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Riders draft review

by Sylvain Tremblay | September 14, 2014, 8:40 PM ET

For years, the Riders have drafted over 10 prospects at the draft. Now at the end of their rebuild, with a very strong young core, the Riders kept all their picks without adding any additional pick for the 2014 draft.

After the draft, GM Tremblay still seemed satisfied with the players drafted: "We like our draft. We are short on total room for players and prospects so it didn't make sense to add more picks before the draft. Still, the team is being built through the draft and we will not change our philosophy today, despite our strong young core. We drafted talent with our better picks, then we went with players that can play on every line with our later picks."

With the 13th pick, the Riders selected stickhandling sensation Sonny Milano. A player with unlimited offensive talent, Milano has the best hands in the draft and makes his moves at top-end speed. His only downside is his slight frame and mostly passive nature.

At pick 41, the Reykjavik team went with pint-sized top talent Brayden Point. With off the charts offensive instincts and butter soft hands, he can make unbelievable moves to create scoring chances. A growth spurt and more core strength would propel him straight to the big league.

Then at pick 69, the Riders decided to pick a raw forward in Maxim Letunov. Tall and skinny, Letunov has excellent offensive abilities and upside. Creative with good puck skills and soft hands, he makes most of his chances in the offensive zone. He needs to seriously bulk up and work on being a better all around player.

At 97th, the team chose to pick a defenseman that was recently converted from a forward, Miles Gendron. One of the best skaters in the draft, he has great puck skills and high offensive ceiling. However, being recently converted to defense, he has a lot of work covering down low or having a good gap control.

The Riders like to select players from the USDP program, and they went with Shane Gersich at 125. A maniac in puck pursuit, he causes a lot of turnovers. Burried on a deep USDP team at center, he has better offensive skills than his stats show. He is however on the small side.

With their last two picks, the Riders picked players from the US high school system: Max Willman at 153 and Tyler Bird at 137. Both prospects will be teammates at Brown University next year. Willman is the most skilled of the pair, playing a complete game yet showing a nose for the net. Bird is bigger and more physical with an excellent shot.

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