Yesterday we asked readers network-wide to vote their choices for the first 10 slots in this year’s entry draft. The results are in; which teams landed which players?
The Top 10
1. Colorado Avalanche: Seth Jones. There was a strong push by Nathan MacKinnon in what most readers see as a two horse race; in the end the potential franchise defenceman won out.
2. Florida Panthers: Nathan MacKinnon. Florida adds a dynamic centre who likely would have been the first overall pick last summer.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin. While there are rumours that the Lightning will go off the board a little and take a chance on Valeri Nichushkin, the voters here play it safe, drafting Jonathan Drouin, the final member of the consensus upper-tier in this year’s draft.
4. Nashville Predators: Aleksander Barkov. No surprise here either; the big centre had a stellar season in Finland and will become a cornerstone piece in Nashville.
5. Carolina Hurricanes: Valeri Nichushkin. Nichushkin was the first player to really elicit a range of reaction – some had him ranked first overall; others outside the top-10 entirely. Ultimately he goes to Carolina with the fifth overall pick.
6. Calgary Flames: Sean Monahan. Calgary is expected to take a big centre, and Monahan certainly qualifies. He is an excellent prospect with a wide range of skills and won a three-way race against Lindholm and Nurse.
7. Edmonton Oilers: Elias Lindholm. This was the single-tightest vote on the board, with Lindholm just squeaking past Nurse in voting. Edmonton adds a high-quality centre, but not size, with this pick.
8. Buffalo Sabres: Darnell Nurse. Nurse falls to the eighth spot, narrowly behind Lindholm but ahead of Shinkaruk by a mile. Buffalo adds a massive defenceman who can play the game and brings snarl.
9. New Jersey Devils: Hunter Shinkaruk. New Jersey had a lot of options here and this was by no means unanimous, but Shinkaruk – the smallish WHL winger known for speed and goal-scoring – was the final choice of our readers.
10. Dallas Stars: Rasmus Ristolainen. Ristolainen ranked significantly higher than 10th overall on some charts, and captures the final spot in our top-10, but not easily. He faced significant challenges from a number of players just outside – in particular Nikita Zadorov, Bo Horvat and Max Domi.
Unlike yesterday, today there will be no ranking of the players involved; they are presented in alphabetical order. 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.
Pavel Buchnevich (KHL: 12GP, 1-1-2). Hands and hockey sense stand out as superb, and he certainly has top-six talent in the NHL. His skating gets mixed reviews – Future Considerations loves that part of his game, but Corey Pronman quotes one scout who describes it as only average. The KHL factor is another consideration, as is his lack of bulk. This is a player who could go anywhere in the draft: Corey Pronman has him at 17, while he doesn’t crack the top-100 of The Hockey News.
Andre Burakovsky (SWE2: 43GP, 4-7-11). The 6’1” Burakovsky gets top marks for his vision in the offensive zone and his skating, and he’s seen as a player with a potentially massive offensive upside. His physical game is hit and miss, and his defensive positioning could apparently be improved upon.
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.”
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.
Zachary Fucale (QMJHL: 45-5-3, 0.909 SV%). The less-heralded teammate of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin is still without question the consensus top goalie of the 2013 Draft. He has solid size and is seen as positionally sound and economical rather than flashy. Was a first-team QMJHL all-star.
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.
Robert Hagg (SWE Jr.: 28GP, 11-13-24). A 6’2” defenceman who also played 27 games in Sweden’s men’s league (picking up one assist), Hagg is a high-end skater with excellent vision and passing ability, a hard shot and a competent physical game. His own-zone work gets mixed reviews.
Ryan Hartman (OHL: 56GP, 23-37-60). Hartman plays a complete game on right wing: he hits, he scores and he defends. An above average skater, the only things keeping Hartman from going earlier are a combination of a) below average size (5’11”, 180 pounds) for such a physical player and b) questions about how his offensive ceiling is in the NHL.
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.
Morgan Klimchuk (WHL: 72GP, 36-40-76). A good offensive player who puts as much effort in on the backcheck as he does while scoring. Klimchuk is a good skater, can pass and shoot with equal ability and thinks the game well at both ends of the ice. On the downside, the left wing isn’t overly big and doesn’t add much physically.
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.
Artturi Lehkonen (FIN: 45GP, 14-16-30). Lehkonen is not only a pure goal-scorer with fantastic numbers, but scouts rave about his hockey sense. He plays either wing, has good vision but is primarily a shooter, and despite being undersized (roughly 5’10”, 155 pounds) he has plenty of grit to his game. Corey Pronman notes he suffered from concussion problems this season.
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.
Samuel Morin (QMJHL: 46GP, 4-12-16). Morin is listed at either 6’6” or 6’7”, depending on the source, and aside from the fact that he’s massive the most remarkable thing about him is that he can skate. His offensive upside gets mixed reviews – the point totals suggest he’ll strictly be a stay-at-home guy in the NHL – and so does his hockey sense, with some praising is defensive game and others questioning his positioning. Plays a physical brand of hockey.
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.
Mirco Muller (WHL: 63GP, 6-25-31). Jumping between scouting reports, I started feeling whiplash – there simply is no consensus on this guy’s ultimate ceiling and there is significant disagreement over how good he is now; some love him, some don’t like him at all. What is known is that he’s a 6’4” defender with at least solid puck skills, good skating, smarts, and the need to bulk up. Some project him as high-end complete defenceman, others say he’ll be steady in his own end but nothing special.
Ryan Pulock (WHL: 61GP, 14-31-45). Nobody doubts his elite shot, and 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.
Kerby Rychel (OHL: 68GP, 40-47-87). A power winger with decent size, good bloodlines (his father is former NHL’er Warren Rychel), a strong physical game and outstanding scoring totals, Rychel is somehow not in the upper tier of the 2013 Draft Class. A big part of the reason is skating: it’s often criticized and seen as only average-ish. Beyond that, he’s more of a meat-and-potatoes generator of offence than overly creative, which has some wondering how high his ceiling is in the NHL.
Shea Theodore (WHL: 71GP, 19-31-50). A 6’2” defenceman who patterns his game after players like Erik Karlsson and Mike Green, Theodore’s skating, passing and shot give him the potential to be an impact NHL defenceman. He is, however, likely some distance away from realizing that potential – he lacks physical strength and his defensive game is a work in progress.
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.
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.
Valentin Zykov (QMJHL: 67GP, 40-35-75). A power winger with significant bulk for his age (he’s generally listed at either 6’ or 6’1” but 205+ pounds), Zykov is known for a willingness to go to the net with the puck, win battles along the boards, and backcheck defensively. Given that his skating gets middling marks, he’s essentially the reverse of the traditional Russian stereotype.
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