Welcome to Part 2 of my 2013 Mock Draft/ Draft Guide. Part 1 of the mock draft can be found here and it covers picks 1-11. Considering there are 30 picks until the Flyers pick again at 41st overall, I’m cutting that chunk of picks in two. Part two of my mock draft series will cover picks 12-26, leaving picks 27-41 to part three. To start off, I’m going to do a quick recap/revision of my 1-11 picks with explanations next to the picks I changed from part one.
1. Colorado- Nathan MacKinnon, C, QMJHL- The Avs aren’t going with Jones, and I think MacKinnon is the no-brainer here. He’s the safest pick among the other top three forwards and his ceiling is sky high.
2. Florida- Seth Jones, D, WHL- The consensus top pick doesn’t fall to 3.
3. Tampa Bay- Jonathan Drouin, LW, QMJHL
4. Nashville- Alexander “Sasha” Barkov, C, Sm-L
5. Carolina- Valeri Nichushkin, RW, KHL
6. Calgary- Elias Lindholm, C, SEL
7. Edmonton- Sean Monahan, C, OHL
8. Buffalo- Darnell Nurse, D, OHL- While I like Ristolainen as the #2 defender, most people think Nurse will be #2 off the board.
9. New Jersey- Hunter Shinkaruk, C, OHL
10. Dallas- Bo Horvat, C, OHL
11. Philadelphia- Rasmus Ristolainen, D, Sm-L- He’s the most complete of the defenders remaining (including Nurse) as I think he’s got the most two-way upside of all of the defenders remaining.
Here is part two:
12. Phoinex- Max Domi, C, OHL- The Coyotes are loaded with young defenders. OEL, Yandle, Gormley (top-15 pick), Runblad (aquired for Turris), and Mark Stone. They need help up front in a bad way, and they need skill more than anything. Corey Pronman projects Domi to be an average top line center, which has been a void in Phoenix’ lineup for a while. He was voted the second best playmaker in the OHL this year and his hands and offensive IQ are outstanding. He plays the game with some grit, although not as much as his father, Tie. While Max is slightly undersized at 5-9, his thick 195 lb. frame should give him some two-way value as well.
13-- Winnipeg- Curtis Lazar, C, WHL- Hockey’s future has the Jets with one of the most dull prospect pools in the NHL. Mark Schefifle and Jacob Trouba will be in the NHL soon enough and after them, there isn’t much. Enstrom, Bogosian, and Byfuglean round out a solid top-4 with Trouba. They Jets do have depth on the wing (Kane, Burmistrov, Little, Wheeler, Ladd) but they lack depth down the middle. Lazar is a 5-11, 195lb center that will form a good two line combo with him and Schefifle. Lazar, according to Pronman is one of the safest picks in the draft. He does everything above average and has a cannon of a shot. He’s got a physical side to him as he fought 6-5 Darnell Nurse in the top prospects game. He’s got very good faceoff skills and should be a tough matchup for opposing team’s top lines.
14. Colombus- Nikita Zadorov, D, OHL- With this being the first of three first round picks for Colombus, they can afford to choose the best player available instead of filling roster holes. While they really could use another young center to go along with Ryan Johansen, the 6-5, 230 pounder is too good to pass up at this point. With the Blue Jacket’s new found commitment to defense, revolving around Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky, Zadorov should be a very good shutdown guy in the NHL for a long time. Scouts rave about his skating ability, especially considering his towering height. His hockey IQ needs work, but will only get better with experience, as he’s not as NHL ready as guys like Risto or Jones. Zadorov is a physical force, and while there are questions about his offensive upside, there are no questions about his defensive ability. Nikita, along with last year’s second overall pick Ryan Murray, will anchor this defense for the next decade. I did mention that Colombus could use center help as well, so don’t be surprised if they do pick one of Domi/Horvat/Lazar if they’re still hanging around.
15. New York Islanders- Anthony Mantha, LW, QMJHL- The Islanders have done a very good job at rebuilding over the past few years, leaving them with no organizational holes and a lot of flexibility with the 15th pick. They’re loaded down the middle with Tavares, Franz Nielson, Brock Nelson, and top-10 pick Ryan Strome. They could obviously use NHL-level defensive help, but hockey’s future has the Isles with eight prospects with top-4 potential. One of those guys is Griffin Reinhart, who was taken in the top-5 last year. Due to the tremendous amount of defensive depth they have in their system, I think they’ll try to land the only 50 goal scorer in the CHL this year, 6’4 Anthony Mantha. While his size would make you think he’s a power forward, he’s more of a true sniper. Most would argue he’s got the best shot in the draft, and he’s an above average distributer. He’s not overly physical, nor is he a forward with defensive value yet. I think he’ll fit in playing Ryan Strome’s wing as Strome is undersized (size and game very comparable to Giroux). Two other ways the Isles can look: the number one goalie prospect Zach Fucale could be an option here, as could Ryan Pulock. Pulock (6'1", 101MPH slapper, dynamic OFD) could be a great compliment to Reinhart (6'5").
16. Buffalo- Frederik Gauthier, C, QMJHL-The Sabres have made some poor moves over the past few years in their attempted rebuild. The “theme” of their rebuild, if you will, is toughness. Frederik Gauthier will help out in that department. While Gauthier may not have the mean streak of Nurse, the 6’4.5”, 215lb. center has the size and the tools to play a very physical brand of hockey. Gauthier should be able to defend other teams best players which should free up easier assignments for last year’s first round pick Mikail Grigorenko. Gauthier has above average offensive skills and skating ability, but his best offensive tool is his IQ. If Ryan Pulock’s still on the board here, he’s another viable option.
17. Ottawa- Steve Santini, D, USHL- Ottawa is easily the second best team in the “other” new division, behind Boston. They’re loaded up front, both with established guys and with prospects, but they are far from it on defense. Behind Karlsson, they don’t have any current NHLers that I see in their long-term plans. They’ve got two pretty decent prospects in Wiercioch and Cody Ceci (last year’s #1), but they need to help Karlsson out back there. This is the only team I don’t think would want Ryan Pulock here, because they already have a better version of him, and they really need defensive help. Santini was voted the best defender in the recent U-18 tourney in Russia, and he did so without registering a point. He shuts down other team’s top defenders using his big 6-2, 205 pound frame. He skates very well and he’s capable enough to make the good play with the puck in his own zone.
18. Detroit- Ryan Pulock, D, WHL- When a player like Nick Lidstrom retires it can take more than a few years to replace him. In a player like Ryan Pulock you can get a part of Lidstrom, his elite offensive ability. Pulock’s shot has been clocked at 101 MPH at a skills competition, and projects to be an elite offensive blue liner. You’re not going to get the best shutdown guy, as he’s only an average defender right now, but he is young and still could develop. This pick is a bit of a stretch in that I really doubt Pulock will fall down this far. There are three Swedes and a Swiss that I think could go here: Alexander Wennberg (TWF, C), Jacob de la Rose (TWF, W), Robert Hagg (TWD), Marco Mueller (TWD, Swiss).
19. Columbus- Alexander Wennberg, C, Allsv-I highly doubt the Jackets will go defense/defense with 14/19. The best fitting forward left (and highest on my board) is Alexander Wennberg from Sweden. There isn’t a lot of top-6 depth in the BJ’s system, and Wennberg is a fit for multiple reasons. Wennberg is a 6-2, 183 pound center from the second best league in Sweden (The Swedish hockey leagues are like European Soccer leagues, the tier you are in is based on the skill of your team). He’s a two-way guy, who’s more than capable of putting up points as he had 32 in 46 this past year. The three things that stand out about this Swede (and most Swedes) are his skating ability, puck skills, and hockey sense. He’s not an overly physical player, but he’s certainly not afraid of contact.
20. San Jose- Josh Morrissey, D, WHL- The San Jose Sharks could be a team with a lot of turnover in the coming years if they don’t win a cup soon. The aging sharks have Marleau, Thornton, Pavelsky, and Dan Boyle to sign after next year. They’ve already done a good job at finding replacements for the forwards with the emergence of Logan Couture and last year’s pick of Tomas Hertl, in addition to the changing of Brent Burns to wing. Dan Boyle is aging, and with the previously mentioned position change of Brent Burns position, the blue line is the primary need for San Jose. After Jones, there are two players who could be considered the best offensive defensemen: Pulock and Josh Morrissey. Morrissey has a better skating ability and better puck skills than Pulock. While Morrissey doesn’t have the elite shot of Pulock, Morrissey still has a high end NHL caliber point shot. He doesn’t project to be a physical player like Pulock, but Morrissey may have a better handle on the thinking part of the game. With Boyle’s contract running up after next year, it isn’t hard to see why the Sharks could be hoping that Morrissey falls to #20.
21. Toronto- JT Compher, C, USHL- With quality NHL talent up front, and quality NHL prospects on the back end (lead by fourth overall pick last year Morgan Reilly, elite puck moving blue liner), Compher fills a need with Toronto. Standing 6’ and 185 lbs. Compher centered the USA’s shutdown line in the U-20 World Junior Championship last holiday season. That line was a primary reason for the USA’s triumph in Ufa, Russia as they consistently shut down the opposition’s best players. He’s not only a defensive whiz, as he was over a point per in the USHL this season (and had 7 in 7 at the WJC). He’s a character guy with great IQ that should gel into any situation or role he’s placed in. He draws a lot of comparisons to Mike Richards due to his physicality and leadership. If Toronto is looking defense, Canadians Chris Bigras and Madison Bowey are the best options available.
22. Calgary- Marco Mueller, D, WHL (via. Switzerland)- This is another possible landing spot for top goalie Zachary Fucale of the QMJHL, but I think Calgary goes with the mobile, 6-3 blue liner. Assuming they stick with a center in round one, I think it’s safe to say they’ll look for a defender here. According to HockeysFuture.com, the Flames lack a potential top-4 defender in their system, and have a plethora of top-6 potential forwards (7 to be exact). Mueller does everything well, headlined by his high end IQ and great skating. He’s not overly physical, and he’s got above average offensive skills. He says he models his game after Nick Lidstrom.
23. Washington- Robert Hagg, D, SEL- With the resurgence of Ovechkin, and the plethora of top-6 forwards and prospects they have (including the #1 prospect in the world Evgeni Kuznetsov), Washington should be looking defense here. The big Swede stands at 6-2, 201lbs. and plays a complete game. He played in 27 games in the SEL, the top pro league in Sweden, in addition to putting up 24 points in 28 games in the U-20 league this past year. Bill Metzler said one report had him compared to Kronwall. He has no clear weaknesses, his main areas of strength are his high end skating and very hard shot. He’s still above average in the puck skill, IQ, and physicality departments. Metzler describes him as a “traditional Swedish two way defender.”
24. Vancouver- Jacob de la Rose, LW, Allsv- Vancouver has all four top-4 defenders in their lineup signed until 2016. They are aging and expensive up front, and will need reinforcements soon. De la Rose had only 12 points in 38 games this season overseas, but did so without power play time. He can play any forward position and he’s got some scoring upside as a 200 foot player. He’s big (6-2, 183) and has a high end physical game. In addition to his plus physicality, he’s also a plus skater and thinker. His above average offensive skills are nothing to write off, either. Drawing some comparisons to David Backes, de la Rose could be a fantastic winger down the road that could add some defensive value to the Sedin line, or help out on an already great shutdown line led by center Ryan Kesler. The Canucks would love to have Hagg fall to them as well.
25. Montreal- Samuel Morin, D, QMJHL- With Ghallager, Galchenyuk, Pacioretty, Desharnes, Louis LeBlanc, and Sebastian Collberg; the Hab’s top-6 looks pretty set for the foreseeable future. Other than PK Subban, they lack NHL ready defenders, although recent high picks Nathan Baiulieu and Jared Tinordi do project to be top-4 guys. There are a lot of players that could be taken here, but one really fits, and that’s the 6-7 monster, Samuel Morin. While no one is going to confuse him for a complete package right now, he’s got the upside to be a very good shutdown defender in the NHL. The Habs have had a front row seat to the dominant Boston Bruins, and they know what makes them go: Mr. Chara. If the Habs have an opportunity to add Morin at 25th, I can’t see them going anywhere else. His skating and puck skills aren’t any better than average, but his physicality, hard shot, and above average IQ will help give Montreal the dominant physical presence on the back end they’ve been sorely missing. He knocked some kid out in his first Q game. Out.
26. Anaheim- Ian McCoshen, D, USHL- With Perry and Getzlav signed for eight more years and multiple young forwards ready to make the leap to the NHL, it looks like Anaheim will be looking to continue to add to their blue line. After they went defense with #6 overall last year, I’m expecting them to continue the trend. The 6-3, 207 lb. McCoshen is another one of those guys without a clear weakness. While he projects to be a defensive blue liner down the line, he’s still got above average offensive skills---giving him an outside chance to round out to a two way defender. His above average speed and physicality, in addition to his high end IQ, will give him the ability to play against opposing top players for years to come.
Part three will be up before next weekend and will detail picks 27-41. The Flyers pick at 41, so I'll detail a plethora of different options the Flyers could be looking at. I'll then hopefully be able to get a fourth one up, to our third round pick (#71). The draft is less than ten days away!