With the 2014 NHL Draft set for June 27-28 in Philadelphia, Kris Baker from SabresProspects.com has meticulously compiled his list of the top 30 players. We'll reveal two players each weekday complete with analysis and video, leading up to the unveiling of Kris' top two picks on June 20.
The full mock draft as it's revealed can be found here.
#14 –IVAN BARBASHEV
C/LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
6’, 180 lbs.
2013-14: 48 games, 25-43-68, 27 PIM
A hard-nosed leader with great set-up skills and two-way mindset, the Russian-born Barbashev has quickly adapted through two years in the QMJHL to play a consistent and complete North American style.
Barbashev uses his size to compete for loose pucks, makes his presence known with an effective hitting game, and holds up his end of the bargain with detailed defensive coverage and a willingness to get in front of oncoming shots.
On top it all, Barbashev’s nimble skating and array of shooting skills led to steady offensive production in his draft year with 68 points (25+43) in 48 regular season games for Moncton.
Barbashev’s totals included 11 goals and 16 assists in 15 games following the January arrival of fellow Russian Vladimir Tkachev. The duo continued to click in the playoffs, where Barbashev contributed four goals and 10 points in the Wildcats’ first-round loss to Blainville-Boisbriand.
Transitioning to the center position has seen him shine down the middle, with the do-it-all Barbashev carving out a reputation as a punishing competitor who shows up to play every night and makes his teammates better.
Barbashev’s high-level skill, natural three-zone effort and year-over-year improvement present ultimate NHL sleeper potential.
At the very least, Barbashev offers little risk to teams just outside of the top 10 looking to build quality forward depth.
#13 – ALEX TUCH
RW, United States U-18
6’ 3.5”, 213 lbs.
2013-14: 61 games, 29-35-64, 72 PIM
An excellent skating power forward prospect with a nose for the net, Tuch looks to be an ideal asset for any team looking to add size down and a balanced skill set down the right side.
A product of the same Baldwinsville, N.Y. neighborhood that produced former Sabres forward Tim Connolly, Tuch (pronounced “Tuck”) does all of the things you'd hope for from a young player of his size.
He goes north-south to the net when entering the zone, works hard in the corners and uses his body to maintain possession of the puck on the cycle. When push comes to shove, Tuch holds his ground and claws back when he needs to.
Tuch’s greatest offensive assets are his soft hands and heavy, accurate shot that make him a legitimate threat anytime he gets the puck beneath the hash marks.
The Boston College commit has been a steady riser all season thanks to his 32 points (13+19) in 26 USHL tilts as a 17-year old, and another eight goals and 15 points in 16 games versus NCAA programs.
Tuch’s talent and budding power game offer plenty of upside to a club willing to exercise patience while the complementary skills develop.