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NHL Draft: Prospects to watch on Day 2

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Some hidden gems may be found on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft. (Getty Images)
Some hidden gems may be found on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft. (Getty Images)

More NHL Offseason: NHL rumors | Updating rumor mill | 2014-15 preseason odds

Now that the pomp and circumstance of the first round is out of the way, some of the attention for the NHL Entry Draft will go with it. In truth, however, Day 2 can be just as important for teams' futures as Day 1. The teams that manage to find high value in players in the later rounds of the draft can end up picking up franchise stars.

Also, with a draft that was considered to be so wide open in terms of where players should slot in the first round, there is bound to be some high-end talent just waiting to be taken in the second round and beyond. With that in mind, here's a look at some of the names you should know heading into Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft.

Thatcher Demko, G, Boston College (NCAA)

The consensus No. 1 goalie in the draft, Demko very well could have gone in the first round this year. No goaltenders were selected, however, making it highly unlikely Demko will last past the second round. As the youngest player in all of college hockey last year, Demko backstopped the Eagles to a Frozen Four appearance. He also came to BC out of the vaunted National Team Development Program, which saw three graduates taken in the first round of this year's draft and boasts top Ducks goalie prospect John Gibson among its alumni. Demko posted a .919 save percentage and 2.24 goals-against average last season as a younger-than-true freshman at BC. He should only improve as he gets more reps, and at 6-3, 192, he has the frame pro teams covet in goalies nowadays.

Ivan Barbashev, C, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

Perhaps hindered by injuries last season that limited him to 48 games, Barbashev's draft value has been all over the map. Whether it be the injury, the Russian factor or whatever, Barbashev probably has first-round skills and a decently well-rounded game. He had 68 points in 48 games last year, including 25 goals. A year ago, he starred alongside current Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin for Russia at the World Under-18 Championship and was a contributor to Russia's World Junior team last winter. There's an element of risk with Barbashev, but probably not enough to see him slip past the second round.

Jack Dougherty, D, USA Under-18 Team (USHL)

Projected in some mock drafts as a first-round talent, Dougherty's two-way capabilities from the back end probably won't have him lasting too deep into the second round. Three of his Under-18 teammates were taken in the first round, so he might be feeling the sting of a first-round snub, but there's definitely a lot of talent in this mobile defenseman. He plays a physical game but also has mobility and touch with the puck. He put up 24 points from the back end with the NTDP and is headed to the University of Wisconsin, which has a penchant for developing top-level defensemen (Ryan Suter and Ryan McDonagh among the more recent standouts).

Roland McKeown, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Coming into the season it appeared that McKeown would be a surefire first-rounder. At 6-1, 195, McKeown moves and defends extremely well. He has some puck-moving capabilities and usually makes good decisions as well. He scored 11 goals and had 49 points in the OHL this year. Perhaps he was overshadowed too much by teammate and the No. 4 overall selection in the first round, Sam Bennett. Whatever the reason, McKeown is now going to be a second-round pick and have a great chance to bring some value to a team in the early stages.

Anton Karlsson, W, Frolunda (Sweden)

A poor showing at the World Under-18 Championship lowered Karlsson's stock, more than likely, but his season-long performance with Frolunda's junior team showed there's something to this 6-foot-2 winger. Karlsson has a good solid frame and put up 22 points in 29 games in Sweden's top junior league. He also saw nine games of action in the Swedish professional second division. He was even good enough to be the only U18 player on Sweden's entry at the World Junior Championship this year. There was a serious run on players out of the Swedish leagues in the first round, so there's no doubt Karlsson was seen quite a bit this year and he could make whichever team happens to get him very happy. He's a strong all-around player.

Ryan MacInnis, C, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

Perhaps you've heard of Ryan's father, Al? That's as in Hockey Hall of Famer Al MacInnis. Well, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in that Ryan has a big frame and a good shot, but he plays up front instead of back on D like dear old dad. His low point total for a struggling Kitchener team likely scared some clubs away from taking a chance on him in the first round, but the St. Louis native has some potential. It's doubtful he'd last past the second round with his 6-foot-4 frame and offensive capabilities, but still possible.

Daniel Audette, C, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)

Another son of a former NHLer (Donald), Audette is a bit of the opposite of MacInnis. He is undersized, coming in around 5-foot-8, but is incredibly skilled. Audette put up 76 points in 68 games in the QMJHL last year and was part of Canada's entry at the World Under-18 Championship this year. The size is definitely going to scare some teams off, but it's unclear just how much. He could end up in the second round or he might not even go until the fourth. It's hard to know for sure, but it's hard to deny that Audette is an interesting player. He may be able to overcome his size yet.

Some names to look out for perhaps even later in the draft…

Vladimir Tkachev, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)

After spending the first half of last season in Russia, Tkachev came to the QMJHL and put up 30 points in 20 games. Though small, the forward has tremendous skill with an ability to make defenders miss and then make them pay by making the most of the open ice he's given. The Russian factor could prevent him from being drafted at all, but in a shallow draft, he seems like an ideal candidate for a mid-round flyer. It's low-risk, high-reward for a player with real potential to breakout next season if he stays in North America.

Gavin Bayreuther, D, St. Lawrence University (NCAA)

A strategy some teams have begun to employ in the later rounds of a draft is to pick older players out of the college ranks who are a bit more developed. Bayreuther, who was passed over last year in his first year of draft eligibility, could be a fit for a team employing that strategy. The fact that he put up nearly a point per game his freshman season from the blue line should jump out to a lot of teams. That's hard for any defenseman to do in college hockey, let alone a rookie. He had nine goals and 27 assists in 38 games for the Saints. At 6-1, 195, he has the size and mobility to fit in with the pros and he's only just beginning to tap into his potential.

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