|Team/Writer ||Player ||Pick |
Nathan MacKinnon, C
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
| It is no secret that the Avalanche need help on defense and that Seth Jones could be the guy to fill that hole, but the 17 year-old center from Cole Harbour is too good to pass up on, and Colorado's new head coach and vice president of hockey operations Patrick Roy is well aware of MacKinnon's worth. Colorado wants help winning now, and forwards have an easier time reaching their full potential than defensemen. Colorado has a lot of dynamic forwards for MacKinnon to join, and with the relationship between Colorado and Ryan O'Reilly bruised, MacKinnon would likely be an upgrade (once that trade embargo on O'Reilly is lifted). MacKinnon posted 75 points in 44 games this season and added 13 points in just four games at the Memorial Cup tournament. |
|Jonathan Drouin, LW |
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
|The Florida Panthers select Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads. As perhaps the most dynamic offensive talent in the draft, Drouin should make an ideal running mate for 2013 Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau. |
|Seth Jones, D |
Portland winterhawks (WHL)
Quite possibly the best defensive prospect to come down the line in years, the International Scouting Service calls Seth Jones the sort of defenseman "that scouts drool over". In baseball, they refer to a "five-tool player" who has all of the aspects to become a star - Seth Jones is hockey's version of the "five-tool" player. He has one of the hardest shots in the draft while also being one of the best skaters...and he's obviously a pretty good defenseman, too. With Victor Hedman and Matt Carle joining him on the blueline, and with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis up front, the addition of Popeye Jones' son could turn the Lightning into an instant Cup contender.
|Aleksander barkov, C |
The Predators need to land a forward from this draft and the big Finnish center obviously fills that need. Barkov would instantly become the best offensive prospect the franchise has ever had. He has succeeded against grown men overseas and could easily fill the role as the Preds' No. 1 center for years to come.
|valeri nichushkin, rw |
Seeing the previous four teams pass over Nichushkin would be music to the Carolina Hurricanes ears. While the Hurricanes have only drafted one Russian since their move to Carolina in 1997, it would be hard to pass over a player of Nichushkin's ability if he is still available come the fifth selection. Nichushkin's speed and raw skill will be a great addition with some of the already-dominant young talent in Carolina. With the possibilities of Nichushkin on a line flanking Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, or Eric Staal (pending the recovery time from his knee injury), the possibilities are endless for the young Russian to succeed for the Hurricanes.
|Sean monahan, C |
Ottawa 67's (ohl)
The Calgary Flames select Sean Monahan, a centerman from the Ottawa 67's. Monahan is a good two-way centerman that could crack the NHL roster from day one. He has decent size and great hockey sense, which could go a long way toward making him an NHL player from day one. The Flames are in a bit of a rebuilding mode after the departure of Jarome Iginla, and Monahan would be an excellent piece to add to the mix in Calgary.
|Darnell Nurse, D |
Sault ste. marie greyhounds (ohl)
For a team that's been racking up on first round forwards for the last five out of six years, and still has no success to show for it (Edmonton hasn't made the playoffs in the last seven years--a record drought for the franchise), the Oilers may decide to trailblaze down the blueline with this year's top 10 pick. Edmonton hasn't drafted a defensemen in the first round since the team was still in diapers and have only drafted three d-men in the first round ever. Nurse's size (6'5", 200 lbs) and physical play (he is described as both "aggressive" in his efforts to make plays happen, but is cool and collective in carrying them out) could be the kind of player the Oilers need to pair with recently-signed defensive prospect, Oscar Klefbom. Edmonton is certainly a team known for young forwards, but investing in a top young two-way defensemen could be the start of a balancing act to support all the offensive talent they have gathered in recent years and finally create a key to success.
|Elias Lindholm, C |
Brynas IF (SEL)
This is a perfect example of a team taking the best player available. The Sabres need a scoring winger and could use some help on the blueline as well but Lindholm, a natural center, is just too good to pass up at #8 overall. The 18-year old Boden, Sweden, native excelled this past season in THE ELITSERIEN. He finished third on his Brynas club with 30 points in 48 games and even tallied four points in six games at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. He could possibly step into the Sabres lineup right away but, with 2012 first round center Mikhail Grigorenko already in the system, he's likely to be moved to wing, tried out as the second line pivot or even be used as high-end trade bait, much like fellow-Swede phenom Filip Forsberg was by the Washington Capitals at last season's trade deadline.
|Hunter Shinkaruk, C |
Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
The GM is very tempted to add a blueliner here, especially with the availability of fast rising Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen both available, however, the player that has the most potential to fill the hole created by the loss of Zach Parise is Shinkaruk. The 5'10" 180 fireplug can play Center or Left Wing. He posted 86 goals and 91 assists over the past two seasons with the Tigers and many scouts have him ready to contribute sooner rather than later. Excellent hands, slick moves and a nasty streak portends well for this 18 year old.
|Nikita Zadorov |
London KNights (OHL)
Although the Stars signed Sergei Gonchar, they need to develop some strength and elite talent on their blue line. Gonchar’s signing give the Stars the time to allow Zadorov to develop and become NHL ready. He certainly posseses the size (6’5” 230 lbs) to make a physical impact. He enjoys the physical contact and skates well for his size. He is an average puck mover and needs to get better at reading plays on the breakout. The Stars have the potential elite blueliner they covet if Zadorov can improve in those areas and they are patient with his development..