2013 NHL First Round Mock Draft – Part I

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Robert Beck/SI

by Simon Servant, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine – translated by Chantal

ST-EUSTACHE, QC — June 30 is getting closer, and I can feel the excitement building up among hockey fans. On that day, no less than 211 players will have their name called by a National Hockey League team.

Last week, I had fun with my 2013 NHL Mock Draft: Montreal Canadiens Edition. Today, I present you the first of my three-part first round NHL 2013 Mock Draft.

In this draft, the Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets each hold three picks. The Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars have two each, while the Minnesota Wild, St-Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins have none.

So here are my first 10 draft picks. Again, a reminder that I’m not a professional scout, and all player measurements mentioned here are provided by the teams they currently play for.

THE DRAFT

COLORADO AVALANCHE

1st pick: SETH JONES – Portland Winterhawks (WHL). Defenseman, right shot, 6’4″ 206 lbs.

Robert Beck/SI
Robert Beck/SI

Season Stats: 61 GP, 14 G, 42 A, 56 PTS, 33 PIM

Ranking: 2nd ISS – 1st in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

Patrick Roy has hinted that he might consider trading his first overall pick, but can he really pass up such a complete defenseman? Son of former NBA player Ronald “Popeye” Jones, Seth possesses impressive mobility, incredible offensive flair and an excellent defensive game. He’s not perfect, but when you have a shot at picking up a talented, strong built d-man, you snatch him up. The Avalanche already have an array of offensive talent, but do lack defensive presence. Jones is NHL ready and could become the Avs quarterback for years to come. He has lived in Denver, and that’s where he played his minor hockey.

NHL Comparable : Chris Pronger

Avalanche last three 1st round picks: Gabriel Landeskog (2nd – 2011), Duncan Siemens (11th – 2011) and Joey Hishon (17th – 2010)

Avalanche notable 1st round picks: Alex Tanguay (12th – 1998), Kevin Shattenkirk (14th – 2007) and Matt Duchene (3rd – 2009)

FLORIDA PANTHERS

2nd pick: NATHAN MACKINNON – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Centerman, right shot, 6′ 182 lbs.

Season Stats: 44 GP, 32 G, 43 A, 75 PTS, 45 PIM

Ranking: 1st ISS – 2nd in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

If there’s one team that won’t trade its first pick, it’s the Panthers. Firmly sitting at 2nd, Dale Tallon has no other choice than Nathan MacKinnon, a pure offensive phenomenon. The Cole Harbour native had sensational playoffs, and a very good showing at the Memorial Cup, overshadowing Seth Jones and his own teammate Jonathan Drouin. He is known for his speed, great hands, and relentless work along the boards. He’s very smart with the puck and paired with Jonathan Huberdeau, the duo would be fearsome, as they were in the Subway Super Series.

NHL Comparable : John Tavares

Panthers last three 1st round picks: Michael Matheson (23rd – 2012), Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd – 2011) and Erik Gudbranson (3rd – 2010)

Panthers notable 1st round picks: Ed Jovanovski (1st – 1994), Jay Bouwmeester (3rd – 2002) and Nathan Horton (3rd – 2003)

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

3rd pick: JONATHAN DROUIN – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Left winger, left shot, 5’10” 186 lbs.

Richard Wolowicz/Getty
Richard Wolowicz/Getty

Season Stats: 49 GP, 41 G, 64 A, 105 PTS, 32 PIM

Ranking: 3rd ISS – 3rd in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

Jonathan Drouin has really made a name for himself this year. He was already ranked in the top 10, but this season, he has excelled and even dominated his rivals. To me, he has the best hands and vision of all junior players. He’s fast, agile and can easily get around the defensemen in front of him. He would fit right in with Tampa Bay, and would learn a lot from guys like Martin St-Louis and Vincent Lecavalier.

NHL Comparable : Patrick Kane

Lightning last three 1st round picks: Slater Koekkoek (10th – 2012), Andrei Vasilevski (19th – 2012) and Vladislav Namestnikov (27th – 2011)

Lightning notable 1st round picks: Roman Hamrlik (1st – 1992), Vincent Lecavalier (1st – 1998) and Steven Stamkos (1st – 2008)

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

4th pick: ALEKSANDER BARKOV – Tappara (SM-Liiga). Centerman, left shot, 6’2″ 205 lbs.

Season Stats: 53 GP, 21 G, 27 A, 48 PTS, 8 PIM

Ranking: 5th ISS – 1st in European Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

Before Jonathan Drouin muddied the waters, Aleksander Barkov was part of the elite top three. At only 17 years of age, the Finnish player lit up the first Finnish league among men twice his age. He’s as good a scorer as he is a passer, and is as smart offensively as he is defensively. Mobile and skilled, he’s NHL ready and would certainly help the Preds get pucks behind the opposing goalie.

NHL Comparable : Joe Thornton

Predators last three 1st round picks: Austin Watson (18th – 2010), Ryan Ellis (11th – 2009) and Colin Wilson (7th – 2008)

Predators notable 1st round picks: David Legwand (2nd – 1998), Scott Hartnell (6th – 2000) and Ryan Suter (7th – 2003)

CAROLINA HURRICANES

5th pick: VALERI NICHUSHKIN – Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL). Right winger, left shot, 6’4″ 196 lbs.

Season Stats: 18 GP, 4 G, 2 A, 6 PTS, 0 PIM

Ranking: 4th ISS – 2nd in European Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

A lot of observers believe that Carolina will select a defenseman with their fifth pick, but I believe Nichushkin’s offensive talent has them really thinking about it. Some of you might remember the game winning goal he scored in overtime in the bronze medal game at the U20, against Canada. That’s all you’ll need to see to get an idea of what type of player he is: smart, quick hands, strength, and offensive flair. He would nicely round out Carolina’s top six.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UIdfcxmgS8

NHL Comparable : Evgeni Malkin

Hurricanes last three 1st round picks: Ryan Murphy (12th – 2011), Jeff Skinner (7th – 2010) and Philippe Paradis (27th – 2009)

Hurricanes notable 1st round picks: Cam Ward (25th – 2002), Eric Staal (2nd – 2003) and Andrew Ladd (4th – 2004)

CALGARY FLAMES

6th pick: ELIAS LINDHOLM – Brynäs IF (Elitserien). Centerman, right shot, 6′ 183 lbs.

Season Stats: 48 GP, 11 G, 19 A, 30 PTS, 2 PIM

Ranking: 7th ISS – 3rd in European Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

I hesitated between Sean Monahan and Lindholm, but chose the latter because I feel he’s a more complete player. Swedish players tend to play a style of game that’s closest to the North American style. The young centerman is no exception: he’s fast, smart in all three zones, skilled and hard working. In possession of the puck, he can be very dangerous and distributes it well. The Flames will need this type of player to rebuild adequately.

NHL Comparable : Henrik Zetterberg

Flames last three 1st round picks: Mark Jankowski (21st – 2012), Sven Baertschi (13th – 2011) and Tim Erixon (23rd – 2009)

Flames notable 1st round picks: Al MacInnis (15th – 1981), Gary Roberts (12th – 1984) and Dion Phaneuf (9th – 2003)

EDMONTON OILERS

7th pick: DARNELL NURSE – Sault-Ste-Marie Greyhounds (OHL). Defenseman, left shot, 6’5″ 192 lbs.

Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Season Stats: 68 GP, 12 G, 29 A, 41 PTS, 116 PIM

Ranking: 6th ISS – 4th in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

After loading up on forwards in the past few years, I can’t believe the Oilers won’t go for a defenseman with this pick. They need a solid d-man in their zone and this guy can bring it. He is, in my opinion, the best stay-at-home D in this draft. He uses his size well and doesn’t shy away from physical play. He’s smart and patient with the puck, and can support his forwards if need be. That said, he’s in no way an offensive threat.

NHL Comparable : Adam Larsson

Oilers last three 1st round picks: Nail Yakupov (1st – 2012), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st – 2011) and Oscar Klefbom (19th – 2011)

Oilers notable 1st round picks: Paul Coffey (6th – 1980), Jason Arnott (7th – 1993) and Ryan Smyth (6th– 1994)

BUFFALO SABRES

8th pick: SEAN MONAHAN – Ottawa 67’s (OHL). Centerman, left shot, 6’2″ 193 lbs.

Season Stats: 58 GP, 31 G, 47 A, 78 PTS, 24 PIM

Ranking: 9th ISS – 5th in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

Monahan possesses all typical qualities found in a good centerman: great vision, the ability to easily locate his teammates on the ice, and can engage in his own zone. He’s also very skilled with the puck and isn’t afraid to use his wrist shot. He’s a constant menace on the power play. He will need to improve his skating to be a first line player in the NHL. The Sabres have good assets down the middle, but the better teams have three efficient ones.

NHL Comparable : Jonathan Toews

Sabres last three 1st round picks: Mikhail Grigorenko (12th – 2012), Zemgus Girgensons (14th – 2012) and Joel Armia (16th – 2011)

Sabres notable 1st round picks: Gilbert Perreault (1st – 1970), Phil Housley (6th – 1982) and Pierre Turgeon (1st – 1987)

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

9th pick: BO HORVAT – London Knights (OHL). Centerman, left shot, 6′ 203 lbs.Bo Horvat

Season Stats: 67 GP, 33 G, 28 A, 61 PTS, 29 PIM

Ranking: 10th ISS – 15th in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

I may surprise many people with this pick, but I sincerely believe Horvat is a complete enough player to get called in the top 10. He reminds me of the Mike Richards of the good old days. He has scoring abilities, is a decent skater and can play a physical game. He plays an excellent offensive game, and pays attention to the small details of his defensive game. His work ethic and desire to win are reason enough for the Devils to pick him; the type of player that Lou Lamoriello and his staff often have on their radar.

NHL Comparable : Mike Richards

Devils last three 1st round picks: Stefan Matteau Jr. (29th – 2012), Adam Larsson (4th – 2011) and Jacob Josefson (20th – 2009)

Devils notable 1st round picks: Brendan Shanahan (2nd – 1987), Martin Brodeur (20th – 1990) and Scott Niedermayer (3rd – 1991)

DALLAS STARS

10th pick: MAX DOMI – London Knights (OHL). Centerman, left shot, 5’10” 194 lbs.

Season Stats: 64 GP, 39 G, 48 A, 87 PTS, 71 PIM

Ranking: 25th ISS – 19th in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau

I don’t know what the ranking guys are smoking, but if Max Domi isn’t considered a top 10 pick, no one is. Max inherited of his father Tie’s boiling temper, but got granted skilled hands and explosive skating abilities as a bonus. He does things on the ice that you rarely see from junior players and is very hard working. He’s a little pest that enjoys bothering his opponents. Dallas is a little slim on offensive talent and needs a facelift down the middle.

NHL Comparable : Martin St-Louis

Stars last three 1st round picks: Radek Faksa (13th – 2012), Jamie Oleksiak (14th – 2011) and Jack Campbell (11th – 2010)

Stars notable 1st round picks: Jarome Iginla (11th – 1995) and Brenden Morrow (25th – 1997)

Until next time…

These are my picks for positions one to 10 in this year’s draft. The best is yet to come because it’ll get harder to clearly identify the remaining teams needs. In my next article, I will present you my selections for picks 11 to 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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