2014 NHL Draft: The Biggest Steals and Reaches in Round 1
After months of hype and promotion from the NHL and years of preparation by budding hockey stars and their families, the first round of the 2014 draft is in the books.
While a handful of high picks were selected near their consensus projected spots, a few prospects were selected out of turn, according to projections.
It is an exciting day for these young skaters, and NHL fans will have a new crop of players to follow as their journeys continue to the NHL ranks.
Let's take a look at the biggest steals and reaches in Round 1 of the NHL draft.
Steal: Nick Ritchie to Anaheim Ducks in Round 1, Pick 10
Nick Ritchie had a very good year with the Peterborough Petes, lighting the lamp 39 times in OHL regular-season play.
Ritchie is a big, mean man-child who had 136 penalty minutes in the regular season. He backs down from no one, and he will be a great fit in Anaheim with the likes of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
The Orangeville, Ontario, native is 6'3" and 226 pounds, and he just might get bigger in the next few years.
He will most likely return to the OHL next season, but don't be surprised if he has a good first pro camp in a few months. His style and size will be well-suited to the highly competitive Western Conference.
Reach: Kevin Fiala to Nashville Predators in Round 1, Pick 11
Kevin Fiala has some very good upside, and he was ranked third by NHL Central Scouting among European skaters by the end of the 2013-14 season.
But at 5'10" and 180 pounds, he needs to continue to grow to be able to handle the rigours of a full NHL season.
He has a late 1996 birthday, so there is reason to believe he'll continue to mature physically as well as in his overall game. He had 24 points in 26 points with Frolunda in Sweden this year, but question marks remain about his ability to play a more North American style of game.
The Swiss-born Fiala won't be joining the Nashville Predators any time soon, and given some of the names that had not been called yet, he should be considered a reach at No. 11.
Steal: Kasperi Kapanen to Pittsburgh Penguins in Round 1, Pick 22
Kasperi Kapanen is an excellent skater who makes the players around him better.
He's exceptional in a number of areas. He played with men this season, while most skaters in this cohort were playing against others their own age.
Kapanen played in his native Finland in 2013-14. While he notched only 14 points in 47 points in the SM-liiga, he has the tools to play in all game situations. He's a heady player with a nose for the net.
He won't be an impact NHLer next season, but as he was the No. 1 skater among European players entering the draft, he's a definite steal at No. 22.
Reach: Anthony DeAngelo to Tampa Bay Lightning in Round 1, Pick 19
Anthony DeAngelo is a talented puck-moving defenceman who posted 71 points in 51 games in 2013-14.
However, DeAngelo is undersized at just 5'10" and 170 pounds. While there are a few good NHL defenders playing at that size, there are not a lot of them capable of doing so.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a lot of talented young players, so the club can bring him along slowly.
He has to continue to mature and grow as a young man as well. He was suspended by the OHL this past season for using a racial slur, as reported by Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports.
With question marks about size and character, DeAngelo should be considered a reach at No. 19 overall.
Steal: Josh Ho-Sang to New York Islanders in Round 1, Pick 28
The New York Islanders stole Josh Ho-Sang by getting him at No. 28 in the NHL draft.
The Windsor Spitfires star might be the most gifted offensive player among this year's draft-eligible players.
Ho-Sang had 85 points with the Spitfires, and he has electrifying speed and skills. The Islanders will need some more scoring in short order, so he's a great fit with John Tavares and company.
While Ho-Sang is not a large player at 5'11" and under 180 pounds, he is difficult to separate from the puck. That attribute will serve him well at the next level.
It would be surprising if Ho-Sang could crack the Islanders roster by next season, but the confident forward is a threat to do so.
Reach: John Quenneville to New Jersey Devils in Round 1, Pick 30
John Quenneville made some great strides over the course of the 2013-14 season.
The native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, had 58 points in 61 games in the WHL regular season.
The centre stands 6'1" and 186 pounds, but he was as low as No. 34 in the NHL's midseason rankings among North American skaters.
Not many teams develop young players better than the New Jersey Devils. They rarely rush players to the NHL, and they have a solid minor league system.
Quenneville is nowhere near NHL-ready. There's no question that he's talented, but whether he will prove to be worthy of a first-round pick is highly questionable.
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