2014 NHL Draft Preview

nhl_draftThe youth movement in the NHL continues to grow every year as younger players are having a bigger impact in the league every year. Last year the 18-year old Nathan MacKinnon would light up the NHL and earn the Calder Trophy, becoming the youngest player to do so. This youth movement has made the draft one of the most important events of the NHL calendar. It means a chance to add that potential breakout player that can lift a team immediately. These young stars have continued to be the spark that their teams need as they look to build from the bottom up. Players like Sidney Crosby, Sean Monahan, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, and many more can lift a team that has been at the bottom for a while. Then again there are the failures in the draft as teams have drafted many young stars but have yet to get out of the bottom. A few of these teams are still sitting at the top of this draft after years of grabbing some of the best young players. Two of these teams are Florida and Edmonton who have been some of the top teams in the draft for the past few years. The Panthers have picked big name juniors like Erik Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Aleksander Barkov in the last four years. Yet this year they sit in the first place for the draft as one of the worst teams in the NHL. Despite their group of young talent the Panthers have been unable to see any success. As much as the Panthers have suffered despite the talent the Edmonton Oilers have been much worse. The Oilers have had 4 straight years where they have picked inside the top 10 in the draft. In those years they have added some of the biggest names in the draft including Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov. Still the Oilers are sitting at the bottom of the league and they have yet to see this young talent pay off quite yet. It is a strange pattern for these teams as others have seen amazing improvements in a year. In 2013 the Colorado Avalanche finished second last in the league and won the draft lottery to pick Nathan MacKinnon first overall. This past season they would win their division led by MacKinnon. Of course it wasn’t all MacKinnon with a new coach and a new organization plus the play of a number of other players to help them but MacKinnon was the spark. The Oilers and Panthers are once again in the top ten this year as Florida will pick first overall, as long as they don’t trade the pick away, and the Oilers will pick third. If both teams keep their picks they will once again draft two of the top guys in the draft and will once again hope that they can find that player to provide the spark. The other 28 teams will be looking for the same as all are hoping that they can find that next tsar so that they can end the year where the Los Angeles Kings are now at the bottom of the draft and as Stanley Cup Champions.



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