The playoffs may be starting, but nearly half the league has turned its attention to the draft. This 2013 NHL mock draft features a lot of talent, led by Seth Jones, who is the next great American player. In addition, there is some great skill in Nathan MacKinnon, who is similar to John Tavares, and Jonathan Drouin, who is a magician with the puck.
This is a really deep draft, and every team has a chance to get a really good player. Which players are the best fits for each team?
Read on to find out.
*order based on standings as of April 26th*
1. Florida Panthers: Seth Jones, D, Portland (WHL)
Jones is the next great defenseman, a player with tremendous offensive upside, and the body to be a physical force in his own zone. He will give the Panthers a star they've never had and will be a top player for at least the next 10 years.
2. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
MacKinnon is a center with incredible vision and two-way potential. He could jump to the NHL right away and would give the Avs an excellent center core, with him, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene down the middle. MacKinnon projects as a 20-plus goal scorer for a long time.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax (QMJHL)
The potential combination of Drouin, an incredible passer with insane vision, and Steven Stamkos is salivating. The duo will bring the Lightning back to contention sooner rather than later and Drouin will be on highlight reels almost nightly.
4. Nashville Predators: Valeri Nichushkin, RW Chelyabinsk (RUS)
Nichushkin would give the Predators an elite power forward, something they do not have. He has 30-plus goal potential and will help a power play that converted on just 17.1 percent of its chances this season.
5. Carolina Hurricanes: Aleksander Barkov, C, Tappara (FIN)
Playing in the Finnish Elite League against men, Barkov has scored 21 goals and had 27 assists in 53 games.
He's a two-way centerman with offensive upside and projects as a No. 1 center. He would give the Hurricanes more depth down the middle, as well as adding a player who can contribute in a variety of ways.
6. Edmonton Oilers: Rasmus Ristolainen, D, TPS (FIN)
Ristolainen is a big, tough, physical defenseman who will solidify the Oilers' blueline. Edmonton has amassed a lot of top talent over the years, and adding someone like Ristolainen will protect them. He's a force on the ice and will be a crease-clearer for years.
7. Calgary Flames: Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa (OHL)
The Flames have a lot of needs, so taking Monahan, a defensively responsible center with offensive upside, is a good way to start. He's not flashy, but he will be a solid contributor for many years.
8. Philadelphia Flyers: Shea Theodore, D, Seattle (WHL)
The Flyers really need to upgrade their 22nd-ranked defense. Taking Theodore is a step in the right direction. He plays a solid two-way game and will be a rock on the blueline for years to come.
9. Buffalo Sabres: Hunter Shinkaruk, C/W, Medicine Hat (WHL)
Shinkaruk can eventually replace the departed Jason Pominville, as he possesses a nice two-way game. He scored 86 points in 64 games and can play every forward position.
10. New Jersey Devils: Darnell Nurse, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Nurse, the nephew of Donovan McNabb, is really athletic and would give the Devils a punch of excitement from the blueline. He is similar in many ways to P.K. Subban and the Devils, who have grown a bit stale, would benefit from his athleticism.
11. Phoenix Coyotes: Anthony Mantha, RW, Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
Mantha is a power forward with a lot of upside. He has 89 points in 67 games and would give the 'Yotes a player who can eventually replace Shane Doan.
12. Dallas Stars: Frederik Gauthier, C, Rimouski (QMJHL)
Gauthier is a solid two-way defenseman, with offensive upside. He has the chance to replace Brendan Morrow as the team's heart and soul.
13. Detroit Red Wings: Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas (SWE)
Elias Lindholm fits the Red Wings' mold. He's a prospect who plays both ways and has plenty of vision. He's a playmaker, and has 11 goals in the Swedish Elite League. He'll fit right in with Pavel Datsyuk and the rest of the Wings who play both ways.
14. Winnipeg Jets: Ryan Pulock, D, Brandon (WHL)
Pulock is a talented offensively-minded defenseman who had 45 points in 61 games before getting injured. He's a top-four talent who will fit nicely with Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom and Zach Bogosian.
15. Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Hartman, RW, Plymouth (OHL)
Hartman is a gritty, talented power forward who will allow space for the skilled players to thrive. He has the potential to be a Milan Lucic-type player, and would add a lot of grit and energy to an up-and-coming Columbus team.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets: Nikita Zadorov, D, London (OHL)
At 6'5", Zadorov is a potential crease-clearer that will help goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky see as many pucks as possible. He projects as a physical defenseman, and an eventual top-four player.
17. Ottawa Senators: Valentin Zykov, LW, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
Ottawa has a lot of talented, young forwards, and adding someone like Zykov would just bolster that unit. He scored 40 goals and had 35 assists this season, and will be dynamic on the power play.
18. Buffalo Sabres: Zachary Fucale, G, Halifax (QMJHL)
The Sabres need to start thinking about life after Ryan Miller, and Fucale is the best goaltender in the draft. At only 17, he needs time to develop, but he projects as a solid goalie for a long time.
19. New York Islanders: Max Domi C/LW, London (OHL)
The son of legendary enforcer Tie Domi has a lot more skill than his father, but isn't afraid to throw the body. He can play on a first line, and help protect John Tavares from those trying to hit him.
20. Washington Capitals: Mirco Mueller, D, Everett (WHL)
The Caps have a great offense. What they need is more defense. Adding someone like Mueller is a smart idea. He had 31 points, and plays really smart for someone his age. Mueller would let someone like Mike Green have more freedom with the puck because of his solid play at home.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs: Zach Nastasiuk, RW, Owen Sound (OHL)
Nastasiuk is a defensive-minded forward who would add a lot of grit and penalty-killing to the Leafs. He has good speed and will score quite a few shorthanded goals in his career.
22. Calgary Flames: Chris Bigras, D, Owen Sound (OHL)
Birgas is not flashy, but he's a solid defenseman who will not make many mistakes. That's what the Flames need in this rebuilding period. He should play for at least 10 years.
23. San Jose Sharks: Alexander Wennberg, C, Djurgarden (SWE-2)
This talented Swede needs more time abroad, but when he comes over, he projects as a second-line center who plays in every situation. He could eventually replace Joe Pavelski.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Erne, LW, Quebec (QMJHL)
This Ryan Callahan clone will give the Blue Jackets a dose of grit, energy and secondary scoring. He won't be a flashy player, but he will do the little things necessary to win. That will be essential as the Jackets continue to make their case to be a playoff regular.
25. Vancouver Canucks: Kerby Rychel, LW, Windsor (OHL)
The son of Stanley Cup winner Warren Rychel, Kerby possesses excellent speed and touch. He projects as a second-line center who will contribute on the power play and penalty kill.
26. Montreal Canadiens: Bo Horvat, C, London (OHL)
Horvat is a terrific all-around player who may end up going higher than this. He has great speed, is an excellent penalty-killer. He can also put the puck in the net and make things happen with his physical play.
27. Boston Bruins: William Carrier, LW, Cape Breton (QMJHL)
Carrier plays in the same manner as the Bruins. He checks, plays hard, can kill penalties and can score. He'll fit in nicely and has top-six potential.
28. Anaheim Ducks: Joshua Morrissey, D, Prince Albert (WHL)
Morrissey has a lot of offensive upside, and gives coach Bruce Boudreau a weapon similar to that of Mike Green, who he coached in Washington.
29. Calgary Flames: Eric Comrie, G, Tri-City (WHL)
The Flames really need a goaltender of the future, and while he's not an elite prospect, Comrie does offer starting potential. He needs to rein in his flashiness and become more technically sound.
30. Chicago Blackhawks: Nicolas Petan, C, Portland (WHL)
The Blackhawks can afford to take a chance on the smallish Petan, who scored 120 points in just 70 games this season. He will need time to develop and get stronger, but he has elite offensive ability.
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