2014 NHL Draft Rankings

Originally published Mar 3, 2014

The City of Brotherly Love will soon be hosting the 2014 NHL Draft. This nickname of Philadelphia is fitting for this draft as this class presents perhaps more hockey bloodlines than we have ever seen in a draft. Reinhart, Nylander, Ritchie, Kapanen, Lemieux (Claude NOT Mario) and MacInnis are some of the familiar and obvious surnames. Others are more obscure. How many can you name or guess as you scroll through the Top 120?

Prospects Ranked Higher than Most

The big three seem to be a recurring theme in most rankings – Ekblad and the two Sams (Reinhart and Bennett) are also entrenched at the top of The Next Ones rankings. Then comes my personal favourite prospect in this draft class – Nikolaj Ehlers. This kid has Drouin-ian like talent and I was left almost speechless at his showing at the CHL Top Prospects Game when I stated:

“I can envision Ehlers stickhandling deftly through downtown Shanghai traffic in rush hour.”

Nikolaj Ehlers 2014 NHL Draft pick
Nikolaj Ehlers [photo: David Chan]

He is currently on an absolute scoring tear and has 20 points in his last 7 games with the Halifax Mooseheads. Only Mark Edwards and the HockeyProspect.com team have him ranked higher (3rd) than The Next Ones placement (4th). How high can he go?

I have been watching Jake Virtanen practically in my own backyard over the past couple of season in Calgary and have watched mature as a player. The secret seems to be out as he has had a killer start to the 2014 calendar year helping him garner Top 10 consideration. I have him 7th at the moment. The budding power forward is perhaps the best skater in the draft, is fearless and has a true sniper-like rifle of a shot.

Prospects Ranked Lower Than Most

The Masked Men: No offense intended to any of the goalies ranked or unranked. In comparison to skaters,  gate-keepers present more of a risky proposition and thus many are ranked lower than what you might see elsewhere.

2014 NHL Draft Rankings: The Next Ones Edition – March Madness


  • 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 (THW) is The Next Ones ranking of the prospect
  • The 2nd 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).
  • The table is searchable – CTRL/Command “F” on the table brings up the search feature.

2014 NHL Draft War Room: Prospect Profile Index]

  • Constantly updated as profiles are completed, check in with the above link often to get more detailed information on this year’s prospect class.

About Chris’s List – The Next Ones

A common query is how these particular rankings are formulated. There is now an abundance of sources of hockey prospect information. You can check out my blog The Next Ones for your online eNewspaper, linking to the best of the best of these resources.

For instance, many hockey fans flock to TSN, which has Craig Button’s Craig’s List, which is a “monthly rankings represent his individual assessment of where players are slotted in the NHL draft. They will be posted in addition to Bob McKenzie’s consensus NHL rankings, which is compiled four times a year. Bob’s rankings represent the consensus NHL team view of where players are slotted in the NHL draft.”

In contrast, The Next Ones rankings take into account many influences. While I obviously cannot reveal all my trade secrets, the following are some of the considerations contemplated when compiling the rankings.

First of all, my personal prospect analysis and scouting reports from live player viewings (due to geography restraints mainly limited to WHL and to Hockey Canada events/camps) and video analysis.  Admittedly, there is nothing comparable to live viewings, but video does have its place, albeit with limitations.

Secondly, my personal ranking system with influences from contacts whom I consider respected, knowledgeable, passionate hockey people with unique insight from all over this great hockey universe of ours. Many thanks to those who passionately offer up their unequivocal outstanding scouting analysis to me – you know who you are.

Thirdly, I utilize some unique statistical analysis for guidance purposes only. Compiling and merging all of data along with copious amounts of research results in Chris’s List (a.k.a The Next Ones rankings) coming to fruition.

The Next Ones – Prospect Focus

  • Emphasis is placed on prospects who thrive with respect to hockey sense, puck skills and puck movement, as well as skating
    • Intangibles are key as well
    • Defense can be taught
    • Physical attributes: prospects will obviously grow – pairing with appropriate trainer can improve this area immensely, so not too concerned if not optimal at time of drafting.
  • Player Development
    • If somehow The Next Ones team of prospect profilers were responsible for a professional hockey team’s scouting:
      • Hypothetically, would be gearing towards prospects who support the vision of a team with great puck possession capabilities and a relentless puck pursuit mentality.