goldobin, Josh Ho-Sang, Adrian Kempe

Pictured (from left to right): Conner Bleackley, Nikolay Goldobin, Josh Ho-Sang, Adrian Kempe

The Montreal Canadiens hold the 26th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, which is under a week away. Even though this draft isn’t held in the regard as last year’s, there are many interesting late first-round players. This is part one of the potential first round targets. It will cover Ivan Barbashev, Conner Bleackley, Eric Cornel, Anthony DeAngelo, Ryan Donato, Jack Dougherty, Nikolay Goldobin, Josh Ho-Sang, Julius Honka, Vladislav Kamenev, and Adrian Kempe. I will evaluate every player, based on what I’ve seen, heard, and read. Additionally, each player will have multiple quotes with a focus on differentiating thoughts and interesting background information. Following the player analysis, there’s a section dedicated to my personal thoughts on the prospects and who I like the best out of the group.

RELATED: Part 2 – 2014 Draft: Potential First Round Targets

 

Ivan Barbashev
C | 6’01” 190 lbs Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) 
Regular Season: 48GP 25G 43A 68P | Playoffs: 6GP 4G 6A 10P

The 2012 CHL Import Draft’s first overall pick enjoyed a tremendous season. Barbashev combines many great tools: determination, skill, and speed. He’s a physical player, who will finish his checks with consistency. Doesn’t have a mean streak per say, but he won’t back down from anyone. He plays with tons of determination and takes his defensive responsibilities very seriously. He’s typically the first man back and is positionally aware. Barbashev thinks the game at a high level and is a tremendous three-zone player.

Additionally, he’s a powerful skater, who always keeps his feet moving and is constantly looking to beat defenders with a quick burst of speed. Offensively, he’s more of a playmaker than a goalscorer. He can make difficult passes look easy and distributes the puck extremely well, particularly down low. He also can score, typically using his quick wrist shot and crafty hands. In one-on-one situations he’s quite deadly, due to his offensive tools and determination. He’s great at working the cycle and has tremendous balance and body positioning.

His work ethic can never be questioned, but his offensive game can be hit and miss. He will show flashes of high-end skill, but there’s no consistency. On the flip side, this can also be shown as versatility; having the ability to play a straightforward game as well as a skilled game. He’s a skilled, hard-working player, but sometimes you wonder just how much more upside he has. Certainly a talented player with lots of pro attributes.

Quotes:

“Ivan is a strong skater. He reaches top speed quickly and is a very good playmaker with quick hands. He’s not afraid to mix it up, competes one-on-one and battles for pucks. He can be a gamebreaker.” – Dan Marr (Director of NHL Central Scouting)

“Ivan is a determined and spirited player. Excellent leader who does so by example and has a focus on the team’s best interests in all regards. Excellent hockey IQ in all regards and there is not a situation in the game that he can’t make a difference in. Has the ability to ‘step up’ his game when necessary. Very good skills and can score as well as set up a player and is always in the ‘guts of the action.’ Off-the-charts character.” – Craig Button (TSN Director of Scouting)

“I was thinking about moving to Canada three years ago. I talked to my father (Dmitri) and agent (J.P. Barry) because in Canada, that’s my style of hockey. The physical game and stuff like that; that’s why we moved to Canada.” – Ivan Barbashev (Article by NHL.com’s Mike Morreale)

 

Conner Bleackley
C 6’01 195 lbs | Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Regular Season: 71GP 29G 39A 68P | Playoffs: 9GP 2G 1A 3P

Bleackley is a hard-working, two-way forward. Bleackley is a consistent presence and a total workhorse. He was named captain of his team at the age of just 17 . He’s improved his skating significantly over the course of his WHL career. Bleackley is a smart offensive player. A quality playmaker, who moves the puck quickly and effectively. He’s got a heavy wrist shot and good hands around the net. He’s a great player along the boards, where he uses great balance and body positioning to win puck battles.

It’s Bleackley’s play away from the puck that really shines. He positions himself well in all three zones–a highly intelligent defensive player. He uses his relentless motor and smarts in order to obtain possession. He’s great in the dot and excels on the penalty kill.

At times, Bleackley can over-think in game situations, typically leading to him chasing the play. His skating still needs work, especially because much of his game is based around his high-energy level. Additionally, his offensive upside appears limited, considering his lack of a stand out skill. There’s no doubt he’s a complete package. With his work ethic and smarts, he very well could exceed expectations.

Quotes:

“He deserves every point he has with his strong work ethic and decent size. He hustles every shift and is not afraid to get in on the forecheck and make things happen. He’s solid with smart positioning, and he plays attention to detail at both ends of the rink.” – B.J. MacDonald (NHL Central Scouting)

“Conner is a determined, competitive player who doesn’t take any shortcuts. He’s smart, gets to the right areas and is a catalyst for positive plays all over the ice. He doesn’t allow himself to be denied!” – Craig Button (TSN Director of Scouting)

 

Eric Cornel
C/RW 6’02” 184 | Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Regular Season: 68GP 25G 37A 62P Playoffs: 11GP 4G 3A 7P

Cornel experienced tremendous growth this past season, emerging as a solid offensive threat. Cornel’s game really took off when he started playing wing, as his defensive responsibilities were lessened. He’s a terrific skater, who loves to rush the puck through the neutral zone. With a smooth stride, as well as excellent top speed and acceleration, Cornel is able to cover a lot of ice–quickly.

Cornel is certainly more of a playmaker than goalscorer, as his good vision and creativity allow him to always find an open player. He’s a great passer high in the offensive zone, where he loves to begin passing plays. Simply put, he makes players around him better. There’s not much power behind his shot, but the accuracy and quick release allow him to find twine. Cornel has a tendency to bobble the puck a lot. He can make the occasional flashy move, but at this point he’s not much of a stickhandler.

Once moved to the wing, Cornel’s two-way game really took off. He’s showed good awareness. He understands when and when not to exit the zone. He supports his teammates well. He’s learned to play a low-risk defensive game; but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Cornel also improved his physicality once moved to the wing, but it’s still an issue. Honestly, he looks scared on the ice. He shies away from high traffic areas. He clearly doesn’t like being hit, which really affects his ability to play in tightly-contested games. To be fair, he has learned to throw his weight around a bit more.

Cornel brings a well-rounded tool kit, with not many flaws, but not many stand out qualities either. Considering his lack of bite and relatively low upside, I’d be shocked if he goes in the first round.

Quotes:

“The one thing with Eric is he is a student. He’s intelligent. He’s committed at school. Academically, he’s strong. When he comes to the rink, he’s not afraid to ask questions and look at some video because he wants to get better.” – Mike Oke (Peterborough Peters General Manager)

Eric is our most improved player from last year and has continued to impress in his sophomore season. He is a swift, skilled player who works hard both on and off the ice.” – Jody Hull (Peterborough Petes Head Coach)

 

Anthony DeAngelo
D | 5’11” 167 lbs | Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Regular Season: 51GP 15G 56A 71P

DeAngelo is a supremely talented offensive defenceman, who led all OHL d-men in points. DeAngelo’s offensive skills are absolutely elite. He’s a tremendous skater, owning fantastic edge work, excellent four-way mobility, and breakaway speed. He combines his skating with a really slick set of hands to become incredibly shifty and hard to contain. He’s also a great passer, equally as good with an outlet pass as he is from the point. His slapshot packs a serious punch and his wrist shot is also dangerous. He’s a very aggressive pincher and loves to jump into the play.

Defensively, DeAngelo is a mess. He often looks disengaged, particularly in sustained pressure scenarios. When he’s not floating, he recklessly chases the puck and doesn’t properly communicate with his partner. His positioning has improved, but it still needs some serious work. In one-on-one situations he gets beat far too often.

Despite his size, DeAngelo is a fiery, physical player. He can lay massive bodychecks and aggressively closes the gap on forwards. He will drop the gloves from time to time, where he has more than held his own against a handful of seriously tough customers. However, it does work both ways as he has discipline issues and gets too emotionally invested.

DeAngelo’s offensive ability is certainly dynamic. However, there are serious concerns beyond his weak defensive game. His character comes into question–specifically due to his violation of the OHL’s harassment, abuse and diversity policy. That as well as his boom/bust projection can scare teams off, but there’s no denying his offensive upside.

Quotes: 

“Anthony is a skilled offensive defenceman. His puck skills and playmaking ability are excellent. He sees the ice very well and creates offensive scoring chances with great passes. He has a very good shot and gets in on net. DeAngelo likes to jump up into the rush and makes decisions with the puck.” – Chris Edwards (NHL Central Scouting)

“As many of my industry counterparts put it this guy is just a bad teammate. Because of his intensity, emotion, or just flat out hate for losing, whatever the case he plays selfish and goes through spurts where he plays way too individualistic to succeed at the AHL level, let alone the NHL level.” – Dan Stewart (Future Considerations – Quote via OHL Prospects)

 

Ryan Donato
C | 6’02” 174 lbs | Dexter School (USHS)/Cape Cod Whalers U18 (Midget)
USHS: 30GP 37G 41A 71P | Midget: 9GP 8G 9A 17P

If it weren’t for the low level of competition, Donato would surely be a lock to be at least a late first round choice. Donato has dominated the USHS for two years now, and continues to be an extremely impressive two-way player.

Donato plays with a ton of energy and always seems to find a way to produce. He’s hard to knock off his skates, but he’s far from a fast skater. His hands are absolutely fantastic and he thinks the game at a high level. He has the rare ability to dangle through traffic with ease. He constantly makes things happens and plays his heart out every shift.

Defensively, Donato is the complete package. He will throw his weight around and he supports his defencemen extremely well. He anticipates the play extremely well and won’t shy away from blocking a shot if necessary. He’s also solid in the dot. He effectively cuts off passing lanes and plays aggressively on the penalty kill.

Overall, the only faults with Donato appear to be his skating and fact that he has yet to make the full-time jump to the USHL. At this point, he is a long-term project, but his upside appears extremely high. He’s committed to Harvard for the 2015-2016 season.

Quotes:

“Elite scorer who has dominated the prep circuit for two years now, taking his production to another level this season. Not a dynamic skater in terms of top-end speed and explosiveness, but is highly fluid and elusive, with superb balance and edgework. Elite hands and hockey sense: slips through defences, pounces on loose pucks and makes opponents pay for any mistake or opportunity they give him. Plays with a lot of energy and hustle; never stops moving his feet and despite being the most skilled player on the ice most nights, outworks just about everyone else, too. Upside, versatility and commitment to all three zones makes him an impressive long-term NHL prospect.” – Kirk Luedeke (New England Hockey Journal)

“Shows great hand/eye coordination around the net‚ can slow the pace down and exploits seams in the defense with his natural hockey sense and instincts. Fearless and willing to step right into traffic knowing he’s going to get hammered in order to create dangerous (scoring) chances.” – Kyle Woodlief (Red Line Report)

 

Jack Dougherty
D | 6’02” 185 lbs | USNTDP U-18 
Regular Season: 57GP 7G 14A 21P

Dougherty is a well-rounded, two-way defenceman who plays a smart game. Dougherty excels in his own zone. He’s a hard hitter, who can step up on forwards and make them pay. However, he won’t take himself out of position for a big hit. Those smarts are also shown in his positional game–his defensive zone awareness is fantastic. He rarely will make a bad decision, and if he does, he’s never phased. He processes the game exceptionally well and his reaction time is terrific. His gap control is fantastic and he rarely gets beat. He’s a mean player along the boards and around the net, although he could stand to be more aggressive in open ice.

Dougherty’s game continually improved over the year. He’s a mobile player, but his skating could still use refining. He’s become a much more better player with the puck on his stick, largely due to his continually improving puck skills. He passes the puck quite well and he rarely throws it away. He owns a hard, low shot that he probably doesn’t use enough as he should. Not a creative or dynamic player, but rather a smart, safe one.

Even though his upside appears limited, his development curve is encouraging. There’s plenty to like about his blend of size, skating, and smarts. He’s a talented player and could make for a very intriguing late first round pick.

Quotes:

“I’d say I’m pretty smart, know my position, play defence pretty well. I like to play physical, get into guys’ heads. I think I’m an OK skater…I get by.” – Jack Dougherty (Quote via TheHockeyNews.com’s Ryan Kennedy)

“A tough two-way defenseman with some good offensive abilities, Dougherty can do a little bit of everything for Team USA. He should draw top-four minutes at the U18WC with his solid skating and should be able to exploit the big ice a bit.” – Chris Peters (The United States of Hockey)

“Even as a high school player, he was a smart two-way player and proved to be very responsible. He’s also tough and can play the powerplay and work the point well.” – Greg Rajanen (NHL Central Scouting)

 

Nikolay Goldobin
LW 6’00” 185 lbs | Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Regular Season: 67GP 38G 56A 94P 

Goldobin is an exhilarating, dynamic offensive talent. He’s a smooth skater, with great acceleration and good top-end speed. His edge work is absolutely fantastic. He owns a deadly offensive arsenal. He’s a terrific playmaker and connects with passes that most players couldn’t dream about. Anywhere on the ice, he’s a threat to set up a quality scoring chance. He’s not just about playmaking, though. He’s a more than capable goalscorer, too. He has a laser beam for a wrist shot, which he can unleash while being off-balance or in tight areas. He also has the rare ability to roof the puck in a hurry, making him a dangerous shooter from anywhere, including low-percentage angles. He’s also a tremendous stickhandler, possessing hands and a level of creativity that most in the draft class don’t even come close to matching. Additionally, he’s a tremendous opportunist. Goldobin rarely fails to capitalize when a defender makes a mistake. His offensive instincts are absolutely incredible.

However, Goldobin has many question marks. Despite his great skill level, he’s invisible far too often, and many times he only comes to play for just handful of shifts. He avoids high traffic areas and is a prime example of a perimeter player. Goldobin attempts to obtain possession of the puck by standing around and aimless poking at the puck. He occasionally shows defensive awareness, but he doesn’t work hard enough to get back into position. There’s almost no urgency in his game and too often he’s a complete non-factor.

Simply put, Goldobin’s skill level is through the roof, but the other areas of his game aren’t passable by even OHL standards.

Quotes:

“The draft’s top enigma when it comes to pro project as this kid is lights out with the puck on his stick and when given space in prime scoring areas. Creativity hands, deadly shot, impressive vision, and high-end instincts highlight this flashy offensive package. Problem is he lacks any type of intensity or drive in all aspects of the game. Shies away from physical contact and loses most puck battles along the wall.” – Dan Stewart (Future Considerations – Quote on ohlprospects.blogspot.ca)

“Goldobin’s offensive instincts are off the chart and while he as been criticized about his commitments to the defensive game, I certainly feel he can develop and improve those skills under the right coaching. While setting up teammates with creative, crafty passes has become his standout quality, it is his intelligent hockey sense that allows him to read the ice at such an elite level and that means he can utilize that same attribute to focus on his defensive assignments, too. He just has to ‘want’ to do it and it’s his wildly inconsistent intensity that leaves scouts questioning his value.” – Brendan Ross (Dobber Prospects – Interview on OHLWriters.com)

 

Josh Ho-Sang
C/RW 5’11” 166 lbs | Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Regular Season: 67GP 32G 53A 85P | Playoffs: 4GP 1G 2A 3P

Ho-Sang has been on the draft radar for a long time, and rightfully so, considering his high-end offensive skills. Ho-Sang led the Spitfires in scoring with 85 points and experienced a tremendous amount of growth as a player.

Ho-Sang’s offensive skill set is very much elite. He’s a tremendous stickhandler, owning ridiculously smooth hands, excellent hand-eye coordination, and an insane level of creativity. He’s capable of doing extremely unique things with the puck that confuse defenders to no end. He loves to dangle, many times to a fault. He’s one of the best skaters in the draft class, possessing an explosive first few steps and breakaway speed (probably an understatement). He’s very aware of holes in defences and will use his skating and hands in order to exploit them. He has an amazing saucer pass, but he doesn’t use his teammates enough. The release on his shot is quite special, although he doesn’t have much power behind it. He can play the role of a pest as well, as he seems to draw quite a few penalties.  He’s also not afraid to venture to the tough areas of the ice, although he doesn’t win many puck battles.

Ho-Sang has come a long way in a short period of time. He’s still lazy defensively and turns the puck over way too much, especially in his own zone. He’s selfish and tries to do too much by himself. He has learned to use his teammates more effectively, but he still has to learn how to do it on a consistent basis. He also spends too much time looking to make a highlight-type play, instead of just making the simpler, more effective play.

There’s no denying what he can do with the puck–he’s a flashy, fast, high-end offensive player. However, he lacks team play and on-ice awareness–two issues that might prevent him from becoming an effective AHL player, let alone NHL player. A long-term project, but he has first-line potential if everything goes right.

Quotes:

“He handles the puck very well at top speed and sees the ice well. His skating is excellent and his first step is explosive. He cuts to the middle often and can split the defence with surprising speed.” – Chris Edwards (NHL Central Scouting)

“He’s maturing on the ice, using his tools more cerebrally, breaking down plays and making smart decisions in possession. In the past he would draw players in and attempt to walk around them with his elite one-on-one moves, now he makes a quick decision to fire off a tape to tape pass to an open man. He opens ice for teammates due to his possession skills.” – Sean LaFortune (The Scout)

 

Julius Honka
D | 5’11” 175 lbs | Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Regular Season: 62GP 16G 40A 56P | Playoffs: 6GP 2G 0A 2P

If it weren’t for Honka’s size, he wouldn’t even be in the slightest consideration for the 26th overall pick. Honka has a tremendous mind for the game. He reads the play at an extremely high level at both sides of the puck. He’s an effortless skater, who always seems to have another gear. He can really take off if given the time and space. His lateral movement is fantastic, as is backwards skating. He’s as good of a skater as anyone in the draft class.

From the point, Honka is extremely smart. He’s always calm and always gives himself options. He’s a deadly shooter, as well as an exceptional passer. He always seems to make the right decision with the puck. He’s also a great transition player, where his skating and outlet pass provide him with many options. He’s a smart pincher–rarely putting his team in danger when he does step up.

Despite his size, Honka doesn’t get pushed around defensively. He’s certainly more of a cerebral defender, using his smarts and an active stick to break up plays. However, he will play the man if using his body is the best option. He’s great in one-on-one situations, and rarely gets beaten, even by much bigger opponents. The main problem with Honka’s defensive game is in sustained pressure situations. He struggles to break the opposition’s cycle and can get out muscled down low.

Honka is a very cerebral defender and is an extremely intriguing option in the mid-to-late first. His understanding of the game and fantastic offensive tool kit could make him a tremendous pick down the road.

Quotes:

“I think his offensive game is outstanding. That’s one of his strengths, his skating, on his edges and on the forecheck, he can really leave guys. He can really shake a forecheck, and the biggest thing, he’s got an extra gear where he can really rush the puck. His hockey sense and his shot are extremely good too. Play in his own end is fine because his anticipation is excellent. He can really read plays and he’s a tough player. He’s really aggressive, he’s not afraid to hit. He’s a smaller player, everyone thinks it’s a deficiency, but the way he skates and the way he anticipates I think it’s one of his strengths.” – Mark Lamb (Swift Current Broncos Head Coach & General Manager)

“Honka might have the highest offensive ceiling of any defenceman in the draft, let alone just prospects from the WHL’s Eastern Conference. To me, his best asset is his skating. He’s extremely quick and explosive for such a small blueliner. His edge work is impeccable as he’s able to shift his angles on a dime, cutting through traffic or using that explosive ability to transition into backwards skating. His skating allows him to lead and the join the rush, giving him the ability to show off his puck skills and shot. I like his willingness to engage and compete defensively as that’s an area that will need to continue to show growth as he enters his second season in North America in 2014-15.” – Cody Nickolet (WHL From Above)

 

Vladislav Kamenev
C/LW | 6’02” 203 lbs | Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (MHL)/Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
MHL: 15GP 4G 6A 10P | KHL: 16GP 1G 0A 1P

Kamenev is a big forward who does a lot well. He protects the puck exceptionally well. He’s very strong on his skates, understands body positioning, and has good hands, particularly in tight. Kamenev is a great playmaker; owning tremendous vision and a very unselfish style of game. Sometimes, he’s actually too unselfish, throwing the puck away despite being in a quality shooting position. In this regard he can make really boneheaded decisions: he doesn’t always seem to be completely aware of his surroundings. He’s also a pretty good skater with lots of room to improve.

Kamenev possesses a great shot, but he isn’t an incredible goalscorer by any means. He doesn’t shoot enough and is always looking to distribute the puck. He’s an above-average stickhandler. Won’t blow you away, but he has smooth hands, allowing him to create space for himself.

Kamenev understands the two-way game. He plays hard and he’s a diligent backchecker. His two-way game is actually quite advanced for a player his age and he shows lots of smarts in that area. Sometimes he does have to compete harder, but there’s no doubt he has the instincts.

Kamenev possesses an intriguing skill set. He’s big, a great playmaker, and a solid two-way player. The “Russian Factor” seems to be the biggest concern with him, which will probably make him available late in the first.

Quotes:

Kamenev is a good-skating center with an excellent set of hands, and is a very interesting prospect thanks to his size, use of the body, and puck skills. The native of Orsk, Russia can be very effective along the boards as he can use his size to his advantage and can also be very useful in front of the crease. He has a good shot, but is not a goal-scorer, as he, as many other Russians, plays more of a pass-first type of game. He also seems to have a good work ethic and hasn’t had many problems with penalties in his career.” – Hockey’s Future

“Kamenev is a talented forward with good size who uses his physical gifts to the protect the puck and win board battles. He sees the ice well, has good hands and a strong shot. Has to keep his emotions in check as he can get overzealous taking stupid penalties at times.” – Future Coniderations

 

 

Adrian Kempe
C/RW | 6’02” 190 lbs | MODO Hockey (SHL)
Regular Season: 45GP 5G 6A 11P | Playoffs: 2GP 0G 1A 1P

Kempe is a hard-working powerforward with a strong two-way game. Kempe, despite being one of the youngest players in this year’s draft class, spent the season in SHL. Kempe didn’t look outmatched and managed to keep up with the play.

Kempe is a powerful skater with exceptional top-end speed and a quick first few steps. He’s got a bit of a wide stride, but it doesn’t affect his ability to turn quickly and cut hard into the slot. He possesses a pretty heavy shot, but he could stand to quicken his release and improve his accuracy. He has a great understand of how to use his frame to his advantage. He loves to use his reach to draw defenders in and then fire a quick pass to an open teammate. His playmaking ability won’t wow you, but he does make quick, simple plays that are highly effective.

Kempe possesses a very good two-way game. He thinks the game at a high level and never stops working. He’s a good positional player, who likes block shots and throw his weight around. He could stand to be a little more aggressive in attacking the points.

There’s a lack of high-end skill in Kempe’s game, but there’s no doubt he has upside. He lacks finish and creativity, but he contributes in so many other areas. He’s a reliable player and a coach’s dream.

Quotes:

“He’s a big, strong, bullish forward who can play center or wing. He likes to drive hard for the net, using his strength and skating to his advantage. He plays the body and is aggressive when forechecking. He has a good defensive game for a player with his offensive skills; mobile, solid and strong. He’s a power forward, strong along the boards with smooth hands and is a very speedy skater. He’s a solid two-way forward.” – Goran Stubb (NHL Central Scouting)

“Adrian is an excellent skater with speed and he uses it to get to openings and to back off defenders. He’s a player who understands how to use that skating to maximum benefit and create chances.” – Craig Button (TSN Director of Scouting)

 

Thoughts:

There are certainly lots of intriguing options in the group. As mentioned in my article, An Examination of Trevor Timmins’ Drafting, it appears that centres and defencemen could very well be targeted early on.

Barbashev is the top player in this group by my estimation, and he also fills a need. I’d be shocked to see him available when the Canadiens are on the clock because of his determined two-way game and skill level. There’s lots of upside and he, relatively speaking, seems like a fairly safe pick, regardless of his nationality.

After Barbashev, Kempe intrigues me the most. Kempe’s continually improving skill level and advanced two-way game probably put him out of reach. Kempe brings a lot of interesting tools to the table.

Dougherty and Honka are fantastic defencemen. Dougherty is the much needed right-handed, two-way defenceman. He brings size and skating ability, as well as hockey sense. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s a quality prospect. Honka’s size is a bit concerning, but probably overblown. He’s a supremely smart and skilled defender. Regardless of his size, he’s a tremendous contributor and would be a great addition to any prospect pool, let alone the Canadiens’ at 26th overall.

Following the “big four” are Goldobin and Ho-Sang–two of most debated prospects in the draft. They both are extremely skilled with dynamic offensive tool kits. Goldobin has the edge in goalscoring ability with his unique shooting ability, but Ho-Sang’s ridiculous top-end speed and unmatched first step give him the edge in skating. To me, Ho-Sang’s issues with selfishness have become overblown. He has improved so much, where as Goldobin hasn’t improved upon his weaknesses. He’s still timid and he still only shows up for a few shifts a game. While I acknowledge there’s a convincing argument to be made either way, I’d take Ho-Sang.

This is where it gets really tricky. Bleackley owns a two-way game well beyond his years, but I question how much more upside he has to give. I don’t think he would be a bad selection, but I think there will be better, higher upside players available. Cornel fits into the same group. He isn’t as good of a prospect as Bleackley, meaning that I definitely think there will be better players available. I don’t see a whole lot of upside with Cornel as he lacks an identity, and considering his timidness, I don’t think he’s a first round pick.

DeAngelo and Donato are two long-term projects, with a potential huge pay off. DeAngelo’s sublime offensive skills, combined with his fiery and competitive nature gives him huge upside. However, the character concerns, size, and lack of defensive ability are extremely concerning. DeAngelo is essentially the ultimate boom/bust player in the draft. Meanwhile, Donato is a tough player to get a read on because of the league he plays in. However, there’s no doubt that with is bloodlines and skill, he can become an NHLer.

Kamenev is a total wildcard to me. Lots of upside, but questionable decisions hold him back.. Additionally, I just cannot see the Habs being interested. Last Russian they drafted was Alexander Avtsin in 2009, and while they did rush him to North America, he was a bust.

In short, there are quite a few interesting targets late in the first round. It’s a wide-open draft, with so much variance between lists. It should be an exciting time.

 

Check out part two by clicking here:

2014 Draft: Potential First Round Targets (Part 2)

 

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One Response to 2014 Draft: Potential First Round Targets (Part 1)

  1. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable experience about unpredicted feelings.

    Russ October 25, 2016 at 11:26 pm Reply

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