With the 2014 NHL Draft now over, I will be offering a brief overview of the second and third round picks chosen by teams located in the Southeastern United States. This will include the players name, position played, junior team and where it’s located, along with a brief sentence giving how they’ll fit in on the team which drafted them. So just sit back, relax and enjoy reading about prospects whose lifelong dreams were realized Saturday.
FLORIDA PANTHERS: In the second round of this years draft, the Cats chose center Jayce Hawryluk from the Western Hockey League (WHL)’s Brandon Wheat Kings. They then decided to select right winger Juho Lammikko out of the Finnish Liiga, though he began last season playing for the Assat Under-20 team, 65th overall.
Both of these prospects will bolster an already deep offensive corps which includes 2013 second overall pick Aleksander Barkov, along with Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau to name a few.
CAROLINA HURRICANES: Day 2 of the draft yielded a couple of good players with size for the Canes. They first chose goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)’s Plymouth Whalers 37th overall. Their next pick (67th overall) landed left winger Warren Foegele, who spent last season with the High Ontario League’s St. Andrews College.
Each of these prospects adds size and skill to a team that really needs both. With Cam Ward and Eric Staal’s tenures in Carolina likely coming to a close over the next five years, Nedeljkovic will provide netminding similar to that of former Buffalo Sabres great Ryan Miller while Foegele can offer offensive production like Ryan Kesler’s before he tailed off some.
NASHVILLE PREDATORS: For the Predators day number 2 of this year’s draft proved to be extremely productive, as they carried not one but two second round picks. Those were used on left winger Vladislav Kamenev of Magnitogorsk 2 in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), chosen 42nd overall, and defenseman Jack Dougherty from the United States Under-18 development program 51st overall. In the third round, Nashville selected left winger Justin Kirkland out of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets organization with their 62nd pick.
All of these prospects provide some blend of size, strength and offensive ability, something the Preds have lacked ever since they let Ryan Suter walk via free agency a couple of years ago.
ARIZONA COYOTES: Like Nashville, the Coyotes also did well on the drafts second day by holding two second rounders (numbers 43 and 58). Those were used to select Kitchener Rangers center Ryan MacInnes and London Knights left winger Christian Dvorak. After picking them, Arizona chose right winger Anton Karlsson from the Frolunda Indians Swedish club 87th overall.
Upon first glance, these guys look to be capable of becoming future NHL Hall of Famers. They’re smart with the puck and can transition from offense back to defense fairly easily, providing a team that’s struggled to score goals with more weapons than ever before.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS: Coming off a very disappointing season, one that saw their general manager and head coach fired, the Capitals addressed some pressing needs early in Day 2. First, they used their second round pick to choose goalie Vitek Vanecek out of the Liberec organization located in the Czech Republic. Next, they took AHL Hershey left winger Nathan Walker 89th overall.
With these selections, the Caps address a pressing need they have after trading Michal Neuvirth to the Buffalo Sabres midway through last season and get someone capable of making an impact quickly, as Walker can be called up at any point next season if the need arises.
DALLAS STARS: Finally a playoff-caliber team, thanks in part to years of good drafting, the Stars were happy keeping most of their Day 2 selections. With those they chose left winger Brett Pollock, a product of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, 45th overall and Plymouth Whalers defenseman Alexander Peters 75th overall.
Each prospect fills a need the Stars have, Pollock with his versatility and Peters using his size and overall defensive game.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: Already reaping the benefits of some previous later round picks, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman decided to trade away one of his team’s first rounders (28th overall) for an extra second rounder in hopes of replenishing a minor league system that resembled more of a revolving door last season. He used that to select defenseman Dominik Masin out of Slavia Praha, the Czech Republics junior team 35th overall. With their second round 2 pick (57th overall) the Bolts chose another blueliner, Johnathan Macleod from the USA’s Under-18 development program. After trading up into the third round, Yzerman used the 79th pick on WHL Moose Jaw center Brayden Point.
These prospects will help the Lightning get bigger and more physical, especially on the back-end, and can help turn an alright power play into one so lethal opponents might think twice about taking any penalties for fear of making their team pay big time.
Tags: NHL Draft