Draft Report Card: NHL Entry Draft 2014

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Washington Capitals

I want Washington to start winning. I really do. I was born in the Baltimore/DC area, and I have a soft spot in my heart for both hometown teams and teams that can’t win- which means that I have a soft spot for the Caps, big-time. I just didn’t see them make the kind of moves that they needed to for upcoming seasons.

They did well drafting Jakub Vrana, who is one of the strongest Czech players from this particular draft class. They chose to sign one of the team’s AHL players in the third round, though, indicating how they felt about this group of prospects. Strange and kind of confrontational move, for a team that really needs to rebuild.

They also picked up a goaltender in the second round, thirty-ninth overall, who really should have gone in the fourth or the fifth. Either they see something that we don’t, or this was just a case of EXTREMELY poor drafting. Either way, I never give teams high grades when they make serious reach picks, despite being in a rebuild phase. Washington fell short of where they should have been.

New Jersey Devils

A friend of mine who lives and breathes Devils once told me that “Lou doesn’t do things for the publicity”. I kindly overlooked the drama at last year’s draft, but it’s hard to ignore this year’s first-rounder. John Quenneville, who happens to be the cousin of Chicago’s head coach, is a perfectly adequate player. He wasn’t projected to go until the middle of the second round, though, and it seemed strange that a team desperate to rebuild would overlook the bounty of ignored first-round projections to go for a player that doesn’t appear to be the magic ticket Jersey needs. I would have been happier seeing them take someone like goaltending prospect Thatcher Demko, or even forward Brendan Lemieux or blue liner Marcus Pettersson.

They did pick up an all right defense in the second round when they snatched up American Josh Jacobs, who looks to be a promising prospect on a team known for its smothering defense. The Devils have been sorely lacking in effective, fast offense, though- and not only did Quenneville seem like the wrong forward to pick in this situation, but right winger Connor Chatham doesn’t seem like he can offer the speed and agility the team needs, either. Not a terrible draft, but not as good as it could have been- even with the required thirtieth overall pick.