2014 NHL Draft Preview: Incoming freshman Jack Dougherty expected to be selected early

Jack Dougherty lays a body check in an exhibition vs. Minnesota-Duluth last season. - David Romuald Photography

Jack Dougherty is expected to join a long list of Badgers selected in the top two rounds of the NHL Draft this weekend in Philadelphia.

The 2014 NHL Draft is set for this weekend in Philadelphia, and once again several Wisconsin Badgers are expecting to hear their names called.

The first round is set for Friday and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network starting at 6 p.m. CT. Second-round coverage begins Saturday at 9 a.m. on the NHL Network, and will run until the draft is completed later that night.

Jack Dougherty

http://cdn2.sportngin.com/attachments/roster_player_info/2699/1636/Dougherty_Jack_medium.jpg

Name

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

Jack Dougherty

Defense

Right

6'2

185

Team

Hometown

DOB

U.S. NTDP U-18

Cottage Grove, Minn.

5/25/1996

Highlighting the list this year is incoming freshman defenseman Jack Dougherty, who is expected to be selected in either the first or second round. Dougherty, a native of Cottage Grove, Minnesota, comes to the Badgers from the U.S. NTDP U-18 program.

Once committed to Ohio State, Dougherty opened up his options after former Wisconsin assistant coach Mark Osiecki was fired by the Buckeyes. Dougherty eventually settled on the Badgers after considering Boston College, Boston University, Michigan and his hometown Gophers.

Dougherty is a solid all-around player who should make a seamless transition to UW. Dougherty is considered a pretty good skater and has nice offensive upside from the back end. A right-handed defenseman, Dougherty will play major minutes at Wisconsin right out of the chute. He's expected to be immediately inserted into the top four and will likely see an opportunity to quarterback a power-play unit from day one.

Mike Eaves on Jack Dougherty:

"Jack has a really good skill set as a defenseman. He can be your quarterback on the power play and he can lead the rush. He's a good skater who sees the ice well and has good skill. He also understands how to play without the puck, so he is a well-rounded defenseman." -- Mike Eaves

2014 NHL Draft Rankings for Jack Dougherty

NHL Central Scouting: 30 (North American skaters only)

Bob McKenzie (TSN): 35

Craig Button (TSN): 81

"There is nothing that stands out about Jack but his play lends itself to very good, consistent and solid play. He just does what needs to be done both offensively and defensively without much fanfare." -- Craig Button

International Scouting Services: 42

HockeyProspect.com: 27

DraftSite.com: 41

ESPN: 56

"Dougherty had a pretty solid first season with the NTDP, entering the program after playing high school hockey. He is a pretty toolsy defender, who stands out offensively. His skating ranges from good to excellent. He moves well in all directions, with nice explosiveness in his first step and overall refined footwork and skating technique. Dougherty is dangerous with the puck as a rusher and distributor. He's got some creativity with the puck in his game and can beat checkers one-on-one. Dougherty is an average-sized player (6-2, 185 pounds), but has some bite to his game. Where he struggles is with his decisions and reads. Dougherty will get beat a little too often, and also give the puck away more than he should. He needs to manage his risk better and pick his spots on when to attack. He is committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2014-15 season." -- Corey Pronman

McKeens Hockey: 22

The Hockey Writers: 34

The Hockey News: 24

Assets: Skates very well and possesses plenty of offensive ability. Can be an asset on the power play. Moves the puck well out of danger and can lead the rush.

Flaws: Needs to add significant bulk and get physicaly stronger in order to maximize his National Hockey League game. Still need more work on his defensive game.

Career Potential: Talented offensive defenseman with upside.

Strong skater who can contribute at both ends, though leans towards offense. University of Wisconsin commit always gets his shot through. -- Ryan Kennedy

Future Considerations: 24

"Dougherty is an intelligent defenseman who tries to blend strong positioning while trying to inflict a physical dimension on his opponent. He isn't the fleetest of foot, but does get where he needs to go. He also makes a strong first pass and has solid offensive instincts." -- Aaron Vickers

Anonymous Scouts on Jack Dougherty (courtesy of OverTheBoards):

"It's hard to believe this is the same kid who looked so out of place in the Elite League; his skating has improved tenfold, he's got jam, he can move the puck. Best of the NTDP D to me; and better than Brady Skjei was at the same age."

"He's a talent. He can do it all. He's good - a no-brainer. He stepped up, to do what he did, and he was just fine."

"I think he's going to be a pro, for sure. Very projectable. Is there even a serious debate, really? I have to think some teams are really high on him. There's a lot to like."

Matt Berkovitz

http://cdn4.sportngin.com/attachments/roster_player_info/2719/2906/Berkovitz_Matthew_medium.JPG

Name

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

Matt Berkovitz

Defense

Left

6'1

181

Team

Hometown

DOB

Ashwaubenon High School

Ashwaubenon, Wis.

2/16/1996

Ashwaubeonon senior Matt Berkovitz is likely to be the second player with ties to the Badgers selected this weekend. Berkovitz, who also starred for the Team Wisconsin midget program, is a bit of a wild card in this draft as one of the few high school players ranked among the top 100 prospects.

Scouts like the poise Berkovitz has shown but worry that he doesn't excel in any one particular area. Berkovitz has an above-average shot, shows good vision and plays pretty solid defense. He needs to add strength and lacks a physical edge to his game. Berkovitz is pretty smooth in all facets and will likely be selected between the third and fifth rounds on Saturday.

Berkovitz will spend one season in the USHL with the Chicago Steel before joining the Badgers in 2015.

2014 NHL Draft Rankings for Matt Berkovitz

NHL Central Scouting: 61 (North American skaters only)

The Hockey News: 97

DraftSite.com: 139

ESPN: 76

"Berkovitz is the rare top prospect to come out of the Wisconsin high school ranks. He's a pretty gifted player on a tools level. He's a good puck mover from the back end, who displays the vision and overall instincts to be an effective player with his outlets, rushes and when he gets his power-play time. Scouts note that his hockey sense does stand out, but the main issue with Berkovitz is the level of competition he's faced and trying to evaluate him there. He's committed to the University of Wisconsin for the 2014-15 season." -- Corey Pronman

The Hockey Writers: 100

Anonymous Scouts on Matt Berkovitz (Courtesy of OverTheBoards):

"Like (Dakota) Joshua, people are going to be shocked at where he goes, which should be top 2-3 rounds. Intelligent, skating, creativity, developmental environment (Wisco.)"

"Like him, like him. I don't know where he fits, I know there's inconsistency in his game, sometimes. I think he's a real nice puck-moving defenseman with some real nice upside."

Seamus Malone

Player Photo

Name

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

Seamus Malone

Center

Left

5'10

165

Team

Hometown

DOB

Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)

Naperville, Ill.

5/6/1996

Berkovitz and Dougherty are the only two sure things from a Wisconsin perspective. After that, recruits like Seamus Malone, Adam Rockwood and Matt Ustaski are all players who could hear their names called from the third round through the end of the draft.

Malone has played the past two seasons in the USHL with Dubuque and led the Fighting Saints in scoring last season with 23 goals and 23 assists for 46 points in 55 games.

A native of Naperville, Illinois, Malone is a relentless skater that has tremendous skill. Malone can shoot and set people up, and he's also a student of the game that isn't afraid to play physical. If Malone were 2-3 inches taller, he'd probably be a second-round pick.

Malone will play one more season with Dubuque in the USHL before joining the Badgers for the 2015 season.

2014 NHL Draft Rankings for Seamus Malone

NHL Central Scouting: 180

The Hockey Writers: 160

DraftSite.com: 105

Anonymous Scouts on Seamus Malone (Courtesy of OverTheBoards):

"A kid who has filthy hands, great hips, willing to do anything, drop the gloves, whatever. Going to need to put on some weight, start playing all 200 feet of the ice. I think he has pro potential - smart player with great hands, going to be greasy, going to be slippery, he will play hard. He needs to buy in and play the whole game. Someones going to take him: 5th round, 6th round probably. Ultra competitive - definitely the best hands of everyone we talked about."

Matt Ustaski

Name

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

Matt Ustaski

Center

Left

6'6

225

Team

Hometown

DOB

Langley Rivermen (BCHL)

Glenview, Ill.

5/27/1994

The first thing that stands out about Ustaski is his size. At an imposing 6'6, Ustaski has a significant advantage over almost anyone on the ice. In addition to his length, Ustaski also skates extremely well, which makes the native of Glenview, Illinois a very intriguing package for NHL scouts.

If there's a knock on Ustaski it's that he doesn't play tough enough for his size. Wisconsin believes he can be an asset in front of the net on the power play, but if he's going to play that role he's going to need to add a little sand paper to his game.

Passed over his first two seasons of eligibility, there's a good chance Ustaski -- who will join the Badgers this season -- is picked on Saturday.

Mike Eaves on Matt Ustaski:

"Matt would fall into the category of a classic power forward," Eaves said. "He is 6'6 and somewhere between 220 and 225. He played high school at Lake Forest Academy before playing the last two seasons in the BCHL. As his game has grown in leaps and bounds the last couple of years, I think we are just starting to see the potential he has. He moves well for a big man and has good hands. There is a lot of untapped potential there and we are excited to have Matt with us." -- Mike Eaves

Adam Rockwood

http://www.bchl.ca/media/leagues/1413/graphics/rockwood.jpg

Name

Position

Shoots

Height

Weight

Adam Rockwood

Forward

Left

5'10

175

Team

Hometown

DOB

Coquitlam Express (BCHL)

Coquitlam, British Columbia

9/22/1995

While certainly not a lock to be selected this weekend, Rockwood has a next-level tool that may intrigue an NHL team enough to take a chance on him despite his diminutive size. Rockwood, a native of Coquitlam, British Columbia, is one of the best passers in the 2014 draft.

Rockwood tore up the BCHL last season with the Coquitlam Express, registering a league-high 61 assists in 57 regular season games. Combined with his 13 goals, Rockwood finished with 74 points, which was good for fifth in the BCHL.

With the departure of multiple forwards from last season's roster, Rockwood will be relied upon to provide immediate offense for the Badgers this fall.

Mike Eaves on Adam Rockwood:

"He will remind people of Mark Zengerle. He sees the ice very well and has the skill to be a great passer. He's probably a pass-first guy, like Mark was. He's really a student of the game. When you talk to him, he loves the game and wants to talk about it. He sees things when he's watching other people play. Very skilled player, very intelligent player." -- Mike Eaves

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You can also reach Andy via e-mail (AndyJohnsonB5Q@gmail.com)

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