2014 NHL Draft Ranking: Part 2
For Part 1 of our Ranking: Click Here
11. Haydn Fleury – D – Red Deer (WHL) – 6’3 – 198lbs – Shoots L – 7/8/66
Haydn Fleury is the clear cut number two defenseman in this draft class. He’s a modern day NHL dream player in his ability to play at a high level in both ends of the ice. His skating is elite for his stature. His footwork is quick and effortless even if his first step isn’t blistering. His ability to garner good positioning on the ice is bolstered by his skating ability. His heads up style of play and ability to survey the ice enables him to consistently make the smart and effective plays. He’s not an overly physical specimen but is capable of handing talented forwards one on one with a consistently good gap and good stick on puck work. His shot is average yet effective, again a result of his heads up style of play. His on-ice awareness is high and he often leads play at both ends of the ice. Fleury’s size makes him effective in the tough areas of the ice, but he needs to show a greater commitment to some of the tougher parts of the game. His overall consistency is there but his investment in the game sometimes appear to wane. That being said, this is a big framed defenseman with a lead by example approach to the game who exhibits a high level of skill on a regular basis. Fleury is capable of eating big minutes, especially late in games. His first pass is undeniably elite and he proves a great compliment to fast, talented forwards with his ability to distribute the puck. This is a rare defenseman that has the ability to create a play and finish a play courtesy of his instincts and mobility.
2013/14 WHL Statistics: 70GP – 8G – 38A – 46PTS – 46PIM – +15
12. Jared McCann – C – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) – 6’0 – 174lbs – Shoots L – May 31, 1996
Jared McCann is a gifted two-way center that might be the best start to stop skater in this draft class. He’s an extremely intelligent player that plays a full 200 foot game and can be put in virtually any situation; power-play, penalty-kill, defensive assignment, or in a late game power-play. McCann can absolutely fly on the ice and his quick footwork, balance, and top end speed make him a true threat. His penalty-kill ability is of a pro style. His speed makes him a constant threat shorthanded. He’s also able to effectively fill lanes on the forcheck and break up outlet passes due to his mobility. His can accomplish a lot defensively without being overly physical. He needs to bulk up and improve his work in the tough areas as his career moves forward. McCann absolutely destroyed the London Jr. Knights AAA system with 131 points (61+70) in a mere 60 games. His shot is above-average and his hands are approaching an elite level. His ability in traffic is bolstered by his speed and he’s capable of keeping goaltenders moving into the crease with his ability to burst into the zone. His overall approach to the game from a strategic level should be coveted by NHL teams. As he continues to bulk up, he needs to expand and add to his overall game, so his ceiling has a high potential. Overall, McCann’s skating will give him a distinct edge over the competition moving forward and he plays the game the right way.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 64GP – 27G – 35A – 62PTS – 51PIM – +9
13. Robby Fabbri – C – Guelph (OHL) – 5’10 -160lbs – Shoots R – 1/22/1996
Robby Fabbri’s offensive toolbox has a lot in common with some of the best players in the NHL. A deceptive player with a high offensive IQ, Fabbri has a wide variety of ways in which he scores goals. He also has a long track record of doing so, as his talents were showcased in Mississauga Minor/Midget AAA, where he registered 105 points in his first 60 games. Fabbri has a wrist shot that is best described as unorthodox and violent. He’s capable of releasing high quality shots from bad angles, bad positions, and completely off balance. His ability to use his quick footwork and explosive first stride, combined with his soft hands and puck possession ability, enable him to virtually dart to the net and beat defenders with little time and space to work with. His size is an obvious note of concern, but Fabbri plays 5’6 like he’s seven feet tall. You will seldom find a player of this size play with little to no care for his own well being. He’s an extremely hard worker that battles in the tough areas with willingness and regularity. While having a thirst for physicality is a great thing, sometimes his size can be a detriment, especially against elite, big defensemen. Fabbri is a magician in front of the net, exhibiting a quick backhand and excellent hand-eye coordination to knock loose pucks in around the cage. His defensive acumen will definitely need to be addressed as he moves forward with his career. His speed is a great asset in the defensive zone but he can be caught cheating up ice or getting lost in his own end from time to time. Overall, Fabbri is one of the most talented players in this class and his lethal nature with the puck is something to behold.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 58GP – 45G – 42A – 87PTS – 55PIM – +45
14. Kevin Fiala – RW – HV71 (SHL) – 5’10 – 181lbs – Shoots L – 7/22/1996
Kevin Fiala is a Swiss product who is an excellent fluid skater with a plethora of offensive tools at his disposal.His approach to the game can be annoying for defenders because of his elusive nature and ability to weave through traffic like silk. Fiala moves quickly and can be difficult to contain when he has the ability to use his quick footwork from stop to start. His hands are elite and he’s as effective making set-up passes as he is firing the puck on net. His offensive game has been there from a young age and he’s been scoring goals on virtually every stage imaginable, including the WJC this year and 17 games playing among men in the SHL. Fiala’s main issue lies in consistency, defensive awareness, and a perceived aversion to physical play. The upside here is that these are all coachable aspects to his game. If improvements in these areas are developed along with an added sense of responsibility this will be a truly elite forward. Fiala has a shot that he can release quickly and with a great deal of power. His skating, combined with his wizard-like ability to dangle the puck make him a handful for opposing goaltenders. His approach to the game offensively can be extremely annoying for defenders over the course of a game because Fiala is seemingly incapable of being hit at open ice. Overall, this pick projects to be a big project, but could pan out as a grand-slam for the team that is willing to invest the time and resources into building this player.
2013/14 SHL Statistics: 17GP – 3G – 8A – 11PTS – 10PIM – -2
15. Dylan Larkin – C – USNTDP – 6’0 – 190lbs – Shoots L – 7/30/1996
Dylan Larkin is a big, two-way power-forward who uses his size to his advantage in every area of the ice. Larkin is a smooth skater with an effortless stride that pays extremely close attention to the defensive side of the ice. Larkin can protect and retrieve the puck effectively and uses his frame to bump players off the puck in the neutral zone. His smooth stride and above-average speed make him a threat in driving to the net and his hands and vision are strong enough to make him a threat in close to the goaltender. His game is predicated on getting up ice in a straight line and forcing defensemen to have a good gap or get bowled over. Larkin surveys the ice well and reads the play at a pro level. His vision and hands make him an effective playmaker. Larkin’s attention to detail will be coveted by NHL coaches. A University of Michigan commit, Larkin will look to continue his history of scoring goals in his home state as he was a dominant force in Major AAA. Larkin already has the frame of an NHL player but his future career will be enhanced by continuing to get stronger to prepare for the battle level at the pro level. I do not expect Larkin to spend a large amount of time at the NCAA level, as his career is conducive to making a quick jump to the AHL. Larkin’s overall understanding of the game, strong work ethic, and on-ice awareness make him an explosive threat that has a big potential to thrive in the current pro environment.
2013/14 USNTDP Statistics: 60GP – 31G – 25A – 56PTS – 56PIM – +13
16. Sonny Milano – LW – USNTDP – 6’0 – 183lbs – Shoots L – 5/12/1996
Sonny Milano is a talented winger with excellent skating ability and feet that are always moving. His motor is always running at full speed and he has a cement-like base that makes him extremely difficult to knock around when he gets going. His work in the tough areas of the ice is more than adequate. Milano’s ability to handle the puck is top notch and he keeps the puck on his stick with a wide variety of moves. He uses all the ice available to take defenders every which way around the ice, but as a result has a tendency to loose himself transitionally which is a correctable item. Milano’s shot is not as lethal as some of his peers but is on net more often than not, which is a positive in it’s own right. Milano has the ability to dangle the puck to the net and courtesy of his vision and offensive awareness is also an effective playmaker. His mobility and vision make him an instant asset to his teammates as he covers a great portion of ice and opens up space with his skill set and work ethic. Overall, Milano’s time in Boston College will prove to be an important development time, but it’s reasonable to believe that in a program of that nature, he can develop quickly and present a relatively quick ROI. Milano’s most exciting attribute is his ability to drive low and use momentum to carry himself through traffic. Combine that ability with his surgical-like hands and you have a forward capable of getting the puck into prime scoring areas with distinct regularity. Overall, this is an extremely talented forward who will receive the necessary development at the NCAA level to put him in a great position for success at the NHL level.
2013/14 USNTDP Statistics: 58GP – 29G – 57A – 86PTS – 23PIM – +21
17. Nikita Scherbak – RW – Saskatoon (WHL) – 6’2 – 174lbs – Shoots L – 12/30/1995
Nikita Scherbak is one of the most talented players in this draft class. His hands are smooth and lethal and his first step and agility are two of his best assets. Scherbak finished his first year playing on North American ice in an impressive fashion and won the WHL rookie of the year award for scoring and immediately adapting to the ice surface. Scherbak exhibited deficiencies in a few areas, including along the tougher areas of the ice and in his defensive zone, but responded well to coaching throughout the year. What can’t be coached is Scherbak’s offensive skill set. His shot is quick and deceptive, he puts a large amount of velocity into his wrister with little to no effort. Because of his release, Scherbak’s shot is also inherently difficult for goaltenders to track. His speed, light feet, and ability to make himself narrow are nightmares for defensemen to handle. His dangle-ability is top notch and his hands are extremely fast. His skill set can cause defensemen and goaltenders to get caught watching his every move. Scherbak does not stick to the perimeter and is willing to get in close and battle defenders despite being at a frame disadvantage in some cases. He can have a tendency to lean up ice a bit and over-anticipates developing plays. His vision and creativity levels are high-enough that his teammates have to avoid puck-watching and prepare for tape-to-tape passes at a moments notice, as Scherbak creates as much for others as he does himself. Scherbak also has a growing element of pest to his game. While this isn’t exhibited on a nightly basis, Scherbak will haunt defenders with his electric approach to offense, compounded with with an inhernet ability to be annoying and in your space at all times. Overall, this is an extremely talented forward with more room to grow, but the skill set to be a talented contributor to an NHL team with highly skilled centers that have a track record of scoring goals.
2013/14 WHL Statistics: 65GP -28G – 50A – 78PTS – 46PIM – -6
18. Alex Tuch – C/RW – USNTDP – 6’4 – 213lbs – Shoots R – 5/10/1996
Alex Tuch became a living monster for the United States program this season as he continued to find new ways to utilize his pro size throughout the year. Tuch plays the game like a power-forward but boasts the abilities of a pure goal-scorer to boot. His skating ability is average and adequate enough to allow him to play the game the way he wants. Tuch is a possession master in the tough areas of the ice and is eager to get to the front of the net. Tuch exhibits great hands in all areas of the ice and his physical presence makes him an effective shutdown man at the center position. Tuch has an accurate and natural wrist-shot with great accuracy and a heads-up approach. Tuch also has the best slap shot of any forward in this class and can really put a howitzer on goal when given the opportunity. This is another young player with a history of tearing up his local junior teams, registering 101 points (44+57) in a mere 40 games at the EmJHL level. Tuch will take his talents to Boston College as teams will hope he continues to build a fantastic combination of power and pure goal scoring. If Tuch has a deficiency, it’s in his lateral mobility and his overall top speed. However, with the size he has, the physical attributes will carry him a long way, especially considering that Tuch is more than willing to employ them.
2013/14 USNTDP Statistics: 61GP – 29G – 35A – 64PTS – 70PIM – +18
19. Ivan Barbashev – LW – Moncton (QMJHL) – 6’1 – 190lbs – Shoots L – 12/14/1995
Ivan Barbashev is a moscow native that was the first overall selection in the 2012 CHL import draft. Shed any stereotypes about Russian players that might burden you when evaluating this forward. Barbashev is a well rounded player with a fantastic compete level and a willingness to play defense despite needed improvement in that area. Barbashev is a shooting technician. His ability to snipe the puck in a wide-variety of ways, his release is quick, lethal, and produces a high level of velocity with little to no effort. Barbashev possesses an above-average backhander, a powerful slapshot, and the ability to shoot on target from bad angles. He has a pro-form in his one timer and can put his entire body into a shot regardless of where the pass lands in his wheelhouse. He isn’t a traditional burner in the skating department but has average to above-average agility and speed. Barbashev has the ability to come at the defense in waves and can leave you exhausted with his relentless approach. His vision makes him an effective playmaker and he opens up space for his teammates with regularity. His main directive when he receives the puck is to immediately put it into a high percentage scoring area. Consistency has been a noted issue within his game but I do not think that comes from an effort standpoint. The nature of the way he plays the game makes him an effective player even if his individual efforts are stymied. This is a player that is well-served to play alongside a center of a similar ilk as his passing and finishing ability are both top notch.
2013/14 QMJHL Statistics: 48GP – 25G- 43A – 68PTS – 27PIM – -11
20. Josh Ho-Sang – RW – Windsor (OHL) – 5’11 – 160lbs – Shoots R – 1/22/1996
Perhaps the most polarizing player in this draft class, Josh Ho-Sang is also one of the most talented players to step on the ice this season among this group of first round candidates. Ho-Sang is an elite skater with an offensive arsenal that is almost difficult to believe unless you see it. The Jamiacan-Canadian has top end speed and plays offense with a tangible wreckless abandon. His shot is quick and deceiving and his dangle ability is so elite that it almost appears as if he’s attached the puck to the blade of his stick with string. Ho-Sang also has excellent vision and is lethal when presented with odd-man rush situations. His vision puts his teammates on notice to be ready for anything and he almost perfected the art of the give-and-go this season. That being said, Ho-Sang also has size issues. He must bulk up to be able to handle the rigors of the next level, and on top of that, a serious sense of responsibility was instilled in his game this year that has to develop more moving forward. Ho-Sang has the tendency to turn the puck over at inopportune times because of his relentless approach to the game. His defensive approach to the game can also be hampered by a perceived case of basket-hanging up ice. That being said, Ho-Sang plays the game with his heart on his sleeve at all times. His work ethic is appropriate for a player of his size. His ability to survey the ice and create prime scoring chances makes him a valuable and unpredictable asset on offense. When he creates a head of steam coming through the neutral zone, Ho-Sang has the hands and dangle-ability to almost dribble the puck through traffic. Overall, there are some concerns with Ho-Sang’s game, but all are coachable save for size and strength, which will have to come for his game to translate to the next level.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 67GP – 32G – 53A – 85PTS – 44PIM – +26
Stay Tuned for 21-30