The 2013 NHL draft is slated to take place on April 29th in New Jersey. That's a Sunday, and every single round will take place on the same day for the first time since 2006.
The way the draft lottery occurs has changed since the lockout (2013 edition), and Allan Muir over at Sports Illustrated did a fantastic job of explaining the math...and stuff. Numbers just aren't my thing, so here's the breakdown per Muir.
The 2013 NHL Draft Lottery... will be the first in which all 14 clubs that do not qualify for the playoffs (or a team that’s acquired their pick) will have a chance at winning the right to make the first overall choice.
Previously, a team could move up no more than four spots, so only the five teams with the fewest point totals could claim the first selection. ...
Fourteen balls will be placed in a lottery machine. Four are expelled, forming a four-digit number that will be matched against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the 14 participating clubs.
The odds of each team winning increases based on how badly each team performed (obviously).
For the sake of this mock draft, I won't be placing 14 balls into a lotto machine, forming a four-digit code and matching it against a probability chart that divides the possible combinations among the participating clubs. Or whatever. The corner store I live by doesn't stock enough cheap beer to get me through that experience.
Instead, I am just going to take the oh-so-easy way out and go in reverse order of the standings as of March 11th, 2013 (and prior to any games that take place this evening). There is sure to be some shake, rattle and rolling in the standings during the second half of the season, but this should start to give fans a good idea of the type of player their team will have a chance at selecting.
While the draft isn't quite as deep as everyone thought it would be, it still offers at least 10 or 11 outstanding options through the first third of the draft, and some sturdy pickups through the latter parts.
I want to say that the 30th spot may be the only one to not change, but with the Anaheim Ducks only six points away, there is no breathing room for any NHL team at the halfway mark.
Despite being one of the better teams since the 2005 lockout, the Chicago Blackhawks have done a superb job in selecting good players with their later draft picks. Look for them to bolster their blue line a bit with the addition of solid defender Robert Hagg.
He has great upside on both sides of the puck and already shows great sense for both sides of the game.
First of all, mad props to the Anaheim Ducks for securing the second-best record in hockey thus far, when most pundits didn't even have them making the playoffs. If they can manage to secure Corey Perry, then this is a team that doesn't really need toughness among the forward ranks.
Instead, they could look to add a smallish but gifted player such as Nicolas Petan. He stands at only 5'9'', but like most little men, he carries a chip on his shoulder and plenty of finish to make it worth a roll of the dice here for the Ducks.
I read a joke a year or two ago that said that if you wanted to play the "mini-me" side game in the most recent edition of the NHL's video game franchise, all you had to do was select the Montreal Canadiens as your team.
While the team isn't quite as smallish as it was back then, it could still use a little umph in its forward ranks. Curtis Lazar brings a great mixture of offensive ability and toughness and would be an outstanding addition to the lineup for the surprising Canadiens.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have plenty of skill on their team and within the ranks of their prospects, and could look to add a little bit of sandpaper late in the first round.
If that's the case, they need to look no further than Kerby Rychel. The son of ex-NHLer Warren, the kid can score, sure. But what he's known for is his tenacious play and grit along the walls and down low behind the net.
When he isn't causing issues with his physicality, he is imposing his will on the offensive side of the puck. A capable shooter, passer, faceoff man and antagonist, if Rychel lands in Pittsburgh, he could be a fan favorite and a staple second- or third-liner for quite some time.
Thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins can afford to take a bit of a risky pick here in the first round of 2013.
Morgan Klimchuk is an offensive specimen, pure as the sky is blue. He's a very fast skater and uses his speed to turn defenders, and he either then drives to the net to shoot or has enough vision to find the open man.
For the first time in recent memory, the Toronto Maple Leafs are forced to pick through the leftovers of the first round as they select late.
There will still be some diamonds left, however, and the Leafs would be comfortable selecting Bo Horvat. A rock of a forward, Horvat is very strong on the puck and is capable of driving to the net while protecting the asset while it is on his stick.
He is also capable of finding open players after he creates space with his size, which is a huge plus for this youngster.
Despite major injuries to major players, the Ottawa Senators continue to win hockey games. If they keep that up, they'll have to settle for a late first-round draft pick, but I have a feeling that the Sens would be perfectly OK with that scenario.
Despite the lower selection, Ottawa could strike gold with Mirco Muller, a Swiss defender that has only recently started to climb draft boards. He's a very methodical player from the back end, with the ability to read the pace of the game and play accordingly.
Ryan Hartman began garnering attention a little bit later than some of the other players listed so far, or else he could have been selected much earlier. The Carolina Hurricanes have zero issues with his late coming-out party, however, as he's available to them with the 23rd overall selection.
Hartman is a physical forward who can play in all three zones, already understanding and respecting the small details of the game.
The Detroit Red Wings have traditionally selected the "best player available" in the past, but the lack of grit the team has shown so far in 2013 may cause the team to step away from that mantra a bit. J.T. Compher is a perfectly capable forward, but commonly has the words "warrior" and "tenacious" thrown around in his scouting reports.
For a team that ices almost zero toughness on a nightly basis, it may do the Wings good to select the rough, tumble and talented Compher with the 22nd overall pick.
The New Jersey Devils have had fans saying, "I'm sorry, Zach who?" all season long and could look to continue that trend at the draft.
Andre Burakowsky is a remarkably fast skater and has exceptional agility that he can use once he gets to the top gear. Not a one-dimensional offensive player, Burakowsky also has excellent hands around the net and can roof pucks from in close.
Every attempt by the Columbus Blue Jackets to break out of the basement has been met with one major hurdle, and that hurdle has been the lack of solid goaltending.
In fact, the Jackets arguably haven't iced an NHL-caliber starter in nearly three years. Sergei Bobrovsky may or may not be the answer for the Jackets, and while his play has been stellar over the last few weeks, you can bet that this is a team that is fed up with not having solid goaltending.
There are still some outstanding players at other positions available at 20, but I wouldn't be shocked to see the Jackets reach a bit and select the highest rated netminder available in the draft in Zach Fucale.
The Columbus Blue Jackets step up to the podium for the second time during the first round, and after selecting a hard-working forward with their first selection, the Jackets go all-in on Valentin Zykov with this selection from the New York Rangers.
Being forced to deal Rick Nash was a bit of a blow to the franchise, but they continue to rebound with this very talented winger. Columbus would hope that Zykov could translate his goal-scoring ability to the NHL level, if for no other reason than to break the awful luck that the Jackets have had when selecting Russian-born players.
Josh Morrissey may need a bit of time before he is NHL-ready, but if his skill set fully translates, the Minnesota Wild will have selected a solid top-four pairing player with the 18th selection.
Morrissey has a little bit of everything in his game and has the potential to be an outstanding offensive defenseman thanks to his speed, skating and a very heavy shot. Unlike a lot of puck-moving prospects, he also has a developed game in his own end and excels in all areas of the ice.
The Vancouver Canucks are in desperate need of a top-end young goaltender, and they will look to add one in the 2013 draft.
Alexander Wennberg would be an excellent addition at center for the Canucks. He is a traditional Swedish-trained forward and can play all three forward positions and in all situations. Wennberg also has a penchant for stepping his game up when it matters the most.
The San Jose Sharks could use a little size among their crop of forward prospects and would look to Frederick Gauthier to change that.
He stands at 6'3'' and is already cashing in at nearly 200 pounds. Gauthier is a good shooter and a slick passer, and is a rock-solid pickup for San Jose with the 16th overall pick.
While the St. Louis Blues are a team that has solid depth up and down their ranks of prospects, they will be thrilled at the opportunity to add forward Anthony Mantha with this mid-round selection.
The brains-and-brawn combo is one of the most sought after at the NHL level, and if Mantha can translate his game fully to the best league in the world, then this could easily be one of the bigger steals of the draft.
He tries to bring intensity every shift, game in and game out, and could fit in nicely with a guy like David Backes.
Good luck knocking Max Domi off the puck, despite his smaller stature, and good luck finding a more explosive forward still available at this point in the draft.
The Phoenix Coyotes would snag the son of former NHLer Tie Domi in a heartbeat and not look back. The kid brings an outstanding offensive skill set to the rink on a nightly basis, and the only thing preventing him from breaking the top few selections is his height.
Not that we've ever seen that come back to haunt teams before.
The Dallas Stars would be hard-pressed to come up with valid reasons to pass on Nikita Zadorov with the 13th overall selection.
The team drafted hulking defensive prospect Jamie Oleksiak in 2012 and could solidify their own zone for the next decade-plus with the equally imposing Zadorov. Zadorov is already 6'5'', 230 pounds and has shown that he knows how to use his size since joining the OHL.
Since they are able to play in all situations, the Stars could lean on these giant defensive studs for quite some time if they luck out and are able to select Zadorov.
The Winnipeg Jets would be absolutely stoked to select Elias Lindholm with the 12th overall selection.
The Jets lack depth at every position and still need to restock the pipeline that was so barren when the team relocated from Atlanta, so they'll gladly bite the bullet and pick the could-be Henrik Zetterberg two-way center in Lindholm.
The Nashville Predators need to score more goals and are in desperate needs of top-six forwards. Or at least forwards that have that kind of potential.
I think the all-around ability of Elias Lindholm causes him to slide just a bit farther, as the Preds snatch up Hunter Shinkaruk. Here is a guy who can make something happen offensively every single time he is on the ice. Here is a team that has never really had a forward of that caliber.
While he's a bit more of a one-dimensional offensive powerhouse, I don't think Nashville could pass on his enticing combination of speed, vision and finish.
Ryan Pulock will have already slid a bit by the 10th overall selection, and the New York Islanders will be more than happy to pick him up.
Pulock is the kind of two-way defender that teams shell out millions of dollars for during almost every free agency period—and the Isles will surpass all that nonsense and grab a slick-skating offensive defender that knows how to play in all three zones gleefully.
Pulock and 2012 selection Griffin Reinhart will give New York one of the best young one-two punches on the back end in the entire NHL. If they both pan out, the duo could turn the fortunes of the Islanders around once they reach Brooklyn.
Everyone knew that the Philadelphia Flyers might have some issues in their own end this season, but 2013 has been a bit rougher than expected. The consolation prize may very well come in the form of a blue-chip defenseman for a team that sorely needs one.
While the overall positional depth on the back end is solid for the Flyers, they'd look to grab a potential anchor with a top-10 selection. Philly, allow me to introduce you to Darnell Nurse.
Nurse is an offensively gifted rearguard who can just as easily play the body as the puck. He already stands 6'5'', and once he adds some meat to his 180-pound frame, Nurse will be capable of handling forwards at the NHL level in a stand-up fashion.
Nurse easily falls into the "born to be a Flyer" bin.
The Colorado Avalanche seem to be finding their game legs now that Gabriel Landeskog is healthy and Ryan O'Reilly is back in the fold. As such, they may not be drafting as high as eighth overall, but if they end up here, look for them to select the best available winger.
And for that, look no further than Adam Erne.
He's a big, strong power forward-type player that has multiple tools with which to score goals and school defenders. Erne isn't afraid to play the body, but he also has soft hands around the net and an accurate release.
The suddenly hot Columbus Blue Jackets may not end up selecting quite this high come draft time, but this is where they sit for now.
After years (and years and years) of awful (awful, awful) drafting, the CBJs will look to turn things around in 2013, building on the momentum of selecting Ryan Murray in 2012. A match-made-in-heaven argument could be made for Elias Lindholm, but I think the Jackets would like the talent and tenacity of Sean Monahan and would take him here.
Monahan fits perfectly with the identity that the Jackets are building for themselves right now, and he would be an outstanding and welcome addition in Columbus.
After a three-year run of first overall draft picks, one has to assume that the Edmonton Oilers won't be headed back to the podium first for the fourth time in a row.
After going best-player-available over the last few years, the team has one of the most promising groups of forwards in the NHL. Where the team lacks a bit is on the defensive side of things. Signing Justin Schultz helped a bit, but it hasn't been enough for one of the weaker defensive teams in the league.
Enter Rasmus Ristolainen—one of the best and most well-rounded defenders available in the draft. He's already 6'3'', 200 pounds and plays a very complete game for a kid his age (he has a late-1994 birthday).
The Calgary Flames have been digging and searching and praying for a No. 1 center for the last decade or so. The Mikael Backlund thing hasn't worked out so far thanks to the kid apparently being made of Play-Dough, Olli Jokinen is too easy to make fun of at this point and the jury is still out on import Roman Cervenka.
I believe it is safe to say that the Flames still need a No. 1 center.
They'll get one here in Aleksander Barkov. He is most likely close to NHL-ready, and can come aboard to form a crime-fighting duo with Sven Baertschi.
"Barkov passes to Baertschi—SCORES!" has a ring to it, no?
What an odd headline to type.
The Washington Capitals are in the midst of their most forgettable season in recent memory. Gone are the days of Alex Ovechkin and his 60-goal seasons. Gone are the days of Mike Green and his incredible output from the back end. Gone are the days of Alexander Semin performing as the "other" Alex.
Yes, things have certainly changed in Washington.
With the fourth overall selection here, the Caps have a chance to get this thing back on the rails in a hurry, and they wouldn't hesitate for a moment before selecting Valeri Nichushkin.
After coming out of the gates scorching, the Tampa Bay Lightning have cooled off considerably despite the best efforts of Steven Stamkos and Co. This was a team that was supposed to compete for a playoff spot in 2013 (and still could if it turns the ship around), so drafting this high might not be the only change summer could bring to the club.
At third overall, there are still some serious gamers on the board, and this would be one of the trickier selections early.
Tampa could use some offensive-minded defenders for sure. I just can't see them passing on Jonathan Drouin to reach a bit for a puck-moving blueliner. If the Lightning decide to go defense, though, they'd be wise to trade down a bit.
Pure offensive talents like Drouin only come along so often, though, and he could form a potent pairing with Stamkos for years to come. Yikes.
The Buffalo Sabres turned into big spenders a few years back and have little to show for it thus far. Selecting second overall and adding another stud to the likes of Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons (who were both acquired early in the 2012 draft) would be another step in the right direction for the club.
That is, away from leaning on the likes of Ville Leino for production.
Buffalo had issues with depth at center recently, and they addressed that in 2012 with the selections of Grigorenko and Girgensons, on top of picking Cody Hodgson away from the Vancouver Canucks. This is a team in need of a game-breaker aside from Thomas Vanek, though.
Taking that into consideration, the Sabres would be crazy not to thank their lucky stars and select Nathan MacKinnon. His upside is ridiculously high, his hockey sense is second-to-none in the draft and he'd give Buffalo a big-time player up front.
Only 10 points stand between the last-place Florida Panthers and the seventh-place Ottawa Senators, so there is sure to be a lot of movement in the standings between now and April.
However, as it currently stands, the Panthers have the best chance of obtaining the first overall selection.
This is both good news and bad news for an organization that sports one of the deepest and most talented prospect pools in all of hockey. Florida has depth at every position, and possesses blue chippers across the board.
That said, I just couldn't see the Panthers allowing a player like Seth Jones to slip through their paws. He is arguably the best player available, and he will have every chance to grow into a bona fide top defender in the NHL. There is nothing sexy or outrageous about the selection, but the kid is too good (and possesses too much "crossover appeal") not to go first overall here.