We’ve discussed ad nauseam what we hope happens in the first round of this year’s draft. And to be honest, it seems like we are more or less of the opinion that we want Reinhart if possible but Virtanen, Ritchie & Perlini are the fan favorites if we can’t move up. But wait there’s more happening that weekend! The hype is always about the first 30 players drafted, but no team has 23 first round picks in their lineup. That means we need to dig a little bit deeper to fill out our roster of the future and the 2014 second round has some very interesting prospects that may be waiting for us at the 36th overall pick.
Predicting who’s going to be available in round 2 is kind of like predicting the weather here in Calgary: the sun may be shining now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be raining/snowing/sharknado-ing in a few hours. But nonetheless I’m going to give it the old college try!
There’s always one player who is seen as a definite first round pick who falls into the second round. Let’s look at some of the candidates for the cruel downward spiral!
Thatcher Demko (G) Boston College- As we’ve discussed, Demko is the top rated netminder for this year’s draft. If there’s a team who needs a netminder he could easily find himself drafted in round 1. Keep in mind Zach Fucale was also considered to be a potential 1st round pick heading into the draft last year before falling to Montreal in round 2.
Ryan MacInnis (C) Kitchener- Son of Al, Ryan is a project. He’s got the frame for NHL success and some of daddy’s slapper. In his first year in the OHL, he posted 37 points which is a good starting point for a player who is likely 4-5 years from being NHL ready. He’s the likely target of a team like LA who can afford to wait for the forward to develop in the AHL for a few years.
Brendan Lemieux (W) Barrie- Another son of a former player, Brendan is the spawn of Claude… He’s a fierce competitor who’s a real pain to play against. The knock on Lemieux is that he’s not the offensive type, but in the Pacific division there’s a definite need for truculence which Lemieux brings in spades.
Nick Schmaltz (W) Green Bay (USHL)- This high skilled American player is highly regarded for his puck skills. The brother of 2012 draft pick Jordan is another longer term prospect and will be attending UND next season. Schmaltz has the talent, but needs to further improve his consistency.
Brett Pollock (F) Edmonton- Pollock has seen his stock skyrocket because of his contributions to the Oil Kings’s Memorial Cup run this spring. The 6’2 inch forward had 55 regular season points, 19 WHL playoff points and another 2 points in the Memorial Cup. The Sherwood Park product has shown strong puck possession skills and with a few more pounds could become a solid NHL regular in the future.
John Quenneville (F) Brandon- John Quenneville is the first of 2 Wheat Kings who have a realistic chance at becoming Canucks. Quenneville had a breakout season this year as a 17 year old tripling his previous season’s output from 19 to 58 points. The former 3rd round bantam draft choice has good size (6’2” 185 lbs.), a strong work ethic and knows how to make offense happen even if it means grinding it out in the corners for long stretches.
Jayce Hawryluk (F) Brandon- Undersized and skilled. This is a fairly common theme to this year’s draft, and Hawryluk represents those remarks fully. The Roblin, MB product put up 24 goals on a very young Wheat Kings team. Hawryluk plays in all situations with relentless enthusiasm and has the capability to become a great second if he can get the control his momentary lapses of composure that result in unnecessary penalties.
Alex Peters (D) Plymouth- Peters has seen his draft stock fall a bit since we first looked at the prospects for this year’s draft. Don’t be surprised to see the 6’3” defensive defenseman still on the board when the dynamic duo of Linden & Benning steps up to the podium in round 2. For more on Peters, check out the article on March’s 21-30 ranked players March’s 21-30 ranked players.
Oskar Lindblom (W) Brynas (SHL)- The Swedish forward is another player previously in the article mentioned in Alex Peters’s section. There aren’t too many players who experience 3 different tiers of hockey in one season, but the 18 year old Swede found himself playing for the J18, J20, and senior Brynas teams at some point this year. Lindblom has NHL size at 6’2”, and under the right circumstances he could develop into a solid 2nd/3rd line contributor for many seasons.
Hunter Smith (W) Oshawa- If the Canucks draft for skill in the first round, I expect GMJB to be looking for size with their second pick. This guy will eventually be an absolute monster with his 6’6” frame and plenty of room to add to his 210 pounds. Smith’s draft stock has steadily risen over the second half of the season with NHL central scouting upgrading him from 140th overall to the 39th best prospect at the end of the year. Smith finished the season with 19 goals and 40 points, but it’s his immergence as a player who plays in the opposition’s slot that has the scouts salivating
That’s more or less what I see being available in round 2. What are your thoughts?