NHL Mock Drafts Revisited: 5 Takeaways from 2013

Hindsight is always helpful, often enlightening, and sometimes humorous too.

In the build-up to my seventh annual NHL mock draft — to be published the morning after the Stanley Cup is handed out in June — I’ve decided to revisit my results over the last six years and provide five takeaways from each of those drafts.

I will highlight my steals and misses, the good and the bad — even the ugly. It should be a fun trip down memory lane for better or worse. There will be humbling reflections and perhaps some boasting too.

For the first three years — 2012, 2013 and 2014 — I was mocking on my own blog site prior to joining THW for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 drafts.

I started by mocking only the first round in 2012, then expanded to two rounds for 2013, before returning to one round in 2014 when I did two versions — one with potential trades and one without.

For THW, I mocked three rounds for 2015 and then attempted all seven rounds for 2016 and 2017, which will be the case again this year as I try to predict all 217 picks while providing at least 100 honourable mentions.

That’s something to look forward to, but let’s flash back to 2013.

Mock Draft

1) Colorado Avalanche — Nathan MacKinnon (C, Canada, Halifax QMJHL)

2) Florida Panthers — Seth Jones (RHD, USA, Portland WHL)

3) Tampa Bay Lightning — Jonathan Drouin (RW, Canada, Halifax QMJHL)

4) Nashville Predators — Aleksander Barkov (C, Finland, Tappara)

5) Carolina Hurricanes — Darnell Nurse (LHD, Canada, Sault Ste. Marie OHL)

6) Calgary Flames — Elias Lindholm (C, Sweden, Brynas)

7) Edmonton Oilers — Sean Monahan (C, Canada, Ottawa OHL)

8) Buffalo Sabres — Valeri Nichushkin (LW, Russia, Chelijabinsk)

9) New Jersey Devils — Bo Horvat (C, Canada, London OHL)

10) Dallas Stars — Hunter Shinkaruk (C/RW, Canada, Medicine Hat WHL)

11) Philadelphia Flyers — Nikita Zadorov (LHD, Russia, London OHL)

12) Phoenix Coyotes — Curtis Lazar (C, Canada, Edmonton WHL)

13) Winnipeg Jets — Max Domi (C/LW, Canada, London OHL)

14) Columbus Blue Jackets — Frederik Gauthier (C, Canada, Rimouski QMJHL)

15) New York Islanders — Rasmus Ristolainen (RHD, Finland, Turku)

16) Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota) — Zachary Fucale (G, Canada, Halifax QMJHL)

17) Ottawa Senators — Alexander Wennberg (C, Sweden, Djurgardens)

18) Detroit Red Wings — Valentin Zykov (RW, Russia, Baie-Comeau QMJHL)

19) Columbus Blue Jackets (from N.Y. Rangers) — Ryan Pulock (RHD, Canada, Brandon WHL)

20) San Jose Sharks — Andre Burakovsky (LW, Sweden, Malmo)

21) Toronto Maple Leafs — Anthony Mantha (LW, Canada, Val d’Or QMJHL)

22) Calgary Flames (from St. Louis) — Josh Morrissey (LHD, Canada, Prince Albert WHL)

23) Washington Capitals — Samuel Morin (LHD, Canada, Rimouski QMJHL)

24) Vancouver Canucks — Shea Theodore (LHD, Canada, Seattle WHL)

25) Montreal Canadiens — Michael McCarron (C/RW, USA, U18 NTDP)

26) Anaheim Ducks — Kerby Rychel (LW, Canada/USA, Windsor OHL)

27) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles) — Robert Hagg (LHD, Sweden, Modo)

28) Calgary Flames (from Pittsburgh) — Morgan Klimchuk (LW, Canada, Regina WHL)

29) Dallas Stars (from Boston) — Mirco Mueller (D, Switzerland, Everett WHL)

30) Chicago Blackhawks — Steve Santini (RHD, USA, U18 NTDP)

NHL Draft

1) Colorado Avalanche — Nathan MacKinnon

2) Florida Panthers — Aleksander Barkov

3) Tampa Bay Lightning — Jonathan Drouin

4) Nashville Predators — Seth Jones

5) Carolina Hurricanes — Elias Lindholm

6) Calgary Flames — Sean Monahan

7) Edmonton Oilers — Darnell Nurse

8) Buffalo Sabres — Rasmus Ristolainen

9) Vancouver Canucks (from New Jersey) — Bo Horvat

10) Dallas Stars — Valeri Nichushkin

11) Philadelphia Flyers — Samuel Morin

12) Phoenix Coyotes — Max Domi

13) Winnipeg Jets — Josh Morrissey

14) Columbus Blue Jackets — Alexander Wennberg

15) New York Islanders — Ryan Pulock

16) Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota) — Nikita Zadorov

17) Ottawa Senators — Curtis Lazar

18) San Jose Sharks (from Detroit) — Mirco Mueller

19) Columbus Blue Jackets (from N.Y. Rangers) — Kerby Rychel

20) Detroit Red Wings (from San Jose) — Anthony Mantha

21) Toronto Maple Leafs — Frederik Gauthier

22) Calgary Flames (from St. Louis) — Emile Poirier (LW, Canada, Gatineau QMJHL)

23) Washington Capitals — Andre Burakovsky

24) Vancouver Canucks — Hunter Shinkaruk

25) Montreal Canadiens — Michael McCarron

26) Anaheim Ducks — Shea Theodore

27) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles) — Marko Dano (C, Austria/Slovakia, Bratislava Slovan KHL)

28) Calgary Flames (from Pittsburgh) — Morgan Klimchuk

29) Dallas Stars (from Boston) — Jason Dickinson (C, Canada, Guelph OHL)

30) Chicago Blackhawks — Ryan Hartman (LW, USA, U18 NTDP)

5 Hits

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Nathan MacKinnon was the consensus No. 1 pick in 2013 and he lived up to that billing by lighting it up for the Colorado Avalanche in becoming a Hart Trophy finalist this season.

This was one of my better years in terms of being bang-on with five of my first-round predictions: MacKinnon at No. 1, Drouin at No. 3, Horvat at No. 9, McCarron at No. 25 and Klimchuk at No. 28.

That’s impressive, though it should be noted that the pick used on Horvat was traded on the draft floor when the Canucks sent Cory Schneider to the Devils straight up for ninth overall. That deal has worked out well for both teams and I’m still taking credit for getting that one right.

4 Misses

(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Ryan Hartman snuck into the first round in 2013 and has since fetched a first-round pick for the Chicago Blackhawks in getting traded to the rival Nashville Predators at the 2018 deadline.

I’ve never been perfect, but in 2014 I only had four misses with Fucale, Zykov, Hagg and Santini falling out of the first round in favour of Poirier, Dano, Dickinson and Hartman.

Goalies take longer to develop, but it’s probably safe to label Fucale a bust at this point. Poirier is entering that territory as well. For the record, Fucale went at No. 36 to Montreal but remains quite far down the Canadiens’ depth chart.

The other six are still working to establish themselves as NHL regulars, but all of them have got at least a cup of coffee to date over the last five years.

Hagg, who went to Philadelphia at No. 41, and Santini, to New Jersey at No. 42, have 71 and 75 NHL regular-season games on their respective resumes.

Valentin Zykov Hurricanes
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Carolina Hurricanes forward Valentin Zykov, seen here screening the New York Rangers goaltender, has discovered his scoring touch and could still prove to be a steal in the second round.

Zykov, selected at No. 37 by Los Angeles and later traded to Carolina, has only played 12 games but has produced eight points, including four goals. He had a breakout year in the AHL, leading the league with 33 goals in just 63 games prior to his call-up. Keep an eye on him for next season with the Hurricanes.

Aside from Fucale, my picks weren’t bad by any means in 2013. For those curious, I had Poirier (49), Dano (53), Dickinson (51) and Hartman (37) all going in the second round.

Close Calls

nhl milestones
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Rasmus Ristolainen was my only miss inside the top 10 in 2013.

I was on a roll in the top 10, getting nine of the names right and coming close on the order too. My lone mistake was Shinkaruk (10 to 24) over Ristolainen (15 to 8) — a glaring one on both fronts when looking back.

As you can see, I was 7-for-7 on the names from the outset, which deserves a pat on the back or at least a stick tap.

In a lot of cases throughout the top 30, my predictions were off by just a spot or two — see Domi and Mantha as two examples. I was dialed in for the most part and I can certainly feel more pride than shame.

Give me an A for effort.

Regrettable Choices

Hunter Shinkaruk
Hunter Shinkaruk was a dynamic scorer in junior for the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, but he hasn’t panned out as a pro and can probably be considered a bust at this point in his career.

Some teams would have been better off going with my suggestions. This one is debatable because Barkov has been so good for Florida and still has upside, but the Panthers probably shouldn’t have passed on a future Norris finalist, if not a winner in Jones at No. 2.

Vancouver has to be kicking itself for overlooking the local boy in Theodore to take a Calgary kid in Shinkaruk. The Canucks could sure use Theodore quarterbacking their power play in the present.

I was right about Philadelphia picking a towering defenceman, but I had Zadorov to the Flyers rather than Morin. Zadorov is more proven thus far and I still prefer him, but Morin can’t be written off just yet either.

Second-Round Steals

I also mocked the second round in 2013 and although my batting percentage wasn’t as high in that 31-61 range, I hit my share of home runs.

Based on what we know today, I would have had a handful of steals in Juuse Saros at No. 46, John Hayden at No. 47, Pavel Buchnevich at No. 48 and Oliver Bjorkstrand at No. 50. Those four were selected outside of the second round at Nos. 99, 74, 75 and 89, respectively.

Also worth noting, I nailed Adam Erne at No. 33 to Tampa Bay and Artturi Lehkonen at No. 55 to Montreal. Like I said, 2013 was a really good year for me.