2014 NHL Draft Rankings War Room: April Edition

by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)

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The 2014 NHL Draft Rankings War Room: April Edition brings you the Top 150 ranked prospects as compiled by THW’s Eastern Canada based hockey bird dog, Eldon MacDonald.

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Risers of Note

  1. 3 from 5 - Draisaitl, Leon – C, 6’2, 208 lb. Prince Albert, WHL
Leon Draisaitl

Leon Draisaitl at BMO CHL Top Prospects Game (Photo: Brad Watson)

Moving up from 5 to 3 may not seem like much but Leon, more importantly, has put himself back in the mix for number one. When I did the profile on him in the War Room Prospect Profile Series in February, he was just coming off the Triple Crown of ineffective play:

  • The U20 WJC in Sweden playing for Team Germany
  • The CHL Top Prospects Game playing for Team Orr
  • January 2014 playing for the Prince Albert Raiders

Reflecting back, this is what I wrote in the Prospect Profile Series, “As good as he is now, a few more improvements in his skating, a little more physicality and this guy could be close to unstoppable. Top five in my books but a team betting on those improvements could take him much higher.” But the Deutschland Dangler has been close to unstoppable in the last two months of the year, 26 points in 13 games in February and 19 points in 8 games in March; Drouin/MacKinnon class results.

  1. 6 from 13 - Ehlers, Nikolaj, W/C, 6’0, 162 lb., Halifax, QMJHL

If there was anyone hotter than Leon Draisaitl, it could only be Nikolaj Ehlers who finished the year with 104 points and an incredible league-leading +65. This is what I wrote about him in February in the Prospect Profile Series: “if he keeps improving on his dynamic play as he has so far this year, I could see him pushing the top 10 by the end of the year.” He not only continued his improvements, he accelerated his growth; he brought out both the inner Drouin and the inner MacKinnon within himself. A star in the making, so exhilarating to watch.

  1. 13 from 20Ho-Sang, Josh, RW, 5,11, 174 lb., Windsor, OHL

Another big time riser was Josh Ho-Sang who took over the leadership of the Windsor Spitfires after the trade of Kerby Richel (by Kerby’s Dad, Warren Rychel). Here is my take on him from the Prospect Profile Series, “I have him currently at 20 but I will be moving a lot closer to ISS’s ranking (then 9th) if he keeps up his current level of play.”

  1. 21 from 33Scherbak, Nikita, RW, 6’2, Saskatoon, WHL

Here is a sneak preview from the Prospect Profile Series which will be released in the coming weeks:

  • #MrOnTheSpotThe most impressive thing about Nikita for me is that he always seems to be in the right spot to shoot or make a play. What was it Wayne Gretkzy once said? Oh yeah, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
  1. 23 from 31Fiala, Kevin, LW, 5’10, 180 lb,. HV 71, SHL

Here is the defining factor that made me put Kevin in the first round (again from the Prospect Profile Series to be released), “For me, he has those special qualities of a player determined to be a difference maker that make him first round material.”

  1. 31 from 41Demko, Thatcher, G, 6’4, 192 lb., Boston College, Hockey East

Another sneak preview from the Prospect Profile Series.

  • #TheAnchormanGiven the glut of goalies in the NHL, it has become a trend that a goalie isn’t drafted until the second round. However, there is a strong possibility that one or two goalies could be drafted in the first round in this draft – given the large number of high-end small players available around the first round. Whether it is first or second, I am confident that Thatcher will be the first goalie selected in the upcoming draft.
  1. 36 from 51Nedeljkovic, Alex, G, 6’0, 184 lb., Plymouth, OHL – .949 in February, .938 in March, you don’t need to know anymore to see why his stock is soaring.
  1. 39 from 50Vanier, Alexis, D, 6’5, 215 lb., Baie-Comeau, QMJHL

If you are wondering about the decline in production as the year progressed, Alexis got injured (shoulder) during the Subway Super Series in November and never fully recovered. In fact, he had to shut his season down and miss the playoffs due to that injury. NHL scouts will do their homework and decide not to miss out on this behemoth – early to mid second round is the most likely outcome for this guy. However, in a year where there are so many small players, first round is still a possibility.

  1. 40 from 86Sanheim, Travis, D, 6’3, 189 lb., Calgary, WHL

A rookie in the CHL this year, Travis probably improved his game as much as anyone in the CHL after the club started to give more playing time. He is a player still on a high upward trajectory so he could be taken even higher than I have him now.

  1. 47 from 4th Round – Point, Brayden, C, 5’10., 160 lb., Moose Jaw, WHL

I had him pegged as first round going into the season, I liked him that much. However, the results to match his talents were elusive for him for the first five months of the season so I dropped him to the fourth round as he is a way under-sized player for the NHL. However, in the last two months of the regular season, Brayden was on fire, 41 points in just 21 games, carrying the Warriors on his back, as he had to do much of the season. Brayden is currently on Canada’s U18 team so he can still elevate his stock further. He seems to be a player that just won’t be denied.

Other Rankings

      1. NHL – Final: Combined rankings of the NHL’s final 4 lists here at THW.
      2. THW’s The Next Ones Midterm Rankings (Chris’s List)
      3. Bob MacKenzie – Mid-season Top 50: Poll of NHL scouts at TSN
      4. Craig Button (Craig’s List, TSN) – Mar-14 Top 90
      5. Future Considerations – Apr-14 Top 30
      6. HockeyProspect.com – Feb-14 Top 30
      7. ISS – Apr-14 Top 30

2014 NHL Draft Rankings War Room: April Edition

*Editor’s Notes:

      • The table display approximately 30 of the prospects at a time; simply scroll down to view the other prospects.
      • Only a portion of the table displays by default; you can scroll over to see the rest of the player demographics or select “View full-size workbook” option, which is the icon in the bottom right hand corner, to view the full table.
      • The 1st column (E-Mac) is Eldon MacDonald’s April rankings. (Not to be confused with THW’s official The Next Ones rankings {Chris’s List} which will be released at a later date).
      • The 3rd column on the left is players’ rankings based on the combination of NHL Central Scouting Service’s four separate rankings (NR = player was not ranked by NHL-CS).
      • A link to Elite Prospects statistics for most of the players is also included (click on individual player name).
      • Prospects in each of the 4th and 5th round are listed alphabetically; that is, they are not ranked but rather grouped together as a 4th or 5th round graded prospect, respectfully.

[For all prospects profiled in this series, see the 2014 NHL Draft War Room Prospect Profile Index]


Christopher Ralph

Christopher Ralph

Managing Editor/Lead Prospect &Draft Analyst at THW
Chris is THW's senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for Chris' regular column "The Next Ones" Prospect Profile series as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphTHW on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com
Christopher Ralph
Brilliance from @thewhl grad Derrick Pouliot @lordricky51: "@theScore: 1st game, 1st goal." http://t.co/mm8ZkXWRuX http://t.co/NniaWXpw0C - 4 hours ago

30 Comments

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