June 24 2015 08:00PM
Photo Credit: Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports
This was my first hockey season as a member of the PHWA, and I had the mixed blessing of casting an NHL Awards ballot. It was an honour, but it was also a heavy burden.
After years of slamming NHL awards voters for this, that and the other thing, actually having a ballot this season changed my perspective. I agonized for weeks over my selections, researched deserving candidates for each award heavily, re-streamed game video, and talked to a variety of industry people whom I trust before allowing my vote to be tallied.
Some of these decisions were decided by a wafer thin margin. I'd wake up one day thinking that Erik Karlsson was my pick for the Norris, and I'd go to sleep that night thinking that 'really, P.K. Subban was the most valuable two-way defender in hockey this season.' Then I cast my first place Norris vote for neither player.
Anyway, in the interest of transparency and because these sorts of hockey conversations are pertinent and fun, I'd like to present my 2014-15 NHL Awards ballot for your scrutiny, consideration and entertainment.
June 24 2015 06:30PM
Let's make no mistake about it, the 2015 draft class is ridiculous. When there is so much top end talent available, it's easily to overlook a player who is slightly off radar, playing in North America's 4th best junior league, especially when said player wasn't showcased in the top scouting circuit tournaments.
Kyle Connor hasn't received as much exposure as many of the other top names in this draft, and as a result this potential future star could slip out of the top 10. I'll break down his draft year after the jump.
June 24 2015 05:42PM
For a while, it looked like Mathew Barzal could potentially slide down the draft thanks to an iffy start to 2014-15 and a mid-season knee injury suffered while goofing around off-ice. But, even though he slid to the mid-teens at one point, this rating was pretty tenuous at best. Scouts have always liked the kid and were just waiting for an excuse to re-elevate him up the draft boards.
And with some exceptional international play, Barzal gave them exactly that excuse. The talented Vancouver native now comes in at 8th on our draft board.
June 24 2015 03:00PM
It would have been unbelievable a few months ago, but it just a few days out, it's very possible that Russian-born defenseman Ivan Provorov may be the first defenseman off of the board at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
The well-rounded, if somewhat undersized defender possess a solid two-way game and high-end offensive instincts. Though he's a choppy skater, there's no denying his speed and his dynamic ability to rush the puck. One wonders if he might be able to add an additional gear with the right skating coach, and that's a frightening thought indeed.
Provorov checks in at #9 on our list, read on past the jump!
June 24 2015 02:33PM
As we head into our top-10 prospects in this profile series we are moving back to Finland to take a look at Mikko Rantanen – possibly the number 1 player to be drafted out of Europe this season.
It’s no surprise that Rantanen is very highly spoken of, it’s more a surprise that he’s only considered a top-10 pick.
Continue past the jump for our player breakdown.