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Poll: Who were the winners, losers of the 2014 NHL Draft?

Jun 28, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT

Leon Draisaitl, Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart AP

After 210 picks with prospects hailing from 12 different countries, the 2014 NHL Draft is now over. Take a breath if you need it.

In any sport, it’s a folly to give report card letter grades in a process that can yield some highly unpredictable results. That’s especially true in hockey and baseball drafts in which teams are betting their futures on high school-age athletes. Really, it’s even risky to give a thumb’s up or down after free agent season, and many of the players being signed have been kicking around the league for a decade.

Still, silly things can also be a lot of fun, so praising or blaming a team’s scouts and executives for a job seemingly well or poorly done is just a good time. Besides, training camps won’t kick in until September, so we have to entertain our hockey minds with something, right?

Before we get to the winners and losers votes for this year’s drafts, here are a few interesting facts from the proceedings, with help from the NHL’s press release:

  • While there weren’t any goalies who were selected in the first round, five went in the second, including a hectic span in which four were selected from picks 34-39.
  • The OHL produced the most draftees with 41 players, slightly edging the WHL’s 37. The league’s most amusing moment might have come when Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon milked some tension with the No. 1 pick as he paused while a handful of possible OHL top picks were presented in an Academy Awards-like split-screen.
  • If you enjoy quality vs. quantity debates, consider this: the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings had the most picks in 2014 with 10. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators were tied for the fewest with five apiece.

Check out a full list of the selections here.

Winners

Which team did itself the most favors in this draft? Use any criteria you’d like, although one recommendation would be to focus on the picks instead of the splashy trades.

Losers

Conversely, who will regret this draft the most? Again, feel free to apply whatever reasoning you’d like, the more logical the better:

  1. lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    I can’t help but feeling like the Caps were losers at this draft. First they tried to trade up to the seventh overall pick to draft Haydn Fleury, and failed at that. Second of all, I really don’t like the Jakub Vrana pick. He’s an offensive minded forward, who apparently lacks commitment occasionally and needs some real work on his defensive game. I don’t understand why the Caps wouldn’t look to get some more character guys or draft a top-end offensive defensive talent like Honka or DeAngelo, or a hidden gem like Travis Sanheim. And if they’re going for offensive forwards why not draft the possible steal of the draft, Robby Fabbri, who also plays defense like a motherf***er. Just not a good pick, regardless of whether or not he’s talented. He’s not what we need and he’s not even the best at what he does out of who was available.

  2. WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    I would venture to say 90% of fans know nothing about any of these players after the first 3 selections (me included) so I have no idea who “won” or “lost” this draft

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      And of course, even if we know the entire life story of every player selected, we have no way of knowing who will disappoint and who will amaze. A draft cannot be graded until 3 to 5 years afterward. We’ve all seen Calder winners prove unable to maintain their early success, and late bloomers dazzle. There are still only 4 guys who were drafted first overall, won the Calder, and are in the Hall of Fame, though it is too soon to know with several active players (Patrick Kane seems headed that way, perhaps Ovechkin too).

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      I think most fans just voted for their team as winner and the teams they hate as the losers. I despise the Pens but they got a steal in Kapanen (should’ve been a Flyer, like Maatta, tho Sanheim could be steal) so I picked Ottawa as the losers. Even with the Neal trade I don’t think the Pens lost. The Sens, on the other hand, couldn’t move Spezza AND lost their #10 pick to Anaheim.

      As for the winners I like the way Vancouver made numerous moves to jumpstart the rebuild. Though I’d say Anaheim had a good few days. Unfortunately no one will know for a few years.

  3. spizzjr - Jun 28, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    The islanders grabbed two players that within two to three years could makeup a dynamic line with john tavares only time will tell for all the teams and picks but I’d say the isles if they add defense through free agency could finish around sixth place if jaro halak can carry the load

    • lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:04 PM

      Agree, and Isles will be really good in a few years. They have a ton of up and coming defenseman with De Haan, Hamonic, Pulock, Reinhart, and a few others. Now they’ll have serious talent up front with Tavares, Okposo, Dal Colle, Ho-Sang, Strome, and also Kirill Kabanov if he can figure his stuff out. That kid is crazy talented. They still need a young goalie prospect though.

      • 950003cups - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        Completely flawed analysis. Islanders are gonna be garbage in a few years. They’ll eventually trade away their new draftees for useless aging players. They’ll trade picks away for the rights for guys who they won’t sign. This team never seems to trade for good draft picks. They’re gonna stink.

        This year alone was Nino Neideriter (sp) and Moulson (sp). Both gone. Both were needed there.

    • TestSubjekt - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      From what I’ve read, most experts felt Ho Sang would have been available when the Islanders next choice rolled around. More classic Snow

  4. guitarhunterdude - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    I’m no draft guru, but the Blues got both Fabbri and Barbashev, both of whom I wanted more than Tuch at 18, so they’re my winners.

    • lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Blues got absolute steals with both of those picks. Barbashev is gonna be a real well rounded forward and I think if Fabbri was two inches taller he would’ve challenged any of the top 5 picks for their place in the draft. Unbelievable talent, but more importantly, he has fantastic work ethic and is committed on both sides of the puck. I see a little bit of St Louis in him but he’s a sniper. Surrounded with big players like Oshie, Backes, and Tarasenko, he could be real good for your Blues.

      • guitarhunterdude - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        I wish they were my Blues, Alas, I’m a Wild fan. Doomed to forever watch my team pass up players with real skill (like those two) so they can grab big kids with no real instinct like Tuch and Colton Gilles. At least the team is good right now, but if they don’t get some prospects with some real skill, things are gonna be really, really rough in five years or so.

        On the bright side, we’ll probably be the biggest, meanest team around, as almost all of our prospects are big (unskilled) guys. So the team may only pot 150 goals a year, but at least they’ll be big. I guess that’s a good thing in Fletcher’s eyes.

        Is it obvious I wanted Fabbri? Or Barbashev? Or Scherbak? I have literally seen Tuch do nothing outside of be strong along the boards and crash the net for rebounds once in a while. He’s got no puck skills or offensive instinct whatsoever, looked to me like he was really carried by Milano and Eichel (and even weighed them down at times). The guy looks like a slightly bigger Charlie Coyle clone to me, and that’s not a good thing. This team needs someone who can bring some offensive punch; they’ve got enough big, physical, non-scoring prospects already.

      • lowenni - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        Ah, my mistake. I agree about the Wild passing up talent for size, though. Teams nowadays overvalue size, which is very important, but to a limit. Everyone is hoping for the next Milan Lucic so often they end up passing up a superstar to get some kid who can hit and skate just a little. A recent example is my Caps choosing Tom Wilson (who still could end up being real good, but more likely will end up being Kyle Clifford) right before Hertl, who we all know about I’m sure. It’s better to draft serious offensive talents in my opinion and then surround THEM with big guys, but it starts with talent, skating, and hockey IQ before size for me.

  5. dtownbeatdown - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    I will let you know in 3 years.

  6. bruceeff - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    The Red Wings had a very odd draft this year. They selected 5 centers, 1 left winger, & 1 goaltender. Not a single blue-liner in the bunch.

    • dtownbeatdown - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:25 PM

      Believe it or not but we are stacked with blue liners in our affiliate teams. Most probably won’t be ready for another 2 seasons.

    • darksidecowboy - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Meanwhile Jim Nill decided in Dallas to draft 5 defenseman out of 7 picks. Head shaker considering Stars have a ton of defense prospects. I think a trade of defense prospects is brewing.

  7. zetaone - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    So according to PHT votes, pittsburgh was the 2nd biggest winners of the draft and 1st biggest loser.

    Seems… legit?

    • strictlythedanks - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      Lots of penguins fans and lots of people that hate them are on here is all that means.

      • mangoman1966 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        No. What that means I’d they finally drafted a winger with a lot of potential.

    • bbk1000 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      They do have lots of fans, most are of the sad, bandwagon variety…..but fans nonetheless….

      They also have a lot of people who hate them, more educated about the game…..true fans….

      • 6superbowls - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:00 PM

        Right? Okay genius.

      • bbk1000 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:44 PM

        Thanks….very similar to fans of the Steelers…..

      • theageofquarrel - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        I gotta laugh at the people with all the Pittsburgh hate. We actually enjoy that you hate our teams and fans, it just means we are doing something right.

  8. psunick - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    Proving again, zeta, just how polarizing the Penguins are

  9. atwatercrushesokoye - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    It’s way too tough to tell who won or lost at this point, at one point teams who drafted Pavel Brendl, Patrick Steffan, Rick Dipietro, Hugh Jessiman, etc. etc. etc. were considered big winners. Until these players develop, or show a lack of development, and get to the NHL we’ll won’t know. Let’s revisit this in 5 years.

  10. luz56 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    Hey James … How about an article about the draft 4 years ago telling us where are they now… Putting out something like this just wasted 15 minutes of your writing life.. Give us something we can really debate

  11. sjsharks66 - Jun 28, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    All I know is the Sharks first pick seems promising offensively. According to the scouting report, he is sloppy with defense. Hopefully a couple years of training and molding will fix that. Honestly, who knows who won or lost right now. Like stated above, we will let you know in 3 years.

  12. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I don’t know, wish I did. What are some of your thoughts on the guys NJ picked up? All I hear is complaints from the fans on sites and what not but please, if you have any insight on this let me know what you think about NJs pick ups.

  13. spence24 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Edmonton and Calgary both seem like winners, grabbing players that really fit in with their needs. So does Florida who avoided the skilled centres for an area of need with ekblad. I have mixed feelings about my leafs getting nylander but we will see in a couple years. St Louis also did well to pick up barbashev in the second round to go with jaskin

  14. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    I don’t know but I sure wish I did… I have to ask though. What are some of your insights if any on the players (especially John Quenneville) that the New Jersey Devils picked up? All I see is people complaining on fan sites and why not that oh how can you pass on this guy and not get this guy. Please, if you have any knowledge about these young players what are some of your thoughts on the 6 players New Jersey Drafted?

  15. spence24 - Jun 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    To answer the question about the devils, their first round pick, quenneville, has been compared to Adam henrique. If he’s as good as henrique that’s a solid pick up

  16. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    I hope so. NJ needs some goal scorers big time. Our defense was ranked top 5 on goals scored against and goaltending but offense was near dead last. This club needs a consistent goal scorer with about a ppg average. Lots a streaky guys including henrique. Hopefully him and Zajac can bring it up a notch this season and Adam Larsson idk what’s up with him. He always seems scared to shoot the puck at the blue line.

  17. pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Also I do know nj always goes for the “safe” route on draft picks but I would to see some risk because a lot of these young players are busts lately. Tedenby, joesefson, matteau, Jansen, volchenkov, fayne that’s just to name a few. I know matteau is young but there were high hopes for him and Larsson.

  18. cantescapekarma - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    The more time that passes, the happier I am with Tim Murray as Buffalo’s GM.
    Happy with this draft as well. Murray said that they went after guys who project to be top-6 players if all goes well. He said he knows that he won’t hit on all of them, but that Buffalo already had plenty of guys in the system who project to be 3rd and 4th line players, so they stayed away from drafting any guys who only jad projected cielings of bottom 6 players, even if they were a safer pick. I really like that he didnt just make the ‘safe’ pick. He went all in.

    I also love that he tried to make a trade today for a first round pick from yesterday. It didnt get done because he said the other GM didn’t really want to be the first guy to do something like that. But still, I love that Murray tried. That to me is some forward, outside the box thinking. I like that he wants to set new trends instead of just follow the old mould of how things are done.

  19. rushledger - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Florida got the best player in the entire draft so I think you must call them winners for a change.

    • pj608 - Jun 28, 2014 at 11:55 PM

      with the young stars they have already… it would be almost impossible to disagree with you, I think they got the only guy thats ready to play right away and to be honest in 1 or 2 seasons this will be a serious play off team

  20. timmyp716 - Jun 28, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    We won’t know for 3-5 years……..

  21. lordfletcher - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    I said Anaheim won because of their trade for Kesler…. in theory, they became better over night

    loser, EDM because, well…. they still suck

  22. mcphillthy - Jun 29, 2014 at 4:20 AM

    So what do you guys think of Philly’s choices? Good or bad?

  23. 311sucks - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Nashville..

  24. onemorematt - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Funny how many of those teams in the top ten for both winners and losers are the same. Don’t see how the Pens, Flyers, and Canucks can both be winners and losers.

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