In the initial mock drafts by NHL.com staffers on Monday, defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks and Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads were unanimous picks to go first and second at the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.
Choosing Jones No. 1 and MacKinnon No. 2 wasn't too much of a shock considering that's the same order the players are rated in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking report. After the first two picks, however, the staffers began going in a few different directions.
Staffers Steven Hoffner and Mike Morreale believe MacKinnon's teammate in Halifax, Jonathan Drouin, will be the third choice. Adam Kimelman thinks the No. 1-ranked skater on Central Scouting's European list, center Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, will go No. 3.
Of late, Drouin has been an absolute beast in the absence of MacKinnon, who has missed the past seven games with a lower-body injury. The team is hopeful MacKinnon (28 goals, 69 points, plus-37 rating) will return to the lineup early next month.
Drouin is currently riding a 23-game point streak that began Nov. 30, 2012. Over that span, he's accounted for 21 goals and 53 points, including seven goals and 21 points in the past seven games on a line with center Stephen MacAulay and wing Martin Frk. He leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 93 points and is second with a plus-41 rating in 42 games.
With those types of numbers, many feel Drouin is on a fast track to pass MacKinnon and Jones as the top pick? What do you think?
Should Drouin be considered a strong candidate as the first pick? You decide.