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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Forward trio led by Reinhart tops WHL prospects

by Glen Erickson
on

Sam Reinhart - Kootenay Ice

Photo: Kootenay Ice forward and 2014 prospect Sam Reinhart is among a trio of CHL players being viewed as a potential first overall selection for the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Here’s a look at our top 10 prospects from the Western Hockey League for the 2014 NHL Draft, with the consensus top five rather apparent. Beyond the first five players, things do indeed get interesting.

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Montreal Canadiens 2014 NHL Draft preview

by David Thicke
on

Mike McCarron - Montreal Canadiens

Photo: Forward Mike McCarron underwent some growing pains in his first full season of OHL hockey. The Montreal Canadiens selected McCarron 25th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

The Montreal Canadiens surprised many hockey experts by finishing the 2013-14 NHL season fourth in the Eastern Conference and hitting the 100-point total. The team's successful run into the conference finals during the NHL playoffs showed the Canadiens are on the cusp of being a contending team in the East.

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Washington Capitals 2014 NHL Draft preview

by Josh Buckingham
on

Andre Burakovsky - Washington Capitals

Photo: Forward Andre Burakovsky had a strong first season in the OHL, posting 41 goals and 46 assists in 57 games. Burakovsky was selected 23rd overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

The Washington Capitals enter the 2014 NHL Draft under new leadership, following the firing of longtime general manager George McPhee. Brian MacLellan, McPhee's assistant, was promoted to the GM position.

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Edmonton Oilers 2014 NHL Draft preview

by Kady Hobbins
on

Darnell Nurse - Sault Ste. Marie Greyounds

Photo: Edmonton’s 7th overall selection in 2013, Darnell Nurse, was the first defenseman drafted by the Oilers with their first pick of the draft since Jeff Petry in 2006 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

With the Edmonton Oilers failing to secure a playoff berth for the eighth year in a row and once again finding themselves in a top-three draft position, many eyes are on the Oilers and General Manager Craig MacTavish as the tough decision of how best to utilize this asset looms.

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St. Louis Blues 2014 NHL Draft preview

by Suraj Sukumar
on

Zach Pochiro - Prince George Cougars

Photo: Zach Pochiro, St. Louis’ 112th overall pick in 2013, was a point-per-game player while earning 123 penalty minutes for Prince George in 2013-14 (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

While the St. Louis Blues have not won a Stanley Cup, the current team they have put together seems to be on the right track.  There are very few holes on the NHL team, but they are running out of resources at the lower levels of hockey.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Uncertainty the word for Russia’s latest draft class

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
on

Igor Shestyorkin - Team Russia

Photo: SKA St. Petersburg goaltender and 2014 prospect Igor Sheshtyorkin competed for Team Russia at the 2013 Subway Super Series (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

With the 2013-14 season now completed, and as the 2014 NHL Draft draws closer, the list of Russian prospects who are on the radar of the NHL scouting staffs gets thinner. The list of potential draftees playing in Russia is always somewhat difficult to gauge due to the infamous “Russian Factor” hanging over the heads of any player that chooses to stay in Russia to continue their development.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Ekblad heads another solid OHL class

by Jason Menard
on

Aaron Ekblad - Barrie Colts

Photo: Barrie Colts defenseman and 2014 prospect Aaron Ekblad is said to be the most NHL-ready player in this year’s NHL Draft class (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

While it may not be the slam-dunk consensus that previous years have provided, either Sam Bennett or Aaron Ekblad are the odds-on favorites to be the sixth first-overall NHL Draft selection in the past nine years to come from the OHL.

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Florida Panthers 2014 NHL Draft preview

by Brian Fogarty
on

Aleksander Barkov - Florida Panthers

Photo: The Florida Panthers selected center Aleksander Barkov second overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Barkov was solid in his NHL rookie season, managing eight goals and 16 assists in 54 games. (courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Florida Panthers head into the 2014 NHL Draft with the first overall pick. While Panthers general manager Dale Tallon is noncommittal about trading the pick, he will listen to offers that are presented.

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Detroit Red Wings 2014 NHL Draft preview

by Adam Schnepp
on

Zach Nastasiuk - Owen Sound Attack

Photo: Zach Nastasiuk, Detroit’s 48th overall pick in 2013, served as captain for the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack in 2013-14 and then finished the year by making his pro debut with Grand Rapids (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Most organizations choose to either retool through free agency or rebuild through the draft. The Detroit Red Wings, however, chose to take the path least often employed and mixed retooling and rebuilding to continue their 23-year-long playoff streak.

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Tampa Bay Lightning 2014 NHL Draft preview

by Chris Roberts
on

Jonathan Drouin - Tampa Bay Lightning

Photo: Winger Jonathan Drouin had a standout season in the QMJHL, managing 108 points in only 46 games. Drouin was selected third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Despite a first round playoff exit to the Montreal Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has to be feeling pretty good about the position the organization is in right now. The Lightning finished a surprising second place in the Atlantic Division, with key contributions from young players like Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, and Ondrej Palat, among others.

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