Photo: Forward Josh Leivo is one of several Toronto Maple Leafs prospects who are expected to take the next step in their development. Leivo was a third round pick in 2011. (courtesy of Abelimages/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs have featured a lot of high character, two-way forwards in their prospect pool over the years, but few with pure offensive instinct or elite skill. That is changing with the drafting of high-end talent William Nylander and the progress shown last season from the likes of Josh Leivo, Andreas Johnson, Carter Verhaeghe, and others.
Photo: William Nylander was one of five forwards the Toronto Maple Leafs selected in the 2014 NHL Draft. Toronto drafted Nylander eighth overall. (courtesy of Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs‘ director of amateur scouting, Dave Morrison, used the 2014 NHL Draft to select players with a strong competitive demeanor and good offensive upside.
Photo: The Buffalo Sabres added to their already deep draft pool with nine selections at the 2014 NHL Draft, including first round pick Sam Reinhart (L) and second round selection Brandon Lemieux (R) (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL's Western Conference currently has the bragging rights to league supremacy as a a result of the Los Angeles Kings five-game Stanley Cup final win over the New York Rangers. While the results from the 2014 NHL Draft may not alter the current lock the West has on the NHL's most prized trophy, at least one team in the Eastern Conference might be offering a ray of hope for the future.
Photo: Plymouth Whalers goaltender and former Belle Tire player Alex Nedeljkovic was chosen in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes (courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It's no secret that youth hockey in the United States has made great strides the past few decades.
Players from more geographical locations continue to appear on the rosters of major junior teams in Canada, as well as USHL and NAHL clubs in the U.S. The National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI and the squads at the northeastern private schools and NCAA college teams also have more American players than ever.
Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward Kasperi Kapanen was chosen 22nd overall at the 2014 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The NHL Draft has always seen its share of players with family ties but the 2014 edition that took place in Philadelphia this weekend could just as easily have been called Father's Day.