Whatevers happened in the Swedish junior set up in recent years has...
2013 NHL Mock Draft
*All selections through 15-30 are in order of final standings, they will change after the playoffs*
1. Colorado Avalanche – Seth Jones, D, Portland Winterhawks
After a fantastic showing at the World Juniors in Ufa, Russia this winter, Seth Jones who has been projected to go 1 or 2 since last years draft, has help guide the Portland Winterhawks to the WHL Playoff Finals.
A defenseman with fantastic vision and a huge shot, Jones should be the top pick this year who could add to the youth of the Avalanche and help them on their way back to greatness.
2. Florida Panthers – Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax Moosheads
The Florida Panthers already drafted their star young centreman in Jonathan Huberdeau in 2011, so picking up Jonathan Drouin would be a great idea for this team who went from celebrating Southeast Division success last year, to last in the league this year.
Drouin is currently lighting the QMJHL on fire in the post season with some fantastic numbers, and all around out of this world numbers in his QMJHL career.
His quickness and intelligence would be a huge addition to any roster and it’s hard to see him falling out of the top three.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning – Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax Mooseheads
Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin should be going after eachother in the draft, but who goes first is purely down to the teams needs. With the Panthers already having Huberdeau I think they’ll take Drouin, but the Lightning wouldn’t be settling for second best with Nathan MacKinnon.
MacKinnon is a flashy centreman who has eyes for the net and eyes for other sticks, with 63 goals and 90 assists in 102 QMJHL games for the Halifax Mooseheads.
He’ll be able to add a whole number of different aspects to a team when he makes it to the NHL which would most likely be sooner rather than later.
4. Nashville Predators – Aleksander Barkov, C, Tappara
The highest ranked European skater should be going top 5, but could even crack the top three.
But heres why the Predators should take him.
They offloaded Martin Erat to the Washington Capitals at the deadline in return for Filip Forsberg who has all the makings of becoming a huge star in the league. Add centreman Aleksander Barkov to that mix and you’ve got a lethal combination for the future.
Barkov is a 6’2 210 pound Finnish centre who has 47 points in the SM-Liiga this season with Tappara and is the second youngest player to score in the World Juniors at 16 years and 4 months.
His superb vision and fantastic puck moving should see him becoming a star in the NHL, and the Predators would be wise to take him should he fall out of the top three.
5. Carolina Hurricanes – Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Chelyabinsk
The Hurricanes are stacked at centre, so missing out on Barkov shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if Russian Valeri Nichushkin is still available.
He’s 6’4 and 200 pounds and uses that size to dominate his opponents and should become a star in years to come.
The only downside is he is locked up for the next two years, staying in the KHL but the Hurricanes don’t really need him right away so that’s why it shouldn’t bother them to much.
6. Calgary Flames – Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas
Theres no real reason other than it’d be a crime to not pick Elias Lindholm if he’s still available for the Flames to pick him.
He’s a creative and hardworking Swedish centre who has already had some comparisons o the likes of Henrik Zetterberg.
Lindholm should be a top line centre for any team in the future, he’s agressive, fantastic at both ends of the ice and has a serious eye for goal.
7. Edmonton Oilers – Rasmus Ristolainen, D, TPS
The Oilers aren’t short of forwards, they’ve picked first the last three years and have themselves a LW, C and RW so it’s about time they picked up a blueliner.
Their also not short of skilled players so picking up a guy like 6’4 Fin, Rasmus Ristolainen should add an extra level of physicality that they need.
Ristolainen should easily becoming a top 2 defenseman in years to come because he has tremendous strength and also a huge offensive upside with 15 points this year in the SM-Liiga.
8. Buffalo Sabres – Darnell Nurse, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Where to start with Buffalo, they need a bit of help all over the place but starting with picking up Darnell Nurse would be huge.
If the Oilers decide to take Nurse then the Sabres would be just as well off picking up Ristolainen but I think Nurse would be a better fit in Buffalo.
He’s a physical, nasty piece of work who should become a shutdown defender on the top-line for any team, and not to mention his 41 points this year in the OHL.
Nurse and Ristolainen could end up in either Edmonton or Buffalo and both teams would benefit, I just think Nurse is the better fit for the Sabres.
9. New Jersey Devils – Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa 67s
The New Jersey Devils have gone from Eastern Conference Champions to not really challenging for a playoff spot so picking up some more offensive talent would be a step in the right direction.
Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67s would fit the bill nicely. A talented centre who helped a relatively weak 67s side this year was still able to register 48 points to take his OHL totals up to 203 points in 185 games.
He should be ready for the NHL sooner rather than later, and should easily become a top six forward quickly.
10. Dallas Stars – Hunter Shinkaruk, LW, Medicine Hat Tigers
Rounding off the top 10 is Hunter Shinkaruk who I think would work well in Dallas. The Stars have traded a few key guys lately and look to be in some form a re-build and Hunter Shinkaruk would be a fantastic pick up.
He could easily find himself as a top line winger in years to come and thanks to his speed and shooting ability he could find himself hunting for the Maurice Richard trophy at some point
11. Philadelphia Flyers – Nikita Zadorov, D, London Knights
Big, Tough, Physical. Three things you’d probably expect the Flyers to be attracted to, which is why I think that they’d be over the moon to pick up Nikita Zadorov.
He’s 6’5, 230 pounds and with a hell of a shot from the point which should see him picked just out of the top 10, unless someone sees fit to add this guy to their team.
For a big guy he has impressive skating and his vision is great, and the Flyers would certainly benefit from his play.
12. Phoenix Coyotes – Max Domi, C, London Knights
His father is Tie Domi. Now say what you will about Tie (preferably out of earshot of children) but you can’t say the same for his son.
One of the reasons Max Domi doesn’t crack the top 10 is his size, he’s only 5’10 and 190 pounds but he isn’t afraid to get in the dirty areas. He’s quick, posses a wicked shot and is on the rise, he scored 49 points in 11/12 which rose to 87 this season on a very strong London Knights team.
The Coyotes are stacked on D, Keith Yandle isn’t exactly old and they have Oliver Ekman-Larsson and David Rundblad could turn out to be something good for them so getting Max Domi and a centre seems the right call here.
However, his recent play in the OHL playoffs may see a team take him earlier than 12.
13. Winipeg Jets – Ryan Pulock, D, Brandon Wheat Kings
The Jets have Mark Scheifele on the way and I can’t think of anything negative about the kid, so I think the Jets would benefit from another stud but this time on D.
That’s why I have Ryan Pulock going to the Jets, he’s a solid puck mover with tremendous vision, He should easily crack an NHL roster soon.
Pulock is not just a fantastic D-Man, his offensive upside is huge, he has 147 points in the WHL in 195 games and should easily help out the Jets that looked so promising right up until the very end.
14. Columbus Blue Jackets – Valentin Zykov, Baie-Comeau Drakkar
One of the key figures in Baie-Comeaus run to the Presidents Cup final in the QMJHL, Valentin Zykov seems like one of those players that would just fit anywhere and he should become a top line sniper.
He’s quick, speedy, and handles the puck amazingly, and not to mention his shooting skills which saw him net 40 times in his first year in North American hockey.
The Blue Jackets could pick a D-Man such as Ryan Pulock if the Jets decide not to take him, but I think with a healthy Ryan Murray coming in and the young defenseman they already have, taking a forward can’t harm them.
15. New York Islanders – Anthony Mantha, RW, Val-d’Or Foreurs
Anthony Mantha is a true powerforward that has an eye for the net, he scored 50 goals in the QMJHL this year, the most in the league and could even see himself creep up the rankings should a team see him as the right fit.
The Islanders would benefit from a guy of his size, 6’4 to be precise. And not just his size, they’d benefit from his scoring abilities and the Islanders could definitely use that in their top six.
He’s got time to add to his 190 pounds and when he does, this kid will be unstoppable.
16. Buffalo Sabres (Via Minnesota Wild) – Frederik Gauthier, C, Rimouski Oceanic
Frederik Gauthier can play in every area, possibly the best two-way forward in the draft and at 16 he could be one of those mid-round guys that ends up better than some of the top picks given the right circumstances.
He’s 6’5 and 209 pounds so he could add size and toughness to the Sabres as well as goal scoring. He could end up as a leading penalty killer thanks to his ability to defend as well as attack.
17. Ottawa Senators – Josh Morrissey, D, Prince Albert Raiders
Morrissey is just returning from a fantastic run in the World Under 18s where is 7 points helped Canada on their way to the gold medal.
The 6’0 defender can run the powerplay with his great shot and intelligence, he knows when to jump up and when to stay back and should be a great offensive defensemen.
With the likes of Sergei Gonchar surely nearing the end of his NHL Career, this guy could step up to fill that gap in years to come.
18. Detroit Red Wings – Adam Erne, LW, Quebec Remparts
A hardworking winger, Adam Erne is a quick mover with a very high hockey IQ. He’d fit in with the Red Wings and should eventually find himself in their top six if they pick him.
He’s a tough guy to play against, he’s tough and isn’t afraid to go through you as well as dance around you. He probably would need some time to make the roster but when he does, if Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still around he’d be able to pick up some valuable experience from them and also be among those hidden gems the Red Wings have stored in the AHL.
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (Via New York Rangers) – Alexander Wennberg, C, Djurgardens
He probably won’t become a frequent first line centre for the Blue Jackets if they pick him, but Alexander Wennberg would certainly be filling a gap the Blue Jackets have had since the Marion Gaborik trade.
A strong two-way forward with tremendous offensive capabilities, the young Swede would definitely crack the top six in years to come.
The way the Blue Jackets played this year would suit Wennbergs style and although he’d probably spend a year or two over in Europe before coming over to the NHL, he’d fit right in with a good young group of guys who look to be on the rise.
20. San Jose Sharks – Bo Horvat, C, London Knights
Another player at the top of his game for the London Knights at the moment, Bo Horvat is a skilled guy with a lot of intensity that would fit with the Sharks.
Playing with guys like Logan Couture would certainly help Horvat’s development, and his willingness to get in the dirty areas would see him thrive with the Sharks and eventually crack the top six.
21. Washington Capitals – Robert Hagg, D, MODO
It’s no secret, the Capitals like Swedish players, Look at Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson, they drafted a Swede before trading him in Filip Forsberg so drafting a blueliner like Robert Hagg would be a good fit for the Capitals.
Hagg is a 6’2, 205 pound phsyical all-around defensemen who’s already playing against men in the Swedish Elite League.
The Capitals are renowned for their powerplay after this year and Robert Hagg would be key in maintaining its future success with his smart plays and quick thinking.
22. Toronto Maple Leafs – Ryan Hartman, RW, Plymouth Whalers
Toronto would be wise to pick the big, physical power forward that is Ryan Hartman. He’s not afraid to throw his weight around or drop the gloves and would be a good fit to the Leafs.
He’s mean, strong while also possessing a good offensive touch with 60 points in 56 games for the Plymouth Whalers this year.
23. Vancouver Canucks – Kerby Rychel, C, Windsor Spitfires
Kerby Rychel is a hugely skilled centre with his 87 points this year for the Windsor Spitfires, showcasing his ability not just to find the back of the net but also to help his teammates do the same.
He’ll add depth to any team that picks him and will eventually challenge for a top six spot and his physical play is something you can’t knock.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets (Via Los Angeles Kings) – Mirco Mueller, D, Everett Silvertips
If the Blue Jackets take a forward with the 14th pick in the draft, then they probably could take a defenseman with their second pick in the first round.
It makes sense for them to take Mirco Mueller, not just because he’s a great puck-mover with great composure in his own zone, but because of Ryan Murray.
The Blue Jackets took Ryan Murray second overall last year and Murray has been mentoring Mueller all year long as he was getting over a shoulder injury. With that kind of chemistry it’d just make sense to try and partner them up again.
25. Calgary Flames (Via St. Lous Blues) – Zachary Fucale, G, Halifax Mooseheads
Zachary Fucale has the talent to go almost anywhere in the first round but with goalies it’s all about which team needs him. With Mikka Kiprusoff ready to hang up his skates anyday now, then maybe the Flames should start working on his replacement in Zachary Fucale.
His poise in net is incredible and his numbers in the QMJHL just show the talent this kid possesses.
He had a .906% save percentage for the Halifax Mooseheads this year and appeared in 55 games so he’s used to a heavy workload and is set for a good future in net and he is easily the best goalie available this year.
26. Boston Bruins – Ian McCoshen, D, Waterloo Black Hawks
He’s 6’3, 207 pounds and only 17. McCoshen looks like he’d be a perfect fit with the Bruins who love their big players with a willingness to get physical and sometimes dirty.
McCosehn isn’t just a tough character, he’s also a point producing defenseman.
In 53 games for the Black Hawks in the USHL he had 44 points, 33 of which were assists.
One more reason why this makes sense for the Bruins? They won’t have to travel far to check his progress, McCoshen has committed himself to Boston College next year.
27. Montreal Canadiens – William Carrier, C/LW, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
The Montreal Canadiens completely turned their fortunes around this year, after getting the third pick in the 2012 Draft, they finished top of their division and look good going into the playoffs.
They should take someone with some size and speed and William Carrier is exactly that. He’s quick, agile and forechecks relentlessly and he can play anywhere upfront.
He might not make it to the top line but he’ll certainly be able to crack the top six with his puck moving and determination.
28. Anaheim Ducks – Nicolas Petan, C, Portland Winterhawks
Nicolas Petan has been in and out of the first round rankings all year but he should go late in the round I think.
He’s shown his scoring abilities for the Winterhawks with 46 goals and 120 points this year so he can produce, but he might find himself going late in the round because of his size, he’s 5’9 and 166 pounds so he’d have to get bigger.
If he does, he could be a glorious catch for a late round team like Anaheim.
29. Calgary Flames (Via Pittsburgh Penguins) – J.T. Compher, C, US-NTDP
The Calgary Flames could trade their picks but if they’re in a re-build then keeping them all would be a great way to start.
Picking a guy like J.T. Compher would also be a good start. He;s a dynamic offensive threat with great vision and passing abilities.
He’s recently wrapped up the World Under 18 Junior Championships with the USA where he lead the team with 7 points on their way to a silver medal and looks like a good solid player for the future.
30. Chicago Blackhawks – Andre Burakovsky, LW, Malmo
Andre Burakovsky can see himself going late in the first round or early in the second and the Blackhawks would be a decent prospect. He’s another talented Swedish forward, coming from a junior set up that seems to have them crawling out of the wall.
He’s quick, a good puck handler and talented with his stick, and should be able to adapt to the NHL with some changes.
He’s likely to end up as a top six guy but may find himself in the bottom six for a while before he does so but he is a promising prospect who should be able to put up points when called upon.