NHL 2013 Draft Rankings: Second edition

Saturday March 16th, 2013

Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks is still the top ranked NHL draft prosoect for 2013. Defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks remains at the top of the draft crop. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

With the crew here at SI.com pulling out the crystal ball and looking ahead to the second half of the season, this seems like the ideal time to re-evaluate the very promising cast of prospects who are headlining the 2013 NHL Draft.

Although the top-10 remains relatively stable from my first 2013 ranking, things get considerably more fluid after that. Six players moved into the top-30 (and six moved out). Some players answered questions, while others created concerns that weren't there before.

As always, it's up for debate. Got a hot draft opinion? Drop it in the comment box below.

Please note that each player's previous ranking is listed after his synopsis. (Click here for my top college free agents.)

1. Seth Jones, D, Portland, WHL: His strong finish to the regular season has put distance between him and the others contending for the top spot in June. That's saying something. (PR: 1)

2. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax, QMJHL: He missed 14 games with what was called a "minor" MCL injury, but scored four points in his return to the lineup this past Wednesday. There's simply no questioning his skill or competitiveness. (PR: 2)

3. Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax, QMJHL: There are a few scouts out there who are willing to stake their rep on Drouin being the best player in this class. No doubt he's the most dynamic and the purest goal scorer. I think he'll be brilliant, but Jones and MacKinnon provide more overall value. (PR: 3)

4. Aleksander Barkov, F, Tappara, FIN: The 17-year-old finished ninth in scoring (21-27-48 in 53 games) in the defensive-minded Finnish league, but it's his size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), hockey sense and competitiveness that have scouts raving. He's a lock to play in someone's top six. (PR: 6)

5. Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas, SWE: Elite two-way forward who can play center or the wing. During a late-season viewing, he looked noticeably stronger on the puck, which was one of the only areas of concern scouts expressed earlier in the year. Just don't buy into the Peter Forsberg comparisons. (PR: 4)

6. Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa, OHL: He dropped a spot, but I think I like him more than I did back in February. His commitment to play through a late-season injury with nothing on the line for his Ottawa 67's didn't go unnoticed. The kid is a warrior. (PR: 5)

7. Darnell Nurse, D, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL: Same story with Nurse. His game continued to improve over the last six weeks, but there was no room to move him up. His offensive reads impressed me in two recent viewings moreso than they did earlier in the year. You can see his confidence growing. Huge upside with this kid. (PR: 7)

8. Ryan Pulock: D, Brandon, WHL: His consistency waned a bit down the stretch, but playing through a wrist injury could account for that. Heavy shot and solid passing skills paint him as a future power play QB. Everyone raves about his character. (PR: 8)

9. Hunter Shinkaruk, F, Medicine Hat, WHL: I wrote last time that there's more than a little of Patrick Kane's flash in his game, and Shinkaruk showed that down the stretch, scoring some timely goals with more than a little flair. He disappears from time to time, but you have to respect his game-breaking potential and work ethic. (PR: 9)

10. Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Chelyabinsk, RUS: I'm not saying I would take the huge (6-foot-4, 200-pound) Russian this high, but I can't ignore the rising sentiment from the scouting community that he's a top-10 pick. His performance at the Five Nations tournament generated lots of buzz--he was a load down low, virtually uncontainable--but I remain skeptical about his ability to translate his game to the NHL level. Still, I can't dismiss his potential. (PR: 17)

11. Anthony Mantha, LW, Val D'Or, QMJHL: Mantha heads into the final weekend as the Q's leading goal scorer (48). No surprise there. He scores pro-style goals, using his size to get into the greasy areas and a quick release to get the puck away. (PR: 14)

12. Curtis Lazar, C, Edmonton, WHL: He was just starting to get his game back together after a rough start when my previous rankings were produced. Now? He's in top form, using his speed and vision to put up points while working diligently in his own end. There's more than a little Mike Fisher in his game. (PR: 21)

13. Valentin Zykov, RW, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL: Just two rookies have hit the 40-goal mark in the Q over the past 10 seasons: Sidney Crosby and Mikhail Grigorenko. Zykov, sitting at 39, could get there this weekend. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound winger has a terrific release. (PR: NR)

14. Max Domi, C, London, OHL: I'm starting to hear whispers suggesting he could drop, but I'm not buying them...yet. The dynamic Domi finished second in the OHL's Western Conference coaches' poll in both stickhandling and playmaking. The question is, can he work that same magic along the wall if he's moved to the wing as a pro? (PR: 13)

15. Adam Erne, RW, Quebec, QMJHL: I wrote last time that a team-imposed suspension for selfish play had no impact on Erne's standing. Yeah, well, seems like the bloom is off the rose a bit. No one's arguing about his potential to become a solid power forward, but there's a sense that others might be safer choices. He could provide great value once he grows up. (PR: 10)

16. Zach Fucale, G, Halifax, QMJHL: Sure, he plays behind a powerhouse squad in Halifax, but his 44 wins heading into this weekend (March 16-17) is the most by a Q goalie in 34 years. The kid knows how to come out on top. Talent-wise, I think this is the right slot for Fucale, but with more than a few teams looking for a long-term goalie option, he could go much higher. (PR: 17)

17. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, TPS Turku, FIN: I'm probably going against the grain here on Ristolainen, but nothing I've seen or been told has convinced me to move him higher. With two years in the SM-Liiga under his belt and a man-sized body (6-foot-3, 206 pounds), he has an opportunity to make a quick transition to the NHL, but I'm not convinced that he has the tool box to hold all of his tools. A little more edge wouldn't hurt, either.(PR: 11)

18. Alexander Wennberg, C, Djurgardens, SWE: His finishing touch came along toward the end of the season and so did I. Wennberg's all-around game makes him a safe bet to play, but his second-half performance makes me feel better about his upside. Projects as a third-line pivot. (PR: NR)

19. Frederik Gauthier, C, Rimouski, QMJHL: Not the same player he was before breaking his jaw. It's understandable that he's backed off his physical play, but his all-around effort has dipped as well, especially in the defensive end. Still, his size (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and raw tools will make someone overlook those concerns. (PR: 15)

20. Ryan Hartman, F, Plymouth, OHL: He's Ryan Callahan in a smaller, quicker package. Loved how he dropped the mitts in the CHL Top Prospects game with Kerby Rychel. This guy will do anything to help his team win. (PR: 19)

21. Nikita Zadorov, D, London, OHL: I know there are teams who like him a lot better than this, but taking a defensive defenseman too high seems like a mismanagement of an asset. What Zadorov brings is a massive (6-foot-5, 229-pound) frame, a nasty disposition and the potential to become a dominating shutdown presence. (PR: 16)

22. Shea Theodore, D, Seattle, WHL:: Playing on a lousy Thunderbirds squad has allowed Theodore opportunities that wouldn't have been available to him on a stronger club. All that critical ice time has accelerated his development, moving him into the late-first round mix. The offensive-minded defender needs to sharpen his decision making, but his skating and transition skills help cover the occasional blemish. Scoring 19 goals doesn't hurt, either. (PR: NR)

23. Josh Morrissey, D, Prince Albert, WHL: Love his offensive potential, but there are questions about his ability to handle physical play after he was manhandled down the stretch. Of course, it's worth remembering everyone had the same concerns about Cam Fowler a couple of years back. I get the sense he could swing up or down 10 spots. (PR: 12)

24. Morgan Klimchuk, LW, Regina, WHL: This speedy winger got the green light from the Pats' coaching staff to be more creative towards the end of the year. Showing off a little flair certainly didn't hurt his draft stock. Nice acceleration and a quick release set him up to be a scorer at the next level. (PR: 28)

25. Bo Horvat, C, London, OHL: Has really impressed me with his play over the past month. He's a smart, creative player up front, but it was his relentlessness on defense that won me over. He's become more important for the Knights as the stakes have been raised. (PR: NR)

26. Robert Hagg, D, MoDo, SWE: Mobile blueliner will make the occasional insane decision with the puck, but that's the trade-off for his ability to make high-end plays. Has the size (6-foot-2, 204 pounds) that might convince a team to snag him earlier. (PR: 24)

27. Kerby Rychel, LW, Windsor, OHL: He started finding the net with more frequency once Alex Khokhlachev returned from Russia. That did nothing to allay my concerns that he's a player who needs others to make him better. Still, I like him as a solid third-liner who can chip in on the power play. (PR: 26)

28. Ian McCoshen, D, USNTDP, USHL: Not much I'd change about my previous synopsis: Smart, steady and physical defender who can handle the puck and chew up minutes. (PR: 29)

29. Nic Petan, C, Portland, WHL: The impact made by undersized forwards like Brendan Gallagher and Cory Conacher this season won't remove all the concerns about the 5-foot-8, 163-pound Petan, but the lights-out numbers (45 goals and 112 points in 69 games) this kid is producing are tough to ignore. The elusive pivot competes for his ice and reads the play as well as anyone in this draft. He's still a risk, but at this point, his upside makes him tough to pass up. (PR: NR)

30. Gustav Olofsson, D, Green Bay, USHL:: Maybe I caught him at his best, but the 6-foot-2, 189-pound blueliner is a player I could see a patient team taking in the first round and slowly nurturing. He skates well and makes good decisions with, and without, the puck. Makes a consistently nice first pass, too. His game screams upside. (PR: NR)

Dropped: Anthony Duclair Tristan Jarry Marko Dano
SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.