Joe Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche came out and said they are going to choose from Nathan McKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, or Alexsander Barkov. That means Seth Jones is not going to be a member of the Avalanche. Sakic made the announcement so that “the fans know what to expect.” The news is also contingent on them keeping the #1 pick. They have been actively shopping the pick, turning down Calgary’s three first-round picks. With this news in mind, here is my final mock draft. The 2013 NHL Draft will be held on June 30th at The Prudential Center in New Jersey.
1. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan McKinnon, Center (Halifax, WHL)
Joe Sakic said the crop of forwards “is too good to pass up.” If they keep the pick, they will take McKinnon. He is the best of the three choices. McKinnon had 32 goals and 43 assists in 44 games. He will add depth and speed to the Avalanche, who already have Paul Stasny, Garbiel Landeskog, Cal O’Riely, and Matt Duchene a great core. They do lack backend talent, but they may think they can get that through free agency or trade.
2. Florida Panthers: Seth Jones, Defenseman (Portland, WHL)
Jones had 56 points in 61 games this season, his rookie season, and it too good of a prospect to pass up. The Panther do have Calder winner Jonathan Huberdeau, and they do need scoring. But GM Dale Tallon knows that you can never have too much talent on defense (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook). Jones could be their Brent Seabrook, with more offensive touch, and he could also play Duncan Keith ice numbers and quarterback the powerplay. Tallon will have a choice to make, but he will take Jones is he is available.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin, Left Wing (Halifax, WHL)
Drouin would be an amazing pick, he will play like Martin St. Louis, who is 35, and he was a +48 player this year. Tampa Bay needs to add to its core, since Vincent Lecavlier and Martin St. Louis are aging. Drouin could come in and provide some offense to a team just one year removed from the playoffs. He won the CHL Player of the Year Award and would add playmaking to the likes of Steven Stamkos and Co.
4. Nashville Predators: Alexsander Barkov, Center (Tappara, Finland)
The one aspect of the game that the Preds need is scoring, and that is what Barkov is. He had 48 points in 53 games in Finland, and helped lead Finland in the World Juniors. He is a big boy (6’3 209) that would go well with a team that could not get the puck in the net. Put him with Filip Foresberg and you have a great young one-two punch.
5. Carolina Hurricanes: Elias Lindholm, Center (Byrnas, Sweden)
The Canes may take Valeri Nichuskin, but I think that a lot of GMs are not sold that his contract was voided and that he wants to play in the NHL right away. The Hurricanes need to add depth with the three Staals and Jeff Skinner. Some scouts have Lindholm ranked higher than Barkov. The Hurricanes will have options, but they should take the European that has the most upside.
6. Calgary Flames: Darnell Nurse, Defenseman (Sault St. Marie, OHL)
The Calgary Flames need everything, so they may just as well take the best player available. Right now, I think they go for a great backend. 12 goals, 29 assists this season. His uncle is Donavan McNabb, and let’s hope he does not get booed like his uncle did. Nurse is nearly a complete defenseman, and he could go earlier.
7. Edmonton Oilers: Rasmus Ristolainen, Defenseman (TPS, Finland)
The Oilers need talent on defense, they have Justin Schultz and a lot of offensive firepower, but the next step is to find defense and a goalie. Ristolainen is 6-4 207, and a right-handed shot. Righties are something that you need a few of, and Rasmus is a great one to get here. Look for him to come in and play well for a team that needs defensive help.
8. Buffalo Sabres: Valeri Nichuskin, Right Wing (Cherlyabinsk, Russia)
Buffalo needs offense. Nichuskin could immediately come in and give them help. They have some young talent, but Nichuskin is believed to be the prospect with the biggest upside. He says that he will either play in the NHL or the KHL, and that his contract with his team was voided, despite having two years remaining on it. I think the Evgeni Malkin clone will fall, but the Sabres would love to have this player around. Having Valeri fall is a hunch, but this would be a great fit.
9. New Jersey Devils: Hunter Shinkrauk, Center/Left Wing (Medicine Hat, WHL)
The Devils miss Zach Parise, and need a compliment for Ilya Kovalchuk. Hunter is a clone of Parise and the fans will love his offensive style of play. He had 37 goals and 49 assits in 64 games this season. Sean Monahan might also be an option here, the Devils need an offensive playmaker to give them more scoring than what they had this year.
10. Dallas Stars: Nikita Zadorov, Defenseman (London, OHL)
The Stars are in dire need of defense. Ryan Poulock and Zadorov are the two players in play here. The 6-5 221 D-man with a rocket shot would complement Jaime Oleksiak, since Zadorov plays with a physical edge. The Stars are not far off from being in the playoffs, this could be another piece of the puzzle.
11. Philadelphia Flyers: Zach Fucale, Goalie (Halifax, WHL)
The Flyers already bought out Daniel Briere, and the hockey world believe that Ilya Bryzgalov is on his way out as well. The Flyers have not had a great goalie since Ron Hextall. Fuchale is the best goalie available, he reads the play well and had two shutouts a .906 save percentage and 45 wins. Fuchale wins wherever he plays, and that might just be the answer to their goalie woes.
12. Phoenix Coyotes: Ryan Poulcok, Defenseman (Brandon, WHL)
Poulock could come in and give the team a quarterback on one of the powerplay units, he has one of the hardest shots in the draft, and plays with a physical edge. The Coyotes would love his attitude, he would fit in well with the style of play that Dave Tippet likes.
13. Winnipeg Jets: Frederick Gauthier, Center (Rimouski, QMJHL)
One of the most complete players in the draft, he could complement Evander Kane and Blake Wheeler. He is another big body at 6-4 215 that had 22 goals and 38 assists. The Jets need a top center, and Gauthier will fit the bill. This is big draft and year for the Jets.
14. Columbus Blue Jackets: Sean Monahan, Center (Ottawa, OHL)
The Blue Jackets narrowly missed the playoffs, and they have a lot of pieces in place to contend for a spot next season. Monahan is considered one of the smartest players in the draft. He played on a bad Ottawa 67’s team where the opposition keyed on him, and he still managed a lot of points. He can play in any stage of the game and could go a lot higher.
15. New York Islanders: Bo Horvat, Center (London OHL)
He could be a great complement to John Tavares. He is also considered a great face-off man, which has taken front and center in the Stanley Cup Finals. He is also a great teammate and plays with an edge, he finishes his checks and would add another dimension to the Islanders’ top-line.
16. Buffalo Sabres (Via Minnesota): Micro Mueller, Defenseman (Everett, WHL)
A 6-3 184 defenseman, the Sabres got their forward, now they get their backend guy. The Swiss native saw his game go to the next level. The Sabres might get a prospect who could be a steal at this stage in the draft.
17. Ottawa Senators: Max Domi, Center/Left Wing (London OHL)
The son of Tie Domi might slip farther than this since he decided not to participate in any of the drills at the Scouting Combine. He is undersized, but plays a blue collar game, and is very underrated as a playmaker and scorer. People will be seeing his between the legs pass at the Memorial Cup for a long time.
18. Detroit Red Wings: Robert Haag, Defensemna (Modo-Jr, Sweden)
The Red Wings have success in drafting Swedish talent, and they get the best available European at this point in the draft. Ken Holland needs backend talent since Nick Lindstrom retired. His stock rose when he was added to the World Junior Championship roster at the last minute.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (Via New York Rangers): Valentin Zykov, Left Wing (Bale-Comeau, QMJHL)
A Russian prospect that played in North America, that means he could be in the NHL sooner than one that played in Russia because he does not have to learn the North American style of hockey. In 67 games he had 40 goals and 35 assists. He could also become a Jussi Joikenen-type in the shootouts.
20. San Jose Sharks: Zach Nastasiuk, Right Wing (Owen Sound OHL)
A man whose potential is seen as a second-line player that will also be a great addition to the penalty kill. The Sharks could get another addition to their offensive cupboard.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs: Ian McCoshen, Defenseman (Waterloo USHL)
A big man that brings the physical game, had 11 goals and 33 assists in 53 games. Also has an amazing shot. The one thing the Leafs lack is defensemen, and they get one of the best.
22. Calgary Flames (Via St. Louis): Ryan Hartman, Right Wing (Plymouth, OHL)
A strong and versatile skater, was a key piece of the US winning gold at the World Junior Championships. Did miss the second half of the season with a shoulder injury. Plays with heart, something that the Flames desperately need.
23. Washington Capitals: Anthony Mantha, Right Wing (Val-d’ Or, QMJHL)
6’3 190, has an amazing hockey IQ, and could help Alex Ovechkin. The only draft prospect from the CHL with more than 50 goals. Adam Oates would love Mantha to be here at this spot.
24. Vancouver Canucks: Samuel Morin, Defenseman (Rimouski, QMJHL)
A 6’6 202, man would be a great addition to the aging defensive corps of the Canucks. He plays amazing well with his size, he is just starting to get his feet under his great size.
25. Montreal Canadiens: Chris Birgas, Defenseman (Owen Sound, OHL)
The N0. 6 rated defenseman on the NHL’s final Scouting Rankings. Had eight goals and 30 assists in 68 games. Works hard and makes the right decisions.
26. Anaheim Ducks: Kerby Rychel, Left Wing (Windsor, OHL)
Scored 40 goals on a weak Windsor team who showcased his strength at the Scouting Combine. He also could be a great agitator for the Ducks, since the complete player is willing to drop the gloves. He could also contribute on the powerplay. The Duck need someone who can come in on the top-nine.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (Via LA Kings): Curtis Lazar, Center/Right Wing (Edmonton, WHL)
30 points in 42 games would give the Jackets another offensive prospect. A versatile skater who could fill in somewhere in the top three lines.
28. Calgary Flames (Via Pittsburgh Penguins): Eric Comrie, Goalie (Tri-City, WHL)
Mikka Kipusoff is probably going to retire, which means that the Flames need a goalie. They may trade up to ry to get Fuchale, the top goalie. If they cannot, they will get a solid goalie, who is coming off of hip surgery. He could eventually be the man in Calgary when all is said and done.
29. Dallas Stars (Via Boston Bruins): Alexander Wennberg, Center (Djrugarden, Sweden)
Skilled and smart, some consider him just under elite status, but he is a proven goal scorer. Had 14 goals and 18 assists in 40 games. Could eventually be a third-line guy for the Stars.
30. Chicago Blackhawks: JT Compher, Center (USNDP, USHL)
Some think he could go to the Ducks, but the man who will be in Michigan in the fall, could fill a need for center depth since Bolland and Handzus are aging. He is one of the smartest players, and has a lot of offensive skill. Wil benefit from a little more experience. Played well for the US at the World Junior Championship.