2013 Mock Draft



1. COLORADO AVALANCHE - Nathan MacKinnon, C- Halifax (QMJHL)

Analysis: The Avalanche have made it very clear who they plan on taking with the first overall pick on Sunday, barring a trade of course. At first I thought Joe Sakic and the rest of the Colorado organization might have been bluffing when they announced their intentions of taking Nathan MacKinnon with the first pick, but I truly believe they will not trade the pick and MacKinnon will be the first player selected at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. MacKinnon was simply remarkable at the Memorial Cup in May, capping off a season where he proved he could be a superstar in the making. The Avalanche had a bright future before winning the rights to the first overall pick, and even though they lack defensive depth, selecting MacKinnon will make the Aves contenders for years to come.

2. FLORIDA PANTHERS - Aleksander Barkov, C- Tappara (Finland)

Analysis: After the Avalanche announced they were taking MacKinnon with the first pick, after everyone assumed they were going to take Seth Jones, the rest of the draft went completely up in the air. Jones seems like the right pick at number two, but the Panthers want a player who can step in and make an impact right away, and taking nothing away from Jones but I think Aleksander Barkov is their man. The Panthers have a desire to find someone to play alongside Calder Trophy winner, Jonathan Huberdeau, and other than Nick Bjugstad along with Dale Tallon’s announcement that Stephen Weiss will not be re-signed; the Panther depth down the middle is their weakest position. Barkov has played and excelled playing against men the last two seasons in Finland, and has the size to be a dominate centre for years to come.

3. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING - Seth Jones, D- Portland (WHL)

Analysis: Barkov would have also been a perfect fit at number three and for the Tampa Bay organization, especially after General Manager, Steve Yzerman announced that the Lightning will buy-out Vincent Lecavalier. The Lightning now have a huge hole to fill down the middle on their second line, but when arguably the best player and a franchise defensemen slips to number three, the Lightning cannot afford to pass on Seth Jones. Jones is said to be the best defensive prospect since Chris Pronger, and has all the tools to become a similar type player. The Lightning’s biggest problem in recent seasons has been keeping the puck out of their net, so adding Jones to the back-end to join Victor Hedman would give Tampa Bay unbelievable depth on their back-end for years to come.

4. NASHVILLE PREDATORS - Jonathan Drouin, RW- Halifax (QMJHL)

Analysis: Regardless of who goes in the top three, the Predators are guaranteed to get a franchise type player, who will be able to contribute offensively that the Predators so deeply need. Nabbing Jonathan Drouin with the fourth overall pick will put a smile on everyone in Predators organization and fan bases face. Drouin, who has been compared to Claude Giroux, is said to be the best puck handler, best hockey sense and best playmaker in the draft. Drouin is a dynamic player, who averaged more than two points per-game playing for the Memorial Cup Champions Halifax Mooseheads, and was the CHL Player of the Year and the QMJHL Playoff MVP.

5. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Valeri Nichushkin, LW- Chelyabinsk (Russia)

Analysis: This might be the most interesting pick in the draft, as many people wonder who will be making the pick on Sunday. The Hurricanes are said to be very busy, as they look to add a top-four defensemen, with many reports indicating that this pick could be in play. If the Hurricanes do in fact make this pick, I think they will take a chance and select probably the biggest wild-card, Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin has all the tools to make him an impactful power forward-type winger, something the Hurricanes need. Nichushkin carries the Russian-factor with him, and there were mixed feelings coming from the draft combine during Nichushkin’s interview process. Nichushkin has the potential to go at this spot, but he also has the chance of dropping, much like Mikhail Grigorenko did last year.

6. CALGARY FLAMES - Sean Monahan, C- Ottawa (OHL)

Analysis: In the biggest draft in franchise-history, the spot light will not be any brighter than it is on the Flames organization. The Flames are said to be extremely busy trying to make moves and have said they are open and willing to listening to any offer. That included offer all three of their first round picks to the Colorado Avalanche for the first overall pick, which the Aves gladly declined. The Flames have holes all over their organization, and now that they have finally admitted they are re-building, the pressure of this pick is enormous. It seems like a hard pick to screw up, until you look at the Flames draft history. The 6th spot is the highest the franchise has ever picked, as this will be their fourth time in the spot after drafting Cory Stillman in ‘92, Daniel Tkaczuk in ‘97, and Rico Fata in ’98. The Flames biggest need is depth down the middle, and there are options with this pick. I have heard great things about both Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm, the two consensus players available at number six, but I feel whenever it is this close, you choose the Canadian over the European. Monahan is the Flames guy and I would expect him to be a full-time member on the Flames roster next season.  

7. EDMONTON OILERS - Curtis Lazar, C- Edmonton (WHL)

Analysis: This is another tough pick to predict, as it is very unclear in which direction the Oilers are going to take. New GM Craig MacTavish wants to make a slash and wants to change the direction of the Edmonton Oilers. Will they take the pick or will they trade the pick, it is one of the many storylines heading into Sunday’s draft. If the Oilers do indeed keep the pick, I think they might go off the board a little bit. They have a need for depth down the middle, some size and some character. Curtis Lazar fits all those requirements, and many feel Lazar will no doubt be an NHL player one day. The Oilers are extremely proud of the Oil Kings franchise and I feel Lazar is a good option for them with the seventh overall selection.

8. BUFFALO SABRES - Darnell Nurse, D- S.S. Marie (OHL)

Analysis: The Buffalo Sabres enter the 2013 draft with two first round selections for the second consecutived year. The Sabres selected Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, 12th and 14th overall respectively last year, and will be ecstatic if Darnell Nurse falls to them at number eight. Nurse is the second rated defensemen in the draft and is probably the most athletic prospect available. Nurse will give the Sabres a good mix of puck-moving ability and grit the Sabres need on their back-end.

9. NEW JERSEY DEVILS - Elias Lindholm, C- Brynas (Sweden)

Analysis: The Devils have searched for a replacement for Martin Brodeur for years, and even though it seems like he will, he can’t play forever. With the ninth overall selection, it is too high to take top goaltending prospect Zachary Fucale. Lou Lamoriello has been on record saying that they like the top three defensemen available (Jones, Nurse, and Rasmus Ristolainen), but if it comes down to it they will take a forward with skill over a defenseman. Elias Lindholm has Devils written all over him and getting him at nine could be the biggest steal of the draft. Lindholm has been compared to fellow countryman Peter Forsberg and would look great as the Devils number two centre behind Travis Zajac for years to come.

10. DALLAS STARS - Hunter Shinkaruk, C/LW- Medicine Hat (WHL)

Analysis: The first of potentially three Calgarians taken in the first round, Hunter Shinkaruk is said to be one of the most dedicated and driven players in the draft. Shinkaruk has been around the game of hockey his whole life, and proved last season that he is a legitimate top-prospect scoring 37 goals and leading the Medicine Hat Tigers past the Memorial Cup Hosts, Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the WHL playoffs. Shinkaruk gives the Stars a player who could play in the top-six in the near future.

11. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS - Rasmus Ristolainen, D- Turku (Finland)

12. PHOENIX COYOTES - Alexsander Wennberg, C- Djurgarden (Sweden)

13. WINNIPEG JETS - Max Domi, C/LW- London (OHL)

14. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS - Anthony Mantha, LW- Val-d’Or (OMJHL)

15. NEW YORK ISLANDERS - Bo Horvat, London (OHL)

16. BUFFALO SABRES (From MIN) - Ryan Pulock, D- Brandon (WHL)

17. OTTAWA SENATORS - Joshua Morrissey, D- Prince Albert (WHL)

18. DETROIT RED WINGS - Valentin Zykov, LW- Baie Comeau (OMJHL)

19. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (From NYR) - Nikita Zadorov, D- London (OHL)

20. SAN JOSE SHARKS - Frederick Gauthier, C- Rimouski (OMJHL)

21. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS - Ryan Hartman, RW- Plymouth (OHL)

22. CALGARY FLAMES (From STL) - Zachary Fucale, G- Halifax (QMJHL)

Analysis: With their second pick of three in the first round, it gets tougher to predict who the Flames will select. GM Jay Feaster has said they want to add size and skill, but will take the best player available with their picks. With the almost certain retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff, and the uncertainty around Karri Ramo and Reto Barra, the Flames need and want a top goaltending prospect and I think they will have a hard time passing on Zachary Fucale. Fucale has put up remarkable numbers in his two seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads and is a top contender to be between the pipes for Canada at the 2013-14 World Junior Championships. I feel the Flames bigger need is size and skill, I like Laurent Brossoit as a goaltending prospect, but trying to figure out what the Flames are thinking when it comes to the draft is impossible.

23. WASHINGTON CAPITALS - Samuel Morin, D- Rimouski (QMJHL)

24. VANCOUVER CANUCKS - Robert Hagg, D- Modo (Sweden)

25. MONTREAL CANADIENS - Michael McCarron, RW- USA (U-18)

26. ANAHEIM DUCKS - Kerby Rychel, LW- Windsor (OHL)

27. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (From LA) - Jacob De La Rosa, C- Leksand (Sweden)

28. CALGARY FLAMES (From PITT) - Steve Santini, D- USA (U-18)

Analysis: I believe the Flames will move this pick for a couple of second round picks, since they do not have any, as they traded away the 36th pick to the Montreal Canadiens in the Mike Cammalleri trade. If I’m wrong, or they do not take Fucale with the 22nd pick, Steve Santini is a name to watch for. Santini does nothing outstanding, but does everything good. He is projected as a two-way defenseman and gives the Flames size they are looking for at 6 foot 2, and 205 pounds. The biggest thing that jumps out at me about Santini is the fact that he was named the top defenseman at the U-18 Championships. The last five winners to do the same, Matt Dumba, Ryan Murphy, Adam Larsson, Cam Fowler and Erik Karlsson.

29. DALLAS STARS (From BOS) - Mirco Mueller, D- Everett (WHL)

30. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS- Nic Petan, C- Portland (WHL)