2013 NHL Draft – The Writers’ Mock Draft

The NHL’s annual Entry Draft is a wonderful time of year. Young players try their best to impress NHL clubs with the goal of being chosen by one of them, while pundits and fans alike speculate about what future stars will join their organizations.

Here at The Hockey Writers, we’ve allowed our resident writers to put on their general manager hats and compiled a mock draft based upon their selections. Your mileage may vary.

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is a highly touted defenseman in this year’s draft [photo: David Chan]

#1: Colorado Avalanche select D Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

Nathan MacKinnon has become the sexy pick ever since the Memorial Cup Final, but the correct pick for the Avalanche to make is Seth Jones. They have too many centers on the team and in their system right now and the need for upgrades on the defense are so obvious it hurts to even think about. Defense is a big need for the Avs in both the short and long term. They need defenders who can make good decisions coming out of their own zone, crisp exit passes to start the rush the other way, a smooth enough skater to join the rush but still be able to get back, and a big shot from the point. Seth Jones is all of those things, and absolutely should be the first overall selection. [Kevin Goff]

#2: Florida Panthers select F Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

As noted above, MacKinnon is the sexy pick but Drouin is the best scoring winger available and shouldn’t be passed on by Tallon and the Panthers. Drouin averaged nearly half a point per game more than his teammate MacKinnon with 2.14 points per game over 49 games compared to MacKinnon’s 1.70 points per game in 44 games with Halifax last season. With Stephen Weiss, Peter Mueller, and Shawn Matthias all potential testing the free agent market the Panthers should grab Drouin to add scoring punch to a squad that finished dead last in goals for per game last season. With Huberdeau at center, and Drouin alongside him at the left wing spot the Panthers could have one of the NHL’s top lines for years to come. [Luke Dixon]

#3: Tampa Bay Lightning select F Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

The last of the big three slips to third overall, where he’s snapped up by the Lightning. Given the similarities between MacKinnon and Lightning GM Steve Yzerman, it’s a great fit. The Lightning are always in need of high-end offensive talent, particularly to replace their aging stars, and getting a player like MacKinnon who’s so similar to Sidney Crosby is a boon. They both have a similar physical build – robust, stocky with remarkable lower body power resulting in supreme acceleration and aggressive edges. Both MacKinnon and Crosby have a natural born ability to perform in clutch situations. They have a superior will to strive to be the best and will to win. [Chris Ralph]

#4: Nashville Predators select F Aleksander Barkov of Tappara (SM-liiga)

The Preds haven’t had a pick this high in eons but definitely have Barkov targeted as their guy here at no. 4 unless they can swing a deal and package this pick & some players for Evgeni Malkin; Nashville has solidified their blueline & have always needed scoring help. Adding Barkov to a roster that already has young guns Filip Forsberg & Craig Smith gives them three solid, scoring threats who could make a major impact next season. Barkov has already been playing (well) against grown men in Finland, and is responsible enough in his own zone that he could start the 2013-14 season with the Preds. Having been compared to Mikko Koivu, Nashville would sign up for that kind of production in a heartbeat as they look to rebound from a down season. [Dan Rice]

#5: Carolina Hurricanes select D Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Nurse is big, strong and creates space for his teammates. For a Hurricanes organization high on speed and skill but perhaps a bit lacking on guys like Darnell Nurse, he’s a great fit. [pick by Jeff Cox]

#6: Calgary Flames select F Elias Lindholm of Brynäs (Elitserien)

With a few strong players available at sixth overall, the Flames opt to go with the player with the most pure skill and the highest ceiling. While he may not be immediately available to the Flames, Lindholm has been very strong as a teenager in a top-end men’s league in Sweden and brings a great amount of work ethic and creativity to the Flames organization. He continues a long Flames connection with Sweden, dating back to the great Håkan Loob and continuing today on the main roster with Mikael Backlund. [Ryan Pike]

#7: Edmonton Oilers select D Nikita Zadorov of the London Knights (OHL)

Zadorov is a defenseman with size and speed that most NHL GMs covet. He was ranked as my number one defenseman in this year’s draft in large part because of his size. Zadorov is a very physical defenseman that will fit in place with newly minted head coach Dallas Eakins’ aggressive play calling. Zadorov has great leadership skills demonstrated during his time with the London Knights. He had a solid Memorial Cup with two points in five games. Zadorov reminds me of a young Zdeno Chara and that is hard to turn down for any team. [Mark Wallace Graham]

#8: Buffalo Sabres select F Valeri Nichushkin of Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)

Though there is no question the Sabres blueline needs work, Valeri Nichushkin is an offensive dynamo who is simply too talented to pass up on. The Sabres were more than happy to scoop up a Russian talent in last year’s draft in Mikhail Grigorenko, and this year is no different. Nichushkin, at 6-foot-4, 202 pounds, is a prototypical power forward who has already spent two seasons playing against men in the KHL. He’s already stated his intent to immediate come across the pond so the Russian Factor here is of little concern. The size, skill and speed that Nichushkin and Grigorenko both possess as teens will make the Sabres very fun to watch in the coming years. [Nathan Kanter]

#9: New Jersey Devils select F Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

The Devils couldn’t find a replacement for Zach Parise in the 2012-2013 UFA pool; have they found one in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft? I believe they have. [Billy Sunshine]

#10: Dallas Stars select F Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67s (OHL)

Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67's [photo: David Chan]

Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67’s [photo: David Chan]

Lacking depth and talent down the middle, the Stars are ecstatic that a player of Monahan’s caliber drops down to 10th. Big, smart and highly skilled, Monahan provides an ideal complement to Jamie Benn, Brett Ritchie, Alex Chiasson and other big, young forwards that the Stars are grooming in their system. Monahan instantly becomes Dallas’ top forward prospect, but will have plenty of time to mature and develop into his full potential. [Derek Neumeier]

#11: Philadelphia Flyers select D Rasmus Ristolainen of TPS Turku (SM-liiga)

With the tumultuous defensive situation currently going on in Philadelphia, the Flyers feel it is wise to select an NHL-ready defenseman that shows just as much skill as a player like Seth Jones. Ristolainen fits that bill to a “T”.

For the past two years, he’s played in the Finnish men’s league and started his career as a 17-year old.  He possesses tremendous skills on both sides of the puck, can lead the rush up ice, but also stay back and shut down the opposition. Ristolainen will be the Flyers top prospect at any position and will look to make an impact in the NHL as early as next year. [Shawn Reznik]

#12: Phoenix Coyotes select F Anthony Mantha of the Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)

The Coyotes are deep on defence, and with Mike Smith in net they should be solid there for years to come. Long-time captain Shane Doan’s years are numbered, they will need a replacement upon his departure and Mantha fits the bill. With his 6’4″ frame, Mantha has the potential to develop into a good power forward. He also has offensive upside tallying 50 goals and 89 points in 67 games this season. The right winger would be a great fit alongside Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal. [Jamie Shinkewski]

#13: Winnipeg Jets select F Max Domi of the London Knights (OHL)

The Jets need scoring, and Domi’s dynamic offensive ability is just what the doctor ordered. His stock has risen thanks to stellar play in the Memorial Cup and Domi’s speed and grit makes him a perfect fit to play with Evander Kane. He’s not the biggest guy but his speed makes up for it. He has a tireless work ethic and he can get under an opponents skin as easily as he can put the puck in the net. Imagine a 1-2 punch of Domi and Mark Scheifele down the middle in Winnipeg. [Marcy di Michele]

#14: Columbus Blue Jackets select F Bo Horvat of the London Knights (OHL)

Bo Horvat was seen as a late first-rounder at best when his OHL season started. Now, Horvat is top ten material. At fourteenth overall, the Columbus Blue Jackets are pleased to select a dynamic two-way forward. Horvat has climbed draft rankings throughout the season, and being picked in the middle of the first round is his reward. With this being the first of the Jackets’ three first round selections, Horvat adds an element of clutch scoring ability and solid defensive play to Columbus’ prospect cupboard. [David O’Connor]

#15: New York Islanders select F Valentin Zykov of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)

Zykov had quite a first season in the QMJHL and certainly helped his draft prospects by tallying 75 points (40 goals, 35 assists) in 67 games. At 6’0″ and 207 lbs., the Islanders could certainly use Zykov’s big frame in the near future if he does pan out. Not only can Zykov open up play on the ice for others because of his dimensions, his soft hands make him a threat whenever he has the puck. [Toli Metter]

#16: Buffalo Sabres select D Ryan Pulock from the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

After taking a skilled forward with their first pick, the Sabres opt to buff up their blueline with the best defenseman available. Ryan Pulock has a cannon of a shot, which can hopefully help turn around what was an abysmal powerplay for Buffalo this season. He is a natural leader who also plays a physical game and with a late birthday and three years of major junior already under his belt, he’ll have a chance of making the team right out of camp. [Nathan Kanter]

Morgan Klimchuk (Brad Watson/WHL)

Morgan Klimchuk (Brad Watson/WHL)

#17: Ottawa Senators select F Morgan Klimchuk from the Regina Pats (WHL)

Ottawa made a playoff run despite being 27th in the NHL in scoring, and 20th on the power play.  Fortunately, they had superb play in net, ranked 2nd in goals against and had the top penalty kill in the league. However, you can thrive on 2-1 victories only so long in the NHL, and the Sens need some offensive punch.

Klimchuk notched 76 points in 72 games for a bad Regina squad, and validated that result by scoring 8 points in 7 games at the World Under-18s.  He is not big, but not small (like Nicolas Petan), and the advantage of playing on a bad team is that he has been exposed to every situation.  With international experience, good hands and a scoring eye, Klimchuk could contribute immediately. [Jeff Little]

#18: Detroit Red Wings select D Robert Hägg of MODO (Elitserien)

For the first time in three years, the Red Wings actually have a first round draft pick and for the first time since 2005 its in the top 20. Just like the last time (Jakub Kindl at 19th) the Wings need to add a defenceman. With the departures of three of their top four defencemen over the past two season, including the top powerplay unit of Brian Rafalski and Nicklas Lidstrom, the Wings need offence from the blueline.  Hagg brings that dimension with tallying 11 goals and 24 points in 28 games for the junior Modo squad. He also tallied a goal and an assist winning a silver medal at the World Juniors as a 17 year old. He also appeared in 27 games for Modo in the elite league. Don’t expect to see him in the NHL with the Wings soon. Just ask Kindl and Brendan Smith, they like their prospects well-seasoned. [Jamie Shinkewski]

#19: Columbus Blue Jackets select G Zachary Fucale of the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Zach Fucale is the best goaltender available in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. With three first-rounders, Columbus is more than willing to take a chance on a netminder five picks after taking Bo Horvat. Sergei Bobrovsky’s future in Ohio is questionable, and while he’s the man right now, Fucale should be ready after just a couple more seasons. The Jackets are happy to jump all over the goalie who no one is really expecting to be taken in this spot. [David O’Connor]

#20: San Jose Sharks select F Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

The Sharks are a deep team with some aging forwards, so adding the skilled Erne from Quebec suits their needs quite well. [pick by Kyle Phillippi]

#21: Toronto Maple Leafs select F Frédérik Gauthier of the Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)

The big centreman that the Leafs have been looking for the past few years. Although he may not be an elite scoring threat, scoring under a point a game in the QMJHL this season. He is a big body up the middle, a need Toronto is so desperate to fill. Gauthier plays a two-way game that translates to the NHL very nicely, whether it be in a top 6 or bottom 6 role, he has the potential for the former and the grit to play the latter well too. [Matt Douglas]

#22: Calgary Flames select F Ryan Hartman of the Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

Speed, size, leadership and grit. Hard to play against and with championship experience already thanks to the World Juniors, Hartman fills a huge hole in the Flames developmental system. Oh, and he’s American, too. [Ryan Pike]

#23: Washington Capitals select F Alexander Wennberg of Djurgården (HockeyAllsvenskan)

The Capitals have a long-standing tendency t0 select skilled Europeans in the first round and the talented Wennberg, who has pro experience and medals at the U18 and U20 levels, suits their needs rather well. [pick by Matthew Speck]

#24: Vancouver Canucks select F Curtis Lazar of the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Curtis Lazar (Shoot the Breeze Photography)

Curtis Lazar (Shoot the Breeze Photography)

Lazar is not going to wow you with highlight reel dangles and video game style goals but he is one of the more solid players in th draft. He has tremendous speed, an accurate and heavy shot and plays hard each shift. While not the best play maker one wonders if a winger position is in his future, either way he could end up as a solid second line player who will score a bit for you and play at both ends of the ice. This is the type of player Mike Gillis has prefered to bring into Vancouver. [Andy Eide]

#25: Montreal Canadiens select F Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

Rychel is an agressive two-way forward who scored 41 goals this season for a hapless Windsor Spitfires team. Rychel will bring some grit and physicality that Montreal needs. He will be a welcome addition to a future line consisting of Brandon Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. [Mark Wallace Graham]

#26: Anaheim Ducks select D Josh Morrissey of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

The Ducks need some depth at the blue line and they got a smart, offensive minded blueliner in Morrissey. He has a great shot and watch out when you are on the open ice with him because he will lay a heavy hit on you. Needs timne to develop, so don’t expect to see too much of him in Anaheim this season, but will grow to become a top four defenseman. [Mark Wallace Graham]

#27: Columbus Blue Jackets select D Samuel Morin of the Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)

Samuel Morin has been called a top ten pick by some, and a late first-rounder by many more. Of course, there are also people who believe he isn’t worth taking in the first round. Having already taken a high-class forward and the draft’s best available goaltender, the Jackets look to add size to their blueline with the selection of Morin. At six-foot-six, 200 pounds, Morin’s size and skating, combined with his raw potential, make him a player Columbus can be proud to select. [David O’Connor]

#28: Calgary Flames select F Nic Petan of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

The Flames are desperate for high-end skill and while Petan is a bit smaller than most, he’s very talented. Calgary’s got two other picks in the first round to grab bigger guys, so they can gamble on a smaller guy with their final first round pick. [Ryan Pike]

#29: Dallas Stars select F J.T. Compher of the U.S. National Development Team (USHL)

After taking Sean Monahan at 10th, the Stars continue to bolster their prospect pool at forward by adding the USNTDP’s top player, J.T. Compher. Offensively talented, a noted leader, and able to play both wing and center, Compher gives the Stars a reliable, versatile forward that will fit perfectly into the team’s future plans. [Derek Neumeier]

#30: Chicago Blackhawks select D Mirco Mueller from the Everett Silvertips (WHL)

It’s entirely possible that the Blackhawks try to move the pick, but for all intents and purposes if Mirco Mueller is available, expect them to use the draft pick. At 6’4″ and 185 pounds, Mueller has a great frame to utilize at the pro level. His size, combined with his skating ability and hockey IQ give the Blackhawks development system a combination of talent that they have never had the opportunity to culture before. With the forward position filled to the brim and the organization forced to make decisions on the future of Shawn Lalonde, Ryan Stanton, and Joe Lavin over the off-season along with top prospects Dylan Olsen, Stephen Johns, and Adam Clendening on the brink of graduating to NHL action in the near future, the Blackhawks will have to start thinking about restocking their system with top defensive prospects sooner rather than later. Goaltending also exposes a similar weakness within the system, but unless they can grab top goaltender Zachary Fucale, I wouldn’t expect them to use their first pick to help that position in the 2013 draft. [Ton DeFrancesco]

Ryan Pike