2013 NHL Mock Draft: Biggest Need vs. Best Player Available for Every Team

James OnuskoContributor IIIJune 16, 2013

2013 NHL Mock Draft: Biggest Need vs. Best Player Available for Every Team

0 of 30

    The 2013 NHL draft will feature one of the largest numbers of elite prospects in several years. There are a number of young players projected to be first-round picks who could be starring in the NHL in the next year or two.

    Teams selecting in the first few spots will be getting excellent young players.

    While some organizations tend to select the best player available, most organizations have to fill specific needs to increase their organizational depth.

    The following NHL mock draft will feature each team’s biggest need versus the best player available.

1. Colorado Avalanche

1 of 30

    Best Available

    Seth Jones, D 

    Seth Jones is a defenceman to build your team around. He has all the tools to be a top-pairing NHL rearguard. His mobility and ability to read the game are well beyond his years.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defence. Seth Jones is the best available and the best choice for the Avalanche. They have a number of talented forwards, including Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog. Adding Jones would significantly improve their defence immediately.

     

    The Pick: Seth Jones

2. Florida Panthers

2 of 30

    Best Available

    Nathan MacKinnon, C

    Nathan MacKinnon is a highly skilled player who will be a first-line centre in the NHL. MacKinnon plays well at both ends of the rink and should be an NHL regular beginning next season. MacKinnon is a winner who will help bring a new attitude to the Florida Panthers.

     

    Biggest Need

    Centre. Jonathan Drouin is another highly skilled forward, but the Panthers have a greater need at centre. Drouin will continue to be a left wing at the NHL level. He will be an excellent winger but does not meet the criteria for the Panthers. Nathan MacKinnon is the most suitable player to meet their needs.

     

    The Pick: Nathan MacKinnon

3. Tampa Bay Lightning

3 of 30

    Best Available

    Jonathan Drouin, LW 

    Jonathan Drouin is an excellent winger with soft hands and a lot of scoring ability. Drouin will be a handful for opposing teams. He can score at will and, with his high hockey IQ, will be a great teammate.

     

    Biggest Need

    Size. Valeri Nichushkin fills the biggest need for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nichushkin is an intriguing blend of size and skill that the Lightning lack.

    Nichushkin will complement smaller, talented forwards like Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos.

     

    The Pick: Valeri Nichushkin

4. Nashville Predators

4 of 30

    Best Available

    Jonathan Drouin, LW

    Jonathan Drouin offers dynamic skating skills with an ability to change speed at will. He will be a top-six forward and offer a lot of offense to his NHL team. Drouin will produce points and be responsible in his own end.

     

    Biggest Need

    Scoring. Jonathan Drouin could add an element to the Nashville Predators roster that it lack­s. The Predators have a number of depth players who lack offensive skills.

    Drouin would fill this need very well.

     

    The Pick: Jonathan Drouin

5. Carolina Hurricanes

5 of 30

    Best Available

    Alexander Barkov, C 

    Alexander Barkov is potentially a first-line centre with the size and skill to lead his NHL team in the years ahead. While the Hurricanes are deep at centre, a team can never have too much depth at this position and could use him at wing in his first few seasons.

    Barkov has very advanced hockey sense and will adapt well to whatever the Hurricanes ask of him.

     

    Biggest Need

    Forward depth. The Hurricanes have a few needs, but their biggest need is up front. By adding a player of Barkov’s caliber, they will have an upgraded forward group that should pay immediate dividends in the standings.

     

    The Pick: Alexander Barkov

6. Calgary Flames

6 of 30

    Best Available

    Sean Monahan, C 

    Sean Monahan is a complete player and should be ready to make the next step to the NHL in 2013-14. Monahan played on a poor Ottawa 67’s team this year, so his offensive numbers were not as good as they would have been on a stronger team. He has a lot of offensive upside and will be very good in his own end as well.

     

    Biggest Need

    Centreman. The Flames have three picks in the first round and can build instantly this year. The Flames have many needs, but adding a strong centre will help them immediately. Monahan could move into a second-line role in the 2013-14 season and may develop into their first-line centre in the coming seasons.

     

    The Pick: Sean Monahan

7. Edmonton Oilers

7 of 30

    Best Available

    Elias Lindholm, C 

    Elias Lindholm may not have had the same fanfare as some other players, but he is an impressive talent. Lindholm is a wonderful skater with both agility and speed. He will contribute offensively at the NHL level and will flourish with other players who share his on-ice vision.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defence. While the Oilers have many needs, their biggest is on the point, despite having a number of good defensive prospects. Darnell Nurse is the total package on defence, and while he may not be ready for play next season, he would be given an opportunity to make the NHL team. He would more likely need a year of development with the Oklahoma City Barons.

    Nurse has no real weaknesses and should be a top-pairing defenceman in the NHL.

     

    The Pick: Darnell Nurse

8. Buffalo Sabres

8 of 30

    Best Available

    Elias Lindholm, C 

    Elias Lindholm has everything NHL scouts want to see. Lindholm will mesh well with offensive-minded players and will be able to create a lot of offence for his teammates, both even strength and on the power play.

     

    Biggest Need

    Forward. The Buffalo Sabres have a number of talented wingers in Thomas Vanek, Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno. While they have Cody Hodgson in the middle, along with Steve Ott, Lindholm offers additional offense that the Sabres will need to compete in the Eastern Conference next season.

     

    The Pick: Elias Lindholm

9. New Jersey Devils

9 of 30

    Best Available

    Max Domi, C

    Max Domi is one of the most talented offensive players in the 2013-14 draft. He is an excellent passer and was one of the top scorers in Canadian junior hockey. Domi is small in stature, but he is not slight. He should be able to withstand the pounding of the NHL grind.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defence. Nikita Zadorov is a likely pick for the New Jersey Devils The Devils do not have any glaring needs, but they have always had an organizational commitment to defence. Zadorov has a mean streak and will be a great addition to the Devils, who seem to develop defencemen as well as any NHL club.

     

    The Pick: Nikita Zadorov

10. Dallas Stars

10 of 30

    Best Available

    Max Domi, C

    Max Domi was exceptional for the OHL’s London Knights this season. Max is a magician with the puck, and his vision is exemplary. His game should translate well to the NHL. He is underrated defensively but does have some work to do in that department.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defence. The Stars have a few holes to fill, but with their rich history of strong defensive hockey, the pick for them is the Rimouski Oceanic’s Samuel Morin. The hulking defenceman has shot up the rankings, and every team is looking for a 6’7” defender who is mobile and improving all the time

     

    The Pick: Samuel Morin

11. Philadelphia Flyers

11 of 30

    Best Available

    Max Domi, C

    Max Domi will excel with other creative offensive players. His ability to find the open player is excellent. At nearly 200 pounds, his 5’9” frame should be able to withstand the pounding at the NHL level

     

    Biggest Need

    Goaltending depth. The Flyers have a few needs, and adding a top goaltending prospect would be a key move.

    Zachary Fucale is the top goaltending prospect in the draft and will offer a lot of hope to the team that drafts him. He is athletic with excellent fundamentals for a young goaltender.

     

    The Pick: Zachary Fucale

12. Phoenix Coyotes

12 of 30

    Best Available

    Max Domi, C

    Max Domi is dangerous in the offensive zone and is adaptable enough to play either at centre or on the wing. Domi will be excellent on the power play and should warrant a lot of minutes of play.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive talent. The Coyotes have a lot of hard-working players but could use some more offensive talent. Max Domi offers dynamic skills and will infuse instant offence.

    He could be skating in the desert as early as the 2013-14 season.

     

    The Pick: Max Domi

13. Winnipeg Jets

13 of 30

    Best Available

    Bo Horvat, C

    Bo Horvat would be in the mix as a top-five pick in many other draft years. The 2013 draft is very deep.

    Horvat offers great defensive play and an ability to score with some talented linemates. He should be a solid second-line centre at the NHL level.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Jets have a promising future with a good mix of young players and some great veteran leaders in players like Andrew Ladd. Horvat could move to the wing for a season or two, or he could develop in the minor league system to further develop his game.

    Either way, he makes sense as an effective forward capable of contributing on the scoreboard and being responsible defensively.

     

    The Pick: Bo Horvat 

14. Columbus Blue Jackets

14 of 30

    Best Available

    Rasmus Ristolainen, D

    Rasmus Ristolainen is a mobile defenceman who has a lot of offensive upside. At 6’3” and over 200 pounds, he has the physical attributes all NHL teams look for in a defenceman. Ristolainen is capable of being a top-pairing defenceman if his game continues to develop.

     

    Biggest Need

    Scoring. The Columbus Blue Jackets were busy on the trade front last season and quietly improved their team. They have shored up their defence and could use some more offensive players. Alexander Wennberg is a talented centre with very good offensive touch along with some advanced hockey sense. He would be a great addition to the Blue Jackets.

     

    The Pick: Alexander Wennberg

15. New York Islanders

15 of 30

    Best Available

    Rasmus Ristolainen, D

    Rasmus Ristolainen is a puck-moving defenceman with an ability to contribute offensively. Paired with a stay-at-home defenceman, he could be very effective at the NHL level.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Islanders have a lot of defensive prospects and would be better served to select talented centreman Hunter Shinkaruk. Shinkaruk needs to grow physically, but his offensive instincts are exceptional. He is an offensive dynamo and would fit very well with the Islanders' talented forward group.

     

    The Pick: Hunter Shinkaruk

16. Buffalo Sabres

16 of 30

    Best Available

    Rasmus Ristolainen, D

    Rasmus Ristolainen has very good potential. He has both agility and speed, which are difficult to teach. He needs to work on his defensive zone coverage, but most young defenceman need to do this.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defensive depth. The Sabres have several good young players. As with most organizations, defensive depth is an ongoing need, and Ristolainen would fill that need well.

    He would be a steal in the 16 spot.

     

    The Pick: Rasmus Ristolainen

17. Ottawa Senators

17 of 30

    Best Available

    Curtis Lazar, C

    Curtis Lazar has a lot of polish to his game and offers a lot to NHL clubs.

    He is a responsible centre who can more than chip in at the offensive end of the rink. Lazar is a sniper who loves to play a physical brand of hockey.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defencemen. The Ottawa Senators have a lot of organizational depth thanks to some great drafting and solid minor league development. Prospect Steve Santini would make a lot of sense for the Senators, who have more than enough offensive depth.

    Santini will not contribute offensively, but over time he could become a solid NHL defenceman.

     

    The Pick: Steve Santini

18. Detroit Red Wings

18 of 30

    Best Available

    Curtis Lazar, C

    Curtis Lazar has developed into a leader at the junior level and has the kind of character NHL teams can never have enough of. He pays attention to detail and thinks the game extremely well.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Detroit Red Wings have the luxury of a very good NHL team and a strong development system. Lazar is the type of player the Red Wings could develop into a top-six forward. He has the skills and smarts to fit well with this juggernaut.

     

    The Pick: Curtis Lazar

19. Columbus Blue Jackets

19 of 30

    Best Available

    Ryan Pulock, D

    Ryan Pulock has as much offensive talent as any defenceman in this draft. While not as big as many other top defensive prospects, his point shot and ability to move the puck are superb.

    Pulock is a very talented offensive defenceman.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Blue Jackets could use additional scoring down the road, and Andre Burakovsky could provide that. He is an extremely quick skater who can handle and distribute the puck at high speed. Andre would fit well with other talented offensive players in the Blue Jackets' system.

     

    The Pick: Andre Burakovsky

20. San Jose Sharks

20 of 30

    Best Available

    Ryan Pulock, D

    Ryan Pulock has scored at all levels of hockey, and there is every reason to believe he will continue to do so. He has abilities few other defenceman possess in this draft, starting with his mobility and penchant to join the rush.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defensive depth. The San Jose Sharks have a number of talented young forwards and could use some defensive depth. Pulock would be a great addition for the Sharks, and with a few years to develop in their minor league system, he could develop into a very capable NHL defenceman.

     

    The Pick: Ryan Pulock

21. Toronto Maple Leafs

21 of 30

    Best Available

    Josh Morrissey, D

    Josh Morrissey carries some risk, as he is slightly undersized compared to many other defensive prospects and still needs to work on his defensive game. But he might be the fastest defenceman in the 2013 draft. He is an exceptional skater who will likely quarterback an NHL power play.

     

    Biggest Need

    Forwards with size. The Toronto Maple Leafs could use a dominant centre, not unlike many other organizations. The 6’5” Frederik Gauthier has size and speed. If given a year or two to develop, Gauthier could become an excellent NHL centre. Gauthier is another player with great hockey sense, which will serve him well at the pro level.

     

    The Pick: Frederik Gauthier

22. Calgary Flames

22 of 30

    Best Available

    Josh Morrissey, D

    Josh Morrissey has been a dominant defenceman in the tight-checking WHL. His instincts are to gamble and be creative. If he were to play with a stay-at-home defence partner, he could flourish in the right system.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defensive depth. Calgary Flames scouts will have had some good looks at Morrissey. While the Flames have been criticized for not rebuilding sooner, the 2013 draft will provide that opportunity. Morrissey could develop into a very good NHL defenceman over time.

     

    The Pick: Josh Morrissey

23. Washington Capitals

23 of 30

    Best Available

    Anthony Mantha, LW

    Anthony Mantha is another forward with both size and skill. Mantha is a power forward at 6’4” and also scored 50 goals in the QMJHL this season. He is dangerous from anywhere inside the blue line and is not afraid to unleash his shot.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defencemen. The Capitals turned things around under Adam Oates, who had the team playing much better hockey after a slow start. While the Capitals often draft offensive talents, defenceman Madison Bowey would be a good pick. Bowey is a few years away from playing in the NHL, but his offensive game is developing quickly now.

     

    The Pick: Madison Bowey

24. Vancouver Canucks

24 of 30

    Best Available

    Anthony Mantha, LW

    Anthony Mantha has the potential to be a top-line NHL winger. He has a great release that makes him a threat to score on most shifts. He was one of the top snipers in the QMJHL this past season.

     

    Biggest Need

    Scoring forwards. Anthony Mantha would provide the Canucks with both size and skill. While the Canucks have a lot of scoring depth, they lack quality offensive prospects.

    Mantha would fill that void.

     

    The Pick: Anthony Mantha

25. Montreal Canadiens

25 of 30

    Best Available

    Adam Erne, LW

    Adam Erne has a complete game and can play in all three zones. Erne has put up solid numbers in junior, and it will be interesting to see if that transfers to the NHL level. He is a strong skater and likes to play with an edge.

     

    Biggest Need

    Forward depth. Erne likes to play a grinding game, and the Montreal Canadiens could use some more sandpaper on their roster. Erne could become a fan favorite in the belle province.

     

    The Pick: Adam Erne

26. Anaheim Ducks

26 of 30

    Best Available

    Nicolas Petan, C

    If Nicolas Petan were five inches taller, he’d likely be an early first-round pick in the 2013 draft. He is a sublime skater who can make defencemen look silly. Petan is a scoring machine with the ability to dominate a game offensively.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defensive depth. The Anaheim Ducks have no real needs, although they could use some more depth on the blue line. Young Chris Bigras would be a solid pick for the Ducks. He can contribute offensively, and while he needs to get stronger to play effectively at the pro level, he has the potential to be a solid NHL blueliner.

     

    The Pick: Chris Bigras

27. Columbus Blue Jackets

27 of 30

    Best Available

    Nicolas Petan, C

    Nicolas Petan can score in bunches. He creates offensive chances like few other 2013 draft prospects. His tremendous acceleration coupled with his soft hands allows him to make plays that few other players are capable of making.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Blue Jackets could be willing to take a chance on the undersized but very talented Petan. Columbus does not need immediate offensive help, so if Petan is allowed to develop over the next two or three seasons, he could develop into a top-six forward.

     

    The Pick: Nicolas Petan

28. Calgary Flames

28 of 30

    Best Available

    Kerby Rychel, LW

    Kerby Rychel has all the tools to be a very good NHL player. He brings a high level of skill and a lot of grit to the rink every night. Rychel is rarely out of position and is highly coachable.

     

    Biggest Need

    Defensive depth. The Flames will fill several needs with three first-round picks in 2013. Defenceman Dillon Heatherington is an excellent prospect.

    His game features an ability to move the puck quickly up the ice, and his mobility allows him to be a defensive stalwart.

     

    The Pick: Dillon Heatherington

29. Chicago Blackhawks

29 of 30

    Best Available

    J.T. Compher, C

    J.T. Compher is a talented centre and will need a few years to continue to develop his game. Compher enjoys physical play and can be an agitator when needed. He can get under the skin of opposing players very quickly.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Blackhawks are the envy of the league and can afford to take a slight chance with their late pick. Zach Nastasiuk would be a good pick, as the young winger had an excellent second half to this past season. He has a great shot and is an adaptable player who could fit very well with the Blackhawks organization.

     

    The Pick: Zach Nastasiuk

30. Dallas Stars

30 of 30

    Best Available

    J.T. Compher, C

    Compher will be going to the University of Michigan to further develop his game. He might develop into a top-six forward but is more likely to be an excellent third-line player.

     

    Biggest Need

    Offensive depth. The Dallas Stars have a history of having hard-nosed agitators on their roster. Steve Ott and Pat Verbeek were able to get under the opponent's skin while contributing offensively. Compher could be the next player to do the same for the Stars.

    The Chicago native has a bright future.

     

    The Pick: J.T. Compher