The NHL Draft 2013 is underway, and most of the top stars have already been selected.
In a draft filled with elite talent, there are plenty of top stars who will make their NHL debut relatively quickly, perhaps as soon as the beginning of next season.
When will Seth Jones and the other members of this draft class make their NHL debut? Read on to find out.
After falling unexpectedly past the Florida Panthers, the Nashville Panthers scooped up defenseman Seth Jones with the fourth-overall pick in the draft.
Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer puts the pick in perspective:
With Weber, one of the best defenseman in hockey, and Jones, an elite prospect with a wicked slap shot and tremendous athleticism, the Preds will be hard to score against. Add in Pekka Rinne, one of the top goaltenders in hockey, and the Preds' defense, which gave up 2.8 goals per season, will suddenly become pretty stingy.
Jones should be able to make the leap right away from junior hockey. He's positionally sound and has elite athleticism. He's a big hitter and will instantly become an asset on the man-advantage.
While it's surprising that Jones slipped to the fourth pick, it's good fortune for Nashville. Jones will get to learn under Weber, and the two will be a shutdown pair for at least the next five years.
The selection of Jones, who is all but a lock to be on the opening roster, will help the Predators get back into contention very quickly.
Nathan MacKinnon was selected first overall by the Colorado Avalanche and will instantly join his new team as the third-line center.
MacKinnon was a stud for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, scoring 32 goals and adding 43 assists in the regular season. He added 11 goals and 22 assists in the playoffs, as he led his team to a Memorial Cup championship.
By passing on an elite defender in Seth Jones, the Avs made it clear that MacKinnon will play right away. Between Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Ryan O'Reilly, the Avs have impressive depth down the middle. They could shift O'Reilly to wing to get more skilled players on the ice at the same time.
Either way, MacKinnon projects as an immediate star and a potential Calder Trophy candidate. He's a complete offensive talent and should produce right away.
It will be a shock if MacKinnon is not on the opening day roster in Colorado.
The Buffalo Sabres took the hulking Finnish defender with the eighth-overall pick in the the 2013 NHL Draft. Ristolainen, who played last season with TPS Turku in Finland, averaged more than 25 minutes a game playing against men.
The 6'4", 207-pound defenseman has a rocket slap shot from the point. He has the ability to lead the rush and will be an asset on the power play.
Because of his experience in Finland, Ristolainen is ready to step into the Sabres' lineup at the beginning of next season. Look for Ristolainen to play big minutes early on and improve a defense that gave up 2.9 goals per game last season.