2014 NHL Draft Ranking Part 4
31. Anthony DeAngelo – D – Sarnia (OHL) – 5’11 – 165lbs – Shoots R – 10/24/1995
If you’re in the market for a player that can give you a high ROI on a bit of a longer investment, look no further. Anthony DeAngelo is a fleet-footed defenseman with a high offensive upside and a plethora of tools at his disposal on the attack. The first thing that stands out to me about DeAngelo is his “blast-off’ ability when skating. His stride and pump seems to operate at light speed. His feet move so quickly that his acceleration is among the best in his class and his top speed is well above-average. His reverse-pivot and edging ability are also a compliment to his time on the man-advantage. DeAngelo was a points monster this year and reaped the reward of having three OHL seasons under his belt. His shot is adequate and he can shoot the puck at a high velocity with great accuracy. His talents in joining the rush make him a legitimate threat and a player that forces opponents to raise their on-ice awareness. His attitude in playing the game is extremely admirable and he will drop the gloves if edged to a certain point. DeAngelo needs to bulk up in order to play at the next level. He’s at an immediate disadvantage in the boards and has a tendency to be man-handled within the course of a game. His skating covers up for some aspects of his physical deficiencies but they are still quite noticeable. He also needs to be more patient in high-pressure situations. I don’t think this is a hockey IQ issue as much as it is a tendency to become overzealous on the rush. Overall, this is a player that made the most of his third year in the league and can score and distribute the puck in a manner that makes him a great asset on offense.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 51GP – 15G – 56A – 71PTS – 90PIM – -34
32. Brayden Point – C – Moose Jaw (WHL) – 5’9 – 160lbs – Shoots R – 3/13/1996
If Brayden Point was 6’0 – 190lbs with the same skill set I would have to consider putting him in the top ten of this years ranking. This is a player with an elite skill set and a wicked set of hands complimented by a high hockey IQ. I don’t usually include advanced metrics in my draft reports, but it’s worth noting here that Point averaged 2.0 points per 60 minutes of even-strength time on ice and registered a point on 81% of every even-strength goal scored with him on the ice. In short, Point was the offensive motor on a bad Moose Jaw squad. Point’s skating allows him to dart in and out of lanes and get to top gear extremely fast. His shot is quick and deceptive and he’s a great puck-handler without overdoing it. Point plays a full 200 foot game and if there’s any defensive deficiency you can point to it’s a pure product of his size. Point has to bulk up to be more effective. His board work suffers but his effort is ever-present in his approach. While it might not be a cornerstone of his game, he will drop the gloves. He’s an on-ice leader that plays the same way regardless of the score. His size and response to physical play are two items that have to be addressed moving forward. Overall, this is a talented young player with a history of scoring a gross amount of points. He torched the Calgary Bisons Bantam AAA in 2011 with 103 points in a mere 33 games (43+60). Size is the only thing that doesn’t make this player a slam dunk.
2013/14 WHL Statistics: 72GP – 36G – 55A – 91PTS – 53PIM – -27
33. Eric Cornel – C – Peterborough (OHL) – 6’2 – 184lbs – Shoots R – 4/11/1996
Eric Cornel is a player who has shown that he can do serious damage once he becomes comfortable within a situation. From AA to AAA to the OHL, Cornel has had a significant adjustment period stepping from one level to another. This year, he added elements of physicality to his game to instantly skyrocket into the top 50 eligible players. Cornel is a good skater for man his size and is above-average to adequate in all elements of his mobility. He’s a playmaking, two-way center with a high level of hockey IQ and a great heads up style of play. Cornel is a player that reminds you of a student of the game within his approach. He’s constantly surveying the ice and is extremely effective with looking off defenders when the puck is on his stick. He’s well served to have wingers that are aware and capable of playing a stick-down game to prepare for his set-up passes. His saucer pass defies the laws of physics and but his shot is limited and could be considered below-average. His velocity is standard but his accuracy needs improvement. Despite his size, Cornel needs to add elements of physicality to his game and might be the primary reason he wasn’t killing penalties for Peterborough this year. His play in the tough areas of the ice needs to improve. Overall, this is a very cerebral player with a high level of understanding that has top-notch playmaking abilities.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 68GP – 25G – 37A – 62PTS – 25PIM – +2
34. Marcus Pettersson – D – Skelleftea (Swe2) – 6’4 – 167lbs – Shoots L – 5/8/1996
I must admit that my viewings of Pettersson haven’t been as extensive as I would like, but I’ve seen enough to be comfortable with putting him here. Pettersson is a mobile, rangy defenseman with good offensive skills and a great one on one ability. He plays like a student of the game and he’s extremely composed in all situations. His first pass is top notch, hard and accurate, and he prefers to use that as opposed to joining the rush. The big knock with Pettersson is that he doesn’t use his size. He needs to bulk up, especially in the strength department. The large ice surface he plays on, coupled with his mobility, can hide some of these deficiencies, but they will be enhanced on North American ice. Pettersson is a fantastic skater who operates at a high level in reverse. That element, combined with his long reach, make him effective in controlling gaps and forcing the play to low percentage areas. Overall, Pettersson has the potential to grow into an absolute monster of a player but needs to bulk up and make adjustments to his game to get to that point.
2013/14 Swe2 Statistics: 38GP – 4G – 14A – 18PTS – 38PIM – +4
35. Brendan Lemieux – LW – Barrie (OHL) – 6’0 – 186lbs – Shoots R – 3/15/1996
You might find Brendan Lemieux a bit higher on my draft ranking than others but there are a few reasons that I’d like to highlight as to why that is. Son of former NHL pest, Claude Lemieux, Brendan is a chip off the old block. To start, his size and strength are already NHL capable. He’s the type of player that can step into the NHL as an aggressor rather than a player that can simply maintain in the environment. Also, I don’t believe his skating is a deficiency in any way. His top speed might not be among the best in his class, but he’s good enough to be effective at the next level, and his speed could certainly improve as he moves forward. Also, in a world where puck possession is talked about extensively in congruence with success, Lemieux might be one of the leaders in this draft class. It’s also worth mentioning that Lemieux relishes the spotlight, he scored seven goals in eleven playoff games and was a constant presence in the post-season. Lemieux is a force along the wall and in front of the net. His attitude and approach to the game make the tough areas of the ice his own personal office space. He’s also got good enough offensive instincts to be able to keep the play alive and utilize his teammates to extend the play. The intangible level of Lemieux is off the charts, and as previously mentioned, he is a clone of his father. Lemieux is a professional chirper who also professionally tows the line on acceptable decorum on the ice. He’s extremely annoying to play against because of his attitude, his fists, his mouth, and his success in front of the net and down low. Lemieux exhibits above-average hands in the crease, is effective in deflecting the puck, and can also dangle in tight to score pretty goals or set-up teammates. He was a part of a very productive 2nd and 3rd line for the Barrie Colts and had an offensive breakout season. Defensively, Lemieux needs to work on his assignments and focus in his own zone. This is a coachable issue that has already shown improvement. While his skating might never be among the best in the NHL, I would say that there are extremely effective players of is ilk in the current NHL that have survived on less. He needs to ensure that the penalties he’s taking are effective and necessary. Overall, this is a gritty player with a bit of an untapped offensive potential with a penchant of having a major impact on each game.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 65GP – 27G – 26A – 53PTS – 145PIM – -7
36. Ryan MacInnis – C – Kitchener (OHL) – 6’4 – 185lbs – Shoots L – 2/14/1996
Ryan MacInnis might be the son of former NHL great Al MacInnis, but the comparison’s stop there, especially when it comes to shooting. That being said, the younger MacInnis is a rangy, two-way center with good skating ability and a good understanding of the game. MacInnis isn’t a flashy skater, but his stride effectively takes him where he needs to go. His shot is average. His release needs the most work but he’s capable of getting the puck on net. MacInnis has the benefit of a good hockey IQ and solid vision. His playmaking ability might be his best offensive asset. His lanky frame has always been there, but he added 10-15 pounds of muscle this season and openly admits he needs to get bigger. His physical game also needs work, but he’s improved that and addressed it as a necessary improvement as well. As he continues to bulk up, added elements of his game should improve, including his presence in front of the net. MacInnis made leaps and bounds defensively this season and has actively been a participant in his own zone which should lead to more time on the penalty-kill next season. This may be a big of a project pick, but MacInnis has the smarts and should develop the size to be an effective two-way player at the next level.
2013/14 OHL Statistics: 66GP – 16G – 21A – 37PTS – 18PIM – -28
37. Jack Doughtery – D – USNTDP – 6’1 – 186lbs – Shoots R – 5/25/1996
Jack Doughtery is an interesting case within this draft class. He’s a smart, talented, two-way defenseman, but his main issue lies within his mobility, which can make that tag seem a bit confusing. Doughtery’s skating is a bit unorthodox and his first step is cumbersome. His speed isn’t a real issue, but his main problems seem to have a root cause of balance. He can stay active in the play, so I don’t want to project this deficiency more than need be, but it is a noticeable issue. Doughtery has a high hockey IQ and is an extremely selfless player. He can be the type of defenseman that you compliment by noting that you barely noticed him on the ice, yet he found his way onto the scoresheet in a very unassuming fashion. Doughtery has great size and is effective in the boards and in front of his own net. His physical game is a key asset and he’s got a great on-ice work ethic. If his skating can improve, Doughtery projects as an extremely reliable defenseman that can thrive in the modern NHL because of his good vision and first pass. Doughtery has committed to the University of Wisconsin.
2013/14 USNTDP Statistics: 55GP – 6G – 16A – 22PTS – 65PIM – +20
38. Alexis Vanier – D – Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) – 6’5’ – 225lbs – Shoots L – 12/21/1995
Alexis Vanier is the most physically dominant player that we’ve come across in the ranking thus far. Vanier patrols the ice like a hitman and can change the swing of a game with his physical presence and his booming, howitzer of a slapshot. The bonus to a player with this size is a surprising set of offensive skills. This package includes a slick set of hands, a good pass, and an elite, powerful slap shot. The downside to Vanier’s game is his skating. His skills in the skating department are below-average. The best description I can give of Vanier’s skating style is that of the NHL’s Doug Murray. The issue this creates is that Vanier is much more skilled with his hands and hockey IQ than his skating, and his feet can’t keep up with the things he would like to do. His skating has to improve to make him effective at the next level, but Vanier has a lot of great asset to his game, including the general intangibles, and his physical approach to the game will be warmly welcomed if he can find the mobility to get there.
2013/14 QMJHL Statistics: 61GP – 15G – 21A – 36PTS – 52PIM – +11
39. Chase De Leo – C – Portland (WHL) – 5’10 – 175lbs – Shoots L – 10/25/1995
Chase De Leo is a small, talented center with an deadly skating style and quick, elite hands. De Leo also has a wrist shot that is technically perfect and in the vein of a true sniper. De Leo has a presence in the defensive zone even though size limitations can affect his ability in that area. His attitude and work ethic are top notch and he plays the game much bigger than his size would lend to. His relentless approach on the forecheck makes him effective in disrupting plays along the wall and he pounces on turnovers with a high level of efficiency. He’s a quick, elusive skater that is hard to catch at open ice. He has the speed in one on one situations that inherently makes the defender back up uncomfortably. This is also true for goaltenders as De Leo is a force when he has a lane and can keep netminders guessing. De Leo also has the penchant for keeping the play alive, reversing direction, and using other disruptions in the game to open up a lane for himself in the slot. De Leo’s defensive game needs some slight refining and his strength needs to improve to make it to the next level. He would also be well-served to improve on his consistency within the game to enhance his effectiveness. That being said, De Leo is a highly talented center that has a great skill set and is an elite skater.
2013/14 WHL Statistics: 72GP – 39G – 42A – 81PTS – 36PIM – +49
40. John Quenneville – C – Brandon (WHL) – 6’1 – 186lbs – Shoots L – 4/16/1996
Cousin of NHL coach Joel Quenneville, John has the family hockey IQ and is an effective presence in all zones of the ice. A heavy-handed center, Quenneville is a presence in the tough areas of the ice without being overtly physical and he’s a possession-centric player as his ability to keep the play alive along the wall is a major bonus. Quenneville has an adequate defensive game that is suspect to the occasional lapse. For a player of his size, Quenneville is capable of getting up ice effectively and protects the puck extremely well as he skates. He reminds me of Brandon Sutter in his approach to carrying the puck and skating the puck. His shot is adequate and his hands can surprise you at times. He loves to work behind the net and can drive to the goal to distribute a late pass or dangle to the goal. I listed him a bit later in this ranking because the full body of work is inconclusive although he did have a massive breakout year. His intangibles are there and if he can enhance the finer points to his game and improve his skating technique, he’ll be an effective multi-tool player at the NHL level.
2013/14 WHL Statistics: 61GP – 25G – 33A – 58PTS – 71PIM – +3
Stay tuned for the final part of the ranking and our endorsement list!