2014 NHL Draft: 5 Names To Watch

With the 2014 NHL Draft upcoming next week, the Chicago Blackhawks have eight selections (none in the second round). With their first round selection currently slotted for 27th overall, here are five players the Hawks might be targeting.

Ryan MacInnis

Ryan MacInnis, C, Kitchener (OHL) (photo)
6-4, 175
DOB: 02/14/1996
MacInnis is a big center who would be a familiar name for coach Joel Quenneville; during Quenneville’s time as head coach in St. Louis, Ryan’s father – Al – was a centerpiece of the Blues’ defense. Ryan is ranked 34th by The Hockey News, 37th by TSN’s Craig Button and was Central Scouting’s 20th ranked North American skater (improving from 33 in their mid-term rankings). He finished with 16 goals and 21 assists in 66 games with Kitchener last season.

“He’s a responsible two-way center with a very good hockey IQ; he sees the ice and anticipates very well to generate scoring chances,” director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr told NHL.com. “He’s a good playmaker but just needs to work on his shot and shoot more often.”

Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)
6-0, 170
DOB: 02/23/1996
Ranked 30th by The Hockey News, who said “University of North Dakota commit may be the most skilled player in draft, but needs a linemate to lead him.” The Hawks have enjoyed great success with one North Dakota player (Jonathan Toews) and drafted North Dakota center Luke Johnson in the fifth round last year; last season’s North Dakota roster also featured defenseman Nick Mattson, a 2010 Chicago pick. Schmaltz is ranked 24th overall by Craig Button and 19th by Central Scouting (just ahead of MacInnis).

His brother, Jordan, was drafted by St. Louis in the first round in 2012, and is currently at North Dakota. He was named the  2013 World Junior A Challenge Most Valuable Player, and his 12 points (in four games) broke the previous scoring record of 11 shared by Kyle Turris in 2006 and Mike Connolly in 2007. Schmaltz would be another college-bound player selected early by Bowman, and it’s worth noting that his NHL.com bio indicates that he “patterns his game after his hockey idol, Patrick Kane.”

Adrian Kempe, F, Modo (Sweden)
6-2, 187
DOB: 09/13/1996
Kempe is one of the younger players in the draft, and would be another player Stan Bowman adds from Sweden. Craig Button ranked Kempe 10th overall, and Central Scouting rated him the #6 European skater. He comes from the same home town as Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Victor Hedman, and has some size on the wing. The Hockey News rated him 25th, saying: “speedy and fearless, Kempe plays a physical game and can also help out with the offensive side of the game.”

Kempe scored five goals in five games for Sweden at the 2013 World U-17 Challenge last year, winning gold. For Modo, Kempe was an assistant captain on the Under 20 team before joining their senior team that featured former NHL players Kyle Cumisky, Jeff Tambellini and Sami Pahlsson. He posted five goals and six assists in 45 games with the senior club.

Rowland McKeown, D, Kingstron (OHL)
6-1, 195
DOB: 01/20/1996
Described by The Hockey News as a “smooth-skating blueliner can contribute at both ends of the ice and has excellent character.” (THN ranked McKeown 21st overall.) He works out with former NHL star Gary Roberts, who also tutors Steven Stamkos, Jeff Skinner and James Neal. Craig Button ranked him 51st and Central Scouting rated him 27th among North American skaters. He finished last season with 11 goals and 32 assists in 62 games in the OHL.

Of note, McKeown was the captain of the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA team in 2011-12 that featured Sam Bennett (the top-ranked North American skater), Joshua Ho-Sang (22nd-ranked North American skater) and one of next year’s prized prospects, Connor McDavid (draft eligible in 2015).

Brayden Point, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
5-10, 160
DOB: 03/13/1996
Point had a huge season for Moose Jaw (36 goals, 55 assists in 72 games) and his rankings are all over the map: Craig Button has him 17th, Central Scouting has him 31st among North American skaters and The Hockey News put him 75th overall.

ESPN’s Corey Pronman has the Hawks selecting Point, saying: “What Chicago looks for early in the draft during the Stan Bowman era is clear as day: Skilled forwards. Point has uncertainty within the industry in terms of what level of prospect he is. But in terms of the high-skill, high-hockey IQ players Chicago targets, he fits the mold.”

 

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18 Responses to 2014 NHL Draft: 5 Names To Watch

  1. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Looking forward to the draft thanks for the breakdown Tab

  2. Tim G says:

    Other guys im keeping tabs on…
    Julius Honka- D (probably drafted 12-15)
    Robert Fabbri- C (probably drafted 13-18)
    Josh HoSang-Wing (probably drafted 20-24)
    Thatcher Demko- G
    John Quennville- C

  3. Tim G says:

    I like Honka, fwiw…

    If we drafted him, he could spend a year developing and potentially replace Leddy as a #4/#5 defenseman.

  4. Peter says:

    I know very little about hockey prospects, but MacInnis is a big dude. If the scouting is accurate doesn’t that scream future 3rd line center. Plus, and again, this is just opinion you have to figure he has hockey smarts with his genes or more aptly who gets to talk to him the most often.

  5. noonan96 says:

    I see 4 or 5 Kit. Ranger games a year in person and others on local TV. and like MacInnis-he is that big body that may look like he isn’t giving his all, but moves well-I saw their last game of the year in Guelph against the Storm (Rangers didn’t show up and it was a blow out for the Storm) and he got both goals and one was top corner-HE showed up for that nothing game and was the best Ranger player on the ice which said something.
    The IQ part of the description makes sense.

  6. David Bonnema says:

    Why are people so quick to replace Leddy?

  7. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Leddy has yet to progress in 2 seasons and still can’t be counted on for quality playoff minutes

  8. Tab Bamford says:

    (devil’s advocate) re: SSHM – can’t be counted on or hasn’t been given the chance? He had points in four of the eight postseason games in which he received more than 16 minutes of ice time this year

  9. Tim G says:

    Dave- don’t get me wrong, I love leddy, but unless we move cap, I think he will cost too much to keep around after next year. That being said, if we the hawks can make it work leddy can run the 2nd line and Honka can run the 3rd line in 2015. Im really ok with that lol.
    Sshm- it’s not that he can’t be counted on, it’s that he needs a true stay at home guy behind him and rosy isn’t that guy. And he isn’t a pk guy so when Q cuts minutes leddys minutes are the ones that go.

  10. J.C. says:

    I like Honka. My favorite player in the draft is David Pastrnak but I think he and all the other players I really like will go too high. Kempe and McKeown are the two guys I like here.

    Like last year where I wanted Burakowsky as a high upside guy I wouldn’t mind gambling on Ho Sang or Goldobin either

  11. Ernie says:

    I’m interested to see who slips. McNeil was supposed to go higher. As was Saad. Teuvo, some thought should have went higher. And Hartman I saw projected in the mid teens.

    As far as who slips this year? I have no idea. Seems like the Hawks pick the guys that other teams over analyze

  12. EbonyRaptor says:

    I still say goalie(s). Demko in the first round and grab a few more in later rounds. But if not a goalie in the first round – then draft the best size/skill ratio. No more smurfs – minimum (legitimate) size 6’0 / 185.

  13. Frolik Navidad says:

    ER- While I too believe the Hawks should go for a goalie to develop for the long term, I don’t see Demko slipping past a desperate team like the Minnesota Wild.

    Also on an unrelated note, the Ottawa Sun reported Kesler will only accept a trade to the Hawks or the Penguins. This should make for an interesting draft day.

  14. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tab good point. So do you think Q isn’t using Leddy correctly or not enough? I wouldnt move Leddy unless the hawks are getting a top 5 forward in return.

  15. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    I would be curious what the Hawks record was in those games Leddy saw increased minutes.

  16. Patrick says:

    I think intentionally picking a C would be a bad pick as the hawks are stacked at C in the minors and he will likely have a log jam of talent in front of him. Although when you’re picking 27, ‘best player available’ mentality should kick in, which could very well be a C.

    So if the BPA is a goalie/forward/Dman on Bowman’s board, pick him.

  17. Tab Bamford says:

    Patrick – drafting a player who has primarily played center in junior doesn’t lock him into the position at the next (or NHL) level. But it does provide some flexibility in the future (see Ben Smith, Brandon Saad taking draws in the playoffs). If the best player on their board is a center – especially one with size – they should take him and not think twice.

    And while I agree Bowman should take the best player on his board (which he will), history tells us the Hawks will likely take a forward in the first round. Bowman hasn’t taken a defenseman or goalie in the first round yet.

  18. Tim G says:

    Took a look at a few fresh mocks this AM. Honka was slipping out of the top 30 in 3 of 4 of them. 28th in one and in the 2nd round in the others…

    This may just be smoke, but it kinda gets me excited…

    I know Stan tends to lean towards Forwards, but he also seems to be leaning towards Euro talent, so i dont think its impossible. TT, Rundblad, Kruger, Nordy, Ras-moose (just for you wall), Norell, Dahlbeck, Dahlstrom…

    I think Honka would be a good fit in the coming years. He can move the puck well, and always seemed to produce whether is was Juniors in Finland or this past year in the WHL. Definitely fits the mold of a Hawks D-Man. Like i said above, he could crack the 3rd line in 2015.

    All in all, i just hope for best available. We need to show faith in the Front Office, and I trust them to make a good selection. I just have this sneaky feeling a good D-man or 2 will slip in this draft… Honka, McKeown (both of which who SHOULD be taken before 27) or even a guy like Jack Dougherty. Maybe Stan gets creative and moves up to get a 2nd round pick to take one of these guyes, and still uses our own pick on a guy like McInnis or Kempe.

    Another name i’ve seen linked to the Hawks is Connor Bleackley… fwiw

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