NHL

Predicting NHL Arrivals Of All 30 First-Round Picks From 2014

Predicting NHL Arrivals Of All 30 First-Round Picks From 2014

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits - Round 1
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As NHL training camps inch closer and closer, many of the top picks in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft will be getting their first pro exposure at these camps. While many players are years away from playing in the best league in the world, many of these players will be playing big time roles in the near future for the teams that drafted them in June.

Note: “Arrival” indicates when the player becomes a full-time player in the NHL, not their debut.

1. Aaron Ekblad: Florida Panthers

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1. Aaron Ekblad: Florida Panthers

Aaron Ekblad
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Despite sustaining a concussion at Team Canada’s World Junior Camp, Ekblad should be good to go by the time Panthers camp gets underway. It would be a complete and total shock for Ekblad to be playing anywhere but South Florida this fall.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2014-15

2. Sam Reinhart: Buffalo Sabres

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits - Rounds 2-7
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2. Sam Reinhart: Buffalo Sabres

2014 NHL Draft - Portraits - Rounds 2-7
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The latest in the long line of Reinharts in the NHL, Sam will almost assuredly be anchoring the first or second line in Buffalo next season. Look for the former Kootenary Ice star to showcase his offensive creativity and be a big part of the Sabres’ bright future.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2014-15

3. Leon Draisaitl: Edmonton Oilers

Leon Draisaitl
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3. Leon Draisaitl: Edmonton Oilers

Leon Draisaitl
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The German star lit up the Western Hockey League and wouldn’t be out of place in the NHL. However, the smart thing to do would be to send him back to the Prince Albert Raiders for a final season in junior hockey to allow him to round his game further. That being said, this is the Edmonton Oilers so common sense goes right out the window.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2015-16

4. Sam Bennett: Calgary Flames

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4. Sam Bennett: Calgary Flames

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The all-around winger would benefit the lowly Flames next year and look great next to fellow Ontario Hockey League alum Sean Monahan. While another year in junior hockey wouldn’t hurt him, he is an almost lock to crack Calgary’s lineup. Given the way he was ridiculed about it during the draft combine, he want to do some pull-ups between now and then in order to compete in the rigors of pro hockey every night.

Anticipated NHL arrival: 2014-15

5. Michael Dal Colle: New York Islanders

Michael Dal Colle
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5. Michael Dal Colle: New York Islanders

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In years past, Dal Colle would be a lock to suit up for the Isles, but they seem to have figured out that rushing prospects benefits no one. Look for Dal Colle to do two more seasons with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL before he becomes a full-time pro.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

6. Jake Virtanen: Vancouver Canucks

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6. Jake Virtanen: Vancouver Canucks

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The skilled power forward suffered a shoulder injury that will all but assuredly cost him a chance of competing for a roster spot this season. Having said that, the skill level possessed by the Calgary Hitmen star is immense, and he will be holding down an NHL roster spot sooner rather than later.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2015-16

7. Haydn Fleury: Carolina Hurricanes

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7. Haydn Fleury: Carolina Hurricanes

Haydn Fleury
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The defenseman is talented but raw, and like almost all blue liners he will need to take his time to develop. Allowing him that time to develop could make all the difference in Fleury developing into the anchor of the defense corps in Raleigh.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

8. William Nylander: Toronto Maple Leafs

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8. William Nylander: Toronto Maple Leafs

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Michael’s son possesses skill and could step in for the Leafs as soon as this season. Having said that, look for the Leafs to be smart (for a change) and allow Nylander time to develop before he steps into a full-time role in Toronto. The wait will be well worth it for the longest suffering fanbase in the NHL.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

9. Nikolaj Ehlers: Winnipeg Jets

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9. Nikolaj Ehlers: Winnipeg Jets

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The Halifax Mooseheads winger is an adept offensive performer and has skill to burn. Seeing him on a line with Bryan Little and Evander Kane would be a thing of beauty for Jets fans. Another year of junior hockey for the skilled Dane could be all the time it takes for him to be ready for that responsibility.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2015-16

10. Nick Ritchie: Anaheim Ducks

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10. Nick Ritchie: Anaheim Ducks

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Few players bring the combination of skill and snarl that Ritchie does, making him perfect for the way Anaheim plays the game. Look for Ritchie to be in the NHL after another year with the Peterborough Petes and end up on a line with all-world players Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry before too long.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2015-16

11. Kevin Fiala: Nashville Predators

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11. Kevin Fiala: Nashville Predators

Kevin Fiala
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Nashville has had a hard time developing legitimate NHL scorers, but Fiala could very well buck that trend. He is already one of the Preds’ most skilled players in the organization, and he is only going to get better. Look for him to be a member of the Predators as soon as 2015.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2015-16

12. Brendan Perlini: Arizona Coyotes

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12. Brendan Perlini: Arizona Coyotes

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Perlini has struggled with consistency, but his mix of size and skill makes him one of the more intriguing prospects to come through Arizona in recent years. He will need more time in junior hockey and seasoning in the AHL, but he could be a special forward when he arrives.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

13. Jakub Vrana: Washington Capitals

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13. Jakub Vrana: Washington Capitals

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The Capitals love drafting skilled forwards, and Vrana fits that mold to a tee. Given the team’s recent organizational overhaul, he could be in the NHL before too long.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

14. Julius Honka: Dallas Stars

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14. Julius Honka: Dallas Stars

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Honka has shown all the makings of being a quality offensive defenseman at the next level, but not right away. Another season in junior hockey and then AHL time would surely be what’s best for all parties involved. When he does make the NHL, expect him to be making sweet music with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn on the power play for years to come.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

15. Dylan Larkin: Detroit Red Wings

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15. Dylan Larkin: Detroit Red Wings

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The Michigan native will be suiting up for the Wolverines and be within shouting distance of the Red Wings. Having said that, the Wings love giving prospects time to develop which is exactly what Larkin needs. Look for Larkin to play three years at Michigan before turning pro and seasoning in the AHL before becoming a Red Wing.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2018-19

16. Sonny Milano: Columbus Blue Jackets

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16. Sonny Milano: Columbus Blue Jackets

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The offensive dynamo will be honing his skills at Boston College, which has an almost unrivaled recent track record at producing NHL talent. That being said, the Jackets will be patient with Milano in order for him to become a better, well-rounded player. Two years at BC and some AHL seasoning should be what it takes for Milano to become an impact an NHL player.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

17. Travis Sanheim: Philadelphia Flyers

17. Travis Sanheim: Philadelphia Flyers
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17. Travis Sanheim: Philadelphia Flyers

17. Travis Sanheim: Philadelphia Flyers
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Philly reached for the Calgary Hitmen star, but he will surely benefit the Flyers’ blue line when he reaches the NHL. Sanheim is still a ways off and will need time in the WHL and the AHL before he is ready to contribute in the City of Brotherly Love.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

18. Alex Tuch: Minnesota Wild

18. Alex Tuch: Minnesota Wild
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18. Alex Tuch: Minnesota Wild

18. Alex Tuch: Minnesota Wild
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The power forward will be joining Milano at Boston College, and will surely excel under head coach Jerry York. Tuch, like Milano, will need 2-3 years at BC before an AHL tenure in order to be ready for the NHL. When he does arrive, look for Tuch and Wild forward Charlie Coyle to form a “Bash Brothers” of sorts.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

19. Anthony DeAngelo: Tampa Bay Lightning

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19. Anthony DeAngelo: Tampa Bay Lightning

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No one can argue DeAngelo’s amazing talent, but he needs to mature off the ice in order succeed in the professional ranks. Given Tampa’s depth and the amount of refining DeAngelo’s game needs, it’ll be a while before he’s playing on the Lightning power play with fellow Sarnia Sting alum Steven Stamkos.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

20. Nick Schmaltz: Chicago Blackhawks

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20. Nick Schmaltz: Chicago Blackhawks

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The Green Bay Gambler is bound for the University of North Dakota next year, and will surely be a productive player at Grand Forks when he joins the team. Given the depth the Blackhawks have, he’ll be allowed to take all the time he wants in order to develop into a truly elite top six forward in the NHL.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2018-19

21. Robby Fabbri: St. Louis Blues

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21. Robby Fabbri: St. Louis Blues

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Fabbri is an undersized but skilled forward who will surely put points on the board for a long time in the NHL. Allowing him to season in junior hockey and the AHL is best for him and the Blues. Given his domination in this year’s OHL playoffs, the best could be yet to come for Fabbri.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

22. Kasperi Kapanen: Pittsburgh Penguins

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22. Kasperi Kapanen: Pittsburgh Penguins

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While Jim Rutherford has hinted that Kapanen could make the Penguins as soon as this season, the bottom line is that he’s not ready. Giving him time to develop could help him become the skilled complement to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin the Pens have been seeking for years.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

23. Conner Bleackley: Colorado Avalanche

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23. Conner Bleackley: Colorado Avalanche

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The Red Deer Rebels team captain will be a heart and soul player in the NHL for many years. Look for the Avs to let him develop in the juniors and the AHL before he comes to Denver full-time.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

24. Jared McCann: Vancouver Canucks

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24. Jared McCann: Vancouver Canucks

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McCann has all the makings of being a great two-way second/third-line center in the NHL for a long time. If he reaches his potential, he could be a Ryan Kesler-lite type player for the Nucks. A year or two more in the OHL should really help make this a reality.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

25. David Pastrnak: Boston Bruins

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25. David Pastrnak: Boston Bruins

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins Rumors
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While there are whispers Pastrnak could challenge for a spot on the Bruins’ opening night roster, the bottom line is that he’s not ready for the rigors of the NHL. Look for him to spend at least a year refining his game and be a mainstay with Boston for a long time.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

26. Nikita Scherbak: Montreal Canadiens

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26. Nikita Scherbak: Montreal Canadiens

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Scherbak made dramatic improvements on a bad Saskatoon Blades team last year, but he’s not developing yet. Allowing him to wrap up his junior career and season in the AHL is what is best for Scherbak and the Habs.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

27. Nikolay Goldobin: San Jose Sharks

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27. Nikolay Goldobin: San Jose Sharks

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Goldobin dominated on an abysmal Sarnia Sting team last year and has raw skill to burn. Having said that, look for the Sharks to be patient in his development and allow that raw skill to be more refined in order for Goldobin to excel in pro hockey.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

28. Josh Ho-Sang: New York Islanders

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28. Josh Ho-Sang: New York Islanders

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Ho-Sang has some of the most raw skill in the draft, but he is far from a finished product. While he will surely wow the Islanders at training camp, he still has work to do before becoming a full-time NHL player.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2016-17

29. Adrian Kempe: Los Angeles Kings

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Bill Steicher- USA Today Sports

29. Adrian Kempe: Los Angeles Kings

Adrian Kempe
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The Kings have plenty of depth and given their two Stanley Cups in three seasons, there is no need to rush any young player into the lineup. Look for Kempe to take his time developing and join L.A. as a more rounded, polished player than he is now at age 18.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18

30. John Quenneville: New Jersey Devils

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30. John Quenneville: New Jersey Devils

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The Devils have a long history of allowing talent to develop and not rushing young players, and there’s no reason for that to change with Quenneville. Look for the center to wrap up his WHL career with the Brandon Wheat Kings and do an AHL apprenticeship before joining the Devils full-time.

Anticipated NHL Arrival: 2017-18