MacKinnon tops December Rankings – 2013 NHL Draft Guide
THG 2013 NHL Draft Collage
The Canadian Hockey League’s top team, Halifax Mooseheads, continue to dish out top talent eligible for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Pivot Nathan MacKinnon remains our top rated player in the December edition of The Hockey Guys’ Collaborative Draft Rankings but he has been joined by teammate, Jonathan Drouin, who has jumped two spots landing behind Seth Jones (2nd) as the third ranked player and top rated winger. Halifax’s first round contributions continue as goaltender Zach Fucale has been slotted into the 19th position as the draft class’ top goaltender. At the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft, MacKinnon and Drouin were selected first and second overall, respectfully, and Fucale was off the board when the 11th pick came due as well and the trio of Moosehead stars are hoping a similar first round fate occurs at the draft next summer as well.
The 2013 draft class continues to impress the scouting world with its tremendous top end depth especially at the forward position. The exceptional Nathan MacKinnon (1st), fast rising Jonathan Drouin (3rd), Finnish highlight-reel Aleksander Barkov (4th), steady Sean Monahan (5th), sharp shooting Hunter Shinkaruk (7th) and my personal favourite, Elias Lindholm (6th), are just a handful of potential first-line stars competing for top forward honours. Realistically, any one of these forwards could contend for a top five position in next year’s draft but due to the tremendous depth there will be some NHL teams thankful to snatch them up outside of their warranted draft positions.
Portland Winterhawks’ consistent, minute munching defenseman Seth Jones (2nd) continues to firmly hold down the top defensive spot and continues to receive respect as he pushes MacKinnon for first overall draft honours. Fellow WHLer Ryan Pulock (8th) and Finnish two-way defenseman Rasmus Ristoläinen (9th) fill out the defenseman ranked in our top 10. Making his debut in the opening ten spots is Russian sharp shooter Valeri Nichushkin (10th) after a month of showcasing that his skills warrant a top spot despite the always controversial Russian passport he carries.
The Ontario Hockey League features two defensive prospects that continue to climb the draft rankings in Sault Ste Marie’s Darnell Nurse and London Knights’ import rearguard Nikita Zadorov. The two towering defensemen are turning heads as each of them have ramped up their play showcasing their immense professional potential that has teams dubbing them as top end talents. Over the course of the season, Nurse (12th) and Zadorov (16th) will continue to battle each other to become the OHL’s top draft-eligible defenseman.
As players near the mid-point of their draft season, many skaters have impressed their way into discussion as potential first round selections while several others have disappointed resulting in them dropping from the top 30. Making their debut in the opening 30 slots include Val-d’Or forward Anthony Mantha (23rd), Swedish pivot Alexander Wennberg (27th), WHL defender Shea Theodore (28th) and speedy Quebec winger Anthony Duclair (29th). Sliding out of the opening round, for now, are forwards Ryan Kujawinski and Jacob de la Rose as well crease clearers Steven Santini and Madison Bowey.
For the first time, featured in The Hockey Guys’ December Edition are a few complementary bonuses (from yours truly) for our readers. Our On the Radar section has been expanded to include more names and leagues to watch as the draft quickly approaches us. Furthermore, the FREE downloadable draft guide lists thirty-plus top prospects available for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft as we look even further into hockey’s future. Quick snippets of my own personal lists highlight players who have really impressed me with their recent play (Climbing the Draft Ranks) and overage players to watch that have been passed over in previous drafts (Passed Over). Countless hours have been spent developing the guide to ensure easy-to-follow reading all at no cost. Be sure to return to TheHockeyGuys.net for ongoing 2013 NHL Entry Draft features throughout the season to show us your appreciation.
Click the following to download the complete document including the Top 30 and Players to Watch: THGTop30 2013 DraftRankingsDEC
Special thanks go out to The Hockey Guys’ team of scouts involved in the development of our collaborative monthly draft rankings. The Hockey Guys’ scouting team consists of avid hockey enthusiasts that spend countless hours living at the rinks in search of the next potential NHL star. The rankings were formulated in a collaborative effort from six regional scouts and while the outcome was an agreed-upon top 30 ranking, the process included intense discussion and debate on each individual prospect. The Hockey Guys team of scouts each have their individual favourites and as the season progresses it is assured that their opinions will be reflected in the fluctuations within the rankings.
Until next month…see you at the rinks,
THG OHL Credentialed Prospect Writer