The mock draft: it’s full of fun, and full of things that probably won’t happen.
Nevertheless, mock drafts can become an addiction. You read one on one site, then you move on to the next one. And the next one. And The Next Ones.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of mock drafts. But requests have gotten the better of me.
A couple notes up front:
- These are not player rankings. Just because you see a player go outside the top ten does not mean he’s not a top ten player.
- The order of teams is based on first round picks not being traded any longer.
- Colorado is going to select first overall in this mock because you will have absolutely no idea what Patrick Roy and Joe Sakic are going to do until they tell us. Good on them.
With those points in mind, here is A June 2013 NHL Mock Draft.
1. Nate MacKinnon F (Halifax Mooseheads) (QMJHL)
Nate MacKinnon is the best player available in this draft. MacKinnon’s collection of assets is outstanding, and it makes him one of Canada’s best prospects in years. Drafting a defenseman first overall is not in the best long-term interests of the Colorado Avalanche. If a team can’t find a place for MacKinnon on their roster, regardless of how many centers they may or may not already have, there’s a problem. MacKinnon deserves to go first. End of story.
2. Seth Jones D (Portland Winterhawks) (WHL)
Seth Jones is the best defenseman up for selection. We all know that. But because of it, Jones shouldn’t be going first overall. It’s unfortunate, and it’s not his fault, but that’s just hockey business. Defensemen have a harder time transitioning to the next level, and that’s just the way it is. Having said that, because Jones is one of the best defensive prospects the NHL has seen in years, the Florida Panthers are happy to snatch him up and add a cornerstone to their blueline.
Jonathan Drouin could go first overall in a lot of drafts, but it likely won’t work that way in this one. Vision is the primary piece of Drouin’s game. His rise from midget hockey to the QMJHL is almost a fairytale story. The only reason it can’t be a fairytale is because Drouin actually made it happen. A playmaking winger such as Drouin alongside Steven Stamkos would be a treat to watch each game. Tampa Bay may have a great possibility at making it happen.
4. Aleksander Barkov F (Tappara) (Finland)
Reports have surfaced that the Colorado Avalanche have set their target on Barkov, but he doesn’t work well at first overall. For the sake of this mock draft, picks aren’t being traded, so we’re assuming Colorado remains at number one. That leaves Barkov for the Preds’ taking at four. Barkov is a two-way forward already built like a man, and he’s ready to step into the NHL. For Nashville, he could be a key to their top-six for the next ten years.
Valeri Nichuskin would be a candidate for first overall in a lot of years. Much like Drouin, it’s just his luck that he’ll only go in the first round. There’s a chance Nichuskin drops in the draft very much the way Mikhail Grigorenko did last year. In fact, I had Grigorenko mocked at fifth overall as well. In this case, Nichuskin in a ‘Canes jersey would just look too good.
6. Elias Lindholm F (Brynas) (Sweden)
Elias Lindholm is one of the prospects people don’t know a lot about but really should. Lindholm is almost a “sleeper.” Except for, well, he has top five talent. At sixth overall, Calgary picks up a player with talent at both ends of the rink. Lindholm can provide offense, but can also be relied upon in his own zone. This pick likely comes down to either Lindholm or Sean Monahan. Here, we go with the Swede.
7. Darnell Nurse D (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) (OHL)
The Oilers have picked a whole lot of elite forwards in recent years’ first rounds. It’s time for their defense to add a booster. And in comes Darnell Nurse. He’s a package of size, physicality, shutdown play, and underrated offensive ability. Nurse is a smooth-skating blueliner who still needs a season or two of Ontario Hockey League development, but is very close to being NHL-ready. The upside here is phenomenal.
Some might say this is a little high for Hunter Shinkaruk. But the slightly-undersized forward has shown his goal scoring prowess; it’s something the Buffalo Sabres may need very soon. Buffalo drafted two big forwards in in last year’s first round; this time around, a winger such as Shinkaruk fits the mold. Many believe Monahan goes before Shinkaruk, but this could be a great fit.
Scouts have said Monahan is the most NHL-ready player in the OHL, and that he’s virtually guaranteed to be in the pros next season. With the Devils, Monahan’s pro dream may become a reality very quickly. New Jersey has a history of bringing their top draft picks into big league action ahead of schedule; Monahan could be next. A two-way forward like Monahan would be ideal.
10. Max Domi F (London Knights) (OHL)
Max Domi would be a top five pick if he was a couple inches taller than five-foot-nine. But luckily for Dallas, Domi isn’t much taller than that, so the Stars have the opportunity to make a splash and take the son of a legendary NHL enforcer. Domi is used to high-profile markets, but would receive chances to shine his light in Texas and turn himself into a fan favourite.
“Hey, so the Flyers need defense.” Thanks tips. With a clear need for a blueline prospect, Philadelphia may have to narrow this one down between Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov. Here, they choose Ristolainen, a Finnish prospect with huge upside. Ristolainen may find himself playing in the NHL next season; the Flyers could find it easy to make it happen.
It’s tough to win CHL Rookie of the Year and still have no one know about your game. Valentin Zykov has somehow managed to do that. Perhaps it’s been that he plays in Baie-Comeau; maybe it’s just that he’s too much of a hidden jewel. Whatever it is, Phoenix could see a diamond in a unique rough, and Zykov could find himself on a plane to Arizona.
Winnipeg doesn’t need another top prospect down the middle at the moment. And with Jacob Trouba at the top of their defense system, they don’t really need a top D either. A winger: that’s the need. Anthony Mantha, an elite QMJHL goal-scorer, can fill the void at wing for the Jets. And at six-foot-four, 190 pounds, Mantha is only going to get bigger.
14. Bo Horvat F (London Knights) (OHL)
Bo Horvat started the season with an outside chance at being taken in the first round. Now, Horvat is being called a serious top ten candidate. While it doesn’t happen here, the Blue Jackets are thrilled to see him available in the middle of the first round. This being the first of their three first round picks, Columbus make Horvat the premier piece of their draft.
15. Zach Fucale G (Halifax Mooseheads) (QMJHL)
Here goes the first big pick of the draft. Zach Fucale is the best goaltender available – we know that. But why the Islanders, you ask? Well, simply put, Long Island isn’t going to all of a sudden start attracting marquee free agent goalies. So, GM Garth Snow takes advantage of this possibility and makes it happen. Fucale adds serious meat to New York’s crease.
People don’t know a whole lot about Wennberg in North America. But scouts know enough about him to understand he’ll be grabbed quickly in this draft. Wennberg could bring a new dimension of speed to Buffalo. Combined with Shinkaruk, the Sabres find themselves with two great forwards in the first round.
The next high-class defenseman in this draft goes to the Ottawa Senators. Some might say this would be quite a fall for the massive Russian, but joining the Sens would be a fantastic move for his future. With Cody Ceci already in the system, Zadorov brings size and raw potential to an already solid group. Oh hey, Erik Karlsson. Meet Nikita.
18. Curtis Lazar F (Edmonton Oil Kings) (WHL)
Curtis Lazar is the type of player who would fit like a perfect puzzle piece in Detroit. The Red Wings have a long history of depth in their bottom six consisting of top six players. Lazar could be the next to join the line. If he can’t find a spot on Detroit’s top two lines in a few years’ time, Lazar would find plenty of ice time on Motown’s third.
Andre Burakovsky is another Swede who has yet to make his name heard across North America. Burakovsky has been inconsistent this season; at times he looks like an elite talent, while at others he’s not a first-rounder. But since Columbus has three first round selections, they can afford to take a chance on Burakovsky. Count him as off the board.
San Jose’s system of prospects is so bad that they can just take the best player available and not concern themselves with positional need. Josh Morrissey is that player. Morrissey has the potential to be a top powerplay point man in just a couple years. Scouts of the WHL believe he’s highly underrated, and feel he could be a real steal in this draft.
Frederik Gauthier is a very large young man. Place him in the middle of the ice, and he rapidly becomes a whole lot bigger. Toss him in the media circus that is Toronto sports, and Gauthier finds himself seemingly a head taller than everyone else. Gauthier has been inconsistent, but like all young prospects, is learning more about his game each day.
Mirco Mueller is ranked very high in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. They list him as a top ten player. But somehow, Mueller finds his way to Calgary at number twenty-two. And the Flames couldn’t be happier. Their defensive system needs a whole lot of work, and Mueller adds a great future to their pool.
23. Ryan Pulock D (Brandon Wheat Kings) (WHL)
Ryan Pulock has been all over the charts this season. Sometimes he’s a top ten pick, sometimes he’s mid-second round, and sometimes he’s out of the first round. For Washington, Pulock can be the guy who adds multiple defensive elements to their system. Pulock isn’t all that big, but has leadership qualities that would certainly be respected in the nation’s capital.
The Q has found themselves with a creamy crop for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. William Carrier is next to fall in this first round. The Canucks find themselves in a best-player-available scenario, and opt to take the intriguing Carrier. The La Salle, Quebec native only played in about thirty games this year, but has shown his vast potential.
25. Kerby Rychel F (Windsor Spitfires) (OHL)
Kerby Rychel is the son of former NHLer Warren, and is also on path to have a solid professional career. Rychel goes twenty-fifth overall to Montreal in this mock because of his scoring ability and personality that would fit well in the Canadiens’ crazy market. Well sized and skilled, Rychel will probably be a long-term project.
26. Shea Theodore D (Seattle Thunderbirds) (WHL)
Shea Theodore has found himself listed outside the first round this season, but it’s happening to more and more players every day. As such, Theodore proves the doubters wrong and goes in the first round to the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are strong down the middle and at wing, so a defensive addition makes the most sense in this position.
27. Samuel Morin D (Rimouski Oceanic) (QMJHL)
Here we go again: the Blue Jackets are up and making noise. This time it’s Samuel Morin going to Columbus. Morin’s huge frame gives him upside that’s bigger than he is. At this point in the first round, Columbus has already made a couple forward picks; it’s time for defense. Morin adds new size to their depth of blueliners.
28. Ian McCoshen D (Waterloo Black Hawks) (USHL)
Ian McCoshen becomes the first member of the United States Hockey League to go in this draft. McCoshen has consistently been considered a first round pick, and doesn’t let anyone down by going to Calgary. He becomes the third new Flame of this draft, and their second defenseman chosen. This can be called a safe pick.
Dillion Heatherington is a first round pick on some days, a mid-second-rounder on others. At this point, he’s used to it. Fortunately for him, Chicago steps up and takes him high. He won’t put up a pile of points, but the Blackhawks don’t need that from him. A steady presence on the back end is what he can bring, and the Hawks take him with full expectations of it.
Note that this pick originally belonged to the Boston Bruins and was acquired in the Jaromir Jagr trade. Adam Erne has been shunned for attitude issues, and it’s why he drops in this mock. But the Stars choose to not be judgemental and take him with the last pick of the first round. Dallas is going for a fresh start with their new logo; Erne sees the same opportunity.
So there we have a June 2013 NHL mock draft. It was filled with interesting moves, and hopefully it provided entertainment. All we can do now is wait until June 30 in Newark, New Jersey. It’s guaranteed to be a great day for somebody.