Draft Report Card: NHL Entry Draft 2014

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Columbus Blue Jackets

I like what Columbus has done with their team. It’s not the youngest team, it’s not a team full of vets. It’s not all developed new talent, and it’s not a mish-mash of traded players.

They went into the draft the way a team full of well-balanced players should. Much like Chicago, Columbus picked a variety of guys to add to their prospect roster, starting with quick, quiet, promising Sonny Milano. He’s the kind of safe but rewarding player that a team like Columbus really needs. Add to that a couple blue liners, a solid goaltending prospect, and a few more forwards, and Columbus did what they came to Philadelphia to do.

Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are another team that needs to rebuild, and fast. Coming in dead last this past season, and with a full fourteen-point defecit between the club and the second-to-last team, Buffalo was one of the teams that brought in new management to pick from this draft class.

New General Manager Tim Murray did what he was supposed to, though. Second overall draft selection Sam Reinhart seems to be the talent Buffalo both wanted and needed- and Murray has made it pretty clear that if Sam is ready, he can start with the team in the fall. In a draft class where not many GM’s will be saying that, I congratulate Buffalo.

The team picked smartly in the second round, as well, nabbing two projected first-rounders long after Central Scouting had anticipated them being picked up. Both Brendan Lemieux and Eric Cornel had been ranked in the top 30 North American Skaters, coming in at 28th and 25th respectively. I complain in later grades about teams that let guys like these slip away, but it served Buffalo well in the end. Rounding out their explosion of immediate, dynamic new talent is goaltender Jonas Johansson, who was nabbed 61st in the third round- which, incidentally, is the same round that Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was picked up in the 2006 entry draft. We can’t discredit Buffalo any of their top four choices, and for a team that needed to pick big, I think this one got the job done.