A list of the first top ten draftees in the 201 NHL Entry Draft with pictures, reactions, and background information.
Here's a list of the firs 10 drafted players in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. These are not personal opinion but what the teams decided in their choices in the order of 1-10. All information collected while viewing NBC Sports Network's live broadcast and Twitter for the pictures.
First pick for the NHL Draft went to Aaron Ekblad by the Florida Panthers. Dale Tallon was offered many options to trade first pick, but he felt the "deal wasn't what we needed" when looking at Ekblad's potential. And he makes it very clear the Panthers will "continue building the way we've been building." Tallon's faith will help since trading opportunities went from a 70% to 0% in a matter of days. Trolling the organization, the sound person blasted Halestorm's "Freak Like Me" as the player was announced.
The next pick in the first round went to Buffalo Sabres, who selected Sam Reinhart. His father, Paul Reinhart, was picked twelfth in the 1979 NHL Draft. Older brother Max plays for the Calgary Flames while other brother Griffin plays for the New York Islanders. GM Tim Murray brushed aside comments about looking ahead of the game to the 2015 draft say, “what matters right now."
Edmonton Oilers’ picked Leon Draisaitl is from Cologne, Germany, making him "the highest German-born player drafted." Excited over the "great organization with a lot of young players," he admits his placement in the team "comes down to the training camp." Compared to the Los Angeles Kings's Anze Kopitar, the GM admits "big centers are hard to obtain and Leon really fits that bill for us." And being a winger means a lot more combinations available. But the German begs fans to please find a better nickname than 'Neon Leon.'
When the Calgary Flames used their pick to select Sam Bennett, it all came down to good work ethic. Bennett found the drafting an "absolutely a dream come true. It couldn't be better than this." Which is good for the young player since it won't be easy on a team in a middle of rebuild. Hard work will definitely be pushed hard. Plus NHL's Central Scouting Bureau's top North American prospect, his hockey sense and puck-handling offer a lot of flexibility in the role of center who shoots left. At 6'0 and 178 lbs, the Ontario native will be important in power plays as he matures into an NHL-ready player.
Fifth pick goes to Michael Dal Colle by the New York Islanders. He fits as a winger but can switch to center if needed. Similar style to Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. His maturity off-ice is expected to translate on-ice as he ages up and becomes more reliable. Older brother's grand mall seizures and autism combined with his mother surviving breast cancer made him grow up a little faster than others. And he did put up 20 points in 12 games in the playoffs.
By selecting Jake Virtanen sixth, Vancouver Canucks cemented a good future in "trying to change culture of the team" from previous leadership to something more rough . GM Jim Benning says the team will be focusing on "the meanness, the ruggedness" found in Jake. And the young man finds it as "a great honor" as well. "I know Vancouver is a great organization" based on "growing up watching the Canucks." Hometown players help in connecting the fans as the fan favorites begin to age out or are traded.
The Carolina Hurricanes used the seventh pick to snag Haydn Fleury. He plays for the WHL's Red Deer Rebels and possesses an elite skating ability. With a great offense, even more than first pick Ekblad, Fleury has a chance to real grow into the role. Brent Sutter, brother to Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter and father to Pittsburgh Penguins' Brandon Sutter, believes Fleury has serious talent. The 17-year-old has the potential to be the next Marc Staal due to size and ability to shut down plays. But he'll have to wait another year due to birthday eligibility cut-off.
Dave Nonis believes in William Nylander since the Toronto Maple Leafs used their eighth pick to draft the Swede. Son of Michael Nylander--a former NHLer who played for Calgary, Tampa, Chicago, Washington, Boston and the New York Ranger--the young man doesn't like any comparison. "My dad was a great playmaker. I'm a shooter. He still found the draft experience to be "nerve wracking, sitting up there." As a fan, Patrick Kane is definitely his favorite player, and he nodded along in agreement when Nonis noted "it's pretty difficult for 18-year-old" to break into the NHL after the draft.
Ninth pick found Nikolaj Ehlers landing in the Winnipeg Jets. Does he feel ready to jump right into the league after earning 49 goals this year? "I think it depends on the NHL team. It's possible they send me back to Halifax." Not that he has a problem with the going back to Halifax since he feels there's a lot left to learn under the team's coaching staff. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff says on the ice "he's a dynamic player and can make plays on the fly." During the interview the Dane really shined. "He just loved to play the game and so passionate about it."
And the tenth player picked in the first round went to Nick Ritchie for the Anaheim Ducks. The pick came from the trade with Vancouver Canucks earlier this afternoon for Ryan Kesler, who will add grit and body against the L.A. Kings. From a GM mind, Bob Murray thinks Ritchie will add the body pressure and grit along side Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. Murray thinks the 18-year-old holds potential to be a dominant power forward and can already skate at an NHL size--to take the hits that will be coming. And this finishes off the Bobby Ryan trade to Ottawa last summer.