Fall is upon us and while the weather will become cooler, at least in the northern reaches of the hockey world, the prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft are heating up.
No team has been hotter in the OHL than the Kingston Frontenacs with Sam Bennett and Roland McKeown leading the way. Bennett is showing he deserves to be in the conversation for first overall. He's a well-rounded player who is impacting the game in so many positive ways and continues to get better. McKeown is dominating from his defence position and leads the OHL with a whopping plus-15 rating.
Anton Karlsson is excelling in the Swedish Super Junior Elite League for Frolunda. He captained Team Sweden to gold at the World Under '17 Challenge in January and could suit up for Sweden at the World Junior Championship this coming Christmas.
A theme with respect to type of player is beginning to emerge at this early stage; that of big, powerful and skilled wingers. NHL teams are looking for these types of players and the 2014 Draft offers them with the likes of Michael Dal Colle, Nicholas Ritchie, Leon Draisaitl and an emerging Brendan Perlini.
We have seen drafts dominated in the first round by defencemen (2012), high-end offensive ability (2013) and now power-type wingers in 2014. History tells you they won't be waiting long to hear their names called at the draft.
This is the early stages of prospect evaluation, the list is in flux and as we see more games, the players will define themselves further. It's the beginning of the process with lots of evaluation to go. We have taken a top 60 at this time knowing that and have listed 30 more players who are intriguing and have shown good potential. We will focus our efforts on ensuring we know them a little better for the next ranking.