Draft Track: Five players to watch for the 2014 NHL Draft

2014 NHL Draft

Julius Honka – RD – Swift Current Broncos (WHL)– 5’10” 167

A fave of HockeyProspect.com, the Swift Current Broncos selected Honka with the 34th overall in the 2013 CHL Import Draft. Julius worked his way up through JYP’s U16 and U18 teams and spent all season this year with the U20 team. He also put together a strong performance at the 2013 IIHF U18 Championships. Julius isn’t the biggest defenseman, but he makes up for it with excellent skating ability and a very high level of hockey sense. Julius is an excellent puck rusher who always seems to choose the right option on the rush either to pass the puck off or take the puck deep into the offensive zone. He makes very intelligent decisions with the puck, and very rarely ever misplays it. He pinches in from the point at the right time making him dangerous during sustained pressure. Despite his size and offensive abilities, he’s surprisingly strong defensively. His ability to read the play in his own zone is very strong which helps him maintain consistent ideal positioning. He is more than willing to battle in the corners and considering his size, he wins a surprising amount of battles.

Julius will need to overcome his size and get stronger, but his hockey sense and puck skills will make him an intriguing prospect for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and one that we rank up our list.