Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 06/25/14 at 11:55 PM ET
For a long time, the operative theory stated that scouts and teams pretty much knew who was going to go from spots 1 to 5 in the first round of the draft on Friday (7 PM EDT on NBCSN and TSN), but NHL.com's Adam Kimelman reports that the draft's a bit of a, "Who goes where?" crowd at the front end as well:
"I think there's more guys that are similar to each other than a lot of years," Tampa Bay Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray told NHL.com. "It's a little bit difficult. It tends to come down to team preferences."
Unlike previous years, where Sidney Crosby (2005), Steven Stamkos (2008), John Tavares (2009) and Taylor Hall (2010) were clear-cut top choices, this year's No. 1 selection won't be known until Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon steps to the podium at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia -- assuming he hasn't traded the pick.
The choice likely will be one of four players who have moved to the head of the class -- Kingston Frontenacs center Samuel Bennett, Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart and Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl.
That's the order NHL Central Scouting ranked them in their final list of the top North American skaters. However Dan Marr, NHL Director of Central Scouting, told NHL.com he can make a good case for any of those players to be picked No. 1.
"These players are all going to be long-time, big-minute impact National Hockey League players," he said. "And to try and get the correct order, that's an exercise in futility. ... We're telling everyone the top five players [Oshawa Generals left wing Michael Dal Colle is No. 5], any of them could go No. 1."
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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