2013 NHL Draft: Ranking the 10 Biggest Surprises from This Year's Event
The 2013 NHL draft is in the books. A Sunday afternoon filled with significant roster alterations featured stunning developments that could alter the outcome of seasons for years to come.
The action in Newark occurred days after a tremendous postseason wrapped up with Chicago claiming the Stanley Cup. The league recovered well from a lockout that alienated hockey fans across North America, and the draft presented an opportunity for the NHL to take another step forward while welcoming in the newest crop of playmakers.
As the event unfolded, surprises loomed large. Here's a peek at portions of the afternoon that turned heads.
New Jersey Picks Up Brodeur's Heir Apparent
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The Devils began the day with a top draft selection and a roster riddled with question marks. New Jersey ultimately netted its goalie of the future, forfeiting a premier draft pick.
Canucks netminder Cory Schneider was dealt to the Devils for the ninth overall selection, shaking things up early. The 27-year-old enjoyed an excellent 2013 season with the Canucks, compiling a 17-9-4 record, 2.11 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
The move means Roberto Luongo is likely locked in as starter in Vancouver. New Jersey adds a highly capable and much-needed backup goalie who can step up as starter when 41-year-old league legend Martin Brodeur hangs up his skates.
The Canucks selected center Bo Horvat with the ninth pick.
Seth Jones Slides to No. 4
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The American defenseman was considered a prime candidate to be taken with the top pick when the draft lottery took place. Jones, a national team leader and Portland Winterhawks (WHL) star, seemed destined to end up in at least the top two or three slots.
Instead, the 18-year-old son of retired NBA player Popeye Jones fell to Nashville at No. 4. The Lightning, Panthers and Avalanche opted to pass on the Texas native, providing Jones with an immediate chip on his shoulder before he even suits up in the NHL.
"I have a competitive nature and I get that from my parents." Yeah, you definitely want to prove [the teams that passed on me] wrong and you definitely want to show them why they should have picked you," Jones explained to the media after his fate was sealed, as reported by CBC. "That's not my only goal next year, but it's definitely on my list."
Hunter Shinkaruk Plummets in First Round
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Forward Hunter Shinkaruk lasted far longer on the draft board than anticipated. The Canadian product produced at an elite level with the Medicine Hat Tigers and seemed to seal a spot in the top half of the first round.
Shinkaruk was selected by Vancouver with the 24th pick. His steep fall served up a humbling moment for the young player, but he doesn't seem deterred by the development.
"I'm so excited right now," Shinkaruk told NHL.com. "To go to Vancouver is unbelievable. It definitely was a pretty long wait, a little longer than I had anticipated, but at the end of the day, a lot of things happen on draft day, and it's going to be something that motivates me to prove all those teams wrong."
Florida Takes Aleksander Barkov at No. 2 Despite Injury Concerns
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A floundering Florida franchise hopes Finland star Aleksander Barkov leads a rebuilding process in the sunshine state. The center is one of the most accomplished young players in SM-Iiiga league history, but it was still surprising to see him selected ahead of Canadian winger Jonathan Drouin.
Drouin, a dynamic offensive threat who played alongside No. 1 pick Nathan MacKinnon at the amateur level, slid to the Lightning at No. 3. Barkov went to the Panthers despite facing a continued recovery process from shoulder surgery.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon didn't seem overly concerned about the repercussions.
"He had surgery," Tallon told NHL.com. "Guys are stronger after with today's rehab and medicine. That's not a factor at all. We had 10 surgeries this year, so he'll fit right in nicely."
Detroit Land Draft's Most Prolific Scorer
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The Red Wings pulled off an impressive maneuver in the first round, picking up Anthony Mantha. Detroit, a squad that could use a shot in the arm offensively, traded back from 18th slot to 20th in a swap with San Jose.
The Sharks sent Detroit a second-round pick. The Red Wings added to its draft cupboard while scooping up the draft's most accomplished scorer.
Mantha scored 50 goals in the QMJHL last season. He is the only player in this draft class to accumulate that goal total in any league.
General manager Ken Holland has to be happy with the haul.
Tyler Kennedy Heads West
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The 26-year-old center won a Stanley Cup in Pittsburgh and proved to be an important part of the Penguins rotation in recent seasons. Kennedy, an Ontario native, was set to become a restricted free agent this summer and Pittsburgh opted to part ways with him on draft day.
The Penguins shipped Kennedy to San Jose for a second-round selection (50th pick overall). He compiled five points in nine postseason games this spring.
Wild Deal Cal Clutterbuck
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New York and Minnesota managed to pull off a meaningful deal during draft day action. The Wild unloaded Cal Clutterbuck, trading him to the Islanders for Nino Niederreiter.
Each player adds a key element to their new team.
Clutterbuck, slated to become a restricted free agent, ranked ninth in the NHL in hits during the 2013 season. The winger is a gritty intimidator who played alongside Islanders star John Tavares in amateur action.
Minnesota Takes on Talented Enigma in Nino Niederreiter
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Niederreiter was the fifth overall draft pick in 2010 and starred in the American Hockey League this year. The 20-year-old arrives in Minnesota with plenty to prove.
The Swiss standout fell out of favor after the lockout and spent his season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He tallied 28 goals and 22 assists in the AHL while biding his time to get back in the big league.
Niederreiter needs a strong season to validate lofty expectations that existed just a couple years ago. The Wild will be counting on him to contribute after dealing Clutterbuck and a third-round pick.
Tyler Seguin Stays Put... for Now
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The 21-year-old right winger is in the dog house in Boston, but he remains a Bruin. Speculation had Calgary sending the sixth overall pick to Boston in exchange for Seguin according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun (via CBS).
Although the promising young playmaker is still in black and yellow, don't cross him off the list of offseason trade candidates. He has a long way to go to convince Boston he's worth holding onto for the long haul.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made that clear during a discussion with the Boston Globe.
“He’s got to commit his mind and focus to the one task at hand,” Chiarelli said. “He’s got to become more of a professional.
The Blue Jackets Reportedly Fielded Offers Sergei Bobrovsky
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A CBS Sports report revealed Columbus considered trade offers for the rights to restricted free-agent goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The 2012 Vezina Trophy Award winner is a hot commodity after his breakout season.
The franchise appears to be on the verge of locking up Bobrovsky to a two-year extension, according to the same report. You can't blame Columbus for listening to outside opportunities but it's still stunning to hear Bobrovsky's name in any trade rumors after a dominant campaign that finally has the Blue Jackets on the right track.