It's that time of year again where dreams are made into realities for young hockey players all across world, the NHL Entry Draft. After a strong draft class in 2013 and a star-studded class already apparent for 2015, the 2014 version didn't have a lot of buzz, but a number of quality prospects joined NHL clubs during the first round.
Rounds 2-7 will take place on Saturday.
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|Pick||Team||Chris Peters Analysis|
|1||Panthers select: Aaron Ekblad, D Barrie (OHL)|
The Panthers add a potential cornerstone defenseman with the top pick and perhaps the most pro-ready prospect overall.
Sabres select: Sam Reinhart, C Kootenay (WHL)
The Sabres add a high-impact forward with skill and hockey sense who put up 105 points in the WHL this year.
Oilers select: Leon Draisaitl, C Prince Albert (WHL)
The highest German born player ever picked, Draisaitl is a stand-out offensive contributor who could be ready to play in the NHL by next year.
Flames select: Sam Bennett, C Kingston (OHL)
The Flames will be glad to see Bennett fall as he has a combination of skill and tenacity. Big upside here.
Islanders select: Michael Dal Colle, F Oshawa (OHL)
The Isles land the best winger on the board. He put up 39 goals last year and has some real puck skills to create offense for himself.
Canucks select: Jake Virtanen, LW Calgary (WHL)
After wheeling and dealing with trades Friday, Virtanen could help bring offense to a rebuilding organization. He put up 45 goals in the WHL last season.
Hurricanes select: Haydn Fleury, D Red Deer (WHL)
A highly-mobile defenseman with sound puck-moving abilities, Fleury has size to go along with good skill. The upside suggests he could be a high-impact player a few years down the line.
Maple Leafs select: William Nylander, RW Modo (Sweden)
The Maple Leafs grabbed one of the most skilled players in this draft. Vision, hands and finishing ability, the son of former NHLer Michael Nylander is an exciting prospect.
Jets select: Nikolaj Ehlers, RW Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
The Jets took the Danish forward that burst onto the North American scene with 49 goals in the QMJHL this year. He can absolutely fly and is a magician with the puck. Undersized, but dynamic and a boost to Winnipeg's prospect pool.
Ducks select: Nick Richie, LW Peterborough Petes (OHL)
At 6-3, 223, Ritchie is a power winger with speed and a heavy shot. As he adds more of an edge to the game he's going to give opponents fits. He put up 39 goals in the OHL and has a really good chance to put up some big numbers once he gets to the NHL.
Predators select: Kevin Fiala, RW HV71 (Sweden)
One of a growing number of high-end Swiss prospects, Fiala has tremendous offensive skill and played against men in the pros in Sweden. He also is one of three players in history to play in the U18, U20 and Men's World Championship in the same year. He's a special player.
Coyotes select: Brendan Perlini, LW Niagara (OHL)
Another big winger with speed, Perlini wasn't expected to last this long. The Coyotes add size to an improving prospect pool with this 34-goal scorer.
Capitals select: Jakub Vrana, RW Linkoping (Sweden)
This may be seen as a reach, but his productivity in the Swedish U20 league shows he may not be terribly far away. He is a natural scorer with fluidity to his puck skills. Fun to watch.
Stars select: Julius Honka, D Swift Current (WHL)
After going big on forwards last year, the Stars nab a tremendous offensive-minded defenseman here. Honka had 40 assists in the WHL last year and looks to be next in a growing line of Finnish puck-movers.
Red Wings select: Dylan Larkin, C USA Under-18 (USHL)
A hard-nosed center and a strong skater, Larkin doesn't blow you away with skill, but he has good offensive sense and finds ways to produce. 31 goals at the NTDP is quite high.
Blue Jackets select: Sonny Milano, LW USA Under-18 (USHL)
One of the most exciting puck handlers in the draft, Milano put up 85 points at the NTDP, which is abnormally high. Another high-end forward added to Columbus' pipeline.
Flyers select: Travis Sanheim, D Calgary (WHL)
Another defenseman with some offensive capabilities, Sanheim is big and improving. He's still pretty raw, which is probably a good thing. He's an interesting prospect.
Wild select: Alex Tuch, RW USA Under-18 (USHL)
His size jumps out at you right away at 6-4, 220, but Tuch surprises you with his skill. With 29 goals last year, he showed he could score. Tuch has a chance to be a tremendous power winger.
Lightning select: Anthony DeAngelo, D Sarnia (OHL)
When a defenseman puts up 71 points, it absolutely jumps out. DeAngelo has slick skills, but character concerns warranted, but this is high-risk, high reward
Blackhawks select: Nick Schmaltz, C Green Bay (USHL)
The Blackhawks traded up to grab Schmaltz likely due to his high-end skill. Competitiveness is a question mark on him, but he knows how to produce and did in the USHL.
Blues select: Robby Fabbri, C Guelph (OHL)
The Blues probably didn't expect Fabbri to be there at No. 21. He had 87 points last year in Guelph and can really dance with the puck while playing with speed.
Penguins select: Kasperi Kapanen, F Kalpa (Sweden)
With some terrific speed and hands, the son of former NHLer Sami Kapanen has some tremendous upside. He had a tough season playing in the Finnish pros, but this is the high-skill forward the Pens' pipeline needed.
Avalanche select: Conner Bleackley, C Red Deer (WHL)
After picking up a high-skill center first overall last year, the Avs get a bit more of a raw prospect late in the first round. Bleakley has a lot of fans in the scouting community thanks to his work ethic and his 29 goals last year.
Canucks select: Jared McCann, C Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
With their second pick, the Canucks get the best player left on the board at this point. He put up 62 points for the Greyhounds thanks to some terrific skill and size. He is a crafty center that plays the game on an even keel.
Bruins select: David Pastrnak, RW Sodertalje (Sweden)
After putting up 24 points in the Swedish second division, this Czech forward did well in a challenging league. He has good enough size, but his hockey sense is solid. There's a lot of potential in Pastrnak as he continues to build on his frame.
Canadiens select: Nikita Scherbak, LW Saskatoon (OHL)
A big, productive winger, the Russian was probably the best player available in this slot. He had 78 points in Saskatoon and has a top-six ceiling. He's going to be interesting to watch over the next few years as he rounds out his game.
Sharks select: Nikolay Goldobin, LW Sarnia (OHL)
Projections are all over the map on Goldobin, but he is an incredibly skilled Russian that had 94 points in Sarnia last year. He needs to get a bit stronger, but there's something special about his abilities that make him worth a slight reach.
Islanders select: Josh Ho-Sang, RW Windsor (OHL)
Perhaps one of the most divisive prospects available, Ho-Sang's on-ice abilities are exciting. He has tremendous skill, but an incomplete game and some character concerns impacted his draft stock. He has top-10 caliber puck skills, though. Isles take a risk, but the right kind of risk.
Kings select: Adrian Kempe, LW Modo (Sweden)
One of the youngest players in the entire draft, Kempe played 45 games in Sweden's top pro league last year. His numbers aren't flashy, but his game will continue to grow as he fills out his solid frame. Kings may be waiting for him for a few years, but he's an interesting pick late in Round 1.
Devils select: John Quenneville, C Brandon (WHL)
The Devils pick can play at both ends of the ice and put up 58 points in the WHL. He's not flashy, he's not overly exciting, but he's a good player that has room to grow and get better. Sounds like the Devils' kind of guy.
* Ducks acquired 10th overall pick from Senators in Bobby Ryan trade
* Lightning acquired 28th overall pick from Rangers in Martin St. Louis trade
* Devils select 30th overall for cap circumvention punishment
* Canucks acquired 24th overall pick from Ducks in Ryan Kesler trade
* Blackhawks acquire 20th overall pick and 179th from Sharks for 27th overall and 62nd
* Islanders acquire 28th overall pick from Lightning for 35th overall and 57th