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.
#4 – LEON DRAISAITL
C, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
6’ 1.5”, 204 lbs.
64 games, 38-67-105, 24 PIM
A big playmaking body with a heavy slap shot, Draisaitl (pronounced “Dry-sigh-till”) boasts perhaps the best hands around the net in the draft class.
He’s been a central figure in Prince Albert’s attack for the past two seasons, most recently leading the team with 38 goals and 105 points in 2013-14 to tie fellow draft prospect Sam Reinhart for fourth overall in the WHL scoring race.
Draisaitl doesn’t possess blazing speed, but his quick thinking when given time and space makes him a commanding presence on nearly every shift.
The puck seems to find him, and once he gains control he can he can beat you with his vision and power around the edge.
Mix in an engaged physical game, and you have a developing two-way power forward with top-notch puck possession skills and an ability to pile up power play points from his unloading zone in the right faceoff circle.
Draisaitl logged a sub-par performance for an overmatched German squad at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, but he turned it on late in the year to cement his spot in the top five, using his hard-driving skill to close with 19 goals and 49 points in his final 25 regular season games.
#3 – SAM BENNETT
C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
6’ 0.25”, 178 lbs.
2013-14: 57 games, 36-55-91, 118 PIM
Skilled and tenacious, Bennett combines a great skating game with superior speed and quickness to make things difficult for the opposition at both ends of the rink. He packs the offensive bite of a Corey Perry with a two-way style comparable to Mike Richards.
The elite package exploded in many different ways in 2013-14, helping the Kingston Frontenacs front man earn honors as the CHL’s Top Prospect of the Year, and a Third Team OHL All Star.
The potential for consistent offense, accented by a 25-game point streak, was evident in Kingston with team-high totals of 36 goals and 91 points. But Bennett sweetens the offering with a pesky, energetic style that sees him shoulder guys off the puck and employ savvy use of his stick to cause turnovers and reverse the action.
The complete effort was rewarded in the OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll, where Bennett was tabbed the Smartest Player, Best Stickhandler and Best Playmaker, while earning third spot in the Best Defensive Forward category.
The skill and compete level are present, but so is the edginess that will see the skilled battler enter scrums after whistles and often find himself in the penalty box.
A former minor hockey line mate of 2015 draft stud Connor McDavid, Bennett has the high-speed versatility and “win at all costs” attitude that clubs covet come draft day.