MLHS 2013 Mock Draft – Part 1

MLHS 2013 Mock Draft – Part 1

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Don’t take this as our etched in stone mock draft projection, think of it more as a fun exercise for the sake of learning a little bit about the top prospects set to join NHL teams this Sunday.

1st: Colorado Avalanche – ALEX TRAN – NATHAN MACKINNON

With the 1st pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche are pleased to select forward Nathan Mackinnon from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.

We believe Nate is the best player available in a very strong draft class. He is a brilliant offensive player with the kind of skillset that will have our fans on the edge of their seats. Nate will fit right in with a young, exciting roster and we are thrilled to welcome him to the organization.

2nd: Florida Panthers – MISLAV JANTOLJAK – SETH JONES

With the 2nd pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Florida Panthers are delighted to select defenseman Seth Jones from the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.

We believe that Seth Jones possess all the characteristics that will make him a franchise defenseman in the future. A skater with great lateral mobility along with a big frame, Seth is already showing hockey IQ beyond his years. Him and Erik Gudbranson make our defensive core a major franchise strength for years to come. We’re very excited to be adding this young man to the fold.

3rd: Tampa Bay Lightning – MICHAEL STEPHENS – JONATHAN DROUIN

With the third pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Tampa Bay Lightning are proud to select left winger Jonathan Drouin from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.

We feel that with Jon’s selection, the Lightning have acquired the player with the best on-ice vision in the entire draft class. His vision pairs nicely with his terrific passing skills and simply sublime puck-handling ability. We feel that he is NHL-ready, and should get a long look in the preseason with Steven Stamkos and Martin St-Louis.

We feel that he will be a top flight winger within the next few seasons; an electric offensive contributor who should combine with Stamkos to give the Lightning perhaps the most intimidating offensive tandem in the league.

4th: Nashville Predators – BRIAN HUDDLE – ALEXANDER BARKOV

With the 4th selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, Nashville is proud to welcome Alexander Barkov to the organization.

We feel Barkov is an NHL-ready center with top line upside, and an ability to impact all zones of the ice — the Nashville way. We believe his combination of size, skill and two-way play make for a long term franchise option to build around, and we think we could see him in the lineup as soon as September.

5th: Carolina Hurricanes- JON STEITZER – VALERI NICHUSHKIN

The Carolina Hurricanes would like to thank our hosts, the New Jersey Devils for putting on this fantastic event here in beautiful Newark. The Hurricanes would also like to say hello to our draft party back home in Raleigh. We would also like to congratulate the Chicago Blackhawks for their tremendous Stanley Cup run this spring and offer our support to all the great hockey fans in Calgary.

Since the New York Rangers refused to trade us Marc Staal for this pick, the Carolina Hurricanes are pleased to select, from Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League, Valeri Nichushkin

This was a relatively easy decision as Nichushkin is the last of the top-five talent left on the board. I had him ranked fifth, and picking fifth I got him. It really was a toss up on whether or not I would put him ahead of Drouin, who I have ranked fourth since Valeri has size, experience playing against grown men, and a style of play better suited to the NHL than Drouin.

Nichushkin is all speed and isn’t afraid to go to the net. It seems that the two things that prevented him from being ranked higher are the fact that he’s a winger, and the fact that he has committed to spending the next season in the KHL if he can’t crack an NHL roster.

6th: Calgary Flames – BLUE CHIP PROSPECTS – SEAN MONAHAN

For years and years, Leafs fans lamented the team’s inability to find a top-end winger for Mats Sundin to skate with and for just as long Flames fans felt the same frustration with the centre position on Jarome Iginla’s line.

In Sean Monahan, the Flames have found themselves an all-situations centre who doesn’t really have any apparent weaknesses in his game. He’s a great playmaker who skates reasonably well and has strong puck skills. Everything Monahan did in the OHL this year he did alone as Ottawa really didn’t provide him with much in the way of help. In my viewings, Monahan was exceptional and actually reminds me a fair bit of Anze Kopitar. If he keeps growing, as most draft eligible players tend to, then he’ll be a real force all over the ice.

7th: Edmonton Oilers – MATT MISTLE – MAX DOMI

The Edmonton Oilers would like to thank the New Jersey Devils for hosting, the Toronto Maple Leafs for allowing us to outright steal a promising young coach, and the Chicago Blackhawks for delivering the swift swing of an ironic, karmic blade to the exposed necks of the Boston Bruins.

We furiously tried to trade this pick to Toronto for Dion Phaneuf. They kept asking for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back. I’m not sure which one of us is more insane.

With the 7th overall pick in the 2013 Entry Draft, Edmonton is thrilled to troll every blogger in this mock draft by reaching ever so slightly to select Max Domi. For reasons of nostalgia, hope, and awesomeness that probably do not need to be elaborated on further.

8th: Buffalo Sabres – ANTHONY PETRIELLI – ELIAS LINDHOLM

With the 8th pick in the draft, the Buffalo Sabres are extremely happy to select Elias Lindholm

Despite drafting two centers last year in the first round and having Hodgson and Ennis on the NHL roster, Lindholm is too tantalizing of a talent to pass up with the eighth overall pick. The value is simply phenomenal. He’s a playmaking center who has already shown he can produce against men in the top Swedish league and he’s almost 200 pounds standing 6’, which is the sweet spot for centers.

9th: New Jersey Devils – MISLAV – CURTIS LAZAR

With the 9th pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils are proud to select center Curtis Lazar from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.

Curtis is a strong kid who possesses a good shot and has enough offensive ability to be a factor in the NHL. Above all, we really like his character and feel he could be a leader of this team in the future. We view Lazar as one of the can’t-miss prospects in this year’s draft and are happy to welcome him to the Devils organization.

10th: Dallas Stars – ALEX – DARNELL NURSE

With the 10th selection, the Dallas Stars are pleased to select defenseman Darnell Nurse from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

Darnell has taken great strides in his development this past season, to the point where we were worried he played himself out of our range with this selection. He plays with tremendous poise and vision from the blueline and his combination of size, skating and reach are second to none in this class.

11th: Philadelphia Flyers – MICHAEL – Rasmus Ristolainen

The Philadelphia Flyers, with the 11th pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, are proud to select from TPS Turku of the SM Liiga… uhh — wait, I forget – Rasmus Ristolainen!

Ristolainen stands at 6’3” 207 pounds, and at the tender age of 18 is already a 93-game veteran of Finland’s top league. A late ‘94 birthday, the defenseman is among the more mature and experienced draft eligibles in the 2013 class and has a well-rounded game. He’s also a two-year veteran of Finland’s World Junior team, where he’s displayed both talent and leadership characteristics. There’s a fair chance he’ll captain the country’s 2014 team.

Offensively, he’s capable of carrying the puck out of the zone as well as firing off crisp, effective break out passes. He also posseses one of the hardest slap shots in his draft class. While hardly earth shattering, he led Turku in points by a defenseman, with 3 goals and 12 assists in 55 games.

Fairly mobile given his size, he still needs to improve his defensive game by using his imposing frame to check with aplomb. Given the dearth of defensive talent on the Flyers roster, Ristolainen could get a chance in the NHL as early as next season.

12th: Phoenix Coyotes – BRIAN – BO HORVAT

With the 12th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Phoenix is proud to select forward, Bo Horvat, from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Bo is a terrific two-way player in the mold of what we’re building in Phoenix, but brings tremendous IQ and skill along with an advanced two-way game. In the mold of a Mike Richards/Ryan Kesler/Ryan O’Rielly/Patrice Bergeron, we feel that Bo will be among the best two-way forwards for many years to come.

13th: Winnipeg Jets – BCP – NIKITA ZADOROV

With the 13th selection, the Winnipeg Jets are pleased to select from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, Nikita Zadorov.

This is the spot in the draft where I really tend to favour swinging for the fences and that’s exactly what I’ve done with this selection. At 6’5” and between 220 and 230 lbs, Zadorov is a monster. Add strong skating and good mobility to the package and you’ve got a defenseman with one of the highest ceilings of any player in the draft. He needs to work on his shot and his puck movement leaves a fair bit to be desired, but if you’re looking for a potential major trophy winner in the middle of the first round then you should look long and hard at Zadorov.

14th: Columbus Blue Jackets – JON – HUNTER SHINKARUK

With the 14th pick in the first round, the Columbus Blue Jackets are proud to select from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League, Hunter Shinkaruk.

To be honest I’m absolutely shocked that Shinkaruk has fallen this far. He’s been in the top ten on most draft lists, he’s a solid scorer who can play center, but is likely destined for the wing at the pro level. He has an outside shot at being ready to play this season, but his size might hold him back. For the Blue Jackets, who have two more picks in the first round to address more specific needs, having someone with this amount of upside available here is a huge win.

15th: New York Islanders – MISLAV – ZACHARY FUCALE

With the 15th pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the New York Islanders are proud to select goaltender Zachary Fucale from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.

Positionally sound and very mature for his age, we feel that Zachary is by far the best goaltending prospect available in this year’s NHL entry draft. He proved he can be a goalie who can single handedly carry a team and one who can make good, timely saves for a powerhouse squad. This cool and collected young man will be a most welcome addition to the aging Islanders’ crease as the organization hopes to have found its future No.1 goaltender.