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NHL Draft Grades 2013: Final Report Card for Every Team

James OnuskoContributor IIIJune 30, 2013

NHL Draft Grades 2013: Final Report Card for Every Team

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    In most cases, it will take years to assess the level of success that each NHL team achieved at the 2013 draft. Assigning a value to the day’s events is based on how these draftees look today, not what they will become.

    Teams entered the draft with varying numbers of selections and significant differences in the quality of their minor league systems. It was a quick draft in Newark, N.J. and featured a number of surprises in the first two rounds.

    Seth Jones going fourth overall had to be the biggest surprise for many fans.

    Every team had needs, and what follows is a breakdown of what those needs were entering the draft, who was selected in the early rounds and a final grade on how each team fared in the 2013 draft.

Anaheim Ducks

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    Greatest Needs: Depth on defense

    Top Pick(s): D Shea Theodore, Nick Sorensen

    The Anaheim Ducks have a young, fast and huge team. They are deep at every position, but if there was one area they could shore up, it was on defense. The Ducks chose defenceman Shea Theodore of the Seattle Thunderbirds with their first pick. Shea is a dynamic offensive player who put up 50 points in the WHL.

    He needs to work on his defensive game, but he’ll be afforded the time to do so. Theodore was a solid pick at No. 26. The Ducks also added winger Nick Sorensen with their second-round pick.

    Grade: C+

Boston Bruins

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    Greatest Needs: Defensive depth

    Top Pick(s): D Linus Arnesson, LW Peter Cehlarik

    The Boston Bruins have not been a team to build through the draft.

    Nevertheless, they have a number of young forwards on their NHL roster and some good prospects in their system. They added Swedish defenceman Linus Arnesson in the second round at No. 60. Arnesson is 6’1” and 185 pounds.

    He is a low-event defenceman in that he is solid in his own end, but does not offer a lot of offensive potential. The Bruins can have him develop over time, as there is no need to have him join them any time soon.

    The Bruins added some depth forwards with later picks.

    Grade: C-

Buffalo Sabres

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    Greatest Needs: Depth on defense and forward depth

    Top Pick(s):  D Rasmus Ristolainen, D Nikita Zadorov, C J.T. Compher, RW Justin Bailey

    The Sabres were just outside where the elite talent was perceived to be; however, with the No. 8 selection, they picked an excellent two-way defenceman in Rasmus Ristolainen. Ristolainen is a great skater and may have the hardest shot in the entire draft.

    The Sabres added another excellent NHL prospect in Nikita Zadorov. The London Knight is one of the nastiest draft-eligible players and will make all of his teammates play bigger. They also chose forwards J.T. Compher and Justin Bailey.

    Both of these players are nowhere near NHL-ready, but if they are allowed to develop over time, they could both be top-nine forwards.

    Grade: A-

Calgary Flames

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    Greatest Needs: Centers and general forward depth

    Top Pick(s): C Sean Monahan, LW Emile Poirier, LW Morgan Klimchuk

    The Calgary Flames could not afford to swing and miss at the 2013 draft, and they did not. They had a very good draft and added some key components.

    They added center Sean Monahan with the sixth pick, and he has a chance to make the team next season. The Flames have needed a top center for years, and Monahan has a chance to be a first-line center.

    The Flames went off the board with their selection of left winger Emile Poirier, but they stole Morgan Klimchuk at No.28. Klimchuk is a Calgary native and has a lot of offensive upside.He could be a darkhorse to make the team next year.

    Grade: A-

Carolina Hurricanes

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): C Elias Lindholm, D Brett Pesce

    The Carolina Hurricanes did not have any glaring weaknesses, although general forward depth was something to be addressed.

    The Hurricanes did that with the No. 5 selection. Elias Lindholm is an excellent center who may play on the wing to begin in Carolina given its depth at center.

    Lindholm is likely NHL-ready, but the Hurricanes don't necessarily need him next season.

    Elias has top-six talent, and he could be a true impact player at the NHL level. The Hurricanes also added some defensive depth in Brett Pesce from the University of New Hampshire.

    Grade: B+

Chicago Blackhawks

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    Greatest Needs: Depth at forward

    Top Pick(s): RW Ryan Hartman, D Carl Dahlstrom, C John Hayden

    The Chicago Blackhawks had no pressing needs entering the draft, yet they managed to add some decent forward depth despite not making their first pick until No. 30.

    Chicago added one of the best agitators in the draft, Ryan Hartman. Ryan loves to engage opposing players and can get under the skin of almost anyone.

    The Blackhawks also added defenceman Carl Dahlstrom and center John Hayden. Hayden has some size and could develop into a top-nine forward over time.

    Considering their draft order, it was an adequate day for the reigning Stanley Cup champs.

    Grade: B-

Colorado Avalanche

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    Greatest Needs: Defensive depth and top-six forwards

    Top Pick(s): C Nathan MacKinnon, D Chris Bigras, G Spencer Martin

    The Colorado Avalanche selected Nathan MacKinnon first overall and have found their franchise center.

    This was a pick that didn’t necessarily meet organizational need, but there is no denying the Avs are a stronger team following this draft. MacKinnon is an excellent player and will play significant NHL minutes next year. He was the best player available in the draft and is also one of the younger players eligible this year.

    The Avalanche also added defenceman Chris Bigras, and he could be a top-four defenceman in a few seasons. The Owen Sound Attack defender does need to develop his defensive game over time.

    Grade: A-

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Greatest Needs: Top-six scoring and defensive help

    Top Pick(s): C Alexander Wennberg, LW Kerby Rychel, C Marko Dano, D Dillon Heatherington, RW Oliver Bjorkstrand

    The Columbus Blue Jackets had an excellent draft. They selected two highly touted players in Alexander Wennberg and Kerby Rychel. Wennberg is a speedy center who could become a top-six center in a few years. Kerby Rychel has an outside chance at making the Blue Jackets next year.

    Rychel is a complete player who just needs to add some more consistency to his game to be a top-nine NHL forward.

    Marko Dano is a bit of an unknown. Video shows that he’s very quick and agile, and GM Jarmo Kekalainen likely has some insider knowledge of him. It was a great draft for the Blue Jackets.

    Grade: A-

Dallas Stars

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): LW Valeri Nichushkin, C Jason Dickinson, LW Remi Elie, G Philippe Desrosiers

    The Dallas Stars had an up-and-down year despite having some good young talent. They entered the draft with no glaring weaknesses, but did need to add some depth at forward. They did this and selected one of the players that was pegged to be a possible top-three pick by many. Valeri Nichushkin is a project, but he has the tools to be an outstanding power forward.

    The Stars also selected Jason Dickinson from the Guelph Storm who projects as a top-nine forward in a few seasons. In addition, they took winger Remi Elie, who played on a strong London Knight team.

    The team addressed its needs well with these first three picks in particular.

    Grade: B+

Detroit Red Wings

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): RW Anthony Mantha, RW Zach Nastasiuk, LW Tyler Bertuzzi, C Mattias Janmark-Nylen

    The Detroit Red Wings had a number of options with their first-round pick. They ended up selecting the top goal scorer in junior hockey, winger Anthony Mantha. Mantha scored 50 goals last season and has a great shot. He needs to get more involved physically, but the Red Wings can give him the time to develop that element in his game.

    The Wings also added Zach Nastasiuk of the Owen Sound Attack. He switched to the wing halfway through the season, and it made a huge difference in his game. They also added winger Tyler Bertuzzi who is a project, but has some good bloodlines as the nephew of Todd Bertuzzi.

    It was some good drafting by the Red Wings.

    Grade: B+

Edmonton Oilers

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    Greatest Needs: Centers and defensive depth

    Top Pick(s): D Darnell Nurse, C Marc-Olivier Roy, C Bogdan Yakimov, LW Anton Slepyshev

    The Edmonton Oilers have finally improved their minor league system with the Oklahoma City Barons being one of the better teams in the AHL for a few seasons now.

    The Oilers opted to take Darnell Nurse with their No. 7 pick. The Sault Ste. Marie defenceman is huge and mobile. He plays the game with an edge and he should become a top-four defenceman in a few seasons.

    Edmonton then added some centers in Marc-Olivier Roy and Bogdan Yakimov. These players are not going to be joining the big club any time soon, but there is certainly potential there. Yakimov is 6’4” and 201 pounds. He has the size the Oilers really need down the middle.

    Hopefully Nail Yakupov can help draw him to North America. The Oilers continued to add more depth forwards in the later rounds.

    Grade: B

Florida Panthers

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    Greatest Needs: Top-six forward and defensive depth

    Top Pick(s): C Alexander Barkov, D Ian McCoshen, G Evan Cowley

    The Florida Panthers weren’t going to fill all of the holes in their lineup, but they added an excellent center in Alexander Barkov. He is one of the youngest players taken in the draft, but might have the most complete game.

    He has competed against men and excelled at it over the past season in the SM Liiga in Finland. He is a great prospect.

    USHL product Ian McCoshen will add size to the Panthers, and he could be a top-four defenceman down the road. The Panthers also added a goalie prospect with their first pick in the fourth round.

    Grade: B+

Los Angeles Kings

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    Greatest Needs: Forward and goaltending depth

    Top Pick(s): RW Valentin Zykov, RW Justin Auger, G Patrik Bartosak

    The Los Angeles Kings have some great organizational depth and had no glaring needs going into the draft. The Kings made a great pick with the Valentin Zykov selection at No. 37.

    Zykov had 40 goals in his rookie season in Baie-Comeau and adapted very well to the North American game.

    There are indicators that he could become a top-six forward in two or three seasons. He is a character player. The Kings also added another winger in Justin Auger.

    In the fifth round, they selected Patrik Bartosak from the Red Deer Rebels.

    Grade: C-

Minnesota Wild

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    Greatest Needs: Defence depth

    Top Pick(s): D Gustav Olofsson, RW Kurtis Gabriel, D Dylan Labbe

    The Minnesota Wild have one of the best prospect groups in the NHL.

    They did not have a selection until the second round, but they did address a larger organizational need in selecting Gustav Olofsson. Olofsson is a young Swede playing for Green Bay in the USHL. He has good size and will have some time to develop his game for a number of years.

    The Wild also added another defenceman with their first pick in the fourth round.

    Grade: C

Montreal Canadiens

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    Greatest Needs: Size and forward depth

    Top Pick(s): RW Michael McCarron, LW Jacob De La Rose, G Zachary Fucale, LW Artturi Lehkonen

    The Montreal Canadiens came into the draft needing to add some size and grit to their lineup. While these selections might not be NHL-ready, the Habs added some very promising players.

    Winger Michael McCarron is 6’5” and 228 pounds. He plays a heavy game and could be a top-six forward, but is more likely to be a top-nine forward in few years.

    Jacob De La Rose is a Swedish prospect that could become a gritty third-line player with the ability to score goals. He was a good second-round pick for the Canadiens.

    Goalie Zachary Fucale was selected in the second round and could become a No. 1 netminder in three or four years. He was the most talented goalie available in the draft.

    Grade: A-

Nashville Predators

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): D Seth Jones, D Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, C Felix Girard

    The Nashville Predators could have used some more top-end scoring, but when Seth Jones fell to No. 4, there was no choice to be made.

    The Predators picked up a franchise defenceman and now have one of the best defensive corps in the entire league. Jones should make the Predators next year. The Predators also added Victoriaville’s Felix Girard and a good Finnish goalie prospect in small but athletic Juuse Saros.

    It was a dog’s breakfast for the Predators, but a successful draft without question.

    Grade: A-

New Jersey Devils

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    Greatest Needs: Scoring depth

    Top Pick(s): D Steve Santini, C Ryan Kujawinski, LW Miles Wood

    The New Jersey Devils needed to add some scoring depth and managed to do that in later rounds in the draft.

    Defenceman Steve Santini can develop into a top-four defenceman, although that will not be any time soon. The Devils have no need to add him into the mix in the near future.

    The host team also added two players that could become top-nine forwards in Ryan Kujawinski and Miles Wood. New Jersey did well considering the picks it had.

    Grade: C+

New York Islanders

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): D Ryan Pulock, G Eamon McAdam, F Taylor Cammarata

    The New York Islanders had a great season by most measures and had no glaring weaknesses coming into the draft. Surprisingly, they selected a defenceman with their first-round pick. Ryan Pulock has a chance to be a top-four blueliner in a few years. He is a converted forward that could be a power-play quarterback one day.

    The Islanders also added one of the more intriguing forwards in American Taylor Cammarata. He’s undersized, but is one of most talented offensive players in the entire class.

    Grade: B

New York Rangers

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth and goaltending

    Top Pick(s): C Adam Tambellini, LW Pavel Buchnevich, LW Anthony Duclair

    The New York Rangers did not have a pick in the first two rounds, but they picked up some good prospects in the middle rounds of the draft. Adam Tambellini will be playing college hockey for a few seasons, but has the type of game that could really grow in that time.

    Winger Pavel Buchnevich has a lot of potential as well. He is growing into his frame and could be a top-nine forward if he continues on his current trajectory.

    QMJHL forward Anthony Duclair has elite speed. He’s years away from the NHL, but could be well worth the wait.

    Grade: B-

Ottawa Senators

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    Greatest Needs: Defensive depth and secondary scoring

    Top Pick(s): C Curtis Lazar, G Marcus Hogberg

    The Ottawa Senators have tremendous organizational depth.

    Their development system has been very good for the past number of seasons. They needed to add some offensive depth and did so by taking the talented Curtis Lazar. The Edmonton Oil King is a leader and could wear a letter in a few years.

    The Senators could have used some more defensive depth, and they added that in the middle rounds of the draft. Lazar could be a top-six forward and has an outside shot at cracking their NHL roster next year.

    This was a draft for the future.

    Grade: B

Philadelphia Flyers

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    Greatest Needs: Defensive depth

    Top Pick(s): D Samuel Morin, D Robert Hagg

    The Philadelphia Flyers needed to add defensive depth and did just that with their first two selections. They added a huge defenceman in the towering Samuel Morin. Samuel is raw, but made a lot of progress this past season. He could become one of the better shutdown defencemen in the league.

    The Flyers stole Robert Hagg in the second round. He has a chance to be a top-four player in a few years if he can develop his defensive game.

    These were two strong picks by general manager Paul Holmgren.

    Grade: B+

Phoenix Coyotes

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    Greatest Needs: Scoring depth

    Top Pick(s): F Max Domi, C Laurent Dauphin

    The Phoenix Coyotes needed to add scoring in the draft, and they did just that. Max Domi has the potential to be a top-line forward and has tremendous talent. He can do it all in the offensive zone.

    Max was just behind Drouin and MacKinnon in terms of pure skill. Laurent Dauphin has all kinds of potential as well.

    He could develop into a scoring threat at the NHL level over time.

    Grade: B+

Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth and goaltending

    Top Pick(s): G Tristan Jarry, C Jake Guentzel

    The Pittsburgh Penguins came in with no huge holes to fill. Goaltending and some forward depth were their biggest needs. They added Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings with their first pick and he’s a great prospect. He offers some real hope to Penguins fans.

    Center Jake Guentzel also has a chance of being a decent pro, but he’ll have to overcome some issues with size.

    It was a relatively quiet day for the Penguins at the 2013 draft.

    Grade: C-

San Jose Sharks

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    Greatest Needs: Defensive depth

    Top Pick(s): D Mirco Mueller, LW Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau

    The San Jose Sharks have been adding young players without a complete rebuilding process. They selected one of the best offensive defencemen in the draft in Mirco Mueller.

    He has size and is one of the best attacking rearguards in the draft. The Sharks also added a depth player in Paquin-Boudreau from the QMJHL. They won’t need these players to play in the NHL for a number of seasons, but the Swiss standout, Mueller, could be a great top-four defenceman.

    It wasn’t a great draft, but the Sharks will be happy with Mueller in particular.

    Grade: B-

St. Louis Blues

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): D Thomas Vannelli, LW William Carrier

    The St. Louis Blues are deep in most areas, so in adding Thomas Vannelli and William Carrier in the second round, the Blues looked to the future. Both players have good size with Carrier getting over a significant injury this season. He should be fully recovered now.

    Without the injury, Carrier might have been a first-round selection.

    The two are not needed any time soon, but they have bright pro futures ahead. The St. Louis Blues were not very active, but they didn't really need to be this year.

    Grade: C+

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Greatest Needs: Forward depth

    Top Pick(s): LW Jonathan Drouin, LW Adam Erne

    The Tampa Bay Lightning had a disappointing season, but they had a good day in Newark, N.J.

    Jonathan Drouin was a wonderful addition. He’s the best offensive player in the draft, and he will be a top-six forward with the Lightning as early as next year. He has excellent vision and will make all of his linemates better.

    Second-round pick Adam Erne is a different player when compared to Drouin. He likes to mix it up rather than score goals. Erne could be a top-six forward in a few years, but is more likely to play on the third line instead.

    These were very good picks for the Lightning, who also added some depth forwards in later rounds.

    Grade: B+

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    Greatest Needs: Scoring depth

    Top Pick(s): C Frederik Gauthier, C Carter Verhaeghe

    The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally begun to build internally, and this past year reflected that homegrown talent beginning to flourish.

    The Leafs added two more forwards in the early part of the draft, and center Frederik Gauthier offers size and a complete game. The 6’5” Gauthier has a great all-around game and could be an impact NHL forward in a few years.

    Gauthier won’t be an elite scorer, but his size is what the Leafs really need.

    The Leafs also added another center in the OHL's Carter Verhaeghe. The Niagara Ice Dog is a depth player with size.

    Grade: B

Vancouver Canucks

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    Greatest Needs: Scoring depth

    Top Pick(s): C Bo Horvat, F Hunter Shinkaruk, C Cole Cassels, D Jordan Subban

    The Vancouver Canucks needed to add some scoring depth, as they did not have the firepower to compete with the big guns in the Western Conference this year.

    The Canucks have an aging core, so these picks at forward made a lot of sense. Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk are very good players. Horvat has a mature game and can play any style of hockey.

    Shinkaruk is a great scorer and should develop into a top-six forward. He was a steal at No. 24, as he has top-10 talent in terms of his offense.

    The Canucks did very well in this draft and have two players that may crack their roster next year.

    Grade: B+

Washington Capitals

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    Greatest Needs: Scoring depth

    Top Pick(s): LW Andre Burakowsky, D Madison Bowey, LW Zachary Sanford

    The Washington Capitals have a number of very good young forwards and some promising defensive prospects. Andre Burakowsky was a good pick at No. 23.

    He is growing into his 6’1” frame, but needs to get much stronger in the coming years. He has world-class speed, though. Andre is a few years away from playing in the NHL, but his offensive upside is very good.

    Defenceman Madison Bowey also has size and speed, standing at the same height as Burakowsky.

    The Capitals have a lot of young talent, and these picks certainly bolstered the core of prospects that could join the team in a few seasons.

    Grade: B-

Winnipeg Jets

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    Greatest Needs: Defensive depth

    Top Pick(s): D Josh Morrissey, C Nicolas Petan, G Eric Comrie

    The Winnipeg Jets came into the draft with a good crop of prospects. They also have a young group of forwards that are on the cusp of being very good.

    The Jets added to their defensive depth with the selection of Prince Albert Raider Josh Morrissey. He’s undersized, but is one of the best offensive defencemen in the CHL. Morrissey needs to work on his defensive play, but he has attacking instincts that cannot be taught.

    Nicolas Petan led the WHL in scoring last year and could become a very good NHL player. He has scored at every level he has every played at. Don’t bet against him doing this in the NHL either.

    Goalie Eric Comrie was a great late second-round selection. He is a long-term project, but he could be a gem in the making.

    Grade: A-

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