After the 2013 NHL Entry Draft vaunted the QMJHL into the spotlight with six first round picks - including 1st overall selection Nathan MacKinnon and 3rd overall selection Jonathan Drouin - it's become pretty clear that the league will not see that same success in 2014. A down year could see as few as two first round picks out of the QMJHL in 2014 with no real first round candidates beyond Halifax winger Nikolaj Ehlers and Moncton forward Ivan Barbashev.
LW Nikolaj Ehlers | Halifax Mooseheads
Coming into the season ranked as a Top 60 pick and continually improving, Nikolaj Ehlers has solidified himself as the top 2014 draft prospect from the QMJHL. At the beginning of the year, I was questioning Ehlers’ consistency but the 17-year-old Danish winger has not only met expectations, he's shattered them. The 6-footer has blazing speed and top six talent at the next level, but it's his consistency that has been most impressive. Ehlers has entrenched himself as a middle-of-the-first round pick at worst and there's a legitimate chance he could find a home in the top 10 when it's all said and done. You know that will be on his mind as he'll have an opportunity to surpass Mikkel Boedker (8th overall, 2008) as the highest drafted Danish player in Entry Draft history.
C/LW Ivan Barbashev | Moncton Wildcats
Barbashev is a late birthday '95 who came into the QMJHL by way of the first overall selection in the 2012 CHL Import Draft. After a 62-point rookie season a year ago, many had Barbashev pegged as the top 2014 NHL Draft prospect out of the QMJHL. While Ehlers has almost unanimously passed Barbashev for that notion, the 18-year-old Russian has been a leader on a Wildcats team that hasn't really found its legs in 2013-14. The dynamic forward is capable of playing either down the middle or on the wing, where he was utilized for the Russian world junior team, and has the skill set to play a scoring role at the NHL. With a lot of hockey left to be played, Barbashev has solidified a spot in the 10-20 range at this point and could still trend upwards.
F Clark Bishop | Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
After being scooped up with the third overall pick in the 2012 QMJHL Draft, Bishop saw plenty of icetime as a 16-year-old rookie in the Q last season. Despite a dismal season put forth by the team, Bishop emerged as one of the bright spots for the team. Fast forward a year to his sophomore season we find that Bishop has emerged as a leader with Cape Breton where he is already sporting an 'A' on his sweater. While Bishop is not a pure offensive player, he projects as a safe pick as a reliable defensive player who boasts quality pro size. Bishop is a good skater who has shown more offensive polish in year two which should be enough to see him find a home anywhere between rounds two and four.
|1. C Sam Reinhart||Kootenay Ice|
|2. D Aaron Ekblad||Barrie Colts|
|3. C Michael Dal Colle||Oshawa Generals|
|4. C Leon Draisaitl||Prince Albert Raiders|
|5. C William Nylander||Rogle|
|6. LW Nick Ritchie||Peterborough Petes|
|7. D Haydn Fleury||Red Deer Rebels|
|8. D Roland McKeown||Kingston Frontenacs|
|9. LW Sam Bennett||Kingston Frontenacs|
|10. C Jared McCann||Soo Greyhounds|