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2013 NHL draft rankings

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Sometimes a name is just too present, the buzz too loud. Seth Jones has separated himself from the pack and that is why he has claimed the No. 1 spot on my draft list. Even with a new lottery that expands the number of teams with the potential to select first overall, the NHL basement is still your starting reference point. And Florida, Colorado, Calgary, Philadelphia and Tampa could all use Jones next year. With that in mind, here are my latest draft ranking predictions.

1. Seth Jones, D, Portland

He finished fourth in WHL scoring among defensemen with 56 points in 61 games and was the youngest in the top five. He was also a top-five rookie scorer and offense is but one facet of his game. Jones can also play the shutdown game and his size makes him a load to handle.

2. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax

A knee injury cost him games down the stretch, but MacKinnon was back at it in the playoffs, posting six points through three contests. His explosive stride separates him from everyone else, while the pivot can get red-hot in the faceoff circle and also play a chippy, physical game. That’s what NHL scouts love to see.

3. Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax

Ending the regular season averaging more than two points per game is simply fantastic and there will never be enough words to describe Drouin’s offensive game. His vision is uncanny, his stick is a magnet for the puck and when he’s in his office at the side of the net, it’s usually lights-out for the enemy goalie.

4. Valery Nichushkin, C, Traktor

Earlier in the year, the “Russian factor” was a question when it came to Nichushkin’s draft slot. But speaking with scouts and execs, they don’t care; he’s just too talented. His size adds to the intimidation and even though he has a contract back home, a patient team will get a game-breaker in a couple years.

5. Sasha Barkov, C, Tappara

The man-child with excellent vision has continued his unprecedented run as a 17-year-old in Finland’s top league, where he has his team on the cusp of the semifinal. Barkov brings the entire package and plays a team game.

6. Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa

The last prospect standing on a 67’s ship that went down in flames, Monahan now has a lot of time to train until the draft combine, since he’s too old for the world under-18s. Nevertheless, the kid has great hockey sense and uses his big frame to protect the puck with authority.

7. Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas

Lindholm and his Brynas squad were shut down by Skelleftea in the first round of the Elite League playoffs, but it was still a banner year for the youngster. Despite playing against older competition, Lindholm put up nice numbers by working the corners and earning power play time.

8. Darnell Nurse, D, Sault Ste. Marie

The size and snarl was always there, but what has truly thrust Nurse up the draft charts is the way his offensive game took off this season. The big blueliner popped in 12 goals and 41 points a year after notching just one and 10 as a rookie.

9. Hunter Shinkaruk, LW, Medicine Hat

Finished the regular season on fire with four multi-point outings in his last five games. Shinkaruk kept the party going in the playoffs, too, where his Tigers were giving the Memorial Cup hosts from Saskatoon more than they could handle. Skating is elite with the left winger, who is still ironing out his defensive responsibilities.

10. Robert Hagg, D, Modo

Incredibly mature for his age, Hagg has a great frame and can pass the puck at an NHL level already. Scouts want to see more passion, but there’s no denying the two-way ability he brings every night.

11. Curtis Lazar

12. Nikita Zadorov

13. Adam Erne

14. Rasmus Ristolainen

15. Anthony Mantha

16. Alexander Wennberg

17. Kerby Rychel

18. Ryan Pulock

19. Frederik Gauthier

20. Josh Morrissey

21. Bo Horvat

22. Valentin Zykov

23. Zach Fucale

24. Jacob De La Rose

25. Max Domi

26. Steve Santini

27. Andre Burakowsky

28. Morgan Klimchuk

29. Ian McCoshen

30. Eric Comrie

Ryan Kennedy, the co-author of Young Guns II, is THN's associate senior writer and a regular contributor to His column appears Wednesdays and The Hot List appears Tuesdays. Follow him on Twitter at @THNRyanKennedy.



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