TSN’S BOB MCKENZIE RELEASES PRELIMINARY 2013 DRAFT RANKINGS

We may be in the midst of (yet another) lockout, but that doesn’t mean other forms of hockey in North America and around the globe aren’t still going about their business.  For the next group of 17/18 year old players around the world, the most important year of their lives so far is coming up.

Bob McKenzie, who has earned a reputation as the most connected man in hockey, has compiled his preliminary rankings of the Top 10 Draft Prospects for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  The list is not McKenzie’s own thoughts and scouting reports, but rather a consensus list put together after talking to scouts from around the world and getting their lists, and combining them into one.  Whilst this list could be quite different to the one he’ll put together just before the draft takes place, it’s very interesting to follow each of these prospects throughout the year to see who rises to the challenge, and who falters.  For example, last year Windsor Spitfires d-man Nick Ebert was one of the most talked about prospects in a year that had many great defensive players, and was initially ranked inside the Top 10.  However, he had an awful year and ended up being the very last player drafted, at 211th Overall by the LA Kings.  That said, by the time you get to the final list, you could disregard your own team’s scouting reports and go by McKenzie’s, and come out with some damn good players.  It’s great stuff for a Draft Nerd like me.

So without further ado, here is the list, along with 11-12 scoring stats:

1.       NATHAN MACKINNON – C – HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS (QMJHL)

58 GP

31 G

47 A

78 P

2.       SETH JONES – D – PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (WHL)

52 GP

8 G

23 A

31 P

3.       SEAN MONAHAN –  C – OTTAWA 67s (OHL)

62 GP

33 G

45 A

78 P

4.       ELIAS LINDHOLM – C – BRYNAS J20 (JUNIOR SEL)

36 GP

14 G

35 A

49 P

5.       RASMUS RISTOLAINEN – D – TPS (SM-LIIGA)

40 GP

3 G

5 A

8P

6.       ALEKSANDER BARKOV – C – TAPPARA (SM-LIIGA)

32 GP

7 G

9 A

16 P

7.       ANDRE BURAKOVSKY – RW – MALMO J20 (JUNIOR SEL)

42 GP

17 G

25 A

42 P

8.       JACOB DE LA ROSE – C – LEKSAND J20 (JUNIOR SEL)

28 GP

4 G

9 A

13 P

9.       CURTIS LAZAR – C – EDMONTON OIL KINGS (WHL)

63 GP

20 G

11 A

31 P

10.     KERBY RYCHEL – LW – WINDSOR SPITFIRES (OHL)

68 GP

41 G

33 A

74 P

  • I think just about everybody wants to see how MacKinnon will do this year.  The comparisons with Crosby are rife:  they’re both from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia; they both attended Shattuck St Mary’s boarding school in Minnesota; and they both played and were drafted 1st Overall in the QMJHL at age 16. MacKinnon isn’t quite as dominant at the same age as Crosby was, at least in terms of eye-popping scoring totals, but MacKinnon is without a doubt a stunning prospect and at this point the consensus no.1 pick.
  • Seth Jones has an interesting story, being the son of former NBA star Popeye Jones, but he is an outstanding athlete in his own right.  He’s big, mean, and dominating.  If he turns out like his scouting report suggests he should, this kid will be a hell of a player.
  • A nice number of centres on the list following last year’s heavy amount of d-men, particularly the Canadian contingent of MacKinnon, Monahan and Lazar.
  • The fact that an amazing talent like Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) didn’t even get into the Top 10 (yet) speaks to the potential quality of this draft.  Shinkaruk had 49 goals and 91 points last year, in a league that is generally regarded as more difficult to score in than the other two CHL leagues.  He might be slightly small in stature, but I can’t ignore those numbers.
  • I love Swedish players but I can never figure out the young ones.  Very few put up good totals in the SEL, and it’s tough to gauge the quality of the Swedish junior system.  The fact that Filip Forsberg was so highly rated last year despite mediocre scoring totals in the Swedish 2nd Division just baffles me, but then I guess that’s why scouts go to games and don’t just sit at home reading stats like me!  It’ll be interesting to see what Lindholm, Burakovsky and De la Rose can do this year, and if they can make it to the SEL proper.
  • Nice to see some Finns in the Top 10 aswell, they’re among my favourite players – an Oiler’s team has never won a Cup without a Finn in the lineup! – and it’s about time there were some really highly rated ones in the draft.  Maatta and Teravainen were the only two last year, and they were ranked as mid-first rounders generally.  The year before, in 2011, Joel Armia was the only Finn drafted in the entire first round.
  • The one guy I’ll be really following is Lazar.  Not only is he based in Edmonton, but he’s been highly rated for a couple of years now and hopefully he really takes a leap forward this year.  He’s a physical, stocky guy with high-end talent, but has only shown flashes of it so far, although he did turn it up a notch in the playoffs, tying for the team lead in points with 19 in 20 games, as the Oil Kings romped to the WHL Championship.

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