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)
CHL Media Release
Tuesday April 8, 2014
Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 147 CHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in their Final Rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft which takes place June 27-28 in Philadelphia.
25 of the top 30 ranked North American prospects are from the CHL including the first 11 skaters led by forward Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs. Defenceman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts is listed second overall, followed by Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice at third, Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders is listed fourth, and Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals rounds out the top five.
The 147 CHL players includes 130 skaters of the 210 ranked by NHL Central Scouting in North America while 17 of the 30 goaltenders ranked are also from the CHL. In total, over 61% of all players ranked by NHL Central Scouting are currently competing in the CHL.
By definition, a cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by strong winds moving across the earth with a damaging effect. On the Buckingham Arena ice this past weekend, the Chatham-Kent Minor Midget Cyclones came together as a team at the perfect time and their collective force was felt.
The team, which fell one win short of reaching the Alliance Final weeks before after a devastating triple overtime loss in the deciding game to the Kitchener Jr. Ranger, picked up their heads and gained the program’s first ever trip to the OHL Cup tournament. Days prior to the start of the annual OHL Cup, the Cyclones won a play-in series versus the Brantford 99ers earning a birth into the prestigious tournament.
Partnered with the Ontario Hockey League and Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), the OHL Cup is Minor Midget ‘AAA’ showcase tournament featuring the 20 best teams in Ontario and the Chatham-Kent Cyclones arrived, competed and proved that this small-market team was not out of place. Taking place at Buckingham Arena in Toronto’s Downsview area, OHL scouts littered the rinks hoping to identify future pieces for their clubs and many from the CK region left a positive lasting impression.
With the 2014 NHL Entry Draft scheduled to take place in just over four months, @RossyYoungblood has put together a special edition of Youngblood for hockey prospect fans.
Inside the latest Youngblood [2014 NHL Draft Midterm Edition] release, read up on the Top 30 prospect profiles (as ranked by @RossyYoungblood), browse through the Top 75 potential prospects for the upcoming draft and check off some notable OHL players to watch. Furthermore, enjoy a Mock Draft and feature story on Evaluating the Boom/Bust Prospect compiled exclusively for this special Youngblood edition.
As usual, all components of the Youngblood release are complimentary so sit back and enjoy.
FREE Download: 2014 NHL Draft Midterm Youngblood Edition
Originally published at TheHockeyWriters.com
Counting down the top 10 storylines to watch as the 2012-13 NHL Season unfolds.
10. Evander Kane Watch
Evander Kane (Bruce Fedyck-US PRESSWIRE)
Drafted 4th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the former Vancouver Giants’ star Evander Kane has been at the centre of controversy early in his career. Putting his talented hockey skills aside, Kane has made headlines on several occasions after bouts of questionable decision-making spurring rumours that the Winnipeg Jets’ forward could be on the trade block. After an unsuccessful showing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) during the lockout where his Minsk Dynamo club eventually released the NHL star, Kane prepares for a shortened NHL season in hopes of revivifying his name to good order. In a dozen KHL games, Kane recorded a mere assist and racked up 47 penalty minutes (including a suspension). Will Evander Kane focus his energy and make headlines for all the good he does on the ice? Only time will tell but Evander Kane has all the skill in the world to become one of the NHL’s next great players.
9. Taking the Next Step
Every year has its breakout candidates and despite playing 34 less regular season games, this season will have its own feel-good player performances. The pressure will be turned up on several young players to finally take the next step and it could be a big season from several players drafted from the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Nearing almost a half-decade of NHL experience, Carolina’s Jordan Staal (2nd overall, Pittsburgh), Columbus’ Derick Brassard (6th overall), Islanders’ Kyle Okposo (7th overall), Winnipeg’s Bryan Little (12th overall, Atlanta), and St. Louis’ Patrik Berglund (25th overall) have all played over 270 games each but none have cracked the 60-point milestone yet. Look for this quintet of 2006 1st round draftees to surpass that elusive milestone joining fellow draft classmates in the 60-plus point club that includes Jonathan Toews (3rd, Chicago), Nicklas Backstrom (4th, Washington), Phil Kessel (5th, Boston), Chris Stewart (18th, Colorado) and Claude Giroux (22nd, Philadelphia).
8. Lockout and parity complicates playoff teams
The shortened season caused by the frustrating and long drawn out Collective Bargaining will be intensified as each individual game carries more importance with less room for failure. One long win streak or an extensive stretch of loses can make or break a team this season especially considering the games are limited to strictly conference matchups. Managing lineups and ice time will become vital to ensuring that teams are well-rested. The condensed schedule places more importance on goaltending and the team with a strong crease and ability to manage their goaltending starts could impact the success of a team’s season. With so many factors influencing the outcome of a single game and the value of each win, it goes without saying that the team that experiences the fewest bumps along this shortened season will end up on top of the regular season standings.
7. Impact rookies
The shortened training camps places many top prospects into a difficult situation. Taken right from the middle of their seasons, NHL prospects competing in training camps are limited in numbers to those that can truly challenge for a roster spot. The Calder rookie race has the potential to become one of the closest battles in recent years with several of the world’s top prospects slated to join their NHL teams. The St. Louis Blues have long awaited the arrival of Vladimir Tarasenko and he has arrived with the expectations that he will contribute to a top-six scoring line immediately. Mikael Granlund will be given every opportunity to play in the second line centre slot and with his AHL success the Wild will provide him with significant ice time.
(Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE)
Additionally, Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers), Gustav Nyquist (Detroit Red Wings), Jakob Silfverberg (Ottawa Senators), Sven Baertschi (Calgary Flames), Dougie Hamilton (Boston Bruins), Brendan Smith (Detroit Red Wings), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets), Ryan Strome (New York Islanders), Brandon Saad (Chicago Blackhawks) and Chris Kreider (New York Rangers) all have the skill and drive to challenge for the Calder Trophy. The extensive list of potential all-star rookies does not end there as top pick Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) will certainly make his team and Alex Galchenyuk (Montreal Canadiens), Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Mikhail Grigorenko (Buffalo Sabres) all enter camp with the intention to stick with the big club. Let the Calder Trophy sprint begin!
6. Leafs turned over
The hockey world (or self-proclaimed “hockey world” in Leaf-land) was shocked last Wednesday with the news of Brian Burke’s firing. Toronto’s General Manager position was not vacant for long, as long-time friend and prodigy of Brian Burke, Dave Nonis took over at the helm. Following the hiring, Nonis explained that he intends on being a patient GM and will carefully analyze each move in the hockey operations department. The terms “patience” and “Toronto” have rarely been used together especially within the media and among a growingly frustrated fan-base. Will Toronto improve their goaltending issues by trading away the few top prospects the team has? Is Randy Carlysle the right man to stand behind the bench to attempt to right this ship? Does ownership truly feel this team is close to being a playoff contender? Most importantly, is the Leafs’ firing of Brian Burke the right move for long-term success of this franchise? At this point, too many questions are left unanswered and how Nonis and his team progresses over the course of this season will inform the public of this franchises’ new direction.
5. Upcoming UFA Class
The 2013 Unrestricted Free Agent class is an appealing group of impact players especially in comparison to last year’s bleak crop. Teams will have an important decision to make rather quickly on their cornerstone players’ futures with a few options including re-signing them to a new deal, trading their rights or waiting until the offseason to discuss further courses of action.
Headlining the 2013 UFA crop include Flames captain Jerome Iginla, Hurricanes and Capitals one-year experiments Alexander Semin and Mike Ribeiro, Ducks duo Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, Leafs’ Joffrey Lupul, Bruins’ Nathan Horton, Devils’ Travis Zajac, Sharks’ Ryane Clowe, Panthers’ Stephen Weiss, as well as Stars’ forwards Brenden Morrow and Derek Roy. In addition, several veteran NHL players will become available that remain serviceable and names like Teemu Selanne, Jaromir Jagr, Andy McDonald, Daniel Alfredsson, and Patrik Elias will be coveted in the offseason. On the blue line, Alexander Edler Kimmo Timonen, Sergei Gonchar, Mark Streit, Ryan Whitney and Robyn Regehr are still all very valuable to NHL teams looking for experience and mentorship. The decisions to keep or let these high calibre players walk can significantly alter the future of a franchise and with so many eye-catching players available the contract demands could be high. Stay tuned.
4. Value of Oil on the Rise?
With three consecutive 1st overall selections allowing the Edmonton Oilers to draft Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Nail Yakupov (2012), there are large expectations for the guys wearing copper and blue entering this season. With the trio of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov joining fellow first round picks Sam Gagner (2007, 6th overall), Jordan Eberle (2008, 22nd) and Magnus Paajarvi (2009, 10th) there is an enormous amount of optimism, especially after the strong start from several Oilers in the AHL during the lockout. The past six months have been extremely promising for the Oilers after the team won the bidding war on highly coveted free agent defenseman Justin Schultz, filling a much needed hole on their young roster. The real cherry on top came after Schultz tore up the American Hockey League in his first professional half season netting 18 goals and 48 points (34 games) finishing second to Oilers’ teammate Jordan Eberle (25 goals and 51 points) among all AHL skaters (forwards and defensemen). The Oilers have stacked their lineup through the draft but the team is desperately seeking on-ice success. The waiting period is over. It is time to climb the standings.
3. Will running Wild pay off?
After Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher scooped up the two biggest fish in last summer’s free agency period in former Devils’ forward Zach Parise and Predators’ defenseman Ryan Suter expectations have skyrocketed in an ultra-competitive Northwest Division. Dropping over $15 million on Parise and Suter puts a tremendous amount of pressure on a franchise that has struggled to take the next step. All eyes will be on the Minnesota Wild to see how they perform against the always competitive Vancouver Canucks, improving Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche. With Parise and Suter joining the Wild and top rookie Mikael Granlund finally making the trek to North America, Minnesota is set up with a deep roster on paper. Now, can they meet the lofty expectations on the ice?
2. Luongo in Limbo
Kudos to Canucks’ goaltender, Roberto Luongo, on upholding his professionalism as he continues to be the scapegoat for Vancouver’s recent playoff failures. Being displaced by a younger goaltender after countless winning seasons cannot be easy for Roberto Luongo but he has said and did everything right in a very difficult situation. Luongo’s time in Vancouver has obviously expired and it has become clear that the page is about to turn to the next chapter in his hockey career. What NHL jersey will Roberto Luongo don next? How much will his future NHL team pay for the rights of this former Hart Trophy winner? Those are just two highly anticipated questions that will be answered sooner than later.
1. Lidstrom-less Red Wings
Goodbye Niklas Lidstrom (Icon SMI)
As NHL teams prepare for a shortened training camp, no team will experience a bigger loss than the Detroit Red Wings after the announcement last spring that the 20-year veteran and future Hall of Famer, Niklas Lidstrom, was retiring. After losing Rafalski a year earlier and sending out Brad Stuart, the Red Wings’ blue line lost a lot of experience and enters the 2012-13 NHL season with a much different look in front of goaltender Jimmy Howard. Following the newly constructed winged-wheel defense core will be one of the more interesting storylines of the upcoming season and replacing the poise, class and worldly skill left when number 5 departed Motor City will be virtually impossible.
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