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Bennett finishes atop ’14 NHL Draft rankings

Apr 8, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

Image courtesy OHL Image courtesy OHL

OHL Kingston center Sam Bennett shot to the top of NHL Central Scouting’s 2014 draft rankings back in January and, on Tuesday, he stayed there.

Bennett remained the No. 1 North American skater in the final Central Scouting rankings, the NHL announced today. The top five was rounded out by OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad (No. 2), WHL Kootenay’s Sam Reinhart (No. 3), WHL Prince Albert’s Leon Draisaitl (No. 4) and OHL Oshawa’s Michael Dal Colle (No. 5).

“There are guys who elevate their game when it matters most, and you’re looking to project which players will do that consistently at the next level,” NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. “The guys we have at the top all are in that mold, but when we look at Sam Bennett we see a guy who could potentially have a Jonathan Toews type of career.”

On the European side of things, Kasperi Kapanen — son of longtime NHLer Sami Kapanen — was named the No. 1 prospect, just like he was back in January. Kasperi has spent the last two years playing alongside Sami for Kalpa of the Finnish Elite League and, at the tender age of 17, scored 14 points in 47 games this season.

Another son of an ex-NHLer, William Nylander — son of Michael — finished second in the CSS Rankings for European skaters.

(Image courtesy the OHL)

  1. stepanup - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Very cool to have a father – son defensive tandem. Obviously a tremendous learning experience for Kasperi. I’m sure it meant the world to Sami.

  2. derrico2 - Apr 8, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    So the Sabres are locked into Bennett or Reinhart. That’s a nice way to continue with this rebuild and turn this thing around starting in 2015/2016!

    • bullwinkle88 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Don’t be shocked if they take Ekblad. Murray has said that he’s going for the best player available.

  3. feedmetherock - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Buffalo is going to be ridiculously loaded in like 2 or 3 years. Could have a Penguins type run of 8 or 9+ years of really good hockey (hopefully more cups though).

    • jpdoc26 - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM

      Or they could be the Oilers.

      • travishenryskid - Apr 8, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        Not likely. The Oilers have had a bottomed out a bunch of times, but they don’t have, and never did have, the depth of Buffalo’s prospect pool. The number of 1st and 2nd round picks that Buffalo has acquired over a four year span is unheard of. It’s a very different type of rebuild.

      • moarjam - Apr 8, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        And it wasn’t likely the oilers would still be this bad…

        The Isles have had the deepest prospect pool for the past 10 years…

        You shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch.

        Point is that you don’t know and neither does anyone else.

  4. djshnooks - Apr 8, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Yeah the isles and oilers had a prospect pool of RNH, hall, Eberle, or Tavares, Strome, lee…but they don’t have the role players, gritty 3rd and 4th liners that the Sabres have…nor did they allow them to dominate the AHL or juniors before bringing them in full-time. This is much different…they also don’t have the defense and goalie depth Buffalo has stacked up.

    They can all grow together at their own pace in Buffalo…something not afforded to the prospects of those other teams.

    So while it might be like Edmonton or NYI…it will be more like Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Chicago, etc.

    This is not Snow and McTavish.

    (I’d just rather have Reinhart.)

  5. bullwinkle88 - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    The Sabres will be holding their own personal camp for these guys, in which they will determine who is first, second, etc. themselves.

    If the Isles give them the first pick, they will have their choice of two of the top three. Not a bad place to be at all. Thank you Darcy Regier!!!

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