Skip to main content draft experts predict 2014 first round @NHLdotcom

The top prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft have had a full season to state their case for why they should be considered among the game's next stars.

However, all a highly talented bunch has done is muddy the field NHL teams have to wade through to make their choices.

There's size, skill and talent at every position, and no clear-cut choice for who the best player available is.

If you're looking for talented forwards, there's Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League and Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League. If you're in need of a power forward, there's three outstanding choices from the OHL alone: Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals, Nicholas Ritchie of the Peterborough Petes and Brendan Perlini of the Niagara IceDogs.


If defense is what your team needs, there's Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts of the OHL, Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL or Anthony DeAngelo of the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.

There is a rich crop of European talent as well as size and skill in goal.

It's a lot for NHL teams to deal with, but the advantage they have is they don't have to make their decisions until the final weekend in June. The draft experts from don't get that luxury, as they weigh in with their second mock draft of the season.

The draft order used for this mock draft is based on the League standings after games played April 1. While the final order won't be set until the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one team already is locked into its first-round position. The New Jersey Devils will pick 30th as part of an NHL decision to reduce their punishment for circumventing the salary cap to sign Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010.

The only team with more than one pick in the first round is the Anaheim Ducks, who have their pick and the Ottawa Senators' from the offseason trade that sent forward Bobby Ryan to Ottawa. However, more picks could change hands based on playoff and contract outcomes.

The Buffalo Sabres could end up with three first-round picks. They could receive the New York Islanders' selection through the Thomas Vanek trade in October. If New York's pick finishes in the first 10 selections the Islanders have the option of sending the pick to the Sabres or keeping it, which would mean the Sabres automatically receive the Islanders' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The Sabres also could get the St. Louis Blues' pick through the Ryan Miller trade. The Blues' top pick would transfer to the Sabres if the Blues advance to the Western Conference Final with Miller appearing in at least half the minutes during the first two rounds of the playoffs; if the Blues re-sign Miller prior to making their first pick; or if the Blues trade Miller's rights prior to making their first pick.

The Tampa Bay Lightning also could end up with two picks. If the New York Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Final, they will have to send their pick to the Lightning as part of the Martin St. Louis trade.

All of that will be determined at a later date. For now, enjoy's latest predictions at how the first round could turn out.

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