2013 NHL Draft Rankings: Preliminary Top 30 (1-15)

2013 Draft Rankings, TSR Features | 1 Sep 2012

Skill runs high in 2013

Thanks for checking us out for our 2013 NHL Entry Draft Preliminary Top 30 Rankings. After 2012 produced a number of high-end defenseman, 2013 looks to be the year of the forward. Halifax’s Nathan MacKinnon will battle with Portland’s Seth Jones for top honours all season, but a talented group of players lurks in the wings.

Sean Monahan, Aleksander Barkov, and Hunter Shinkaruk are only a few players who are blue-chippers to keep an eye on this season. While there remains much to be decided this season, one thing is for sure, 2013 projects to be a very good draft.

Click Here for <#16-30> of TSR’s 2013 Preliminary Top 30 Rankings.

1. RC Nathan MacKinnon - Halifax (QMJHL)

DOB: Sep. 1/95 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 180lbs
MacKinnon has been touted as the potential #1 pick in 2013 since he was only 15-years-old. Coming from the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and taking a similar development path, it’s not hard to see why expectations are high. MacKinnon is an outstanding skater and handles the puck extremely well in tight spaces. He competes hard and has an underrated physical game, giving him a very complete overall game. Of course, there’s no denying his natural skill-level which leads the pack in 2013. MacKinnon is expected to star front and centre on a strong Halifax team this year and potentially represent Canada at the World Junior as well. Projecting as a franchise caliber forward at the NHL level, Nathan MacKinnon is a player you’ll want to follow in 2013.

2. RD Seth Jones – Portland (WHL)

DOB: Nov. 3/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 205lbs
As a late birthday, the NHL will finally have their crack at Seth Jones next summer as the 17-year-old defenseman finally becomes draft eligible after a long wait. After spending two years with the USNTDP, Jones makes the jump to the WHL this season where he will play with a strong Portland club after his rights were traded by Everett. Jones has the size and projectable skill-set of a potential franchise defenseman at the NHL level and will be coveted for his blend of size and skill. At this point, Jones is certainly in the mix for top honours in 2013 and is primed for a season long dual to see who will top the scouting charts.

3. LC Sean Monahan - Ottawa (OHL)

DOB: Oct. 12/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 180lbs
Monahan is another late birthday who projects to be a Top 5 pick in 2013. After bulking up since first entering the league, Monahan has developed into a well-rounded two-way centre who has high-end vision. Playing a style that emulates that of Sean Couturier, Monahan is a versatile centre who will be able to play a number of different roles at the NHL level. Monahan’s skating and explosiveness need to continue to improve to add a dynamic element to his game, but Monahan projects to have first line upside at the NHL level.

4. LC Aleksander Barkov - Tappara (SM-Liiga)

DOB: Sep. 2/95 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 205lbs
After some lean years at the NHL Draft, Finns have had something to be excited about over the past few years with the emergences of a new wave of youth. 2013 will be headlined by 17-year-old man-child Aleksander Barkov, who is looking to build on an exceptional 16-year-old season a year ago that saw him have one of the best seasons for a young player in SM-Liiga history. Barkov has exceptional strength and a talent level to match it. His skill-level and ability to find seams in the defense to generate chances are impressive and have helped him generate so much success at a young age. The true test for Barkov in 2012/13 will be to improve his skating and show NHL teams that his average stride will not be a hindrance at the NHL level.

5. LC Hunter Shinkaruk – Medicine Hat (WHL)

DOB: Nov. 13/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.10 | Weight: 170lbs
With 133 points in 129 career WHL games, it’s pretty clear to see that Hunter Shinkaruk has some serious offensive ability. While size will never be on his side, the 5-foot-10 Shinkaruk has an uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time and has a goal scoring ability that is rivaled by few. Shinkaruk has a quick and accurate release on his shot and is deadly from the scoring triangle. His playmaking skills are above average and his ability to find teammates creates some uncertainty for defenseman in how they should defend him. While size may see him fall a bit, his pure talent positions him well to be a Top 10 pick.

6. RC Elias Lindholm – Brynas (Elitserien)

DOB: Dec. 2/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 183lbs
Lindholm may not be the flashiest player in this draft, but don’t be so quick to discount this Swedish centre. Plying a similar style to countryman Nicklas Backstrom, Lindholm is a smooth playmaking centre who makes up for a lack of strength and physicality with his hockey sense and natural skating ability. Lindholm has a high skill-level and also competes reasonably well which is something that will help him come draft day. While he could probably stand to shoot the puck a bit more, if Backstrom’s NHL success is any indication, Lindholm’s skill-set certainly looks like it will translate to a potential top line role in the NHL.

7. RD Ryan Pulock – Brandon (WHL)

DOB: Oct. 6/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbs
After a very impressive showing as a 16-year-old rookie, Pulock followed up his freshman success with a 19-goal, 60-point sophomore season. Pulock is a reliable defender who is good in all 3 zones and a positionally sound player who seems to be continually refining his defensive tendencies to adjust to the game. His skills with the puck are solid and his NHL caliber slap shot is obviously a huge asset for him on the powerplay. While Pulock is not overly physical, he anticipates the play well and uses his body to separate the man from the puck at the right opportunities. As a solid defender with the offensive skills he possesses, Pulock has the type of top pairing potential NHL teams are looking for.

8. RW Adam Erne – Quebec (QMJHL)

DOB: Apr. 20/95 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 200lbs
Erne may not be a forward with the most offensive flair, but his rugged power forward style of play is something that NHL teams will yearn for. Playing a similar style to Keith Tkachuk, Erne is a hard-nosed player who competes hard and excels at winning board battles. He’s got great strength for his age and is very physically developed already with 2 years of junior under his belt. Erne also has a good skill-level and put up very strong numbers as a 16-year-old which should only improve with the experience.

9. RD Rasmus Ristolainen – TPS (SM-Liiga)

DOB: Oct. 27/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 210lbs
Ristolainen has been a known commodity for a few years but the 17-year-old really burst onto the scene with some strong play and physicality. While the hulking Finn is far from a finished product, the two-way potential and physicality are certainly enticing. Ristolainen is a polished skater and an emerging offensive game which makes his potential intriguing. While further progression and development is still required, he plays an NHL style of game and brings a lot of the tools that teams will be looking for out of a Top 4 defenseman.

10. RC Curtis Lazar – Edmonton (WHL)

DOB: Feb. 2/95 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 190lbs
Lazar was a steady contributor for the WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings last season until he emerged as an offensive leader during their lengthy playoff run. Lazar plays a well rounded game in all 3 zones and has the versatility to play any of the 3 forward positions, making him a nice piece for a coach to have in his lineup. Release and natural hockey sense are two of Lazar’s biggest attributes and we’ll be looking to see how he translates that over the course of a full season this year. With the skill-set of a solid 2nd line type player, Lazar will need to show that his offensive upside matches his intangibles this season.

11. RW Valeri Nichushkin – Chelyabinsk (MHL)

DOB: Mar. 4/95 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 180lbs
Nichushkin checks into our rankings as the class of the Russian prospects in 2013. The rangy winger has a huge frame and oozes offensive potential. Nichushkin should be primed for more minutes this season and is coming off a year where he was a standout at the Under 17 level as well as playing up at the Under 18 level as an underager. Nichushkin has some dynamic ability and an ability to generate chances that could easily vault him into the Top 10, but the Russian factor will be a major concern with him – much like Anton Slepyshev a year ago who wound up being undrafted despite possessing Top 20 talent.

12. LC Jonathan Drouin – Halifax (QMJHL)

DOB: Mar. 27/95 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 180lbs
After initially deciding not to go the Major Junior route, Drouin eventually committed to the Halifax Mooseheads last season and the 2nd overall pick from 2011 came as advertised. Drouin is a good skater with deceptive agility that allow him to avoid punishment from bigger opponents. He has elite hands and supreme vision and his creativity makes his linemates better. Although undersized, Drouin competes hard and shows a willingness to finish checks. A lack of real explosiveness coupled with being undersized are the main concerns in Drouin’s game at this point, but this year he’ll have an opportunity to address those doubts.

13. LC Kerby Rychel – Windsor (OHL)

DOB: Oct. 7/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 185lbs
Rychel is a prototypical power forward who’s power game makes up for any lack of offensive flair. A very polished prospect, Rychel is strong on his skates and is one of the most competitive and gritty players you’ll find around the Canadian Hockey League. While Rychel possesses above average skills, it’s his determination and hockey sense around the net that allow him to score the majority of his goals. As he moves to the NHL level, it’s likely that you’ll see him develop an agitator side to his game as he looks like he’ll be a capable winger or centre who has the versatility to be an effective contributor on a scoring line while bringing a physical two-way presence.

14. LW Andre Burakovsky – Malmo (Allsvenskan)

DOB: Feb. 9/95 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 175lbs
Burakovsky was born in Austria but he’s a Swede when it comes to hockey. The 6-foot-1 winger enters the season as an intriguing prospect with a good blend of skating ability and skill. While still needing to add some muscle to his frame, Burakovsky is a creative offensive player with a good shot and ability to find the back of the net. Burakovsky is a little raw at this point but has the potential to solidify himself a spot in the Top 15 of the draft with continued progress.

15. RC JT Compher – USNTDP (USHL)

DOB: Apr. 8/95 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 170lbs
Compher finds himself a spot in the middle of our Top 30 as a competitive two-way centre. Compher has the ability to anticipate the play and has strong hockey sense and puck awareness in offensive and defensive situations. While not the most prolific player offensively, Compher is more than adept and could top out as a quality 2nd liner at the NHL level. His committed and tenacious style of play resonate well with coaches and Compher’s work ethic is second to none. Moving forward, Compher will need to show continued improvement with his skating while also adding some much needed strength and bulk to his frame to support his style of play.

Click Here for <#16-30> of TSR’s 2013 Preliminary Top 30 Rankings.

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