NHL Draft 2013: Early Frontrunners at Each Position

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NHL Draft 2013: Early Frontrunners at Each Position
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For teams with multiple first round draft picks next year, the 2013 NHL Draft in New Jersey will be a great opportunity to find a star player for the future.

Next year's draft class is loaded with phenomenal talent at every position. Let's look at the three best players at each position in the 2013 draft class.

 

Center

Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat, WHL

Shinkaruk is a fantastic center whose goalscoring abilities have tremendously improved over the last two years.

He scored 11 goals for Medicine Hat during the 2010-11 season, then exploded for 49 goals last year. Right now he is a top-five pick and a future No. 1 center.

Sean Monahan, Ottawa 67s, OHL

For teams that are looking for a two-way center that can score goals, Sean Monahan is the perfect choice.  

Monahan scored 78 points last season, 31 points more than the year before. Monahan will make an impact as soon as he gets to the NHL because of his defensive abilities.

Sasha Barkov, Tappara, SM-liiga

Barkov could be a star power forward in the NHL, and has enormous potential at both ends of the ice. He scored seven goals with nine assists in 16 games in Finland's SM-liiga last season, and already has impressive size.

As he gets stronger and continues to improve, there's a chance he could be a top-five pick in next year's draft.

 

Left Wingers

Kerby Rychel, Windsor Spitfires, OHL

Rychel took on a larger role in Windsor last season and showed why he is a top-offensive prospect in the 2013 class.

He scored 41 goals last season for the Spitfires, 36 more than the year before, and also added 31 assists. He is a playmaking winger who should be a top-10 pick.

J.T. Compher, U.S. National Development Team, USHL

Compher is a talented left winger with an incredible shot and great skating skills. He scored 27 points in 32 games for the U.S. National Development Team last season, and his defensive skills continue to improve.

Anthony Duclair, Quebec Ramparts, QMJHL

Duclair is a two-way winger who can score goals and set up teammates with scoring opportunities. He needs to get stronger, but his offensive potential is off the charts.

He scored 31 goals with 35 assists last season for Quebec, and could definitely score 40 next year. Duclair has the talent to be a top-10 pick next season.

 

Right Wingers

Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

MacKinnon could be the No. 1 pick in next year's draft depending on which team holds the top selection.

A team needing a franchise forward will take MacKinnon because he is an elite goalscorer who also has exquisite passing skills. He scored 31 goals with 47 assists for the Mooseheads last season, and as the speed and hockey intelligence to thrive in the NHL.

Valeri Nichushkin, Belie Medvedi Chelyabinsk, MHL (Russia)

The Russian winger has size, good speed, and impressive goalscoring ability. If he continues to improve his defensive skills, there's a chance he could be a top-15 pick in next year's draft.

Ross Olsson, Williston Northampton School, MA

Olsson is a raw talent with great potential, but he needs to have a great 2012-13 season to prove he's a first-round caliber talent.

 

Defensemen

Seth Jones, U.S. National Development Team, USHL

Seth Jones is the top defensemen prospect in the 2013 class, and will likely be the No. 1 pick in the draft if Nathan MacKinnon isn't taken first.

Jones has great size (6'4", 205 lbs), and has an impressive two-way game. His speed and puck-moving skills are also very good.

Robert Hägg, MODO J20, SuperElit (Sweden)

Hägg is a physical blueliner with very good offensive skills. He is very comfortable with the puck on the blade of his stick, and has a powerful shot from the point.

His defensive skills are also impressive, and his ability to shine at both ends of the ice will make him an impressive prospect when draft day arrives.

Ryan Pulock, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL

Pulock is a complete defensemen who promises to have a fantastic NHL career. In 71 games for the Wheat Kings last season, Pulock scored 19 goals and had 41 assists.  

Pulock's defensive awareness is also impressive, and if he continues to prove that he can be a factor offensively, then he will be a lock to get drafted in the top 10.

 

Goaltender

Zachary Fucale, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL

Fucale was fantastic for the Mooseheads last season, and finished the year with a record of 32-18-6. He showed remarkable composure in net last year, and if he has another good season in the QMJHL, he could be a top-15 pick in the draft.

Spencer Martin, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, OHL

Martin is just 17 years old but he has a ton of potential as a goaltender in the OHL.

He needs to have a great season next year and take the necessary steps in his development to become a first- or second-round pick, but he certainly could be one of the better goaltenders of next year's class. He had a 2-7-1 in 15 games last season.

Ville Husso, G, HIFK Jr., Finland

Husso is one prospect to keep an eye on this season. If he has another good year in Finland, he could soar up the draft rankings. He is also an athletic goalie with the size needed to thrive in the NHL.

 

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