With all the talk of teams tanking for generational talent Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats ahead of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, let’s look back at the 2013 version when teams were vying for the services of Halifax Mooseheads superstar Nathan MacKinnon.
We will list the top 10 teams in order of selection that year and select the player that best fits the needs of each team with the benefit of hindsight and 10 years of statistics. As you will see, many teams made wise choices in a very deep 2013 NHL redraft.
2013 NHL Redraft 10 Years Later
1. Colorado Avalanche – F Nathan MacKinnon (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL) – 1st round, 1st overall
To no one’s surprise, the Avalanche selected the dominant centre, and the pick has worked out as they had hoped. The product of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, leads the draft class with close to 700 career points. And after a few playoff disappointments, he was handed the Stanley Cup last spring as the team captain. Overall, he was a pick with high expectations that has lived up to his potential.
2. Florida Panthers – F Aleksander Barkov (Tappara Tampere, Finland) – 1st round, 2nd overall
The Panthers decided to go overseas with their first pick, selecting Finland’s Aleksander Barkov, who joined former Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Kari Lehtonen as the highest-drafted Finnish player. While Barkov has not led his team to the Stanley Cup, he is second in scoring for this draft class and has been awarded the Lady Byng and Selke Trophies. Full marks to the Panthers on a great pick.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning – F Jake Guentzel (Sioux City Musketeers, USHL) — 3rd round, 77th overall
The Lightning have made few mistakes in the last decade, but selecting MacKinnon’s teammate, Jonathan Drouin, third overall was one. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Penguins would not pick winger Jake Guentzel until the third round. How good would Guentzel have looked playing with Steven Stamkos or Nikita Kucherov? Probably as good or better than he has playing with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Stanley Cup run may have started sooner.
4. Nashville Predators – F Bo Horvat (London Knights, OHL) – 1st round, 9th overall
While not a bad pick, defenceman Seth Jones was eventually traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a rare one-for-one hockey deal for centre Ryan Johansen. The Predators could have skipped that step and drafted London Knights product Bo Horvat, who is off to a flying start this season. He has been a solid 200-foot player his whole career, a hallmark of the organization, especially with head coach Barry Trotz in charge.
5. Carolina Hurricanes – F Elias Lindholm (Brynas IF Gavle, Sweden) – 1st round, 5th overall
Even though he is no longer a team member, the Hurricanes were happy with getting Lindholm where they did. He is fourth in scoring among his draft class and allowed them to acquire defenceman Dougie Hamilton and prospect Adam Fox from the Calgary Flames as part of a blockbuster deal in June of 2018. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Lindholm didn’t blossom into the first-line centre they were hoping for until he moved on to Calgary.
6. Calgary Flames (F Sean Monahan, Ottawa 67’s, OHL) – 1st round, 6th overall
Much like Bo Horvat, Monahan had all the characteristics of a future captain when the Calgary Flames picked him. And he was on that path to a long, productive career when he registered career-highs in goals, assists and points in 2018-19. But then the injury bug bit hard. He is just regaining his form as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. Hopefully, he has some good years left in this player who plays the game the right way.
7. Edmonton Oilers (D Seth Jones, Portland Winterhawks, WHL) – 1st round, 4th overall
After taking forwards with three straight first-overall picks (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov), the Oilers were thinking defence when they selected Darnell Nurse. But with Seth Jones still on the board… Jones is currently the highest-scoring defenceman from this draft class, a quarterback on the power play and a true leader. He would have fit in nicely with that high-scoring offence, especially with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the way.
8. Buffalo Sabres (D Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL) – 1st round, 7th overall
The Sabres were also thinking defence when they selected Rasmus Ristolainen with this pick, but with Darnell Nurse falling in their lap, the former Soo Greyhound is an upgrade. He has similar abilities at both ends of the ice, with the added advantage of a nasty streak to keep the opposition honest. In a 2013 NHL redraft, he would have made a solid mentor for current Sabres blue-liners Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power.
9. Vancouver Canucks (F Andre Burakovsky, Erie Otters, OHL) – 1st round, 23rd overall
With Henrik and Daniel Sedin lighting up the scoresheet but still looking for a consistent third wheel, sniper Andre Burakovsky would fit the bill, especially since the pick that was made went early (Bo Horvat). Playing junior with Connor McDavid in Erie, he knew how to work with highly-skilled players and also played in Sweden before coming to North America. That checks a lot of boxes for the Canucks.
10. Dallas Stars (G Juuse Saros, HPK Jrs, Finland) – 4th round, 99th overall
The original decision to take Valeri Nichuskin did not work out for the Stars, although he is now an effective player with the Colorado Avalanche. With starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen on the wrong side of 30, fellow Finn Juuse Saros is the pick to make here. Despite being selected in the fourth round, Saros has merged as the best goaltender in this draft class. He could have mentored under Lehtonen for a few seasons before taking over the crease as the veteran’s save percentage started to fall off.
Best of the Rest in a 2013 NHL Redraft
As you can see, the first 10 teams did pretty well-selecting players to meet their immediate and future needs. Other first-round picks that are still playing in the NHL include Nichushkin, Max Domi (ARI – 12th), Josh Morrissey (WPG – 13th), Alexander Wennberg (CBJ – 13th), Ryan Pulock (NYI – 15th), Nikita Zadorov (BUF –16th), Curtis Lazar (OTT – 17th), Anthony Mantha (DET – 20th), Shea Theodore (ANA – 26th) and Ryan Hartman (CHI – 30th)
The ‘never-say-never’ award from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft goes to the Florida Panthers and their selection of defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, who was picked 206th overall but has gone on to play in over 300 NHL games. Honourable mention goes to the Los Angeles Kings and winger Dominik Kubalik, who was drafted 191st overall and has played over 200 games.
The biggest bust? That would fall to the Calgary Flames’ selection of Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk, who was drafted in the first round, 28th overall and played one NHL game. Second place goes to the Philadelphia Flyers, who selected winger Samuel Morin 11th overall. The Rimouski Oceanic product played just 29 NHL games, scoring 1 goal.
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