Guest post by Eldon MacDonald
This is the first of two posts updating the rankings of the top 60 prospects for the 2013 NHL draft.
Some things to note when looking at this list:
- The historical success rate (may own calculations based on years 2003 to 2005) for players ranked 1 to 15 is 82%, in making it to the big league. The success rate reduces to 76% for players ranked 16 to 30 and then drops drastically to 33% for players ranked 31 to 45.
- The race for number one appears to be tightening up. I still have Nathan MacKinnon as number one but I am sure that Seth Jones’ name will start to appear at the top of more lists than before the U20s. Also, Jonathan Drouin and Alexander Barkov are far from being out of contention as well.
- The London Knights 24 game winning streak has been led by their 2013 draft prospects. There is an interesting race there between Horvat and Domi as to who will be the top forward drafted on the Knights team.
- Nikita Zadorov – 8; up from 12
- Bo Horvat – 15; up from 33
- Max Domi – 16; up from 18
- The QMJHL continues to look impressive for the 2013 draft with 8 players in the top 30.
- New to my top 30 are:
- Bo Horvat – 15; up from 33
- Valeri Nichushkin – 19; up from 32
- Alexander Wennberg – 25, up from 36
Part 1: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Top 30
1. MacKinnon, Nathan, Halifax, QMJHL, C, R, 5’11, 179 lb. – YTD: 31g, 52pts +28; Dec-12: 4g 6ts +2; U20: 6g 1pt -1
Commentary: As per Bob MacKenzie, 7 of 10 NHL scouts had MacKinnon as number 1 going into the U20’s versus 3 for Jones. What will be the score coming out? Certainly, will have to tilt closer to Jones but will it tilt far enough to have Jones as number 1? Will Drouin and Barkov start to count as well? I still have Nathan number 1 but by a very tight margin. Nathan did not have the big stats in the U20 but played well enough when on the ice. Last month: 1
2. Jones, Seth, Portland, WHL, D, R, 6’4, 206 lb. – YTD: 31g 28pts +27; Dec-12: 6g 9pts +7; U20: 7g 7pts +8
Commentary: An impressive U20s plus even more impressive prognostication skills (Seth said Team USA was the best going into the U20 tournament and they went on to win it) – the kind of confidence that bodes well for the future. He will move to number 1 on at least a few lists, I am sure. Last month: 2
3. Drouin, Jonathan, Halifax QMJHL, LW, L, 5’11, 185 lb. – YTD: 25g 49pts +21; Dec-12: 4g 7pts +2; U20 6g 4pts +4
Commentary: Will he ever be number 1? He certainly showed that this is a possibility by his performance at the U20s. I believe it will take a monstrous performance to leapfrog over MacKinnon and Jones. And for those of you who don’t think he has it in him, just remember last year when he led Halifax past Quebec after losing the first three games in the series. Set up a beauty in his 1st game back from the U20’s, left his teammate (Trey Lewis) no option but to score. Last month: 4.
4. Barkov, Alexander, Tappara, SM-liiga, C, L, 6’3, 220 lb. – YTD: 32g 28pts +7; U20: 6g 7pts +2
Commentary: Good but not over-whelming performance at the U20’s – most of his points came in the relegation round. Still in the mix for number one but increasingly a long shot. I do like this guy; afterall, we share the same birthday. Last month: 5.
5. Lindholm, Elias, Brynäs, Elitserien, C, R, 6’0, 192 lb. – YTD: 32g 21pts +0; U20: 6g 4pts -1
Commentary: Elias probably did as much as anyone not named Marko Dano to help increase his draft standing at the U20’s. Is there more to come from this guy? As a 94 born he doesn’t get to play at the U18’s so he will have to mainly rely on league play if he wishes to push higher in the rankings. Last month: 6.
6. Monahan, Sean, Ottawa, OHL, C, L, 6’2, 193 lb. – YTD: 34g 49pts -3; Dec-12: 4g 5ts +4
Commentary: Hated to drop this guy 3 places because he also has played well of late in spite of getting cut from Canada’s U20 team. However, Drouin, Barkov and Lindholm were a little bit better. Still, he is for my two cents, the most likely guy in this draft to be playing in the NHL next season. Last month: 3.
7. Shinkaruk, Hunter, Medicine Hat, WHL, LW, L, 5’11, 175 lb. – YTD: 39g 53pts -8; Dec-12: 8g 7pts -9.
Commentary: Keeping up the point making on a sub .500 team; defense needs to improve though as he has had a few games where he struggled in that area. Last month 7.
8. Zadarov, Nikita, London, OHL, D, L, 6’5, 228 lb. – YTD: 37g 16pts +29; Dec-12: 7g 2ps +6.
Commentary: Although he failed to make the Russian U20 team, his play back in London was very solid as he led the London defense in the absence of Olli. Määttä and Scott Harrington who were both away at the U20s. Last month 12.
9. Pulock, Ryan, Brandon, WHL, D, R, 6’1, 211 lb. – YTD: 37g 31pts +4; Dec-12: 9g 4pts -2.
Commentary: Struggling a bit of late but continue to love the size and shot. Last month 9.
10. Nurse, Darnell, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL, D, L, 6’5, 192 lb. – YTD: 42g 25pts +7; Dec-12: 10g 4pts -1
Commentary: Watched both Zadarov and Nurse last weekend; Zadarov is definitely the better of the two at the moment, although Nurse has enough Prongeresque-like tendencies that he could turn out to be the better prospect in the future if he continues to develop that way. Last month 10.
11. Ristolainen, Rasmus, TPS, SM-liiga, D, R, 6’3, 207 lb. – YTD: 29g 8pts -4; U20: 6g 6pts +5
Commentary: The U20s numbers look impressive but Ristolainen probably took as much heat as anybody for his play without the puck and his physicality or lack thereof at the U20s. Still love the size and offense. Last month 8.
12. Erne, Adam, Québec, QMJHL, RW, L, 6’1, 198 lb. – YTD: 42g 53pts +10; Dec-12: 11g 15pts +3
Commentary: With Grigorenko away at the U20’s, Adam Erne has been their leader on the ice with 15 points in 11 games in December. Last month 15.
13. Mantha, Anthony, Val d’Or, QMJHL, RW, L, 6’3, 200 lb. – YTD: 39g 57pts +12; Dec-12: 11g 12pts -2.
Commentary: Has the size, the tools and the results but he needs to be more involved in the play at all times or he will likely start to drop. Last month 13.
14. Hägg, Robert, MODO, SWE J20, D, L, 6’2, 201 lb. – YTD: 23g 20 pts +4; U20: 5g 2pts -1.
Commentary: Last minute injury replacement for the U20 Team Sweden; had a solid but unspectacular tournament; likely improved himself in most scouts’ eyes. Last month 16.
15. Horvat, Bo, London, OHL, LW/C, L, 6’0, 203 lb. – YTD: 42g 38pts +4; Dec-12: 11g 15pts +2.
Commentary: Well, last month I posted a link to a video that suggested that the Hunter brothers were about to turn Bo Horvat loose. Well, they did cut him loose and Bo responded with 15 points in just 11 games in December while leading the London Knights to 24 consecutive victories. He even outshone his slightly more famous teammate, Max Domi. Last month 33.
16. Domi, Max, London, OHL, C, L, 5’10, 194 lb. – YTD: 41g 59pts +25; Dec-12: 9g 10pts +2.
Commentary: Continues on a solid pace; 11 points, +5 in just 4 games in January. Last month 18.
17. Gauthier, Frederik, Rimouski, QMJHL, C, L, 6’4, 219 lb. – YTD: 37g 43pts +21; Dec-12: 10g 13pts +2.
Commentary: Always good defensively (leads his very good Rimouski team in plus minus), Frederik is starting to have times where he initiates plays (as opposed to reacting to the play of others) and when he does you get a serious star out there on the ice. His upside is enormous but he still has lots to do to realize it. Last month 17.
18. Morrissey, Josh, Prince Albert, WHL, D, L, 6’0, 185 lb. – YTD: 42g 30pts +14; Dec-12: 9g 6pts +6.
Commentary: Great skater, had a good December, seen him this week in the 9-4 blowout against Regina. Felt I had him a little high last month considering his moderate size. Last month 14.
19. Nichuskin, Valeri, Chelyabinsk VHL, LW, L, 6’4 196lb. YTD: 15g 10pts +9; U20: 6g 2pts +5.
Commentary: His U20 was so-so but don’t tell that to Team Canada as he scored a beauty to win the Bronze medal for Team Russia in overtime. While there are no guarantees, I am betting that he is now likely to become a first round pick, likely with a team that has more than one pick in the first. Last month 32.
20. Duclair, Anthony, Québec, QMJHL, LW, R, 5’11, 182 lb.; YTD: 29g 35pts +15; Dec-12: 11g 12 pts +0.
Commentary: What will life be like without Grigorenko if he sticks with Buffalo. Well, a point a game pace for Duclair last month when Grigorenko was away at the U20’s suggests everything will be OK. Last month 18.
21. Lehkonen, Artturi, KalPa, SM-liiga, RW, L, 5’11 159 lb. – YTD: 32g 22pts +6; U20: 6g 4pts +5.
Commentary: Continues to perform well; want a little more meat on the bones though. Last month 22.
22. Lazar, Curtis, Edmonton, WHL, C, R, 6’0 198 lb. – YTD: 42g 28pts +10; Dec-12: 11g 10pts +5.
Commentary: Had a better December but needs to put more points on the board to get into the teens. Last month 20.
23. Zykov, Valentin, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL, RW, R, 6’1, 215 lb. – YTD: 42g 47pts +20; Dec-12: 9g 6pts +0.
Commentary: Zykov is currently on a tear; 11pts, +6 in 5 games in January. If can continue this pace, expect him to go significantly higher. Last month 25.
24. Burakowsky, Andre, Malmö, Allsvenskan, LW, L, 6’1 176 lb. – YTD: 25g 4pts.
Commentary: Andre Burakowsky did not make the Swedish U20 team, is struggling to get ice team in the second tier Swedish professional league and is struggling to effectively use the ice time he gets. Is he this year’s Sebastian Collberg, dropping, dropping, to the 2nd round? He has the talent; has to show it though. Last month 11.
25. Wennberg, Alexander, Djurgården, Allsvenskan, C, L, 6’1, 190 lb. – YTD: 29g 18pts +9; U20: 6g 3pts +2.
Commentary: The secret is out: Alexander Wennberg will no longer be flying under the radar Expect him to start showing in the first on some lists. Last month 36.
26. Rychel, Kerby, Windsor, WHL, LW, L, 6’1, 200 lb. – YTD: 40g, 40pts -14; Dec-12: 10g 9pts -10.
Commentary: A difficult December for Kerby and his Windsor team. Will the return of Alexander Khokhlachev and the addition of Slater Koekkoek make a difference in Kerby’s and the Spitfires fortunes? I am betting yes. Last month 23.
27. Bowey, Madison, Kelowna, WHL, D, R, 6’1 194 lb. – YTD: 41g 20pts +28; Dec-12: 11g 4pts +2.
Commentary: Like this guy a lot but expect to see much more than the results to date given the tools he has. Last month 29.
28. Carrier, William, Cape Breton, QMJHL, LW, L, 6’1 198 lb. – YTD: 34g 42pts -14; Dec-12: 6g 2pts -7.
Commentary: Currently injured. Last month 28.
29. Thompson, Keaton, USA NDP U18, All games, D, L, 6’0, 185 lb. – YTD: 34g 9pts +10; Dec-12: 8g 0pts -2.
Commentary: Cooled off in December. Last month 26.
30. Compher, JT, USA NDP U18, All games, C, R, 5’10, 178 lb. – YTD: 28g 15pts +5; Dec-12: 8g 3pts +2.
Commentary: Still has not shown the offense of last season. Last month 24.
Stay tuned for Part 2: 31-60
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com