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The chosen ones
IIHF World Junior Championship hopefuls hear their names called at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft
Wendy Graves
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July 2, 2014
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The 2014 NHL Entry Draft saw 207 players selected from the 10 countries competing at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. With that in mind, HockeyCanada.ca highlights the first player taken off the board for each team, and identifies which players have already worn their country’s colours at the annual holiday tournament.

GROUP A

Canada
Aaron Ekblad – first overall (Florida Panthers)

International experience: World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2012, 2013); Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2013); IIHF World Junior Championship (2014)

Ekblad is a smart two-way workhorse defenceman who moves the puck with authority and plays with poise in all three zones. He owns a great first pass, a hard, accurate shot and the smarts to rarely be out of position.

Canadian players drafted: 77

WJC alumni: 2 – Ekblad, Sam Reinhart (Buffalo Sabres)

Finland
Julius Honka – 14th overall (Dallas Stars)

International experience: Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2012); IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2013); IIHF World Junior Championship (2014)

Honka can lead the transition out of his zone at even strength and be a key piece of the power play. Although undersized, he has the smarts and footwork to contain opponents and the poise to control the tempo of the game.

Finnish players drafted: 9

WJC alumni: 2 – Honka, Ville Husso (St. Louis Blues)

Germany
Leon Draisaitl – third overall (Edmonton Oilers)

International experience: World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2012); IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2012, 2013); IIHF World Junior Championship (2013, 2014); IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship (2014)

Draisaitl is more likely to use his great combination of size, skill and power to shield the puck on scoring chances than to deliver a board-rattling check. His good instincts and never-take-a-shift-off mentality keep him on the ice in any situation.

German players drafted: 1

WJC alumni: 1 – Draisaitl

Slovakia
Maximilian Pajpach – 174th overall (Colorado Avalanche)

International experience: World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2013); Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2013)

The goaltender has shown good agility, quick reflexes and a great ability to track the puck (he regularly sees 40 to 50 shots a night with his club team). On the downside, Pajpach has a tendency to give up too many rebounds.

Slovakian players drafted: 1

WJC alumni: 0

United States
Dylan Larkin – 15th overall (Detroit Red Wings)

International experience: World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2013); IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2014)

Larkin, a power forward, has been commended for both his play – a willingness to block shots, crash the net and play responsible at both ends of the ice – and intangibles – his maturity and leadership.

American players drafted: 67

WJC alumni: 0

GROUP B

Czech Republic
Jakub Vrana – 13th overall (Washington Capitals)

International experience: World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (2012); IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2012, 2013, 2014); World Junior A Challenge (2012); Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2013); IIHF World Junior Championship (2013, 2014)

The words used to describe Vrana – hard-working, reliable, excellent work ethic – don’t exactly scream excitement. However, the winger is an imaginative playmaker who possesses outstanding agility and lateral movement and a deceptive release.

Czech players drafted: 8

WJC alumni: 3 – Vrana, Ondrej Kase (Anaheim Ducks), David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins)

Denmark
Nikolaj Ehlers – ninth overall (Winnipeg Jets)

International experience: IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, Division 1A (2013); IIHF World Junior Championship, Division 1A (2014)

A skilled forward touted for his consistency, creativity and unselfish play, Ehlers is equally adept at carrying the puck with speed as he is stickhandling through traffic. Not the biggest player on the ice, Ehlers has above-average balance.

Danish players drafted: 1

WJC alumni: 0

Russia
Nikita Scherbak – 26th overall (Montreal Canadiens)

International experience: none

While his defensive game is still a little rough around the edges, offensively Scherbak has great scoring instincts, an outstanding passing touch and an unselfish mentality on the ice. He thinks the game at a high level.

Russian players drafted: 13

WJC alumni: 2 – Ivan Barbashev (St. Louis Blues), Ivan Nalimov (Chicago Blackhawks)

Sweden
William Nylander – eighth overall (Toronto Maple Leafs)

International experience: Under-17 World Hockey Challenge (2013); Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2013); IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2013, 2014)

Nylander owns a strong enough shot to beat goalies from the outside and possesses the vision and slick stick-handling skills to score in traffic. His agility and ability to see plays developing help him avoid checks and make pinpoint passes.

Swedish players drafted: 28

WJC alumni: 4 – Viktor Arvidsson (Nashville Predators), Anton Karlsson (Arizona Coyotes), Jesper Pettersson (Philadelphia Flyers), Lucas Wallmark (Carolina Hurricanes)

Switzerland
Kevin Fiala – 11th overall (Nashville Predators)
International experience: Memorial of Ivan Hlinka (2012, 2013); IIHF World Junior Championship (2014), IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship (2014); IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship (2014)

What Fiala lacks in size he makes up for with top-end quickness and puck-handling skills. A good passer but great shooter, this winger thinks offense first and isn’t afraid to fight through traffic for a scoring chance.

Swiss players drafted: 2

WJC alumni: 1 – Fiala


For more information:

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
kgoodrich@hockeycanada.ca

 

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