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2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Malkin, Ovechkin switch places at top of 2004 re-draft

Saturday, 06.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com will take a look back at the NHL Draft from five, 10 and 20 years ago this week, leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. How would those drafts look today?

It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since the 2004 NHL Draft gave us three of the best players in the game today.

There was a bit of a delay for the elite crop selected that year in Raleigh, N.C. Players had to wait to make their NHL debut due to the lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 season.

Mental, physical toughness define Middleton's game

Saturday, 06.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Ottawa 67's defenseman Jacob Middleton might be a few years away from beginning his professional hockey career, but he has a good idea on what it might take to reach the highest level.

"You have to be the strongest guy on the ice both physically and mentally," Middleton said. "When you have guys like Sidney Crosby coming down on you, you must be mentally prepared for what's to come and physically prepared to take on someone of his ability."

Does Middleton, who stands 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, feel he's up to the challenge?

"I'm a physical defenseman and pretty aggressive," he said. "I'm a defensive-defenseman, but I was given opportunities on the power play in Ottawa as well because we were a younger team. I was able to showcase some skills up there, but as a pro, I think I'll be a stay-at-home guy."

Oshawa's Smith holds high hopes for second draft

Saturday, 06.21.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Oshawa Generals right wing Hunter Smith is one year removed from slipping through the cracks at the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

The expectations are much greater this year when the 2014 draft is held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, June 27-28.

"I didn't expect to be drafted after the year I had [in 2012-13], so it just gave me motivation to want it more this year and clearly it has paid off," Smith said. "I wanted to prove to teams [at the NHL Scouting Combine] that even though I'm a year late I still have a lot to bring. I wanted to give them a reason to draft me and show them that I'm going to be a pro one day."

After being passed over at the 2013 draft, following a season in which he played just 30 games after sustaining a hand injury, Smith rebounded in 2013-14 with 16 goals, 40 points and 100 penalty minutes in 64 games for the Generals. He followed that up with a great postseason, generating three goals, 11 points and 25 penalty minutes in 12 OHL playoff matches.

A gifted power forward projected to be a future second-line performer, he has a propensity for dropping the gloves whenever needed to defend a teammate.

Late-round picks among best of 1994 re-draft

Friday, 06.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

NHL.com will take a look back at the NHL Draft from five, 10 and 20 years ago this week, leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. How would those drafts look today?

Looking back at the 1994 NHL Draft, it might be best to start from the bottom when searching for star players.

Of the 26 players taken in the first round, seven scored more than 100 NHL goals. Fourteen played more than 300 NHL games; three never reached the League at all.

Then look at the sixth round. Six of the 26 players picked reached the NHL; five of the six played many more than 300 games, and the sixth played 296.

Sabres asst. GM sees strength up front in Draft

Friday, 06.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Buffalo Sabres assistant general manager Kevin Devine knows nothing is guaranteed, even with a multitude of high draft picks past and present.

"We're excited about our prospects, but at the same time, just because we get all these picks doesn't mean it's not going to be a challenge," Devine said. "We've seen other teams have early picks for a long time and struggle, so nothing is guaranteed when you go down this route.

"It's just something you hope turns out well and you can surround the younger players with guys who can support them, develop them the right way, and hopefully it all works out in the end."

Oilers set to add another high pick to cadre of talent

Friday, 06.20.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Edmonton Oilers head amateur scout Stu MacGregor doesn't believe the 2014 NHL Draft is as deep as previous years, but is confident several prospects within this class will ultimately develop into solid NHL performers.

The Oilers hope to target one of those future stars with the third choice in the first round slated to kick off at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27. It marks the sixth straight year the Oilers will be picking among the top 10 and fourth time in the past five years they will hold a choice in the top three.

One thing is certain, MacGregor and his staff need to make the pick count as the organization currently doesn't own another selection until the fourth round (No. 91).

Sabres GM has extra picks, options for building

Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 4:02 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres head into the 2014 NHL Draft with eight picks, and general manager Tim Murray has numerous options for what he wants to do with them.

Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, and Price Albert Raiders forward Leon Draisaitl lead the discussion of top players, and with each there's hope he can help move a franchise forward. With the Sabres holding the No. 2 pick Friday in Philadelphia (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS) and in the midst of a rebuild, making the right choice is vital.

"Every draft is important," Murray said. "This draft is obviously important, but next year's draft is important, the year after is important. You have to continuously stock your system. You can't miss in drafts. If we become a Stanley Cup finalist or a Stanley Cup contender and we're picking 28th in the draft, I expect to hit on our first-round pick and I expect him to be an asset down the road. Obviously when you're picking as high as we are … it's important. They're all important."

Kings' nine picks tied for most in 2014 NHL Draft

Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 2:07 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The work isn't done yet for the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, as they will be one of the busiest teams at the 2014 NHL Draft.

The Kings are one of five teams with nine picks in the two-day selection process, with the draft being held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The first round is Friday, June 27 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS); Rounds 2-7 will be conducted Saturday, June 28 (10 a.m. ET; NHLN-US, NHLN-CA).

Los Angeles has three selections among the first 90 picks, but will have a chance to add to its organizational depth with five picks in the final two rounds, including two picks each in the sixth and seventh rounds.

Also with nine picks each are the St. Louis Blues, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals.

2014 NHL Draft order of selection

Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 12:00 PM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

NHL.com

NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League announced today the order of selection for the 2014 NHL Draft, June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The first round will be conducted on Friday, June 27 and broadcast live by NBCSN in the United States and TSN and RDS in Canada, beginning at 7 p.m., ET. Rounds 2-7 will be held on Saturday, June 28, beginning at 10 a.m., ET, with NHL Network providing live coverage to viewers throughout North America.

Visit NHL.com/draft for comprehensive Draft coverage, including prospect profiles, scouting reports, rankings and video.

Draft hits and misses: Central Division

Thursday, 06.19.2014 / 3:00 AM / 2014 NHL Draft - Philadelphia - June 27-28, 2014

John Kreiser - NHL.com Managing Editor

With two Stanley Cup championships in the past five seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks are an excellent illustration of the value of solid drafting. The Blackhawks went from a down-and-out team to an elite franchise in large part because of their success at the draft table.

Every team has had its ups and downs since the NHL Draft began in 1963. Here's a look at the hits (and some of the misses) for the seven teams in the Central Division.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Best first-round pick: Jonathan Toews (2006) -- There is no area of the game in which Toews does not excel. He was 20 when he was named captain of the Blackhawks; at 26 he has seven 20-goal seasons, 440 points in 484 games, two Stanley Cup rings (and two Olympic gold medals), the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2010 and the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward last season. He's a terror on faceoffs (57.2 percent this season), among the NHL's best at the shootout (34-for-68 in his career) and is in the mix when discussion turns to the best player in the game today.

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