As the hockey almanac moves further away from the latest World Junior Championships and delves into the belated NHL season, the ongoing Seth Jones-Nathan MacKinnon draft derby is nudged further from the center of the radar. Yet, that does not technically mean it is going anywhere.
The presumptive top two picks in 2013 crossed paths again last week, less than a month after their U.S. and Canada teams met in the WJC. Jones captained Team Orr to a 3-0 blanking of MacKinnon’s Team Cherry―at the home of MacKinnon’s Halifax Mooseheads, no less―in the annual CHL Top Prospects Game.
Jones had the primary assist on the icebreaker and eventual game-winning goal and a plus-one rating in the Jan. 16 showcase. MacKinnon was held scoreless and brooked a minus-two rating.
Much like the WJC, this exhibition is a little more than nothing, but not necessarily the tell-all as to which prospects should rank above others. Even so―and not to let on too much prematurely―recent special events have served to do little more than embolden the posture of some of these aspiring draftees.
With their most up-to-date headlines in mind, here is where each of the top 20 draft prospects for this summer stand.