The 2014 NHL draft is many things to many people, but Year of the Defenceman it is not. Royals Frank White Jersey . The oddity, of course, is that its a blueliner who is the mid-season favorite to be taken No. 1 overall at the draft in Philadelphia, June 27-28. Barrie Colt defenceman Aaron Ekblad is No. 1 on TSNs Mid-Season Top 50 Prospects rankings. In a survey of 10 NHL team scouts, Ekblad garnered eight No. 1 votes and was No. 2 on the remaining two ballots. The only other players to get a No. 1 vote, one apiece, were Kootenay Ice centre Sam Reinhart and Kingston Frontenac centre Sam Bennett (who was ranked No. 1 by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau in its mid-term rankings). Ekblad and Reinhart both performed admirably for Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship but the defenceman clearly made a bigger impact, reversing TSNs pre-season polling that had Reinhart at No. 1, by virtue of five first-place votes, compared to Ekblads three. The truth is, from the Ivan Hlinka Memorial under-18 tournament last August through to the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects game in mid-January, the 6-foot-4, 216-pound defenceman has been on a strong, steady arc. "In the summer, a lot of the projections for (Ekblad) were he might not be anything more than a (No.) 4 (NHL defenceman), that he was neither a real offensive threat or a true shutdown defenceman," one scout told TSN. "But the way he played at the Hlinka, this season in Barrie, the World Juniors and the Prospect game, hes showing a lot more range in his game." While Ekblad will never be a power play quarterback, he can hammer the puck well enough to project as a power play shooter from the point and score goals. Both at the Hlinka and WJC, Ekblad was consistently used in a shutdown role and performed well. Many scouts believe now he has top-pairing NHL potential, a big body who can skate, move the puck, defend, contribute offensively and play both sides of special teams while munching a lot of minutes. After the WJC, Ekblad scored four goals (including a shorthanded marker) and one assist in one game. "Hes not a superstar by any means," another scout said, "but hes going to be a very good NHL defenceman." Some scouts have taken note of Victor Hedmans emergence, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft, as a top-minute defenceman for Tampa this season and see many similarities in Ekblad. Ekblad is far and away the top defenceman in this draft. Only one other blueliner - Red Deers Haydn Fleury, at No. 6 – cracked TSNs Top 10 prospects. In fact, only five defencemen - Ekblad, Fleury, Kingstons Roland McKeown at No. 17, Swift Currents Julius Honka at No. 18 and Sarnias Anthony DeAngelo at No. 26 – are in TSNs Top 30. The latter three are likely first-round picks, but not by any means guaranteed. Relative to recent years, the death of top-echelon defencemen is striking. Last year, eight of the top 18 picks were defenders. In 2012, eight of the top 10 picks were blueliners. Scouts do not believe this years draft class has the same high-end sizzle and overall depth as last years group that was headed by Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin and Aleksandr Barkov. And it would be fair to say theres more anticipation for the 2015 draft class, headed by highly-touted Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, amongst others, than this year. But the scouts also cautioned that the top-end prospects this year are still excellent talents, just not necessarily potential stars. TSNs No. 2-ranked Reinhart didnt really do anything to "lose" No. 1 status from the pre-season as much as Ekblad simply elevated his game. Reinhart has played very well in the WHL and logged significant minutes for Canada at the WJC. A centre in junior, some scouts believe hell be best suited to wing in the NHL. Reinharts chief assets are an extremely high hockey I.Q. and skill level as both a goal-scorer and playmaker. Hes not physically overpowering and his skating is not dynamic but a seemingly innate ability to be in the right place at the right time to make plays is his trademark. Kingstons Bennett, the only player other than Ekblad and Reinhart to get a No. 1 vote, is No. 3 on the TSN list. The competitive centre who has some of the same qualities as his Kingston general manager Doug Gilmour can be both a productive offensive force but also does quality work without puck, earning rave reviews for his complete approach to the game. Oshawa General winger Michael Dal Colle checks in at No. 4 on TSNs list. The rangy forward has a pro shot and was a top five prospect on eight of 10 scouts ballots, including one vote as the second-best prospect available in this draft. No. 5 on TSNs list is Prince Albert Raider centre Leon Draisaitl, who is destined to be the highest-drafted German player and, for now, the top European prospect on the TSN list. But Draisaitl seems to be trending in the wrong direction. He played poorly at the WJC and didnt perform particularly well in the CHL Top Prospects game. But hes still a big-body, two-way centre. The second half of the season could mean more to Draisaitls ranking than any prospect in the draft. The balance of TSNs Top 10 is top heavy with wingers. Only two-way defenceman Fleury, at No. 6, interrupted a run on wingers: Peterborough Petes power forward Nick Ritchie is No. 7, followed at No. 8 by Niagara Ice Dog Brendan Perlini, whose assets are size, speed and an NHL shot. The No. 9 slot belongs to Finnish winger Kasperi Kapanen, the son of former NHL winger Sami Kapanen, and the Top 10 is rounded out by Calgary Hitmen power winger Jake Virtanen, a strong skater who drives the net and can play the physical game. There appears to be a lot of volatility in this years mid-season rankings. NHL scouts dont seem as fully sold on this years first-round prospects, especially those ranked from No. 11 through to 30. One of the issues is size. Many of the more skilled prospects - Swedish forward William Nylander at No. 11, the son of former NHLer Mikael Nylander, Denmarks Nikolaj Ehlers, a forward with the Halifax Mooseheads at No. 15, No. 22 Russian Nikolay Goldobin, a forward in Sarnia, No. 23 Czech winger Jakub Vrana , No. 24 Swiss forward Kevin Fiala, Sarnia offensive defenceman DeAngelo at No. 26, No. 29 Windsor winger Josh Ho-Sang and No. 30 forward Rob Fabbri of the Guelph Storm - are all listed as sub-6-footers by NHL Central Scouting. And while scouts dont dispute the individual skill level of prospects like Nylander, Goldobin, Vrana, DeAngelo, Ho-Sang and No. 25 ranked Nick Schmaltz of the USHLs Green Bay Gamblers (headed for University of North Dakota), multiple scouts expressed some reservation about those players trying to do too much with the puck or not showing enough consistency and commitment to the team game. "Nylander is the most skilled player in this draft, bar none," one scout told TSN. "But he likes to play the game on his own." Another scout said: "Some nights you watch Schmaltz and hes a dominant player, best on the ice, but then he doesnt even show up a lot of games." A third scout said: "Ho-Sang played a great game at Prospects and showed an ability to play with others but a lot of nights in Windsor, he wants to do it on his own. There seem to be a lot of guys like that this year." No goalie was ranked in TSNs Top 30, but American Thatcher Demko, who plays at Boston College, fell just outside, at No. 31, and should be considered a potential first-rounder. He was the overwhelming consensus top goalie in a year where theres never been so little consensus beyond the top guy. Demko appeared on eight of 10 ballots, but the next highest ranked goalie, Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers at No. 42, was on only five of 10 ballots. Swedish goalie Jonas Johansson was the only other goalie to crack TSNs Top 50, filling the 50th and final spot. There were, however, three goaltenders getting honorable mention for the Top 50: Finlands Kaapo Kahkonen; Charlottetowns Mason McDonald; and Russian Ivan Nalimov. One note regarding TSNs rankings. The numbers assigned are a projection of when TSN believes a prospect is most likely to be drafted, if the draft were being held now. Its not a subjective analysis - not to be confused with the many scouting services who actually evaluate the prospects - as much as it is a numerical consensus obtained from surveying NHL scouts and where they rank specific players. TSNs next ranking - a revised Top 10 - will be done in April at the same time as the NHL draft lottery. TSNs final rankings come out the week prior to the NHL draft in late June. Royals Whit Merrifield Jersey .ca! There is plenty of blame to be shared as a result of the most recent NHL player (Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik) to be evacuated from the ice on a stretcher following an ugly incident Saturday night in Boston. Royals George Brett Jersey . Curtis Davies and Robert Koren secured the victory with goals inside 35 minutes of the fifth-round replay against the second-tier side. http://www.cheaproyalsjerseysauthentic.com/?tag=royals-alcides-escobar-jersey . Not because it was right, but because referees werent allowed to determine it was wrong.Winnipeg, MB (SportsNetwork.com) - Frans Nielsen scored two goals and collected one assist as the New York Islanders kicked off a seven-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Ryan Strome finished with a goal and three assists for the Islanders, who got 21 saves from Jaroslav Halak. Anders Lee and Josh Bailey also scored for New York, which has won six of its last eight games. Andrew Ladd had two goals and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 28-of-32 shots in the Jets second straight loss. Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Buffalo 1 Buffalo, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Ondrej Palat posted a goal and three assists to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist, while Matthew Carle and Brett Connolly also scored for the Lightning, who have won their past four. Andrei Vasilevsky needed to make just 10 saves to secure the win. Tyler Ennis had the lone goal for the Sabres, who have dropped thier past two and six of seven. Jhonas Enroth allowed all five goals on 25 shots. Final Score: NY Rangers 5, Florida 2 Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Martin St. Louis and Dominic Moore tallied in the third period as the New York Rangers closed out calendar year 2014 with a 5-2 win over Florida on Wednesday. Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard and Ryan McDonagh also lit the lamp for the Rangers, who recovered from a one-goal loss at Dallas on Monday and recorded their ninth win in 10. Derek Stepan contributed three assists while Henrik Lundqvist needed to make only 18 stops for the victory. Tomas Fleischmann and Jimmy Hayes scored once each for the Panthers, who fell to 5-3-2 in over their last 10 outings. Al Montoya surrendered all five markers on 34 shots in defeat. Final Score: Pittsburgh 2, Carolina 1 Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Sutter scored the winning goal late in the third period to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Chris Kunitz had the other goal for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots in the win. Eric Staal scored the only goal of the game for the Hurricanes, who have dropped their past three games. Cam Ward allowed both goalls on 39 shots in the loss. Royals Jorge Lopez Jersey. Final Score: Toronto 4, Boston 3 (SO) Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Nazem Kadri scored the deciding goal of the shootout as the Toronto Maple Leafs prevailed with a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins. Mike Santorelli, Torontos first shooter, made several quick moves before shooting the puck through the legs of Tuukka Rask for a good goal. Torey Krug tied the shootout with a quick wrister over the glove of Jonathan Bernier in the second round. Kadri opened the fifth round by shuffling a backhander off Rasks pad and through his legs to put the Maple Leafs ahead, and David Krejci missed the net for Boston to end the game. Phil Kessel notched his 500th career point after finishing with a goal and an assist, while James van Riemsdyk and Leo Komarov also scored as the Maple Leafs ended a two-game skid. Bernier stopped 25 shots in the win. Carl Soderberg had a goal and an assist, Krejci and Krug also lit the lamp and Rask stopped 18 shots for the Bruins, who were coming off a 5-2 win over Detroit on Monday. Final Score: Columbus 3, Minnesota 1 Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Sergei Bobrovsky made 28 saves to help the Columbus Blue Jackets top the Minnesota Wild, 3-1, on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets got goals from Kevin Connauton, David Savard and Ryan Johansen to wrap up an outstanding 10-1-1 month of December. Connauton also added an assist, and Brandon Dubinsky was credited with two helpers. Johansens empty- netter was his first goal since Nov. 29. The Wild got their only goal from Zach Parise in the first period as they lost for the sixth time in their last seven games. Darcy Kuemper faced 25 shots and made 23 saves in the loss. Final Score: Detroit 3, New Jersey 1 Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Henrik Zetterberg scored the game-winning goal late in regulation to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. Darren Helm finished with two goals and Jimmy Howard made 12 saves for the Red Wings, who bounced back from a 5-2 loss to Boston on Monday to win their third game in their past four. Joe Whitneys first NHL goal was New Jerseys lone source of offense and Cory Schneider allowed all three goals on 28 shots in defeat. 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