The 2013 NHL draft came and went with a ton of fanfare, and there were a number of "interesting" selections early in the draft. There is usually a consensus among scouts of where the drop-offs in talent are, so it is interesting when teams go off the board with a draft selection.
Then there are some times during a draft when a team will go off the board by drafting a player outside of the best available, or it will draft a player that doesn't exactly fit an organization need.
The players listed deserved to be drafted, but they might have not deserved to be drafted as high as they were. Here are the biggest reaches from the 2013 NHL draft.
Shea Theodore was selected 26th overall in the first round of the 2013 draft, but the Anaheim Ducks had the opportunity to steal a top player late in the round.
Robert Hagg was the No. 8 overall European skater, according to CSS, and he is a 6'2" 201-pound defender with tremendous upside. Theodore has less upside than Hagg, so it was a bit of a reach to take him while superior talent was on the board.
Theodore is also on the small side, weighing only 170 pounds, so he will need to bulk up before he hits the NHL level.
Compher is a solid player, but Buffalo could have addressed its need for a future franchise goalie.
The Buffalo Sabres used their two first-round picks on two defenders, and they had a prime opportunity to draft a future netminder at No. 35 overall. Instead of drafting Zach Fucale from the Halifax Mooseheads, the Sabres selected JT Compher, a 5'11" center who is a member of the Michigan Wolverines.
Compher was a member of the USDP team this year, and he is an American forward with upside. While Compher is a solid player, the pick was a reach considering the Sabres' needs.
The Sabres had a chance to address one of their biggest organizational needs at this point in the draft, but they decided to add a top-nine forward instead of a potential-franchise goaltender.
Maybe Jarmo Kekäläinen knows something we don't.
The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Marko Dano 27th overall with their last first-round pick of the draft. Dano is a 5'11" and 183-pound winger with a small sample size.
I really like Marko Dano. This is certainly a reach here, but he has been an absolute star for Slovakia. Always stands out.— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) June 30, 2013
He has some upside, but if the Blue Jackets wanted to draft a player with similar skill and higher upside, they would have selected Morgan Klimchuk.
While the pick wasn't a huge reach, the Blue Jackets had some more proven options at the time they selected Dano. Hindsight is 20/20, but the Blue Jackets may look back in due time at this draft pick.
Sharks made an interesting pick at No. 18.
Marco Mueller is a 6'4" defenseman who had a solid 2012-13 season with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and he has solid upside. However, at No. 18 overall, the Sharks had the chance to draft an eventual replacement for forward Patrick Marleau.
Kerby Rychel, Anthony Mantha or Hunter Shinkaruk would have been great picks to fill that role, and each has tremendous upside. In this situation, the Sharks had a number of options, but they could regret not drafting one of those wingers.
Winnipeg had better options.
Josh Morrissey is a talented blueliner with a ton of upside, but at No. 13 overall, the Winnipeg Jets could have made a better pick. At No. 13 overall, Curtis Lazar, Alexander Wennberg, Ryan Pulock, Anthony Mantha and other top-rated prospects were still available.
The Jets have a number of talented blueliners currently on the roster and in the prospect pool, so adding Morrissey this early in the draft was a bit of a reach.
Morin wasn't the best player available.
The Philadelphia Flyers made a questionable pick at No. 11 overall. They drafted Samuel Morin, who is a physical defenseman, but he wasn't the best player available at the time.
The Flyers could have drafted a top-end center like Max Domi, or they could have drafted defenders like Ryan Pulock and Nikita Zadorov, who have more upside.
While Morin could turn out to be a solid defender, the Flyers could have made a better selection at No. 11 overall.
McIlrath and Morin are very similar in size and projections, and the Flyers probably hope he can exceeded expectations as he develops.
He would have been available after the No. 22 pick.
The Calgary Flames had three first-round picks, and instead of selecting someone like Hunter Shinkaruk at No. 22, they chose Emile Poirier. The Flames would have been able to draft Poirier at No. 28, so it is rather head scratching that they opted to select him 22nd overall.
He had 70 points this year, but he is the type of player who would have been available later in the draft. It probably would have made more sense to move the No. 22 pick back, because a player like Poirier wasn't a top-ranked skater who would have drawn a ton of interest.
Poirier may go on to have a great career with the Flames, but the team could have gotten better value out of this pick.