The Flames grabbed the first goalie of the 2014 draft in Mason McDonald and found more value as the day went on. Meanwhile, Toronto and Pittsburgh took too many gambles.
The 2014 draft had little consensus going into Philadelphia and it showed in the results on Day 2 as teams went all over the board with their picks. One thing that became very clear is that teams were valuing upside and potential, swinging for the fences instead of settling for safe selections.
But with the full draft in the books, some teams helped themselves more than others. Here are my winners and losers from Day 2.
The Blues had an early second-rounder from the David Perron trade and used it on Moncton’s Ivan Barbashev, who easily could have been a first round selection. They followed that pick up with another Russian playing over in North America, Maxim Letunov. A Boston University commit who plays for Youngstown in the United States League, Letunov is rail-thin, but may be one of the most talented players selected this year. From there, the Blues grabbed a couple of mid-rounders with excellent potential in offensive defenseman Jake Walman and big forward Austin Poganski. Walman is a Providence College commit while Poganski is headed to the University of North Dakota.
New GM Brad Treliving did very well for himself in his rooking outing. The Flames got their elite center in Sam Bennett on Day 1, but grabbed the first goalie of 2014 when they tabbed Mason McDonald in the early second round. McDonald has great size and played lights-out for Canada at the world under-18s. From there, Calgary landed a smooth-skating defenseman in Brandon Hickey, not to mention towering winger Hunter Smith, who is quickly rounding into a serious threat in the Ontario League with Oshawa.
The Ducks didn’t have a ton of picks, but they hit on them. Marcus Pettersson has one of the highest ceilings of any defenseman in this class and even though he’ll need time to bulk up, he’s looking like a great pick. Fifth-rounder Matt Berkovitz, a University of Wisconsin commit, reminded some scouts of Ryan Suter thanks to his mobility and he gets added to a deep Ducks prospect pool now too.
The Maple Leafs were hampered a bit by a lack of a second-rounder, but Rinat Valiev was a stretch at No. 68. Players such as JJ Piccinich, Nolan Vesey and Dakota Joshua are all long on potential and while it is good to swing for the fences, there isn’t a lot of safety in this draft. I did like their last pick, big Swedish scorer Pierre Engvall, however.
Getting Kasperi Kapanen on Friday was a coup, but the Pens didn’t follow up. Jaden Lindo of OHL Owen Sound could be a very good bottom-six forward, but otherwise Pittsburgh gambled on long-term potential and only had five picks all weekend.
While the Czech Republic has rebounded in the prospect world and saw eight players drafted, Slovakia continues to struggle, with just one player named in 2014. Goaltender Maximilian Pajpach went to Colorado with the 174th pick, but that was it. That does not bode well for future international tournaments.