Players from the 2013 NHL Draft Class Whose Stock Is Soaring
The 2013 NHL draft was considered one of the deepest in recent memory. What it possessed in depth, it has lacked in first-year game breakers. Only eight of the first 30 players made their team's opening day rosters, and one of them, Nikita Zadorov, was demoted to his junior team earlier today.
Despite the low number of 2013 draftees currently skating in the NHL, the ones who have stuck around have been able to make big impacts for their respective squads.
Meanwhile, several first-round players have been crushing it after getting sent back to the junior level as well. All told, the 2013 draft could be one of the best in recent memory at this rate.
All statistics appear courtesy of HockeyDB.com unless otherwise noted.
There's something to be said about how hard it is to be a top-end young player on a truly awful team. The Florida Panthers are in straight up sell-off mode and will continue to trade their veteran talent as the season wears on.
It's tough to see how Aleksander Barkov could be shouldering any more of the offensive weight on this team, but the pressure will continue to mount as more guys like Kris Versteeg are moved out to clear up cap space.
What Barkov lacks in points, he makes up for with his style of play and effort level. On the surface, four goals and four assists might not seem like much, but this is a young player who knows where he needs to go to score. If you watch a Panthers game, you'll constantly see No. 16 buzzing around the front of the net, screening goalies and trying to bang home rebounds.
No forward from the 2013 draft spends more time out on the ice than Barkov, and he's been a rookie workhorse while playing more than 17 minutes a game for Florida.
If you're looking for monstrous, eye-popping point totals at the junior level, Anthony Mantha has you covered. Nineteen teams passed on Mantha before the Detroit Red Wings snagged the blossoming power forward with the 20th overall selection, and at least five or six of those squads are kicking themselves right now.
The kid was impressive in the preseason, but Detroit isn't in the habit of letting teenagers crack their opening-night lineup. So they sent Mantha back to juniors and (apparently) told him to dominate.
He's done just that.
It's impossible to ignore what Nathan MacKinnon has done as a rookie this year. He's in the exact opposite situation that Barkov finds himself in, and the top pick of the 2013 draft has been able to thrive as the No. 3 center for the Colorado Avalanche.
Head coach Patrick Roy has done a masterful job of keeping MacKinnon in situations that aren't too high pressure or demanding. This has allowed the forward to use his top-end speed against the opposition's bottom six on a nightly basis.
Depth down the middle has been one of the biggest factors for the Avs and their surprising rise this season, and MacKinnon has been a major part of the team's early success.
It's tough to describe how outstanding Seth Jones has been. There's no hype machine at his back and blowing wind in his sails because he plays for the Nashville Predators, but consider this: Jones has been good enough in the eyes of some that Shea Weber has become expendable.
That's absolute hogwash, but just think about it for a second. Jones has been so good and has shown so much promise that folks with reputations in this business have said aloud, "Yeah, trading Weber makes sense now."
The points are there to be sure, but don't expect that one to come down the pipeline any time soon. Meanwhile, Jones will continue to play massive minute totals for Nashville while looking like a five-year veteran.
He's going to be scary good very soon.
The Edmonton Oilers finally addressed a glaring need for defensemen at the draft this year and made Darnell Nurse the future of the blue line. He'll eventually make a rock star pairing with Oscar Klefbom, but Edmonton made the wise choice and decided to send the towering back to the OHL.
He's been everything the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have asked for and more this season. Nurse has taken a step forward in the offensive zone and has 23 points in 21 games and is on pace to smash his total from a year ago.
The mean streak is still there as well, as Nurse has a whopping 45 PIMs.
Andre Burakovsky almost shocked the Washington Capitals and the hockey world by nearly making the NHL as a rookie. The Caps decided to send the silky-smooth winger back to the OHL, though, and he's been making minced meat out of that level of competition.
That shouldn't be too surprising because he was playing Division 1 hockey in Sweden last year.
Burakovsky has posted 15 goals in 20 games, which is impressive in and of itself. He's also set up 12 others, however, and his 27 points in 20 contests is impressive. If he continues along those lines, it seems likely that Washington will have picked up quite a steal with the 23rd overall selection.
If Seth Jones doesn't have a hype machine, then Sean Monahan is probably going to have his own press corps following him around in Calgary soon.
This is a rare case of the level of play matching the insanity that it's caused, though, and there may not be a smarter all-around player from the 2013 draft class than Monahan. Forget for a second the outstanding point totals despite playing on a bad team.
It's his overall skill set that's been so impressive.
He has that special talent to hit open space right as the puck gets there. Monahan makes those players around him better, and he's going to be one of the top players from the 2013 draft, barring any massive setbacks.