Top draft prospects at each skill
June, 19, 2014
By Corey Pronman | ESPN Insider
In an effort to better present the players within each of these skills -- and because certain teams and fans value particular skills differently -- I'm going to identify the best prospects in this year's draft class at particular parts of the game.
During my evaluation and ranking process, I place grades on every major tool for all players. For most of the tools, there's separation among the top five to seven players, but then there's typically bunching within the No. 8 to No. 20 range in each skill. In other words, bear in mind that there were some very tough calls for the final spots on each of these lists. You'll notice a lot of common names throughout, but that's not really very surprising; it's tough to be a high-end prospect without being very good to elite at a lot of things.
Top 10 skaters
1. Jake Virtanen, RW, Calgary (WHL)
2. Josh Ho-Sang, RW, Windsor (OHL)
3. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
4. Adrian Kempe, LW, Modo (SHL)
5. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (Liiga)
6. Sam Bennett, C, Kingston (OHL)
7. Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL)
8. Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL)
9. Julius Honka, D, Swift Current (WHL)
10. Roland McKeown, D, Kingston (OHL)
Virtanen is the best pure skater in the draft class, and that fact drives a lot of his overall value. The reason he sits right outside the top 10 on my overall draft board is because he doesn't have the well-rounded offensive tool kit of players like Ehlers or Bennett. Ho-Sang is an electric player, and when you combine his skating with his puck skills, it makes him one of the most fun players to watch in this class.