The 2013 NHL Draft has come and gone and now what all of us fantasy junkies are trying to sort out is what type of impact these draft picks will have from a fantasy perspective... so below we offer you our 2013 Fantasy Draft Rankings. This is our top 10 draft-eligible players based on their long-term fantasy potential. Consider this a quick cheatsheet for your prospect draft or use this as a guide to grab some future stars in your regular fantasy league draft.
A few things to note:
We're assuming that you're willing to take risks... the NHL Draft is such a bloody crapshoot, so you might as well swing for the fences... damn right you're gonna strikeout a bunch but considering only a few of these guys are going to become big time fantasy hockey contributors, its no time to play it safe.
Don't be discouraged by where a player is picked... guys like Brad Richards (64th overall), Zach Parise (17th),Claude Giroux (22nd), Jordan Eberle (22nd), etc., were all underestimated by scouts due to their size or thought to be one dimensional or something stupid like that but their numbers leading up to the draft indicated that they had a lot of fantasy hockey potential.
On the flipside, don't overrate players based on what the real scouts say... often scouts fall in love with guys because of their size or two-way ability or because they beat up on weak competition... a few names like Manny Malhotra (7th), Nikita Alexeev (8th), Benoit Pouliot (4th) and Jack Skille (7th) come to mind as guys who the scouts were wetting their pants over but we could have told you wouldn't be fantasy worthy based on their numbers.
Here's our top 10 as I ranked them... the top 100 will be available in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings DB:
#1 Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax (QMJHL), 44 GP 32+43=75
- Plus: Projects as a goal-scoring, high-shooting C with dominant skating ability. Had no problem generating offence with over a pt/gm at even-strength this season. Has the desire to be the best and continue to improve as evidenced by his FO% jumping from 46% last season to 55% this season in the Q.
- Minus: Played for a powerhouse team in Halifax (5.10 goals/gm) and was certainly aided by playing with Drouin, but how much? He struggled in a lesser role at the WJC and the Avs have plenty of young forwards so he likely won't be the big cheese right away.
- ETA: Immediately but he may not play big minutes as a rookie.
#2 Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax (QMJHL), 49 GP 41+64=105
- Plus: Supremely talented and had a jaw dropping draft season with 2.14 ppg during regular season. He should team well with Stamkos for the next 10+ years.
- Minus: Scored at will this year but his 23.7% sh% will be tough to duplicate. Projects as more of a playmaker, so may only be a contributor in A & PPP.
- ETA: He's likely done with Jr. as there is nothing left to prove there and should benefit from the teachings of Marty St.Louis in Tampa.
#3 Aleksander Barkov, C, Tappara (Fin), 53 GP 21+27=48
- Plus: Only 17 but played 19 mpg for a top team in the SM-Liiga and was top 10 in league scoring this season.
- Minus: The relative strength of the Finnish league is in question if a teenager can tear it to pieces. A serious shoulder injury ended his season early but he is expected to make a full recovery.
- ETA: He is already signed and is physically mature, so he likely sticks.
#4 Seth Jones, D, Portland (WHL), 61 GP 14+42=56
- Plus: One of the best defensive prospects in years, should be an all-situation, big-minute dman for many years. Has put up points wherever he goes.
- Minus: Was his production a cause or effect of the Portland offensive juggernaut? He was in on less than 20% of his team's goals, which is low for a top prospect. And then there is the Nashville factor, although dmen often do well under Barry Trotz.
- ETA: Nashville is typically patient as each of Weber, Suter, Hamhuis & R.Ellis waited two years after being drafted before making their NHL debut. But Jones will be 19 at the start of the season and the Preds already seem confident that he is ready.
#5 Elias Lindholm, C, Brynas (Swe), 48 GP 11+19=30
- Plus: Played quality minutes (16 mpg) in the SEL this year and his draft year point total puts him in some lofty company amongst the likes of Forsberg, Backstrom & Sedin's.
- Minus: Racked up a high ratio of points on the PP (13 of 30), didn't shoot much (just 1.6 spg) and didn't take a lot of draws (1.4 /gm). Scouting reports tout his two-way game so could he be destined for more of a defensive role?
- ETA: Canes GM Rutherford said he'd be shocked if EL didn't make the team this year... so I guess we'll be shocked as well.
#6 Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa (OHL), 58 GP 31+47=78
- Plus: His size, smarts & two-way ability make him a sure-fire NHLer and he fills a desperate need for a C in Calgary. Played on a weak team but was in on nearly 44% of Ottawa's goals. Legend has it that he has never lost a faceoff in his life.
- Minus: Had a low ESP/gm this year (.69) as nearly half his points came on the PP. Disappointed at Canada's WJC camp and was an early cut.
- ETA: Flames GM Jay Feaster said he wanted a player who could play right away and Monahan should get a chance to play key minutes.
#7 Hunter Shinkaruk, C, Medicine Hat (WHL), 64 GP 37+49=86
- Plus: Had 49 goals in his draft-1 season and had a point on nearly 40% of The Hat's goals this year. He's a very hungry and driven player that I think will strive to improve.
- Minus: He lacks size and his stock tumbled at the draft. His production dropped slightly from 2011/12 to this season.
- ETA: Has one year left of Jr. and then he's likely to see time with the Canucks AHL affiliate.
#8 Anthony Mantha, RW, Val d'Or (QMJHL), 67 GP 50+39=89
- Plus: 50 goals, 37 at evens, and 323 shots (nearly 5 spg) this year gets my attention and Detroit will only help him develop.
- Minus: The Red Wings will be patient, so you may not see him in NHL for 3-4 years. There are questions about his worth ethic & consistency.
- ETA: He'll likely follow the Red Wings script, so another year of Jr. and then a season or two in the AHL.
#9 Ryan Pulock, D, Brandon (WHL), 61 GP 14+31=45
- Plus: Led all draft eligible CHL dmen by being in on 28% of Brandon's goals this year. Has a cannon of a shot which should allow him to make hay on the NYI PP.
- Minus: His numbers dropped from his draft-1 season (.85 to .74 ppg) as Brandon was pretty awful this season. Something about him ending up with the Islanders makes me uneasy... maybe that's just me.
- ETA: Regardless if he is ready or not, the Islanders will make the cheapskate move and leave Pulock in Jr. for another season and send him to the AHL next year.
#10 Valeri Nichushkin, RW, Chelyabinsk (KHL), 18 GP 4+2=6
- Plus: Has the physical tools - the size & speed to be a dominant player and showed flashes of his ability at the WJC, U-18s & in the KHL playoffs (six goals in 25 games).
- Minus: Only played 8:22/gm during the KHL regular season this year so his low production is understandable but he did only register 1.1 spg and shot 21%. He was brutal in the junior league (MHL) last season with only 4+6=10 in 38 games. Also, there is "The Russian Factor" as the KHL is always an option.
- ETA: He will either play in the NHL or KHL this year and Dallas sounds like they are going to rush him into the lineup, possibly to avoid any issues... but I can't see him playing much this season.
If you want to evaluate how we did last year, you can check out our 2012 Top 10 list here.