2014 NHL Entry Draft: Day One Recap, Day Two Preview
Looking Back on Day One, Looking Ahead to Day Two
Remember how we said in our pre-draft preview there's an age-old question at draft time about whether a team drafts for need versus the best player available (BPA)? Remember how we said that, in all likelihood, the team that selected Jonathan Drouin over Seth Jones when it clearly needed a righty d-man would surely take the BPA? You do? Yeah, well, so much for that. The Lightning reverted back to the needs-based approach they employed in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft when they selected Slater Koekkoek, despite red flags on the health of Koekkoek's shoulder. Tonight, holding the 19th overall pick, the Lightning again made a needs-based pick and again chose to bypass some considerable red flags:
First Round, 19th Overall
D Anthony DeAngelo, 5'11" 175 lbs, Sarnia (OHL)(R)
Wow, here's a definitive swing for the fences. With DeAngelo, the talent is unquestionable. The Philadelphia native ripped up the OHL with 15 goals and 71 points in 51 games this season. Nobody questions that, on talent alone, DeAngelo was one of the 10-15 best players in this year's class. His skating and puckhandling skills allow him to dismantle opposing defenses and gain the offensive zone with ease when he chooses to carry it. He's also got excellent vision and passing ability, and runs a power play with ruthless efficiency and a heavy righty shot. Indeed, Red Line Report ranked DeAngelo the 7th best pure skater and 13th best pure goal scorer in this draft, the latter of which is surely worth a double take given that DeAngelo is a defenseman.
The negatives, athletically, center on DeAngelo's stature, which leads to his being overwhelmed down low in the defensive zone, and his tendency to surrender neutral zone turnovers at bad times while pushing the pace. As a consequence, he posted a cringe-worthy -34 rating this season with the Sting. And yet, as cringe-worthy as that is, it pales in comparison to the red flags that surround DeAngelo off the ice. DeAngelo hasn't exactly mastered the team concept, as evidenced by his verbal abuse of a teammate with slurs that led to a suspension by the OHL. This is a young man who has been branded by many as a me-first player who the Lightning are gambling they can reorient into a productive member of the organization. If they can, Red Line Report projects him as a tremendously skilled offensive d-man and power play quarterback with comparisons to a lite version of Paul Coffey. If they can't get DeAngelo to coexist within the team concept, he'll be a bust, and one you have to worry will drag down teammates with him. Hey coaches: this is why they pay you the big bucks.
With the Lightning slated to take the 28th overall selection, the Montreal Canadiens selected winger Nikita Scherbak of Saskatoon at 26. Shortly thereafter, Steve Yzerman was seen at the Central Registry completing a trade out of the 28th pick with the Islanders for picks 35 and 57 tomorrow. We wonder aloud if one had to do with the other.
In any event, if you're a glass-half-full person, the team entered the day with three top-60 picks and they left the day with three top-60 picks and Jason Garrison, who is a proven top-4 defenseman capable of logging 20-22 minutes of ice time a game. Garrison was acquired, of course, earlier in the day in exchange for pick 50 in the draft along with checking line prospect Jeff Costello and a 2015 7th round pick. So, on balance, the Lightning got better today with the potential to get much better if DeAngelo does, indeed, pan out.
At picks 35 and 57, there are still quite a few options on the board for the Lightning to bolster their depth, including on the blueline. Looking back at our draft preview:
C Ivan Barbashev, 6’0” 180 lbs, Moncton (QMJHL)
Barbashev got Russian-factored very hard tonight, which is stunning given the glowing superlatives many scouts applied to the Moncton forward. Widely praised for his compete-level and well rounded game, Barbashev was the 15th ranked prospect by Red Line Report heading into the night. We'd be shocked if he lasted past 31, but at this point, who knows?
D Markus Pettersson, 6’4” 167 lbs, Skelleftea (SWE)(L)
Here’s a prospect for those with some imagination for projection. At 6’4” and just 167 lbs Markus Pettersson is so skinny that even Kate Moss wants to buy him a cheeseburger. However, if you believe that once you get Pettersson on a weight training program he can fill out his tall frame, you may have a bit of a steal on your hands. He’s a good skater who switched from center just two years ago and brings a forward’s skill to the backline. All in all, a player not entirely dissimilar from Andrej Sustr.
D Jack Dougherty, 6’1” 186 lbs, USNTDP(R)
No frills, solid, 2-way NHL defenseman. That’s what Jack Dougherty projects to be. He’s not a giant. He’s not going to completely blow your doors off with his skill. But, he’s a poised player in all three zones who can eat minutes. Goodness knows the Lightning could use more players like that. Dougherty is committed to the University of Wisconsin.
D Rowland McKeown, 6’1” 195 lbs, Kingston (OHL)(R)
Skating virtuoso. That’s what Rowland McKeown is. His 4-way agility, acceleration, and blazing speed are the stuff of legends. On that alone he should be a minute-eating NHL defenseman. However, the quality of those minutes may depend on how he adapts to the physicality of the pro game and whether his offensive hockey sense ever catches up with his skating. He’s inconsistent in the physical game and up and down offensively, which makes one wonder if they’re drafting Cam Fowler or, gulp, Lukas Krajicek.
D Jack Glover, 6’3” 190 lbs, USNTDP(R)
Like Dougherty, Jack Glover isn’t overly flashy, but he’s very competent. He lacks the offensive upside of Dougherty, but has bigger size that he uses effectively along the wall and to clear the front porch. With good mobility and a decent ability to move the puck out of danger, as well, he has the look of a potential, reliable shut down defenseman. He’s committed to play with Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox at Minnesota.
Some additional names to watch:
LW Brendan Lemieux, 6'0" 206 lbs, Barrie (OHL)
It would be odd to see Steve Yzerman draft Claude Lemieux's son, but it could happen. Like pops, Brendan is a mean, nasty, borderline dirty second/third line tweener. It's the type of player the Lightning need as they try to ice a team that's a little more uncomfortable to play against.
C Jayce Hawryluk, 5'10" 190 lbs, Brandon (WHL)
Although smaller than Lemieux, Hawrlyuk is another pitbull-like agitator who also possesses the skill to chip in offensively in a second/third line role. Compete level is off the charts.
LW Justin Kirkland, 6'3" 189 lbs, Kelowna (WHL)
A projectable power winger who is just beginning to scratch the surface of his abilities, Kirkland is a good skater with above average hockey sense who has yet to grow into his lanky frame. Plays well in all three zones.
D Aaron Irving, 6'1" 185 lbs, Edmonton (WHL)(R)
Very mobile two-way defenseman has a quality, heavy shot. Excellent positionally and started to play more physical in the second half of the season. Could provide a lot of value in the second round.
D Andreas Englund, 6'3" 190 lbs, Djurgardens Jr. (SWE Jr.)(L)
Offensively limited but mobile stay-at-home rear guard. Mean, ornery young bull loves nothing better than to lay the body.
D Dominik Masin, 6'2" 189 lbs, Slavia Praha (CZE)(L)
Sure to be a Bobby Taylor favorite. Gap. Control. Dominik Masin (pronounced "machine") has it. Positionally well schooled, which puts him in excellent spots to take the body. Offensive upside may not be there, but could be a quality stay-at-homer in the NHL.
D Adam Mattsson, 6'4" 209 lbs, Djurgardens Jr. (SWE Jr.)(L)
Big, strong, athletic stay-at-home defender. Very projectable NHL athlete, but rattles at times under duress.