2014 NHL Draft Prospects: Ranking the 10 Most Overrated Players

Allan MitchellFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

2014 NHL Draft Prospects: Ranking the 10 Most Overrated Players

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    The NHL Entry Draft features some outstanding talent every year, with this season being no exception. Some of the prospects drafted in Philadelphia will be taken much higher than their actual value and subsequently create false hope for fans.

    Several of this year's overrated players are defensemen. With so few of them being first-round quality, teams may be forced to draft out of order.

    Here are the 10 most overrated players in this year's draft.

10. Spencer Watson, RW, Kingtson (OHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 65 GP, 33 G, 35 A with the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Brock Otten from OHL Prospects talks about Spencer Watson's assets and challenges: 

    Watson is equally as skilled as [Robby] Fabbri, and just as intelligent without the puck. Offensively, he has all the tools (skating, puck skill, smarts, a great shot) and by the time his OHL career is done, he'll probably lead the league in scoring (or come close to it). That's where the comparison ends though. Where as Fabbri excels without the puck, Watson tends to disappear.

    Why He's Overrated: Watson's size is going to impact his draft number, and his perimeter play described above won't help. Craig Button has him going late in Round 2, but his offense probably gets him taken sooner.

9. Brett Pollock, LW, Edmonton (WHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 71 GP, 25 G, 30 A with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Cody Nickolet of WHL from Above gives an excellent report on Brett Pollock:

    Pollock is a big rangy forward for Edmonton. He's shown the ability to move around the lineup, playing on a variety of different lines while lining up as both a winger and centre at times. He's a very solid offensive player with good hockey sense and ok skating ability along with a good shot with a quick release. He's not afraid to get dirty to score goals but could definitely benefit from adding another layer of "mean" in his game, as he's got the frame to do it.

    Why He's Overrated: Craig Button has him going early second round, which would be a little high for Pollock. His long spring and feature role with the Memorial Cup champion Oil Kings may get him selected too high based on talent alone. He is a good prospect, but he's not as proven as several others who will be available at No. 36 overall. 

8. Ryan MacInnis, C, Kitchener (OHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 66 GP, 16 G, 21 A with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Craig Button from TSN talks about Ryan MacInnis and what he brings to a team: 

    Raw ability with the potential to be a very good center. Skates well, good hands, smart and he competes for positive results. With physical maturity, he will excel even more and is the proverbial diamond in the rough at this time.

    Why He's Overrated: MacInnis is ranked anywhere from late-first round to mid-second round, but his offense is well shy of representing value there. Extra Skater suggests his even-strength offense is a real issue, and MacInnis is unlikely to cover the bet on a pick inside the Top 40 overall.

7. Nikolay Goldobin, LW, Sarnia (OHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 38 G, 56 A with the Sarnia Sting (OHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Future Considerations supplies the scouting report via Elite Prospects: 

    Goldobin is a dangerous shooter with a wicked release on his wrist shot. He is quick and creative and can make defenders look foolish. He's weak against bigger opponents and can look lost in his own zone

    Why He's Overrated: Goldobin's offense is stunning, and NHL teams value offense highly. On the other hand, he sounds a little lost in other areas of the game and it may take years to figure out. Goldobin is too high a risk for where he'll go in the draft, which could be the first round.

6. Travis Sanheim, D, Calgary (WHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 67 GP, 5 G, 24 A with the Calgary Hitmen (WHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Craig Button from TSN talks about the incredible rise of Travis Sanheim in this year's draft:

    Progress has been exceptional. Nothing he can't do in the game. Skates, thinks incredibly well, has poise, makes plays offensively and defensively and is a player who recognizes opportunity in the game and takes advantage.

    Why He's Overrated: The late break from the pack by Sanheim may be real progress, but the small sample size should serve as warning. The ultimate draft example is Greg Joly, who rode a tremendous playoff and Memorial Cup performance to No. 1 overall in 1974.

5. Thatcher Demko, G, Boston College (NCAA)

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    2013-14 Stats: 24 GP, 2.24 GAA, .919 SV with Boston College (NCAA).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Brad MacCharles, goalie scout for International Scouting Services, told Kelly Friesen of Buzzing the Net all about Thatcher Demko:

    Not only is he playing great hockey in the here and now, but he also has a very high ceiling in terms of where he could be in the next two-three years. NHL teams are looking for bigger goalies who can make tough saves look easy, but who can also abandon convention and battle their way out of difficult situations should the need arise. Demko fits this mold.

    Why He's Overrated: Demko is ranked No. 27 in Bob McKenzie's final draft list for TSN. There's a very good chance he ends up going in the middle of Round 1 based on a team needing a goaltender. The Minnesota Wild are a strong candidate at No. 18.

4. Brendan Perlini, LW, Niagara (OHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 58 GP, 34 G, 37 A with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Brock Otten from OHL Prospects is very high on Brendan Perlini:

    Perlini has three great things going for him. Size, skating and one heck of a shot. Once he gets going down the wing, he's incredibly difficult to stop and he has both a great slapper and a terrific wrist shot, which he needs little space to get off. He does a great job of getting himself in scoring position to use his shot and has gotten better at fighting through traffic to get open.

    Why He's Overrated: Perlini's offense looks good, but the power-play numbers skew the overall view. At even strength last season, Perlini scored only 32 points. A team drafting him will expect far more offense than his numbers suggest he'll deliver.

3. Kasperi Kapanen, RW, KalPa (SM-Liiga)

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    Martin Rose/Getty Images

    2013-14 Stats: 47 GP, 7 G, 7 A with KalPa (SM-Liiga).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Craig Button from TSN talks about Kasperi Kapanen and his range of skills:

    Kasperi is capable of playing in all situations. What separates him from others is his ability to make critical plays that help the team win. He can do it in all areas of the game. Will be that 'Finnish Army Knife' type of player.

    Why He's Overrated: There's a very real chance Kapanen goes in the Top 10 overall at this year's draft. Although he does possess a wide range of skills and played in a very good pro league, there are enough questions about his offense to consider him an overrated player.

2. Haydn Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 70 GP, 8 G, 38 A with the Red Deer Rebels (WHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Cody Nickolet of WHL from Above has an interesting report on Haydn Fleury:

    Fleury is an extremely smooth-skating blueliner for the Red Deer Rebels. He's got great size and...his skating stride is easily his best asset. His defensive game did improve over the course of this season and that culminated in a solid two-way performance for Team Canada at the World Under-18's this spring.

    Why He's Overrated: The 2014 draft is shallow in defensemen, meaning teams will be forced to reach in order to address needs. NHL teams routinely profess they'll take the best player available, but in reality, Fleury and other defensemen are likely to be selected out of order.

1. Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough (OHL)

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    2013-14 Stats: 61 GP, 39G, 35 A with the Peterborough Petes (OHL).

    Why He'll Be Drafted: Craig Button from TSN gives details about Nick Ritchie's skill set:

    Blend of skill, power and size is second to none. Excellent shot that can overwhelm goalies. He has the capability of being brilliant yet is still growing as a player. Scary thought! He's a man-child.

    Why He's Overrated: The worry for Ritchie is offense. Although he scored 39 goals in 61 games, Extra Skater shows his even-strength offense is outside the Top 20 among draft-eligible CHL players. Ritchie is a big man who will have success, but the numbers suggest there are several superior offensive players in this draft. NHL teams consistently overpay for size in the pursuit of the next Milan Lucic, and Ritchie appears poised to be the latest example.