Tampa Bay first-rounder Jonathan Drouin is the cover boy for this year’s Future Watch issue, which ranks the top NHL-affiliated prospects in the game.
The top-50 list is established by a panel of NHL scouts, who are asked to project – using a five to 10 year window – which prospects will be making the largest imprints on the game.
Seventeen of the players in the top 50 were selected in the 2013 NHL draft. Another 13 players from the 2013 draft finished just outside the top 50, in the 51-75 range.
With this information culled from our scouting panel, we can re-order the 2013 draft if it were to be held again today.
Six players from the 2013 made the immediate jump to the NHL. For the sake of argument, we’ll rank them one to six even though we know that 2013 draftee returned to junior, college or Europe could surpass them in coming seasons. The six players are Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, Florida’s Aleksander Barkov, Nashville’s Seth Jones, Carolina’s Elias Lindholm, Calgary’s Sean Monahan and Dallas’ Valeri Nichushkin.
Here’s how the remainder of the first round would play out, based on scout’s evaluation of their progression so far in 2013-14. Of course, this exercise doesn’t take into consideration individual team preferences. Though we’ll never know for sure publicly, maybe the Edmonton Oilers would still take Darnell Nurse seventh overall even though the scouting community at large wouldn’t select him until midway through the first round.
1-6. Six NHLers
7. Jonathan Drouin, C (actually taken third by Tampa Bay)
8. Rasmus Ristolainen, D, (taken 8th by Buffalo)
9. Nikita Zadorov, D (taken 16th by Buffalo)
10. Alexander Wennberg, C (taken 14th by Columbus)
11. Anthony Mantha, RW (taken 20th by Detroit)
12. Bo Horvat, C, (taken 9th by Vancouver)
13. Curtis Lazar, C (taken 17th by Ottawa)
14. Mirco Mueller, D (taken 18th by San Jose)
15. Max Domi, C (taken 12th by Phoenix)
16. Andre Burakovsky, LW (taken 23rd by Washington)
17. Darnell Nurse, D (taken 7th by Edmonton)
18. Jacob de la Rose, LW (taken 34th by Montreal)
19. Josh Morrissey, D (taken 13th by Winnipeg)
20. Zach Fucale, G (taken 36th by Montreal)
21. Hunter Shinkaruk, C (taken 24th by Vancouver)
22. Ryan Hartman, RW (taken 30th by Chicago)
23. Emile Poirier, LW (taken 22nd by Calgary)
24. Kerby Rychel, LW (taken 19th by Columbus)
25. Ian McCoshen, D (taken 31st by Florida)
26. Samuel Morin, D (taken 11th by Philadelphia)
27. Nicolas Petan, C (taken 43rd by Winnipeg)
28. Gustav Olofsson, D (taken 46th by Minnesota)
29. Ryan Pulock, D (taken 15th by N.Y. Islanders)
30. Frederik Gauthier, C (taken 21st by Toronto)
31. Valentin Zykov, LW (taken 37th by Los Angeles)
32. Chris Bigras, D (taken 32nd by Colorado)
33. Hudson Fasching, RW (taken 118th by Los Angeles)
34. Steve Santini, D, (taken 42nd by New Jersey)
35. Eric Comrie, G (taken 59th by Winnipeg)
36. Shea Theodore, D, (taken 26th by Anaheim)
So 2013 actual first-rounders who wouldn’t go in the first round if it were re-held today are: 25. Michael McCarron, RW, Montreal; 26. Theodore; 27. Marko Dano, C, Columbus; 28. Morgan Klimchuk, LW, Calgary; 29. Jason Dickenson, C, Dallas.
Winnipeg, Los Angeles and Montreal did well in this exercise, selecting two players apiece in the second round or later who would be first-rounders or close to it today.
The biggest virtual drops were Samuel Morin 15 spots (from 11th to 26th) and Ryan Pulock 14 spots (from 15th to 29th).
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN