The glitz and glamour of the first round is over, but there are still many quality players available for teams to select in the 2014 NHL draft.
The second round has provided many teams with franchise players, including 2014 Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins, 2003) and Norris Trophy finalist Shea Weber (Nashville Predators, 2003)
One club to watch on Day 2 is the Buffalo Sabres, who have three second-round picks, including the 31st overall selection that will begin Round 2. The Anaheim Ducks are another team with two second-round selections (Nos. 38 and 55).
Let’s take a look at the 10-best players available on Day 2 of the draft.
1) Ivan Barbashev, Center, Moncton (QMJHL)
The top scorer at last year’s U-18 World Championships surprisingly wasn’t selected in the first round. A talented goal scorer with a powerful shot, excellent speed and a high hockey IQ, don’t expect Barbashev to last long in Round 2. His quality defensive skills and ability to kill penalties make him a player who coaches can trust in any type of situation. Barbashev would be a good fit for the Carolina Hurricanes at pick 37.
2) Brayden Point, Center, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Point is a talented playmaker whose vision and high hockey IQ allow him to create scoring chances for teammates. He also has good speed and a quick release on his wrist shot. The 18-year-old forward led Moose Jaw in scoring with 91 points (36 goals, 55 assists) in 72 games.
The Islanders need a center and should consider drafting Point at pick 35.
3) Thatcher Demko, Goaltender, Boston College (NCAA)
For the second straight year, there were no goaltenders selected in Round 1. Demko is the best netminder available based on his athleticism, poise, good glove hand and rebound control. He helped lead Boston College to a Beanpot championship and a regular season Hockey East title in 2013-14, while posting a 16-5-3 record and a .919 save percentage.
4) Roland McKeown, Defenseman, Kingston (OHL)
McKeown tallied 43 points (11 goals, 32 assists) in 62 games for Kingston last season. He’s a puck-moving defenseman with good mobility and the offensive skills (great passing, excellent vision, etc.) needed to create scoring chances on the power play. He’s steadily improving defensively and displays the confidence needed to play major minutes against opposing teams’ best forwards. The Vancouver Canucks would be wise to consider taking McKeown at pick 36.
5) Brendan Lemieux, Left Wing, Barrie (OHL)
Brendan plays a similar style to his dad, former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Claude Lemieux. The Barrie Colts winger gets under the skin of his opponents, drops the gloves when necessary and plays a physical game in all three zones. He needs to be a bit more disciplined, but that will come with experience.
There’s no question that Lemieux has top-six forward potential at the NHL level. His accurate shot and quick release, combined with his willingness to go to the dirty areas in the corners and in front of the net will help him score a lot of goals in the pros. He tallied 53 points (26 goals, 27 assists) in 62 games in the OHL last season.
6) Anton Karlsson, Left Wing, Frolunda (Sweden)
Karlsson has a polished defensive game with his ability to defend opposing teams’ top lines, his willingness to block shots and excellent penalty-killing skills. He also plays a physical game (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) and skates really well. His offensive skills have improved dramatically over the last year, specifically his ability to create scoring chances for teammates as a playmaker. Karlsson should be one of the first players selected in Round 2.
7) Sebastian Aho, Defenseman, Skelleftea (Sweden)
Aho has a two-way skill set that includes excellent puck-moving skills, a high hockey IQ and responsible defense. He rarely gets caught out of position, block shots and plays a physical game despite his lack of size. Aho’s ability to excel on special teams makes him an attractive prospect for an NHL team that needs a versatile defenseman.
8) Spencer Watson, Right Wing, Kingston (OHL)
Watson is a talented playmaker with good speed and an impressive work ethic. He tallied 68 points (33 goals, 35 assists) in 65 games last season and would be a great fit in Calgary at pick 34.
9) Daniel Audette, Center, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Audette has tremendous offensive talent and tallied 76 points (21 goals, 55 assists) in 68 games last season. The main concern with Audette is his lack of size at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, but his strong work ethic makes him difficult to defend, especially when he has enough space to use his excellent speed and quickness.
10) Vladislav Kamanev, Left Wing, Magnitogorsk (KHL)
Kamanev is a two-way winger who can be trusted in all situations (including the penalty kill) because of his high hockey IQ. From an offensive standpoint, Kamanev needs to be more assertive with the puck and shoot more often, but there’s no question that he’s capable of tallying 20-40 points early in his NHL career.
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