Pro Player Comparisons for the Top 10 Prospects in the NHL 2013 Draft
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This year’s NHL draft should yield a number of talented players. Many of these players could be playing in the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season.
The following list features the top 10 prospects in the NHL 2013 draft in ascending order along with a pro player comparison for each skater.
Honorable mentions go to prospects Bo Horvat and Darnell Nurse.
10. Hunter Shinkaruk
Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers is considered undersized by some observers at 5’11” and 175 pounds. Concerns about his size are unfounded, as Shinkaruk has held up well in the physical WHL over the past 3 seasons.
Shinkaruk is a gifted scorer who likes to shoot first, yet he can be a gifted playmaker as well.
He's a natural leader with tremendous puck skills. The best pro player comparison would be Zach Parise.
9. Nikita Zadorov
The London Knights’ Nikita Zadorov is a physical presence on the blue line and can intimidate opposing players with ease. His defensive zone coverage is very advanced for a junior-aged player.
He should thrive at the pro level with his blend of size and improving skills.
The best pro player comparison for the 6’5” Zadorov is Boston's Zdeno Chara.
8. Rasmus Ristolainen
At 6’3” and over 200 pounds, defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen has the size that all NHL teams are seeking.
Ristolainen is also a skilled puck-handler and can move the puck efficiently out of the defensive zone. He can contribute offensively and has a great shot from the point. He continues to develop his defensive play.
The best pro player comparison for Finnish standout Ristolainen is Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
7. Sean Monahan
Sean Monahan is a talented center and plays equally well at both ends of the rink.
Monahan’s attention to detail is wonderful for a player his age. He should be a leader at the next level.
Monahan does not do one thing exceptionally well, but there are no weaknesses in his game. He will be counted on in all situations when he makes the move to the NHL.
With Sean’s ability to excel both offensively and defensively, the best pro player comparison is Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins.
6. Elias Lindholm
Sweden’s Elias Lindholm is a highly skilled center and has flourished in the Swedish Elite League as one of its younger players.
Lindholm displays maturity beyond his years with his ability to make plays in high-traffic areas. He understands the game very well and will benefit from playing with other talented players in the NHL.
With his excellent puck skills, the best pro player comparison for Elias is fellow Swede Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals.
5. Valeri Nichushkin
Valeri Nichushkin has a rare blend of size, speed and power. He should develop into a consummate power forward in the NHL.
Nichushkin is a very good skater who protects the puck in the offensive zone with relative ease. He has soft hands. With his physical gifts, his game will be well-suited to the smaller dimensions of North American rinks.
Nichushkin stands 6’4” and 220 pounds. The best pro player comparison for Valeri is Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins.
4. Alexander Barkov
Alexander Barkov is a highly skilled center who is 6’2” and well over 200 pounds.
He is creative with the puck but also has solid defensive skills. He has excellent mobility for his size, and the team that drafts him will have immediate strength down the middle to build around.
Barkov’s game should transfer well to the NHL’s physical grind.
The best pro player comparison is the Sharks’ Joe Thornton.
3. Jonathan Drouin
Jonathan Drouin is a magician with the puck and has the ability to make defenders look foolish.
Drouin has excellent agility and is able to change speeds as well as anyone in the game. He is also very difficult to separate from the puck.
He is an unselfish winger, and with his ability to pass the puck, NHL teammates will want to play on his line.
The best pro player comparison is Chicago's Patrick Kane.
2. Nathan MacKinnon
Nathan MacKinnon is the top forward eligible for the 2013 NHL draft.
He was a standout at the 2013 Mastercard Memorial Cup and earned MVP honors. His goal-scoring ability combined with his unique ability to carve opposing defensive schemes was on full display.
MacKinnon is a great skater and makes all of his linemates better players. He has a mature game, in that he is very responsible in his own end.
Nathan is a franchise player. The best pro player comparison is the talented Pavel Datsyuk.
1. Seth Jones
Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks deserves all of the hype he is receiving. He should be a top-pairing defenceman in the NHL for many years. His combination of size, mobility and on-ice vision is exemplary. He is very good in his own end and moves the puck quickly and precisely when he gains possession.
Jones has the ability to control the speed of a game and displays tremendous skill in the offensive zone. He is creative with the puck and will be a quarterback with the man advantage at the NHL level.
The best pro player comparison for Seth Jones is the St. Louis Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo.