This is one of the final weekends for the class of 2014 to showcase their talents. The NHL Combine has started in Toronto with 120 of the best draft eligible players in attendance. These youngsters are going to be putting themselves through hell over the next couple of days to bolster their stock for the Entry Draft which is only 27 days away! Once this event is over, we will see a flurry of updates to the many mock drafts that are scattered around the internet.
The first reflection of the mock drafts featured 11 opinions that were formulated just after the draft lottery. This time around the number has been increased to 19 sites having posted their views between the draft lottery and the Combine. Once the combine and Stanley Cup final have finished, that number will likely jump to around 30 as experts like Bobby Mac & the folks at NHL.com will be ready to invest some time into this exercise. I think that it’s important to have a snapshot of each of the 3 phases (post lottery, pre-combine, post combine) to better understand how player values have changed as we approach Draft Day in Philadelphia.
Once again the cast of characters hasn’t really changed for the #6 pick. William Nylander is still the most frequently player picked with 6 nominations; Jake Virtanen is right on his heels with 5 selections although this might change because of his shoulder surgery; Michael Dal Colle falls our way 3 times; Nick Ritchie makes 2 appearances as the Canucks top pick; Leon Draisaitl, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Haydn Fleury each merit 1 vote for consideration.
The Professional Opinions
|rotoworld/yahoo sports||May 30||Jake Virtanen|
|fansided.com - Michael Straw||May 29||William Nylander|
|MyNHLDraft.com||May 27||William Nylander|
|Cardiac Cane - Brett Finger||May 23||William Nylander|
|PuckRant.com – Richard Cloutier||May 22||Leon Draisaitl|
|Hockey Center Ice||May 21||Nick Ritchie|
|Draftsite.com – William Placzek||May 21||Jake Virtanen|
|whitecovermag.com||May 13||Nikolaj Ehlers|
|Frozen Futures||May 2||William Nylander|
|thehockeywriters.com - Christopher Ralph||Apr. 27||Michael Dal Colle|
|NHL Files||Apr. 22||Jake Virtanen|
|PuckRant.com - Ian Esplen||Apr. 18||Nick Ritchie|
|NESN.com - Nicholas Gross||Apr. 16||Jake Virtanen|
|StanleyCupContender.com - Troy Hollenbach||Apr. 16||Michael Dal Colle|
|tsn.ca - Craig Button||Apr. 15||Jake Virtanen|
|flamesnation.ca||Apr. 15||William Nylander|
|sportsnet.ca - Sam Cosentino||Apr. 15||William Nylander|
|bleacherreport.com - Allan Mitchell||Apr. 15||Michael Dal Colle|
|NotYourAverageHockeyBlog||Apr. 15||Haydn Fleury|
How many rumors have we heard/seen involving the top 5 draft picks this year? Florida wants to move out of number 1 and into the 5-7 range to draft Nylander or Kapanen; Burkie wants to make a splash and steal Ekblad from Edmonton; Benning also wants to make waves and move up for Reinhart… The list goes on and on. This could be a very interesting draft with all of the posturing going on… It could also be malarkey. Regardless I can’t wait to see how this plays out!