NHL Releases Mid-Season Rankings For 2014 Draft

Bennett Ranks No. 1 in North America, Edging Draisaitl, Ekblad and Reinhart

NEW YORK (Jan. 13, 2014) – Center Samuel Bennett (Holland Landing, Ont.) of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kingston Frontenacs has been named the top draft-eligible skater from North America as the NHL Central Scouting Bureau today released its mid-season rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Bennett aims to be the sixth OHL player selected first overall in the past eight years, following Patrick Kane (2007, London Knights), Steven Stamkos (2008, Sarnia Sting), John Tavares (2009, London Knights), Taylor Hall (2010, Windsor Spitfires) and Nail Yakupov (2012, Sarnia Sting).

Now in his sophomore season, Bennett leads the Frontenacs and ranks fourth in the OHL with 26-40—66 in 40 games. He has posted at least one point in 35 of 40 contests this season, including a 10-game streak to start the campaign (10-10—20) and an active, 24-game streak that dates to Nov. 8 (16-28—44). A two-time gold medalist, Bennett was an assistant captain on Canada’s gold-medal squad at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and also captured gold as the second-youngest member of Team Canada at the 2013
Under-18 World Championship.

Center Leon Draisaitl (Cologne, Germany) of the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders earned the No. 2 ranking among North American skaters. Draisaitl, who recently represented Germany at the 2014 World Junior Championship, paces the Raiders and ranks 11th in the WHL with
19-35—54 in 35 games this season.

Joining Bennett and Draisaitl among the top North American skaters are: No. 3 Aaron Ekblad (Windsor, Ont.), a defenseman with the Barrie Colts (OHL); No. 4 Sam Reinhart (North Vancouver, B.C.), a center with the Kootenay Ice (WHL), son of former NHLer Paul, and younger brother of Max and Griffin, both of whom were selected in recent drafts; and No. 5 Michael Dal Colle (Richmond Hill, Ont.), a center/left wing with the Oshawa Generals (OHL).

Right wing Kasperi Kapanen (Kuopio, Finland) and center/right wing William Nylander (Calgary, Alta.) are the No. 1- and 2-ranked skaters from Europe, respectively. Kapanen, the son of former NHLer Sami, has played the past two seasons with his father on Kalpa of the Finnish Elite League.
Nylander, the son of former NHLer Michael, also played part of last season with his father and is currently skating for Sodertalje in Sweden’s second division.

Top-rated North American goaltender Thatcher Demko (San Diego, Calif.), a freshman at Boston College (Hockey East), aims to become the highest-drafted, California-born goaltender. Demko, the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season, is 4-1-1 with a 2.31 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in six appearances for the Eagles. He spent the
2012-13 season with the U.S. National Development Team, compiling a 30-9-4 record with a 2.08 goals-against average, .910 save percentage and six shutouts.

The mid-season rankings feature the top 210 skaters and 34 goaltenders in North America and top 130 skaters and 15 goaltenders from Europe.

In its 39th year of operation, NHL Central Scouting provides evaluation and scouting of draft-eligible players to NHL member clubs.
Headed by Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr, NHL Central Scouting employs eight full-time and 15 part-time scouts throughout North America.
To report on prospects playing in Europe, the NHL employs the services of Goran Stubb and his staff of seven scouts at European Scouting Services based in Finland. Combined, NHL Central Scouting and European Scouting Services will see in excess of 3,000 games this season.

The full rankings in all categories are available on NHL.com and media.NHL.com as well as from the NHL’s Public Relations Department in Toronto (416-359-7900) and New York (212-789-2000).

The 2014 NHL Draft will be held June 27-28 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. It will be the first time the city and facility host the NHL Draft.

Source: NHL Media