Sunrise, Florida will be home to hundreds of top end prospects, their families and friends, NHL hockey personnel and eager fans hoping to share a monumental day of future NHL stars. Just hours away from the start of the 2015 NHL Draft and Youngblood Hockey is pleased to release its NHL Draft Guide, compiled by prospect penman Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood), for draft enthusiasts.
Youngblood Hockey’s NHL Draft Guide features a Top 150 ranking, in-depth profiles for the top 60 prospects (including style comparisons), a full three-round mock draft, categorical rankings and a sneak peak at the 2016 and 2017 draft classes.
Without further ado, Youngblood Hockey presents the 2015 NHL Draft Guide and wishes luck to all eligible prospects as they embark on the next chapter of their hockey careers!
A special stick tap to all the followers of Youngblood Hockey over the past season! It’s your hunger for information and knowledge that keeps the passion in this feature section!
DOWNLOAD HERE: 2015 NHL Draft Final Rank Package
Special Feature by Mac Vincent
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know two young hockey prospects over the past year in Kyle and Jordan. Both were selected in the 2014 Ontario Hockey League draft. The North Bay Battalion selected Kyle in the eighth round and the Erie Otters selected Jordan in the tenth round. I thought I would introduce them to all of you. Despite being cut at training camp, they remain under team control for two years and with hard work and dedication they could certainly make an impact for their respective teams.
A little more about Kyle straight from the Battalion website, “He’s a huge body. His only limitation is his first couple of strides, but he has pretty good skill for a big man. He’s a real physical specimen right now. He’ll be better playing at a level against bigger and stronger players, providing he can improve his skating.”
Here’s some more insight on Jordan as well, “Jordan likes joining the rush, and follows the play up closely and seems to want be offensive defenseman. He plays on the PP, has decent vision, makes a good first pass even under pressure and uses the boards or glass to get the puck out of his own zone. Jordan steers opponents to the outside, battles with them in front and tries to box them out to avoid second or third chances.”
I asked Kyle and Jordan five questions as shown below.
- When did you decide to pursue hockey as a career?
- How would you describe your experience at OHL training camp?
- How do you play as a player? Tell us about your game.
- What are some of your goals for this year when training and playing hockey?
- Tell us about your favourite hockey memory.
- When I was around 4 I started playing hockey. At first I hated it but after a couple skates I couldn’t stop. I played house league and select up to when I was around 8, then made the jump to AAA. Since the start of AAA I knew I wanted to play hockey as a career. I played with the Toronto Titans, Vaughan Kings, and South Central Coyotes.
- It was amazing, the facilities were phenomenal and the people there were great. We started with some fitness testing followed by some on ice sessions. The pace of the scrimmages was a great taste of what to expect at the next level. Everyone there truly made you feel welcome, such a great city. Overall an experience I won’t forget.
- I would compare myself to JVR. An offensive minded forward that can score but also can go in the dirty areas. A crafty passer and stays in front of the net on the power play and get’s open to score. With being 6’5 I have to utilize by size and play physical.
- This year I’ll be playing Midget, I chose this route so I can dominate but still play at a competitive level. This year for training I’ll be in the gym around 5 times a week, working on drills/exercises to help get my foot speed quicker as well as working on my overall core strength. I’m trying to maintain my current shape for this upcoming hockey season, so when I go back to North Bay next May I’ll do well on the testing and impress.
- My favourite hockey memory has to be when I got drafted in the priority selection to North Bay. Funny story, I was actually playing Xbox with my friend (he was on the microphone) and we were just waiting all day for our name to get called. Once I got picked I couldn’t believe it. I went downstairs to tell my parents but they just left to go shopping, but when they got the call came rushing back. I was so excited but also felt bad for my friend cause he didn’t get picked yet. Luckily he did get picked. Overall it was amazing to get picked by North Bay and truly an honour!
- As soon as I stepped on the ice at the age of 3, I knew I wanted to pursue hockey as a career. I really enjoyed playing hockey whether it be on the ice, or on the street with my friends. When I made my first AAA team at the age of 7, I knew that I had a special talent that would enable me to continue to pursue my dream of playing hockey as a career.
- My experience at my OHL camp was amazing. The facilities, the staff, everyone and everything were top notch. Playing against top NHL Draft picks and prospects really helped me out as I saw what it takes to get to play at the next level. Everyone was so nice and willing to help out the younger guys and give some pointers. Overall, a great time that I will never forget and i cant wait to go back next year.
- I would consider myself as a two-way defenceman. I really enjoy joining the rush and getting in on the offensive plays. In saying that, I make sure to do my job in the defensive zone to keep the puck out of our own net. I give 110% wherever I am on the ice to try and help my team as much as possible. I would consider myself to be like a Pietrangelo as he is a very smart defenceman that can play a very strong 200ft game.
- This year I am playing Midget AAA. I want to help my team go as far as possible with the end goal being the Telus Cup. I am going to the gym as much as possible to help build my strength and cardio to be the best it can be. I wanna focus on weaknesses that I have so that I continue to get better as the season goes on. When the offseason hits, ill be in the gym and on the track almost everyday to make sure I’m in top-notch shape when I go to camp.
- My favourite hockey memory is being selected in the OHL priority selection by the Erie Otters. I worked my whole life for this, and I’m truly honoured that it came true. The work is just beginning now though, as I want to continue my hockey career playing at the top level possible.
You can follow Kyle on Twitter @kthomas41 and Jordan @JordanS_9.
I wish them nothing but the best going forward.
Listed below are the best all time picks of the NHL Draft’s first round.
1st overall – Mario Lemieux (1984, Pittsburgh Penguins)
Runner-Up: Sidney Crosby (2005, Pittsburgh Penguins)
2nd overall – Marcel Dionne (1971, Detroit Red Wings)
Runner-Up: Chris Pronger (1993, Hartford Whalers)
3rd overall – Scott Niedermayer (1991, New Jersey Devils)
Runner-Up: Jonathan Toews (2006, Chicago Blackhawks)
4th overall – Steve Yzerman (1983, Detroit Red Wings)
Runner-Up: Lanny McDonald (1973, Toronto Maples Leafs)
5th overall – Jaromir Jagr (1990, Pittsburgh Penguins)
Runner-Up: Scott Stevens (1982, Washington Capitals)
G’day NHL Draft junkies,
After some final tinkering to my previous “Final FINAL 2014 NHL Draft Rankings”, I am content (for now) on my FINAL (for real this time) draft rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft. As I did all season, I put together one final “Youngblood” release and kept if fairly easy-to-read with straightforward rankings, skill-related ranking lists and a mock draft. In addition, I posted my 2015 NHL Draft Rankings to kick things off for next season.
Of course, it’s all free too. Moving forward, almost all of my content that was previously featured in the Youngblood releases will be offered over at McKeen’s Hockey, where I have an ongoing featured section. Be sure to check it out.
For the updated rankings, lists, mock draft and other information…download: Youngblood 2014 NHL Draft FINAL
In the spirit of the NHL Draft, @RossyYoungblood takes a look at the 2007 draft class and redoes the group that featured Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk, Kyle Turris and found gems outside of the 1st round in PK Subban and Jamie Benn
Player’s original draft selection in parenthesis
2007 NHL Draft Redo
- Chicago Blackhawks – Patrick Kane (1st ) CHI originally selected Patrick Kane
- Philadelphia Flyers – PK Subban (43rd) PHI originally selected James van Riemsdyk
- Phoenix Coyotes –Jamie Benn (129th) CHI originally selected Kyle Turris
- Los Angeles Kings – Logan Couture (9th) LAK originally selected Thomas Hickey
- Washington Capitals – Ryan McDonagh (12th) WSH originally selected Karl Alzner
- Edmonton Oilers –Jakub Voracek (6th) EDM originally selected Sam Gagner
- Columbus Blue Jackets –Max Pacioretty (22nd) CBJ originally selected Jakub Voracek
- Boston Bruins – James van Riemsdyk (2nd) BOS originally selected Zach Hamill
- San Jose Sharks – Kevin Shattenkirk (14th) SJS originally selected Logan Couture
- Florida Panthers – Kyle Turris (3rd) FLA originally selected Keaton Ellerby
- Carolina Hurricanes – Karl Alzner (5th) CAR originally selected Brandon Sutter
- Montreal Canadiens – David Perron (26th) MTL originally selected Ryan McDonagh
- St. Louis Blues – Wayne Simmonds (61st) STL originally selected Lars Eller
- Colorado Avalanche – Sam Gagner (6th) COL originally selected Kevin Shattenkirk
- Edmonton Oilers – Carl Hagelin (168th) EDM originally selected Alex Plante
- Minnesota Wild – Alec Martinez (95th) MIN originally selected Colton Gillies
- New York Rangers – Alexander Killorn (77th) NYR originally selected Alexei Cherepanov
- St. Louis Blues – Lars Eller (13th) STL originally selected Ian Cole
- Anaheim Ducks – Jake Muzzin (141st) ANA originally selected Logan MacMillan
- Pittsburgh Penguins – Carl Gunnarsson (194th) PIT originally selected Angelo Esposito
- Edmonton Oilers – Justin Braun (201st) EDM originally selected Riley Nash
- Montreal Canadiens – Mikael Backlund (24th) MTL originally selected Max Pacioretty
- Nashville Predators – Nick Bonino (173rd) NSH originally selected Jonathon Blum
- Calgary Flames – Brendan Smith (27th) CGY originally selected Mikael Backlund
- Vancouver Canucks – Dwight King (109th) VAN originally selected Patrick White
- St. Louis Blues – TJ Galiardi (55th) STL originally selected David Perron
- Detroit Red Wings – Justin Falk (110th) DET originally selected Brendan Smith
- San Jose Sharks – Thomas Hickey (4th) SJS originally selected Nick Petrecki
- Ottawa Senators – Matt Frattin (99th) OTT originally selected Jim O’Brien
- Phoenix Coyotes – Keaton Ellerby (10th) PHX originally selected Nick Ross
1st round misses: Zach Hamill (8th), Alex Plante (15th), Colton Gillies (16th), Alexei Cherepanov (17th), Logan MacMillan (19th), Angelo Esposito (20th), Riley Nash (21st), Jonathon Blum (23rd), Patrick White (25th), Nick Petrecki (28th), Jim O’Brier (29th), Nick Ross (30th)
In the spirit of the NHL Draft, @RossyYoungblood takes a look at the 2006 draft class and redoes the group that featured Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Claude Giroux, Jordan Staal and Phil Kessel.
Player’s original draft selection in parenthesis
- St. Louis Blues –Jonathan Toews (3rd) STL originally selected Erik Johnson
- Pittsburgh Penguins – Nicklas Backstrom (4th) PIT originally selected Jordan Staal
- Chicago Blackhawks –Claude Giroux (22nd) CHI originally selected Jonathan Toews
- Washington Capitals – Phil Kessel (5th) WSH originally selected Niklas Backstrom
- Boston Bruins – Milan Lucic (50th) BOS originally selected Phil Kessel
- Columbus Blue Jackets –Jordan Staal (2nd) CBJ originally selected Derick Brassard
- New York Islanders –Erik Johnson (1st) NYI originally selected Kyle Okposo
- Phoenix Coyotes – Semyon Varlamov (23rd) PHX originally selected Peter Mueller
- Minnesota Wild – Kyle Okposo (7th) MIN originally selected James Sheppard
- Florida Panthers – Jonathan Bernier (11th) FLA originally selected Michael Frolik
- Los Angeles Kings – Steve Mason (69th) LAK originally selected Jonathan Bernier
- Atlanta Thrashers – Bryan Little (12th) ATL originally selected Bryan Little
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Chris Stewart (18th) TOR originally selected Jiri Tlusty
- Vancouver Canucks – Derick Brassard (6th) VAN originally selected Michael Grabner
- Tampa Bay Lightning – Patrik Berglund (25th) TBL originally selected Riku Helenius
- San Jose Sharks – Brad Marchard (71st) SJS originally selected Ty Wishart
- Los Angeles Kings – James Riemer (99th) LAK originally selected Trevor Lewis
- Colorado Avalanche – Nick Foligno (28th) COL originally selected Chris Stewart
- Anaheim Ducks – Nikolai Kulemin (44th) ANA originally selected Mark Mitera
- Montreal Canadiens – Michael Grabner (14th) MTL originally selected David Fischer
- New York Rangers – Andrew MacDonald (160th) NYR originally selected Bob Sanguinetti
- Philadelphia Flyers – Artem Anisimov (54th) PHI originally selected Claude Giroux
- Washington Capitals – Michael Frolik (10th) WSH originally selected Semyon Varlamov
- Buffalo Sabres – Jiri Tlusty (13th) BUF originally selected Dennis Persson
- St. Louis Blues – Jamie McGinn (36th) STL originally selected Patrik Berglund
- Calgary Flames – Cal Clutterbuck (72nd) CGY originally selected Leland Irving
- Dallas Stars – Michal Neuvirth (34th) DAL originally selected Ivan Vishnevskiy
- Ottawa Senators – Viktor Stalberg (161st) OTT originally selected Nick Foligno
- Phoenix Coyotes – Jamie McBain (63rd) PHX originally selected Chris Summers
- New Jersey Devils – Peter Mueller (8th) NJD originally selected Matt Corrente
1st round misses: James Sheppard (9th), Riku Helenius (15th), Ty Wishart (16th), Trevor Lewis (17th), Mark Mitera (19th), David Fischer (20th), Bobby Sanguinetti (21st), Leland Irving (26th), Ivan Vishnevskiy (27th), Chris Summers (29th), Matt Corrente (30th)
- Not-so-Bold Predictions:
- Florida trades the 1st overall selection swapping spots with one of the Canadian teams in Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks or Toronto Maple Leafs
- In general, trading should be on the rise in 2014 with many teams looking to get “their” targeted player in a crop that’s fairly tightly packed together (and consequently, difficult to project who goes where). Trading up will ensure teams get their guy.
- 3 Potential Draft Fallers:
- Sam Bennett – NHL CSS’ top ranking of Bennett could be a curse. He’s certainly got the skill to go 1st overall but both Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart have promising potentials as well. In addition, their playing styles are easy to project into the NHL and that might give them an edge in a group that’s tightly packed. Mix in big skilled forwards Leon Draisaitl, Michael Dal Colle and Nick Ritchie (who is considered #1 by some NHL scouts) and Bennett may slide further than people expect.
- Brendan Perlini – A hot start to his draft season was promising but fizzling down the stretch sticks in scouts’ minds didn’t help IceDogs’ winger Brendan Perlini. He remained a Top 10 prospect throughout the season but the concerns about his competitiveness are legitimate and he could slide into double digits.
- Tony DeAngelo – Publicly discussed and debated, Tony DeAngelo’s troubles on the ice and off the ice have been a hot topic throughout the season and that has left a sour taste in scouts’ mouths. Despite rumoured strong interviews at the NHL Draft Combine, there are just some scouts who just won’t risk a 1st round pick on a defenseman who is one dimensional and has some red flags. DeAngelo is the most interesting storyline, in my opinion, at the 2014 NHL Draft. Personally, I want to see him selected well and prove that these were all overstated “troubles”. In the end, the gifted offensive defenseman could end up being selected anywhere from 10th to 75th overall.
- 3 Potential Draft Risers:
- Dominik Masin – Not an overly familiar name in North America, Czech defenseman Dominik Masin receives rave reviews from those who have followed him this season. He captained his nation to a silver medal at the Under-18 World Championships and showed that he can log huge minutes in both offensive and defensive situations. Don’t be shocked to see him scooped up inside the opening round.
- Sonny Milano – Largely considered a mid-to-late 1st round selection, American Sonny Milano could be considered a “riser” if he creeps inside the Top 15. He is a wizard with the puck and in a draft class that’s fairly wide open after the opening 8-9 picks, Milano could get snatched up quickly by a team who values his game-breaking abilities.
- Travis Sanheim – Calgary Hitmen defenseman Travis Sanheim elevated his game down the stretch and his performance at the Under-18 World Championships was nothing short of outstanding, lifting him into first round consideration. Sanheim could hear his name called any time after the Top 10, especially in a relatively weak defensive crop at the top of the draft
- Sleepers to Watch: Jaden Lindo, Dylan Sadowy, Jake Walman, Louis Belpedio, Josh Wesley, Ryan Foss
- Valuable Long-term Investments (Project Picks): Ryan MacInnis, Eric Cornel, Brett Pollock, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Brycen Martin, Jacob Middleton
- Rossy’s Favourite Draft Prospects Team:
- Just some of my favourite prospects heading into the 2014 NHL Draft that I have enjoyed following or watching. Most of these players I have been high on dating back to last year (especially the forward trio)
Nick Ritchie (LW) – Robby Fabbri (C) – Nikolay Goldobin (RW)
Travis Sanheim (LD) – Julius Honka (RD)
Brandon Halverson (G)
- The Coaches Choice Team:
- Players who provide an element found on championship teams
John Quenneville (LW) – Conner Bleackley (C) – Brendan Lemieux (LW/RW)
Dominik Masin (LD) – Josh Jacobs (RD)
Alex Nedeljkovic (G)
Draft Eligible Wildcard Team (Boom/Bust):
Vladimir Tkachyov (LW) – Nikolay Goldobin (C) – Josh Ho-Sang (RW)
Joe Hicketts (LD) – Tony DeAngelo (RD)
Julio Billia (G)
Notes About the Analysis:
Alternative Option – This subsection provides one or two logical player options for the team under analysis to consider (within a reasonable projectable draft slot)
Rossy’s Ideal Target – I give the one prospect (within a reasonable projectable range) that each franchise should be targeting. Trading up or down is not an option with this scenario and occasionally, the player picked in the mock draft is the same ideal target.
1st Florida Panthers – Aaron Ekblad (RD)
If the Panthers keep the 1st overall pick, the mature Aaron Ekblad would be a defenseman that would strengthen Florida’s blueline and be ready to step into the lineup immediately. Expect GM Dale Tallon to field plenty of trade offers but Ekblad is a great consolation pick if the proposals fail to impress.
Alternative Option: Trade down to land top wingers Michael Dal Colle, William Nylander or Nikolaj Ehlers.
Rossy’s Ideal Panthers’ Target: Aaron Ekblad
2nd Buffalo Sabres – Sam Reinhart (RC)
While Aaron Ekblad is the stud defenseman of the draft, Kootenay’s Sam Reinhart will be heavily targeted. Even though Sam Bennett got the nod on NHL CSS’ final ranking, it’s Reinhart that could be the target of many teams looking to trade up.
Alternative Option: If Sam Reinhart is unavailable, the rebuilding Sabres must select defenseman Aaron Ekblad. Case closed.
Rossy’s Ideal Sabres’ Target: Sam Bennett
3rd Edmonton Oilers – Sam Bennett (LC)
Building down the middle is the standard course of action in the NHL and Edmonton will snatch up one of Bennett, Reinhart or Draisaitl when GM Craig MacTavish takes the stage. Loaded with character, compete and two-way skill, Bennett gives the Oilers a potential number one centerman but he won’t be arriving in 2014-15, a scenario Edmonton isn’t familiar with.
Alternative Option: Leon Draisaitl is the type of pivot the Oilers could use as he offers a strong possession game and size down the middle. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Oilers give Nick Ritchie some serious consideration.
Rossy’s Ideal Oilers’ Target: Sam Reinhart