Now that the 2013 NHL draft is over, it’s time to analyze the selections and grade each team on how they did on draft day.
Every team was graded during Sunday’s seven-round spectacle, but the three highlighted teams exceeded expectations and earned the top grades in this 2013 draft class.
|New Jersey Devils||B-|
|New York Islanders||B+|
|New York Rangers||C|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||B|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||B-|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||A|
|Detroit Red Wings||B|
|St. Louis Blues||A-|
|Los Angeles Kings||C|
|San Jose Sharks||B-|
Full round-by-round list of draft picks at NHL.com.
Draft Day’s Biggest Winners
The Chicago Blackhawks didn’t have the sexiest draft—their sole first-round pick came at No. 30 with agitating right wing Ryan Hartman—but it’s how the franchise coped with the salary cap woes and players cashing in on the Stanley Cup victory that gave the franchise an "A" grade.
With the inability to sign all the impending free agents and still get in under the cap next season, the Blackhawks went on the offensive and traded both Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik for draft picks, via NHL.com, while their stock was red hot.
Not only did Chicago alleviate the cap space needed to re-sign Bryan Bickell to a four-year contract extension, per NHL.com, but the team also added five total draft picks.
While some of the mid- to late-round picks may pan out—the team acquired picks 51, 74, 117 and 134 in this year’s draft and a fourth-round pick in 2014 on top of the picks they already had stockpiled—the odds are in the Blackhawks favor that at least one of the prospects will blossom into a potential star at the NHL level.
That’s how a team wins championships in the salary cap era.
Overall Grade: A
The Calgary Flames had a fire sale before the trade deadline last season, and while fans didn’t want to see a star like Jarome Iginla leave the team, the team had three marquee selections in an extremely deep draft.
Calgary lacked any depth at center at all and needed real help across the entire roster. While a complete rebuild will take years to show results, the groundwork was laid on Sunday for the future success of the Flames.
After adding center Sean Monahan with the No. 6 pick, the franchise bolstered its wing with a bona fide playmaker in Emile Poirier at No. 22 and added even more offensive depth with versatile forward Morgan Klimchuk.
Add in the selection of 6’7” defender Keegan Kanzig in the third round and the upside the team added with its four other mid- to late-round selections, and Calgary did a great job on draft day.
Overall Grade: A
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets were another team with three draft selections in the first round, and should be rewarded right away for posturing themselves to have that many picks in a draft class this deep.
Columbus kicked off the day by snagging a potential star center Alexander Wennberg at No. 14 and followed that pick up with a stellar pick of stellar forward Kerby Rychel at No. 19. Both players have serious upside and could be contending for a spot on the Blue Jackets’ top-two lines within the next two years.
Which team had the best draft?
While the franchise played it safe with two solid forward prospects to start the first round, what helped boost Columbus’ draft grade was taking an educated risk on center Marko Dano. The Blue Jackets took Dano No. 27 overall, and while many scouts weren’t this high on him, the team has learned to trust its international scouts.
Add in all the depth and talent the team added after the first round—defender Dillon Heatherington and right wing Oliver Bjorkstrand were two gems—and it’s clear Columbus had a great draft.
Overall Grade: A