Tuesday, July 9th
Welcome back prospect junkies. In my precious two ramblings I covered teams A-M and how they performed at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (go back to read more). Now, I present you with the final 15 teams ranging from Nashville to Winnipeg. Lets get to it...
Nashville Predators: B+
Selections: Seth Jones (4), Jonathan-Ismael Diaby (84), Felix Girard (95), Juuse Saros (G), Sake Maenalanen (125), Teemu Kivihalme (140), Emil Pettersson (155), Tommy Veilleux (171), Wade Murphy (185), Janne Juvonen (203)
David Poille was absolutely shocked to have Seth Jones fall to his Predators in the fourth position as he was the player they had ranked 1st overall (yes, I know teams always say that but in this case, I believe him 100%). Now, I am sure the Predators would`ve loved to add an elite forward prospect but Jones is one hell of a consolation prize. Early in the second round, Nashville added another defenseman (surprise, surprise) in Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, a big tough SOB. The final prospect that I am familiar with is Juuse Saros, an undersized goaltender with exceptional athletic and technical ability. Size is basically the lone reason that Saros was not considered as the top goaltender of this draft class. Nashville has been quite successful with developing European goaltenders so there is a lot of promise with Saros. The remaining prospects I am not acquainted with so I will reserve my judgement on them but Nashville has to be ecstatic about nailing down a prospect of Seth Jones capability so it was a successful draft haul.
New Jersey Devils: A -
Selections: Steven Santini (42), Ryan Kujawinski (73), Miles Wood (100), Myles Bell (160), Anthony Brodeur (208)
The draft hosts made a huge splash trading away the 9th overall selection for starting goaltender Cory Schneider, addressing a huge organizational need once Hall of Famer puckstopper, Martin Brodeur, eventually retires. Not including the Schneider trade in these grades, New Jersey had a fantastic draft. In fact, few teams at the draft got as much value from their picks at their slotted positions as the Devils did. New Jersey made a nice 2ndround trade, moving down three spots and adding an extra 3rdround pick. With the 42nd overall pick, the Devils grabbed one of my favourite 2013 defensemen in Steven Santini, a smooth skating shutdown defender with excellent hockey sense. In the 3rd round, Lou Lamoriello was able to draft Ryan Kujawinski, a player once considered to have first round potential but consistency issues made him available when the 72nd pick came due (could be great value later). With the extra pick from trading down, the Devils took a flier on a very young sizeable skilled high schooler in Miles Wood (two days shy of being eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft). Myles Bell, a versatile forward/defenseman who got passed over in previous drafts for legal reasons, became property of the Devils in the 6th round (EXCELLENT value) and Lamoriello capped off a good draft by inviting Martin Brodeur to make their final selection by drafting his son, Anthony Brodeur with the 208th pick.
New York Islanders: B-
Selections: Ryan Pulock (15), Eamon McAdam (70), TaylorCammarata (76), Stephon Williams (106), Victor Crus-Rydberg (136), Alan Quine (166), Kyle Burroughs (196)
The New York Islanders can walk away satisfied after adding talent at almost every position. Ryan Pulock at 15th overall was a perfect fit for the Islanders as his booming slap shot will add another offensive element on their future PP full of young stars. With their two 3rd round selections, Garth Snow and companydidn’t venture too far as Waterloo Blackhawks teammatesEamon McAdam (G) and Taylor Cammarata became Islanders property just six picks apart. I really liked their selections of Victor Crus-Rydberg and Alan Quine (a former Red Wings draftee) as these two players bring different elements to their organization.
New York Rangers: B -
Selections: Adam Tambellini (65), Pavel Buchnevich (75), Anthony Duclair (80), Ryan Graves (110), Mackenzie Skapski(170)
The Rangers didn’t make their first selection until the 3rd round and it was clear of their draft strategy – select players with high upside. Adam Tambellini, who I had going 61st to Winnipeg, was taken 65th overall and will provide a big bodied presence in their system, with fair upside. Pavel Buchnevich was selected 75th and his skill set was certainly worthy of a much higher selection had he not been of Russian decent. Anthony Duclairslide outside of the 2nd round (where most had him pegged) and landed into their laps at 80th overall giving them a real speedy prospect with some scoring punch. The Rangers took several homerun swings (although, they did not reach too far) with their selections of Tambellini, Buchnevich and Duclair…and if anyone of these three pan out….watch out.
Ottawa Senators: B -
Selections: Curtis Lazar (17), Marcus Hogberg (78), Tobias Lindberg (102), Ben Harpur (108), Vincent Dunn (138), Chris Leblanc (161), Quentin Shore (168)
The Ottawa Senators are a team that I always pay attention to when they step up to the draft board, mainly because they have drafted very well recently. Coming into the draft, Ottawa sat in a tough location as they were just outside of that tier of top end prospects that featured some real intriguing potential. Curtis Lazar was a smart selection and a player the Senators will be able to develop with very little problems (in my opinion).Hogberg is a huge goaltender that some scouts raved about but he will certainly need many seasons of polishing. Ben Harpur is a large defender who likely tops out as a number five defenseman, making him a worthy 4th round selection. Vincent Dunn was probably my favourite selection of Ottawa's as he could provide some grit into their top nine in a few years. Near the end of the draft, Bryan Murray and his staff added two re-entry forwards with some size in Chris Leblanc and Quentin Shore. Lindberg is a real wildcard prospect and if they Sensidentified him as a 4th round prospect, I would keep a close eye on his European development.
Philadelphia Flyers: C -
Selections: Samuel Morin (11), Robert Hägg (41), TyrellGoulbourne (72), Terrance Amorosa (132), Merrick Madsen (162), David Drake (192)
In my mock draft, I noted that Samuel Morin was a potential target for the Flyers at 11th overall (and was my guy choice) but I opted for them to select Nikita Zadorov (a player I thought fit better). Samuel Morin addressed an area of need on their blue line and while he is a raw prospect, his potential to be a top pairing defenseman is definitely intriguing. I think the Flyers made a huge gamble with selecting Morin (one I wouldn`t have made with their prospect system and the players on board) but I will be watching closely to see how this pans out. When their 2ndround pick came due, I was surprised that Swedish defender Robert Hägg was still remaining as he could end up being every bit as good as Morin down the road. At this point in the draft, the Flyers were exceeding my expectations given that they landed two defensemen with good potential but their remaining four picks were completely off the board as I am not familiar with any of them. Not to say that these players will not develop into great picks but given their poor prospect cupboards (in my opinion) and shaky drafting history (outside the 1st round), I amvery skeptical.
Arizona Coyotes: B
Selections: Max Domi (12), Laurent Dauphin (39), Yan PavelLaplante (62), Connor Clifton (133), Brendan Burke (163), Jedd Soleway (193)
I loved the Max Domi pick for the Coyotes as they continue to add sons of former NHLers through the draft. Domi will provide an elite scoring prowess that the Coyotes lack and as long as they don’t try to change his style too much, they should end up thrilled with this selection. With their 2nd round selection, Phoenix drafted skill again taking Laurent Dauphin, a speedy forward who loves to have the puck on his stick. The Yotes took a flier on Yan-Pavel Laplante after he was limited to just 18 games this season but his versatility and overall complete game was worthy of a selecton in this spot. Phoenix came into this draft looking for skill and they landed that with their first three picks and then added some good homerun type picks in defenseman Clifton, goaltender Burke and overager Soleway.
Pittsburgh Penguins: C -
Selections: Tristan Jarry (44), Jake Guentzel (77), Ryan Segalla(119), Dane Birks (164), Blaine Byron (179), Troy Josephs (209)
Pittsburgh had to wait until the 44th pick to make their selection and opted for Tristan Jarry, who led many of the WHL Goaltending categories despite being a backup this season in Edmonton. Jarry was the second goaltender selected and his upside is definitely high but does this selection indicate how worried the Penguins are about their future between the pipes?The Pens used their second selection on Jake Guentzel, an undersized scoring pivot out of the USHL but I question whether some other names on board may have been better targets (Anthony Duclair or Oliver Bjorkstrand to name a few). ThePenguinos went off the board selecting Segalla, Birks, Byron and Josephs as each are players I am not familiar with. Let us hope they have more success through these middle to late rounds than recent drafts have yielded.
San Jose Sharks: C+
Selections: Mirco Mueller (18), Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau (49), Fredrik Bergvik (117), Michael Brodzinski (141), Gage
Ausmus(151), Jacob Jackson (201), Emil Galimov (207)
San Jose clearly felt the need to trade up two spots with Detroit to ensure they landed big defensive stalwart Mirco Mueller out of Everett. Paquin-Boudreau landed in the range that I expected this skilled winger to go but he does come with some question marks, mainly consistency and strength. With strengthening their defensive prospect depth, the Sharks added quality defenders in Brodzinski and Ausmus but it should be several years until we see their impact. Swedish netminder FredrikBergvik posted outstanding numbers (1.29 GAA and .950 save percentage) in the SuperElit league for Frolunda J20 showing that there is plenty of promise there. I am not a huge fan of their overall draft but San Jose drafted a group of prospects that will need to mature and that’s when a better review will be required.
St. Louis Blues: B -
Selections: Tommy Vannelli (47), William Carrier (57), ZachPochiro (112), Santeri Saari (173)
The Blues were without a first round pick and then ended up with only four selections on the day but I felt they drafted smart early on selecting an extremely mobile defender in TommyVannelli, who owns very good offensive upside, and William Carrier, a big speedy forward with good scoring instincts. St. Louis did what most teams do late in the draft and select 'fliers'hoping to strike gold by taking gritty forward Zach Pochiro and defenseman Santeri Saari. Given their limited picks, St. Louis had an okay draft day.
Tampa Bay Lightning: A -
Selections: Jonathan Drouin (3), Adam Erne (33), KristersGudlevskis (124), Henri Ikonen (154), Saku Salminen (184), Joel Vermin (186)
I commend Steve Yzerman and his draft team for always marching to their own beat as they make their selections in each round. At the 2013 NHL Draft, it started with them selecting crafty forward Jonathan Drouin over Seth Jones. Drouin was a top my draft rankings for most of the year and I had him heading to the Lightning in my mock draft as well. From a fantasy standpoint, I don’t think there was a better fit for a player in this draft class than Drouin with Tampa Bay as the team prepares for life without Martin St. Louis down the road. I absolutely loved the Drouin selection. The Lightning were given a gift as my 15thranked player, Adam Erne, fell to them at 33rd. Interesting enough, Erne will join Quebec Remparts linemate NikitaKucherov as a fellow Lightning prospect.
It was interesting to see Tampa Bay grab soon-to-be 21 year old goaltender, Kristers Gudlevskis, in the 3rd round especially since they have one of the top goaltending prospects in the world with Andrei Vasilevski. In saying that, it is becoming clear thatYzerman trusts his scouting staff fully as they’ve made someschrewd European picks in recent years. Taking late round flyers on Finns Henri Ikonen (albeit, from Kingston of the OHL) andSaku Salminen, as well as Swiss re-entry Joel Vermin proves this commitment to his scouts.
Toronto Maple Leafs: C +
Selections: Frederik Gauthier (21), Carter Verhaeghe (82),Fabrice Herzog (142), Antoine Bibeau (172), Andreas Johnson (202)
Toronto had one thing on their minds heading into the off-season and that was to get stronger up the middle. Dave Nonisaddressed that issue at the draft by selecting a big defensive and committed pivot in Frederik Gauthier. Out of this draft class, there was no centreman as dedicated to winning defensive battles (at all costs) than Gauthier and that is a valuable commodity. Toronto passed over the likes of Hunter Shinkaruk and Adam Erne (players with more offensive upside) but Gauthier provides them with a big bodied presence with value at both ends of the rink either winning defensive battles or dominating the boards in the offensive zone. Furthermore, Noniscontinued to address the centre ice position by trading away three draft picks (including their 2nd round selection) for Blackhawks pivot David Bolland. As a result, Toronto was limited to just five selections in the 2013 draft. Niagara's CarterVerhaeghe was an interesting selection by Dave Morrison and his draft team as this hard-working versatile pivot showcased some great value both in the OHL and internationally for Canada. Toronto's remaining three selections (Fabrice Herzog, Antoine Bibeau and Andreas Johnson) remain relatively unknown at this time but rumblings around the scouting-sphere are that each own decent upside.
Vancouver Canucks: A
Selections: Bo Horvat (9), Hunter Shinkaruk (24), Cole Cassels(85), Jordan Subban (115), Anton Cederholm (145), Mike Williamson (175), Miles Liberati (205)
Judging on the 1st round alone, Vancouver had probably the strongest opening round of any team with multiple picks after trading for 9th overall to select high character, two-way forward Bo Horvat (a player you all know I was higher on than anyone else was dating back to last summer). After the Horvat selection, Vancouver waited and watched Hunter Shinkaruk slide all the way to them at 24th after being ranked as a potential top 10 selection. For Vancouver to land top calibre players like Horvat and Shinkaruk in the top 25 is a huge boost to their organization and it allowed them to take some chances (educated ones) on their subsequent picks. With their 85th overall selection, Vancouver grabbed the son of former Canuck Andrew Cassels in Cole, a responsible grinder type of player. Jordan Subban was selected one pick ahead of the Montreal Canadiens in the 4th round and it would've been interesting to see if the Habs would've taken him. With way, Subban's upside is high as an offensive defenseman so I love this selection. He's small but his drive and skill are very high. Ending the draft with Anton Cederholm (a reliable defenseman) and Miles Liberati (a more offensive rearguard who was buried on a deep London team) were excellent appraisals of potential longterm talent.
Washington Capitals: A
Selections: Andre Burakovsky (23), Madison Bowey (53), Zachary Sanford (61), Blake Heinrich (144), Brian Pinho (174), Tyler Lewington (204)
Coming into the draft, Andre Burakovsky was a player I really liked as he owns an offensively skilled package but he doesn’t come without some risk as his defensive commitments leave much to be desired. However, Burakovsky at 23rd overall was a very good pick for the Capitals and they followed that selection up with a fantastic move snapping up Madison Bowey, who has the potential to develop into a top pairing defenseman. Zach Sanford owns some intriguing upside so it was a quality selection at 61st overall and then McPhee drafted Blake Heinrich, an undersized high scoring defenseman with fantasy worthy upside. After selecting players with vast potential inBurakovsky, Bowey, Sanford and Heinrich, Washington rounded out their 2013 draft with a responsible pivot in Pinhoand physical two-way defenseman in Tyler Lewington.
Winnipeg Jets: A
Selections: Josh Morrissey (13), Nicolas Petan (43), Eric Comrie(59), Jimmy Lodge (84), J.C. Lipon (91), Andrew Copp (104), Jan Kostalek (114), Tucker Poolman (127), Brendan Kichton(190), Marcus Karlstrom (194)
It's fitting that I end the draft grades with the Winnipeg Jets because I always like to leave on a good grade an the Jets definitely receive that. Winnipeg drafted for pure skill and upside with their three opening picks - puck moving defenseman Josh Morrissey in the 1st, dynamic forward Nic Petan and the athletic netminder Eric Comrie in the 2nd round. All three have tantalizing upside and were favorites of mine at their respective positions. Winnipeg continued an extremely strong draft grabbing playmaker Jimmy Lodge (who I had as a top 60 player) late in the 3rd and then a quality overage forward in JC Lipon at 91st. From there, Jacob Trouba (WPG 2012 1st round pick) witnessed his best friend Andrew Copp join the organization. Jan Kostalek (another projected top 60 selection) was nabbed in 4th round and I like the addition of former Islanders draftee Brendan Kichton late in the draft. There is certainly some risk in their opening round selections but their upsides are more than worth it.
Thanks for reading,