2013 NHL Draft logo2013 NHL Draft

2013 NHL Draft Results: Biggest Winners and Losers

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2013

2013 NHL Draft Results: Biggest Winners and Losers

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    Just days ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were hoisting the Stanley Cup following a rousing final round with the Boston Bruins.

    But there's no living in the past in the NHL, especially this season. It's already onto the 2013-14 season with the NHL draft. The lockout forced the league to conduct all seven rounds in one day.

    Here's a look at the top winners and losers from from all the activity surrounding this year's draft.

Winner: Nathan MacKinnon

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    It was a brilliant day for Nathan MacKinnon. It seemed like he would be the second or third choice in the draft a couple of months ago, because Seth Jones was supposed to be the No. 1 pick.

    But the Colorado Avalanche had control of the pick and they decided to use it on MacKinnon, who has superb offensive skills and has shown himself to be a consistent player. He scored 32 goals and 43 assists for Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league and averaged 1.70 points per game.

    He is a dominating player who continues to improve because of his skating and sophisticated moves with the puck.

Loser: Seth Jones

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    This is not an evaluation of Seth Jones as a player. He was a spectacular performer for the Portland Winterhawks this season and had moved himself into the favorite for the No. 1 spot in the draft by the middle of the NHL season, but he was unable to hold onto that spot.

    It would have been a spectacular success for Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones. He would have been the first African-American taken with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft.

    Jones slid to fourth in the draft. He is likely going to have a spectacular career, but he deserved to be a No. 1 pick in the NHL.

    He plans to make the the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning regret not picking him.

    "I'd be lying if I wasn't thinking about going to those teams," Jones told Ira Podell of the Associated Press. "At the same time I'm excited to be a Predator."

Winners: Nashville Predators

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    The Nashville Predators were the recipient of a gift on draft day.

    General manager David Poile probably figured he was going to get Aleksandr Barkov or Jonathan Drouin with the fourth pick overall. Instead, he was able to select the top player available in Seth Jones.

    The Predators may have one of the best defensive crews in the NHL. Shea Weber is one of the best defensemen in the league and Roman Josi is very much underrated. However, Jones appears to have superstar ability and should be able to make a contribution right away.

    Nobody is happier than the normally staid Poile, who knows he has a team capable of shutting down the best offensive squads in the league.

    “I wish we had the No. 1 pick then I can’t say ‘I can’t believe the player was there,’ ” Poile told Josh Cooper of The Tennesseean. “We had Seth Jones rated No. 1, he’s just a terrific player.”

Losers: Colorado Avalanche

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    On the surface, the Colorado Avalanche did very well, picking up a consistent offensive star like Nathan MacKinnon in the first round.

    The Avs certainly could use MacKinnon; what team couldn't? But when you look at the situation more closely, the Avs are a team with severe defensive liabilities. They also have a slew of young forwards like Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene who can score and make key offensive plays.

    The Avs gave up an average of 3.12 goals per game, ranking 27th in the NHL. They need help on the defensive end and they bypassed the best defensive player in the draft by a longshot.

    That makes them losers.

Winners: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning may eventually have some regret over not taking Seth Jones, but it won't be at the same level as the Avalanche or the Florida Panthers.

    The Lightning certainly need defensive help, but they got the most exciting and explosive offensive player in the draft in Jonathan Drouin. It seems that they could develop into one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the league, as Drouin joins powerful scorers such as Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.

    The Bolts have failed to make the playoffs the last two years. Drouin gives them a chance to turn that situation around quickly.

Winners: Detroit Red Wings

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    The Detroit Red Wings were supposed to go through a rebuilding period after Nicklas Lidstrom retired last year.

    While they struggled much of the season, they earned a playoff spot, beat the Anaheim Ducks in the opening round and pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to overtime of the seventh game.

    If there was one area the Red Wings were lacking, it was offense. They averaged 2.54 goals per game, tying for 19th in that key statistic. That's not good enough, and general manager Ken Holland knows it.

    He drafted Anthony Mantha with his first-round pick, and that should help the Red Wings improve their offense in the years to come. Mantha scored 50 goals last year for Val d'Or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

    Second-round pick Zach Nastasiuk should be an offensive force as well. The Red Wings did well on draft day with their first two picks.

Losers: San Jose Sharks

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    There was nothing wrong with trading for Pittsburgh Penguins winger Tyler Kennedy on Sunday.  It just didn't seem to be enough for the San Jose Sharks. They need to get younger and faster, and the team didn't make a bold enough move in that direction.

    First-round draft pick Mirco Mueller could be a help on the blue line, but he seems to lack girth and strength. On the other hand, Mueller lasted longer on the VO2 Max conditioning test than any other draft prospect.

Winners: Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Could the painful times be ending for the Columbus Blue Jackets?

    President John Davidson saw his team show quite a bit of improvement in the second half of the season, and they were contending for a Western Conference playoff spot until late April.

    The Blue Jackets may have made the right moves on draft day. They had three first-round picks and used them to take Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel and Marko Dano. Wennberg is a center who can play both ends of the ice with expertise, Rychel is a solid goal scorer and Dano is a gritty battler who won't quit against bigger players.

    The Blue Jackets have only made the playoffs once in their history, but that may be changing soon.

Losers: Vancouver Canucks

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    The Vancouver Canucks finally ended their goalie saga at the draft.

    However, when they traded Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth pick in the first round, they moved the wrong goalie.

    The Canucks had switched to Schneider during the 2012 playoffs when he replaced Roberto Luongo. However, general manager Mike Gillis has not been able to move Luongo despite trying to for more than a year. So, he decided to move Schneider and ask Luongo to return as the Canucks goalie.

    Luongo had no clue the Canucks were planning to keep him and trade Schneider. He told TSN anchor James Duthie that he was "shocked."

    It's going to be difficult for the stunned goalie to return to top form in a Vancouver jersey.

Winners: Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup Monday night, but general manager Stan Bowman has not been resting on his laurels. He wants his team to make a run at back-to-back championships and he knew he had to clear cap space so postseason hero Bryan Bickell could return.

    Bickell was one of the Blackhawks' most valuable players in the playoffs. He scored the dramatic game-tying goal in Game 6 and finished the postseason with nine goals and eight assists.

    Dave Bolland, who scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal 17 seconds after Bickell scored the tying goal, was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Michael Frolik was moved to the Winnipeg Jets, and Bowman also bought out two other players.

    That gave the Blackhawks the room to sign Bickell before he became a free agent. That signing should allow them to remain a solid contender in 2013-14.

Loser: Peter Chiarelli

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    The Boston Bruins have had a tough week. They lost the Stanley Cup to the Chicago Blackhawks, and veteran right wing Nathan Horton informed the Bruins that he would exercise his free-agent rights and leave the team.

    At the same time, Peter Chiarelli was looking at trade possibilities for former No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin (2010). However, Chiarelli could not get the value he wanted for Seguin, and there does not appear to be any trade on the horizon.

    A few days ago, the Bruins had the Stanley Cup within their grasp. Now they have lost the Cup, their top right wing and they couldn't get what they needed for their former phenom.

    Somebody pass the aspirin to Chiarelli.

Winners: Buffalo Sabres

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    The Buffalo Sabres had a rough year, failing to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

    Their defense was regularly abused. The Sabres gave up 2.90 goals per game, tying for 22nd in the league. Goaltender Ryan Miller was regularly left to his own devices to keep the puck out of the Buffalo net.

    The Sabres had the No. 8 and 16 picks in the draft and they went for defensemen with both selections, choosing Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov.

    Ristolainen and Zadorov are both aggressive and decisive defensemen, and that's a move in the right direction for the Sabres.

Loser: Glen Sather

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    General manager Glen Sather of the New York Rangers did very little during the draft.

    The Rangers fired head coach John Tortorella in the offseason and brought in Alain Vigneault to take over the team and implement a more cohesive offensive attack.

    It would have been nice if Sather would have provided Vigneault with a first or second-round pick to help make that happen. He did not.

    The Rangers did not have a pick until the third round. They selected forward Adam Tambellini with the 65th pick overall. Tambellini scored 27 points in junior hockey last year and is planning to attend North Dakota in the fall.

    Tambellini is not going to help Vigneault any time soon. The new Rangers coach could use some more cooperation from his general manager.

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