Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2013 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical draft profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! For a Complete Listing of all our 2013 Draft Articles Click here.
Instead of our normal draft profiles today, I continue with the first round of my NHL Mock Draft. Be sure to read Picks 1-15 in Part 1, which was released yesterday. Today I bring you picks 16-30. We’ll finish the week with a few more profiles and then bring you round two next week.
Some things to keep in mind:
- If you click the player’s name, you will get a link to their draft profile.
- The rankings are pure “Best Player Available” and are my opinion only. The mock draft takes into account team style of play, the prospects already in the team’s system, and prior draft trends – this is another reason why I haven’t followed the ranks exactly.
- I also realize that I have ranked some players far outside of the consensus, and as such those are my ranks, but not necessarily my prediction of where a player will be picked.
- I have assumed the New Jersey Devils will not forfeit their first round pick this year as punishment for the Kovalchuk Circumvention ruling, (they must pick one year between 2011-2014 to forfeit a first rounder). I am guessing that with the draft in New Jersey, and after missing the playoffs with a relatively highy pick, this is not the year they will forfeit the pick.
- The Stanley Cup final will determine the order of picks 29 and 30. I am going to assume the Hawks at 30th due to regular season points. Of course it could be the Bruins (pick owned by Dallas) and only time will tell.
- I am doing a mock draft with no trades (except those that have already been made).
16) Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota): Bo Horvat, C/RW
Previous Pick: Ryan Pulock
This pick was acquired in the Jason Pominville trade. As mentionned yesterday, the Sabres have really improved their depth at centre over the last 15 months or so. Given the picks made in front of them though, the Sabres clearly see that the best player available is another centre. They would have loved Erne to fall given his chemistry with Grigorenko, but in our mock draft it was not to be. Looking at what comes up after the Sabres, they just can’t pass on the centre again, so they take Horvat who was a two-way pivot from the London Knights, but has also played wing in the past. Horvat rocketed up draft boards with his 16 goals in 21 games in the OHL playoffs, and his MVP performance.
17) Ottawa Senators: Alexander Wennberg, C
Another highly rated Swede is on the board with the Senators on the clock? It takes Bryan Murray all of about 3 seconds to make up his mind on this pick. In Wennberg the Senators add a two-way centre with decent size, who is really more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. He will mature in Sweden before the Sens try to bring him to join their team in North America.
18) Detroit Red Wings: Curtis Lazar, C
The Red Wings grab the two-way centre from the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Wings value his winning pedigree, his responsible and gritty work at both ends of the rink, and his never quit attitude. The Wings will integrate him into their system, which means finishing his junior career and spending some time in the AHL. Lazar is more of a goal scorer than a playmaker in the middle of the ice, and should mesh well with Detroit’s wing prospects in the system.
19) Columbus Blue Jackets (from New York Rangers): Josh Morrissey, D
Previous Pick: Anthony Mantha
The Blue Jackets come to the podium for the second of their three first round picks and are able to target the best player available. In Josh Morrissey they get one of the best pure skaters in the draft, and a dynamic offensive defenceman. Morrissey can hit due to his timing, skating and gap control, but he is going to need to bulk up to handle other aspects in the defensive end. Another pick with huge upside as the offensive potential in Morrissey is very high.
20) San Jose Sharks: Frederik Gauthier, C
The Sharks prospect pool lacks depth at almost every position. As such the team will need to take the best player available to really inject talent into the system. The Sharks choose Frederik Gauthier a giant of a player, and a two-way centre with Rimouski this season. GM Doug Wilson has always loved big, skilled players, and Gauthier will add to that stable. He scored the winning goal for Team Canada at the Under 18 World Championships helping to defeat the United States.
21) Toronto Maple Leafs: Kerby Rychel, RW/LW
The Recent run on centre prospects is largely disappointing to Dave Nonis and Co. who wanted to see one of Wennberg, Horvat, Lazar, or Gauthier fall to this pick. Instead the Leafs decide to add a winger with truculence, goal scoring, and NHL bloodlines, selecting Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires. His father, Warren Rychel spent time with the Leafs in the 1994-95 season. Kerby is coming off back to back 40 goal campaigns in the OHL and he knows how to put the puck in the back of the net.
22) Calgary Flames (From St. Louis): Zach Fucale, G
Previous Pick: Elias Lindholm
Like the Blue Jackets, the Flames also have 3 picks in the first rounds. With this pick, acquired from the St. Louis Blues as part of the package received for Jay Bouwmeester, the Flames address their future in goal. In Zach Fucale, the Flames get the best goalie in the draft, and the 2013 Memorial Cup winning goalie. Fucale is cool, calm and collected in any situation, and has the skills to be an NHL backstop in the next 3 to 4 years. The Flames will need to be patient with Fucale, but if he develops the upside is huge.
23) Washington Capitals: Samuel Morin, D
The Caps have an impressive group of forwards, and added to it in the draft last year, and also hope to bring over Evgeni Kuznetsov from Europe. They decide to add a shut down blueliner, and draft an absolute monster in 6’5″ Morin. The defensive defenceman out of Rimouski will add size and a physical presence to the Capitals blueline, and if he develops could strike fear in the hearts of opposing forwards.
24) Vancouver Canucks: Andre Burakovsky, LW
The Canucks add a Swedish-born left wing sniper to the prospect pool. Adding offence to the group, especially at a relatively weak organizational position in LW (the Canucks are much stronger at C and RW) is important. The Canucks have a real boom or bust type of sniper, and if they can develop Burakovsky, he can be a big time sniper in the NHL.
25) Montreal Canadiens: J.T. Compher, C/LW
Les Habitants take a player who combines Grit and Skill. Adding the qualities of a pest who is never afraid to go to the net or get involved in any scrum, or other physical altercation is a welcome addition to the Habs prospect pool. That he can play both centre and wing and has the tools to lead the USNTDP in scoring is also important. Habs Director of Scouting, Trevor Timmins has never been afraid to pick a USNTDP player, or take a guy who is committed to NCAA hockey. The Habs also have familiarity with Red Berenson and the program he runs at Michigan, where Compher is committed to attending.
26) Anaheim Ducks: Robert Hagg, D
The Ducks have long believed that they can never have too much depth on defence. In taking Hagg, the Ducks get another potential offensive defenceman with good defensive skills. They will have to use vets such as Francois Beauchemin in providing instruction to Hagg. His ability to skate, and to make plays is the reason why I think he is taken in the first round, adding to the list of Anaheim defensive prospects.
27) Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles): Ryan Hartman, C/RW
Previous Picks: Josh Morrissey, Anthony Mantha
The final of the three first round picks, the Columbus Blue Jackets can again afford to go best player available in this spot. They take Ryan Hartman, who made a huge impression as a checker for Team USA at the World Juniors, and came back to the Plymouth Whalers filled with extra energy and spark. The Jackets have never been afraid of gritty and physical players, but in Hartman they get one with real offensive skill too.
28) Calgary Flames (from Pittsburgh): Ian McCoshen, D
Previous Picks: Zack Fucale, Elias Lindholm
The Flames acquired this pick from Pittsburgh in the Jarome Iginla trade. In our mock draft, they have already added a Centre in Elias Lindholm, and a Goalie in Zack Fucale. The Flames went off the board big time last year in their pick of Mark Jankowski and we see them going for another surprising selection here, taking Ian McCoshen from the USHL. McCoshen adds a two-way presence to the Flames prospect pool. He can move the puck and play defence, and the Flames hope he will be a big part of the blueline when their new rebuild is complete.
29) Dallas Stars (from Boston): Valentin Zykov, RW/LW
Previous Picks: Rasmus Ristolainen
With the Bruins making the Conference Final (and now Stanley Cup Final), the Stars get this pick in the Jaromir Jagr trade. In our mock draft, the Stars went defence with the first pick, grabbing the big and nasty Finn in Ristolainen. The Stars are thrilled to see Valentin Zykov, a talented and gritty winger fall to them at pick 29. Coming from the Detroit organization, Nill has no problem taking European players with his top 2 picks, as they are the best on the board when he gets to the podium.
30) Chicago Blackhawks: Madison Bowey, D
The only team amongst the NHL’s final four to actually keep their pick. The rich, get richer in Chicago as they add another prospect to a strong pool. Chicago has nice youth on their team, and in the system, with a number of skilled forwards and defencemen. Taking who they see as the best player available at this spot is important. The Hawks see the puck-moving defence prospect out of Kelowna as another great choice to add to the pool of prospects.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL Draft feature.
For a listing of NHL Mock drafts around the internet, please check out our friends at the NHL mock database.
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