How did the Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres do in the 2014 Draft?
After intense consultation with my associate, Adrian Szkolar, we have come up with the following thumbnail scouting report.
And if you’re looking for any losers among this quartet – hot tip — look elsewhere.
Garth Snow emerged with two high-end wingers on the first day, Michael Dal Colle and Joshua Ho-Sang. Each has high-end creativity, offensive skill sets and scoring abilities.
These attributes will be a major boost for a team that already boasts dynamism as symbolized by captain John Tavares. As usually is the case with Major Junior players, each will need more time to develop physically. Then again, Dal Colle and Ho-Sang could be potential linemates for Tavares down the road.
As an added fillip, Ho-Sang oozes personality to go with his talent. All signs indicate that he will be a headline-grabber for what he says as well as for the goals he scores.
Once again, Garden State hockey fans were saying, “Leave it to Lou!”
That is the annual feeling as boss Lou Lamoriello invariably makes the most of what he has. And that is even though he didn’t get to make his first choice until No. 30 came up.
Despite the fact that he had to wait until the end of the first round, Larrupin’ Lou came through. For starters, his man turned out to be one with excellent bloodlines. Forward John Quenneville is the second cousin to Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.
Better still, the young Quenneville exudes excellent hockey sense combined with a mature skill set. This earmarks as an eventual Top-6 forward.
Granted, John must hone some aspects of his game to sharpness; namely his skating and stride. But that will come in time.
In a Draft such as this, there is virtually no difference between the first and second overall pick. That’s why Buffalo – in the long run – could very well have the best of the bunch. Center Sam Reinhart comes from splendid hockey stock, and it showed when scouts evaluated the native of North Vancouver, British Columbia.
“He does so many things well,” observes one bird dog.
Really, it’s a matter of when he cracks the Sabres’ roster, not whether he will make The Show. Some long-time observers believe that Sam’s sense and smarts are reminiscent of his father Paul, a splendid NHL performer.
Buffalo general manager Tim Murray didn’t stop there. One of the most highly regarded evaluators of young players in the industry, Murray’s choices were invariably on target.
The second day saw him re-stock the prospect cupboard with eight more prospects. The most notable names include forwardsBrendan Lemieux and Eric Cornel, defenseman Brycen Martin and goaltender Jonas Johansson.
The fact that the Rangers did not get a pick until the 59th overall selection should not in the least cause any concern. Consider how well they have done over the years when picking from the third round and thereafter:
Ryan Callahan, 127th, ’04; Carl Hagelin, 168th, ’07; Dale Weise, 111th, ’08.
As for goalies Brandon Halverson (59th overall) and Igor Shesterkin (118th overall), they follow promising goalie MacKenzie Skapski, who was drafted last year from the Kootenay Ice.
Most interesting are the bloodlines of lower Ranger picks such as Ryan Mantha (104th overall) and Tyler Nanne (142th overall).
Mantha’s uncle is Moe Mantha Jr, who played 656 career NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota North Stars and Philadelphia Flyers.
Nanne’s grandfather is U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Lou Nanne, who played 10 seasons with the Minnesota North Stars and served as the team’s general manager for another 13 seasons.
What would an Entry Draft be without a Sutter being chosen?
Sure enough, the Islanders – picking 200th overall – went for Lukas Sutter. He is the son of Rich Sutter and a member of the famous Sutter hockey family.
Rich was drafted 10th overall in 1982 by Pittsburgh and went on to play 874 NHL games with seven teams. His dad and five of his uncles (Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane and Ron) combined for 3,000 points in just under 5,000 NHL games.
More recently, four of his cousins have been drafted: Brody (193rd overall in 2011 by Carolina), Brandon (11th overall in 2007 by Carolina), Brett (179th overall in 2005 by Calgary) and Shaun (102nd overall by Calgary).