Nation Network 2013 Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

Photo: Alaney2k/Wikimedia

Mock drafts are popular this time of year, and we’ve decided to do something a little different at the Nation this summer. Instead of presenting our picks, we’ll show consensus rankings and offer up scouting reports, than ask our readers to vote on the order they would select those players in.

We start with the top-10 selections.

The list order below is based on a weighted draft ranking done by NHL Numbers. The scouting reports are my own and are intended as summaries of other sources, including TSN, The Hockey News, Hockey Prospectus, Future Considerations as well as others.

The Consensus Picks

1. Seth Jones (WHL: 61GP, 14-42-56). 6’4”, 205-pound defender is expected to emerge as a complete player. He’s highly mobile (he skates well, not just well for a big man), has real puck skills, and his ability to read and react seems to be universally praised. If there’s a drawback, it’s that he isn’t known for playing with a lot of edge, though nobody seems to question his ability to play a physical game.

2. Nathan MacKinnon (QMJHL: 44GP, 32-43-75). Just barely old enough to be eligible for this year’s draft, MacKinnon lacks ideal size (6’, 182 pounds) but that’s basically all he lacks. He’s an elite-level scorer, a fantastic skater, and despite his average frame he plays a power game and his work ethic gets rave reviews. His defence, as with most young players, will need to improve over time.

3. Jonathan Drouin (QMJHL: 49GP, 41-64-105). MacKinnon and Drouin are neck-and-neck, and in some eyes the left wing has outshone his centre. The Hockey News and Hockey Prospectus both rank Drouin ahead of MacKinnon, and given his offensive numbers it’s easy to understand why. He’s a fantastic scorer and has what Craig Button calls “exceptional intelligence.”

4. Aleksander Barkov (FIN: 53GP, 21-27-48). Like MacKinnon, Barkov is extremely young – both players are only two weeks removed from a spot in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 6’2” centre excelled in the Finnish men’s league, and his on-ice vision and ability to read a play – both offensively and defensively – get top marks. His skating isn’t at the same level as other players in this draft, however. Read more at Flames Nation.

5. Valeri Nichushkin (KHL: 18GP, 4-2-6). The 6’3” winger combines high-level skating with a power forward frame, and his abilities with the puck mean he may end up being an elite NHL winger; some have even said that he’s a contender for the top spot based on his tools. Nichushkin committing to playing in the NHL means KHL fears are lessened. Hockey sense gets mixed reviews – sometimes even by the same scout, as The Hockey News quotes one who questioned Nichushkin’s decision-making early in the year but ultimately decided he had excellent vision. Defensively, he’s not seen as a strong player and his scoring numbers (15 points in 43 KHL regular season and playoff games) are underwhelming. Read more at Oilers Nation and Flames Nation.

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6. Elias Lindholm (SWE: 48GP, 11-19-30). Another player with average size, Lindholm can play both centre and wing. His scoring numbers in Sweden are exceptional, but scouting reports suggest he may not have the same offensive threshold as others in this draft. Where he excels is as a two-way player – the combination of high-level skating and extreme intelligence on the ice make him projectable as an all-situations player; Future Considerations went so far as to compare him to Patrice Bergeron and Henrik Zetterberg. Read more at Flames Nation.

7. Sean Monahan (OHL: 58GP, 31-47-78). Monahan’s two-way game gets strong marks, but his offensive ceiling simply isn’t as high as the players ranked above him. Playmaking, size (6’2”, 187 pounds) and intelligence are all regarded as strengths; speed is the most significantly mentioned weakness while some question his scoring ability. Read more at Oilers Nation and Flames Nation.

8. Darnell Nurse (OHL: 68GP, 12-29-41). He’s big (6’4”, 185 according to the NHL; I’ve seen him listed anywhere from 6’3” to 6’5”), and at least as importantly he’s mean – he plays with more of an edge (both hitting and fighting) than any of the other top-ranked players in the draft this year. He’s not a one-trick pony, either; he makes a good first pass (though he isn’t likely to be a high-end offensive defenceman) and provides solid coverage in the defensive zone. Read more at Oilers Nation.

9. Hunter Shinkaruk (WHL: 64GP, 37-49-86). He can skate, and he can score goals, and that’s a highly attractive blend of skills for NHL teams. The winger lacks ideal size (5’10”, 181 pounds) and his defensive game is apparently something of a mess, but he doesn’t lack courage.

10. Rasmus Ristolainen (FIN: 52GP, 3-12-15). The 6’3” Ristolainen has a wide range of skills, but most of them at the ‘good not great’ threshold. He is a good skater, makes a good first pass, plays well in the defensive zone, but he’s not seen as an elite-level player in any of those areas. Some reports also suggest a fear that he may struggle with the speed of the NHL game, given the more passive nature of the game on European ice. He projects as a two-way defenceman.

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On The Outside

11. Nikita Zadorov (OHL: 63GP, 6-19-25). Another big defenceman (6’4”, 200 pounds according to the NHL site; most media outlets list him at 6’5”, 230 pounds), Zadorov is seen as a bit of a project. He’s a dominant physical player and extremely strong, and he fares well enough in other areas – he skates well given his size, makes a reasonable first pass – to be of real interest. The trouble is that while he has a lot of tools they haven’t come together yet; he’s raw defensively and lacks high-end offensive upside. If it all comes together, though, he could be an elite shutdown defender.

12. Ryan Pulock (WHL: 61GP, 14-31-45). Nobody doubts his elite shot, and he Pulock has a strong puck-moving abilities, too. The trouble is his size and skating both fall into the average range, and there are mixed reports on his defensive play, which seems to be solid but unexceptional.

13. Adam Erne (QMJHL: 68GP, 28-44-72). The winger is a good skater, he’s strong on the puck, and he has goal-scoring ability. He isn’t seen as a strong offensive player otherwise, and he isn’t a high-end player in any category, but he has a well-rounded skillset. One scout The Hockey News quoted indicated that fitness might be an issue right now, but that he had potential to be even better if he his conditioning improved.

14. Josh Morrissey (WHL: 70GP, 15-32-47). Size is the issue here – the WHL defenceman is listed at 5’11”, 182 pounds. Otherwise there is a lot to like: he’s smart, he’s an excellent skater, his offensive tools are good and he relishes playing a physical game.

15. Max Domi (OHL: 64GP, 39-48-87). Smallish winger is an “offensive dynamo” and gets pegged by The Hockey News as a power forward despite generally being listed at 5’9” or 5’10” because he plays such a fearless game (he’s also expected to play at 200 pounds or more at the NHL level). His effort level is questioned by some, and Future Considerations says that “self-control and maturity are still a work in progress.”

16. Curtis Lazar (WHL: 72GP, 38-23-61). Lazar gets high marks for character and defensive play; he’s also seen as good skater and a safe pick. The question is how much offence he will generate in the NHL, because despite strong goal-scoring numbers he is seen by some as a player who lacks the creativity to be a top-six forward in the NHL. Read more at Oilers Nation.

17. Anthony Mantha (QMJHL: 67GP, 50-39-89). The 6’4” winger skates well and is a one-shot scorer, but he doesn’t play the physical game scouts would like to see. He’s also at the old end of the draft curve (he missed being eligible for the 2012 Draft by less than a weak) and outside of his shot he’s not seen as overly creative offensively by the consensus.

18. Frederik Gauthier (QMJHL: 62GP, 22-38-60). A 6’5” centre who skates well for his size, Gautheir gets good grades as a defensive forward and an intelligent player. What he lacks is a willingness to play a tough physical game, and his offence is open to question.

19. Bo Horvat (OHL: 67GP, 32-28-60). Horvat’s trending upward since the NHL Numbers consensus rankings because he can do it all. He’s tough, plays a 200-foot game, scores goals and skates, too. The only question is how high is ceiling is offensively.

20. Alexander Wennberg (SWE2: 46GP, 14-18-32). 6’1” forward can play either wing or centre; he skates well, has good offensive tools and hockey sense that makes him both a threat to score and a good defensive forward. He needs to add bulk to his frame.


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    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      QSB, you think out of the box….. let’s say Avs take Jones at #1 ….would you entertain RNH to Florida (other conference) for the #2 overall and maybe fillers on both sides, and take MacKinnon ? (little voices in my head suggesting RNH’s offense, especially 5×5 numbers may lag vs. MacKinnon in the long-term and where his defense won’t balance that lag off, as a #1 center).

      • JCDavies

        “let’s say Avs take Jones at #1 ….would you entertain RNH to Florida (other conference) for the #2 overall and maybe fillers on both sides, and take MacKinnon ? (little voices in my head suggesting RNH’s offense, especially 5×5 numbers may lag vs. MacKinnon in the long-term and where his defense won’t balance that lag off, as a #1 center).”

        I would expect Mackinnon to be more durable in the long run and you would gain a couple ELC years.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        As much as I love MacKinnon i’d have to say no. That would leave a hole the size of the Grand Canyon at center ice here, but since you’re listening, would you consider Yakupov, Paajarvi and Gernat for that second pick sir?

        RNH,(insert Weiss type here),MacKinnon and Ott would certainly change the identity of this hockey club. Still having the freedom to select Nurse with the 7th pick is what appeals to me on this deal. Our Oilers are a non playoff team again anyways this coming season so i’m not really concerned starting a rookie at center. Fight like hell to find a Clarkson type forward or two this summer. I’d even take 50pt Penner back at this point for 2nd/3rd line duties.

  • Bucknuck

    Since I’m an Oiler fan I think Oilers have a small list of who they would pick at #7. They also know there could be interest in players Oilers don’t want at #7 so they will trade down.

    Oilers list

    Barkov ( trade up)

    Monahan pick at 7

    Nurse pick at 7

    Oilers trade list to move down



    If they trade down

    Bo Horvat


  • Bucknuck

    Regarding Darnell Nurse on offense.

    This is from someone who actually watched Nurse play.

    “Offensively, he’s very solid and there’s massive room for growth in that department. He played on the second powerplay unit because the Hounds had two of the best (including the CHL d-man of the year) running the top unit, which got 75% of the time. When he’s on the first unit next year, his stat line will jump”

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      Have we not learned enough from the Europeans like MPS, Rita, Niinimaki, etc to stay with a North American pick that has played against like-opposition and shown results?
      No offence, but Euro leagues are what they are, and it has been shown that it is possible to excel there and not translate. Given that your own synopsis shows that there are red flags regarding his abilityto translate offence, and this screams a repeat of MPS and us drafting another 3rd liner too high.

        • Supernova


          I agree with the thought, you need to be cautious but it probably all boils down to scouting. The scouting seems to have improved alot over the last 10 to 12 years, the first 5 picks each year seem to be getting more certain as well this is progressing down. It is almost impossible to be completely accurate with projections on how high a potential player will reach but scouting has gotten better to seeing complete wash outs.

          Like Jonathan also stated you can compare Euro players or even Euro leagues like you can in the CHL, so it is varying degrees of separation all the time.

          I think Europe and especially Sweden have proven they consistently produce top notch NHL players. Percantage wise there is probably just as many canadians that wash out as swedish players.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Except that most of the points he scored were on the pp and he only took of after getting put on Jarnkrok’s wing.

          So what’s his WOWY w/ Jarnkrok, is he a true center and can he score at ES?

      • LinkfromHyrule

        That’s true of any league though, how often do players who excel in junior make little to no impact when they make it to the NHL. Drafting is too unpredictable in a lot of ways you can’t just say well, we drafted 3 European guys and they blew (some more than others) so lets never draft another European ever ever again

    • everton fc

      I worry he will be winger on the smallish side. Oilers have those players already.

      On the other hand if he can turn into like a Gabriel Landeskog type player I would be happy with that.

    • everton fc

      I’d agree, but I don’t think he’ll be around. Carolina and Calgary could use the top end skills for their forwards. I’d still rank Nichuskin’s skill above his though.

  • everton fc

    Nurse would be an ideal pick for the Oilers. This, from a Flames fan. Is he can beef up to 200-205 lbs, he’ll be well worth the #7 pick.

    To me, the Oilers need defence, and 3rd/4th line players with size/skill/grit. “Skill” on the 3rd line probably means the possibility of popping in 12-15 goals, and getting 30-40 points.

    Zadorov is anotehr interesting defender in this draft.

  • everton fc

    I’m hoping we keep the #7 overall pick and take Darnell Nurse. While having a young offensive dynamo has been great for the Oilers, and adding a 2 way threat like Monahan would be great…I don’t think we can get enough defensive prospects, especially one who’s mean with a mean streak and good defensively. He’ll be in junior for another couple years, so thinking long term, having a defensive stud come into the organization while the Oilers are peaking sounds awesome.

    Also, looking at some of the stats, if Yak’s bday was late and he fell to this draft, I’d take him #1 this year. He had 105 points the year before his draft year!

    • Willi P

      Maybe you would take Yak #1 this year, however don’t think any NHL teams would. He would be lucky to be drafted in the top 5 this year and for sure not #1

      • Word to the Bird

        How do you figure? The guy is a stud, and led his team in goals in his first year in the NHL. Who in this draft do you think is really going to do that? Add to that his high point totals from Junior, high point totals from WJC, and the fact that when he was in the KHL he was going at almost a goal per game…MacKinnon may be a centre and have better playmaking, and Jones might be the stud D you can build around, so for those points I’ll give them a chance of being a higher draft pick if Yak was in this draft…but based on offense, Yak is number one in my mind.

  • Hard to ignor the Finnish work ethic and complete game they seem to employ . Not always elite but almost always complete good talents all areas of ice . Most are tenacious and very capable at team game .Usually very coachable . Oiler brass seems to have a fetish for them , and why not with successes like Kurri , Tikkanen , etc..

  • Colin.S

    I don’t see Nichuskin being taken in the top five, especially considering he’s signed for the next two or three years in the KHL. Nashville will for sure not take any Russians after the fun they’ve had with the last few. Maybe Carolina, they have a single Russian on board in Semin, will they think that Semin can help convince Nichuskin to come over?

    I see Carolina as the first team to take a D.

    • piscera.infada

      Have you been in a hockey-coma the last few weeks? First, the Brodie freak-out (let’s not get into this here), now Nich?

      He already made it clear he’s coming to North America this season, but he will not play in the AHL. Thus, the flight risk is still there – which is why Carolina seems the obvious fit. They can play him. I’m not against the flames picking him, per se, but they need to decide if it’s best for his development to go right into the show. If not, you don’t take him.

      In light of his apparent primma-donna attitude, I don’t want the Flames to take him (even if he drops that far, which I don’t think he will). But he’s one hell of a hockey player, and if any sort of negative attitude on his part is just something I picked up that was lost in translation – then you have to take him. He’s got game breaker written all over him.

  • everton fc

    No matter who we take at 6, they will probably be a very good NHL’er. I’ve got my wishlist at Nich, Barkov, Lindholm, Monahan…but honestly, any of them will be the best prospect we’ve had since since Iggy. Going to be a great offseason.

  • bwar

    I really don’t know what the oil should do with the pick. I would love to see them jump up to 4/5 and get Barkov or Nichuskin but is that really best for the team? As we sit right now the top end of our forwards is pretty darn good with our weaknesses being the bottom six forwards and defense. Even if we draft a defenseman that doesn’t really have any immediate impact on the team. Honestly if we can get a young NHL caliber forward plus a late first rounder I think that might be the best move for the team.

    The fate of Ales Hemsky also factors greatly into this decision. If Hemsky is moved and we get poor return for him, suddenly we have a big hole in the top six that I’m not yet convinced can be filled by Paajarvi. If Hemsky is traded I think that puts a much higher demand on the Oilers drafting the best forward available at 7.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I think it’s more about who is going to be better in the next couple of years after that’s important . Some like Monohan and Ristolainen are basically 1 month away from being eligible for next years draft . I’d like either if top 6 go as seems right . Red flag on Nurse – he has a below average shot something I don’t believe we would embellish .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I agree I think Monahan goes to Calgary.

    Oilers will make the decision between Lindholm and Nurse at #7.

    Who do you take at 7 between these 2 player JW?

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I go with Nichuskin who I don’t think will be available. The reality is it will be Nurse or Lindholm. I like the idea of building from the backend. I think Nurse is the best option with size and nastiness. Seems to be possible top tier deman, and at worst a second pairing. I don’t think we have that in the organization. I think defensive prospect depth is very good, but a potential defence of Nurse, Schult, Klefbaum, Petry, Smid, Gernat, Musil, Davidson is pretty tantalizing.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    JW, what do you think. I think the only trading partner for trading up in the draft is Carolina at 5, because I believe the player they are going to want is Nurse or Ristolainen. Will it take a drastic overpay or say a 3rd round pick from say next year be required.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    If you read what the Oilers have said about the draft, they have been talking about centers


    Oilers have not talked about these players


    Does it mean anything?

    MacT did say

    “Our wish list in the draft would be to draft a centerman and/or a defenseman with that pick in that area.”