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.
#22 – KEVIN FIALA
LW, HV71 Jonkoping (Sweden)
5’ 10”, 180 lbs.
2013-14: 17 games, 3-8-11, 34 PIM
Not many 17-year olds participate in the IIHF U18 World Championship, U20 World Junior Championship and the Men’s World Championship in the same season, but the Swiss-born Fiala did just that in 2013-14 as part of a fabulous season that saw him rocket up draft boards.
A feisty competitor with great offensive instincts, the undersized Fiala packs a high-tempo flare. He’s explosive off the wing with an ability to get shots off at speed, and his energetic style sees him throw his share of hits.
His explosive nature saw him lead Switzerland with a goal and four assists in five games of the IIHF World Junior Championship. Fiala again set the pace with nine points (4+5) at the Under-18 World Championship to vault his way into a limited role at the season-ending men’s tourney.
Along his journey, Fiala posted 11 points (3+8) in 15 SHL contests with HV 71 to work his way into a full-time role next season. Fiala, who won’t turn 18 until after the draft, has the offensive desire to become an NHL difference maker, but his unsavory defensive game may hold him back in a tightly structured system.
Boom or bust potential is in play, but the positives will outweigh the negatives come draft day.
#21 – ADRIAN KEMPE
LW, Modo (Sweden)
6’ 1.5”, 187 lbs.
2013-14: 45 games, 5-6-11, 12 PIM
One of the youngest players in the entire draft class, Kempe’s healthy blend of effort and intensity places him in good company on the list of highly-touted MODO products poised to make an NHL impact.
The power forward prospect did many things right this season as a 17-year-old in Sweden’s top professional league, using his powerful, north-south skating game to crash and bang on his way to collecting five goals and 11 points in 45 contests. Kempe followed up his rookie SHL season by netting seven points (1+6) in six games for Sweden at the IIHF U18 World Championship.
Kempe keeps his feet motoring and produces through hard work, but there is a skill game in play as well, with his vision and heavy shot being utilized when given room to operate.
Kempe is just starting to come into his own, but it’s apparent that his strong net presence and willingness to grind through tough shifts would align well with any organization looking to employ team-first workers.
His CHL rights are owned by the Barrie Colts, but Kempe is expected to remain with MODO for at least one more season and compete for Sweden at the next two World Junior Championships.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website - sabresprospects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @sabresprospects for in-game updates throughout the season on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.