Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Before touching on how teams did at the 2013 NHL Draft, here is an (obviously, incomplete) list of notable players that were passed over at the draft (italicized the really surprising ones for me):
QMJHL: Kurt Etchegary, Matt Murphy (D), Peter Trainor (OA), Jean-Sebastien Dea (OA), Sebastien Auger (OA, G), Denis Kamaev (OA)
WHL: Alex Forsberg, Austin Lotz (G), Jesse Lees (D), Connor Rankin, Matt Needham, Kayle Doetzel (D), Spenser Jensen (D), Zach Yuen (OA, D), Connor Honey (OA), Robert Lipsbergs (OA), Curtis Valk (OA)
OHL: Sergei Tolchinsky, Hunter Garlent, Charlie Graham (G), Josh Burnside, Stephen Harper, Greg Betzold, Erik Bradford, Dominik Kahun, Brody Silk, Anthony DiFruscia, , Jordan Maletta, Jeff Corbett (OA, D), Warren Steele (OA, D), Matt Campagna (OA), Luke Mercer (OA, D)
NCAA/USHL/USHS: Tyler Hill, Tyler Kelleher, Evan Allen, Brendan Harms, Thomas Aldworth, Jason Salvaggio, Connor Light, Clint Lewis (D), Parker Reno (D), Ross Olsson Cole Bardreau (OA), Charlie Lindgren (OA, G)
EUROPE: Lucas Wallmark, Viktor Arvidsson (OA), Gregory Hoffman (OA), Juuso Ikonen, Alexander Henriksson, Mads Eller, Emil Djuse (OA, D), Sergei Stetsenko (D), Andre Mironov (OA, D), Vyacheslav Leshenko, Mads Eller, Nikita Tryamkin (OA, D)
Over the next little while, information will surface that many of these players passed over will receive invites to NHL training camps. For example, Montreal has already invited Dea and Murphy, Rangers have invited Tolchinsky and the Avalanche have already invited Etchegary.
Diving into teams A – C (Anaheim through Columbus) drafts now….and providing them with an early grade. Clearly, time will tell how these grades/picks pan out. Grades are based on number of picks and the value they got where they were selecting.
Anaheim Ducks: B-
Selections: Shea Theodore (26th), Nick Sorensen (45th), Keaton Thompson (87th), Grant Besse (147th), Miro Aaltonen (177th)
Ducks addressed some need on the blue line and grabbed two different players in a puck mover Shea Theodore, who owns awesome offensive skills for an undersized defenseman, and a more defensive rearguard in Keaton Thompson. The Thompson pick was one of great value. Sorensen will fit in nicely in Anaheim and should provide good speed, a strong two-way game and potential top-six upside (more likely 3rd liner).
Boston Bruins: B
Selections: Linus Arnesson (60), Peter Cehlarik (90), Ryan Fitzgerald (120), Wiley Sherman (150), Anton Blidh (180), Mitchell Dempsey (210)
Based on the fact that the Bruins didn’t have their first selection until the 60th spot, they receive a healthy grade. I was shocked to see Peter Cehlarik available at 90th and I really liked their selections of Ryan Fitzgerald and Mitchell Dempsey, both extremely valuable picks at those spots. I am not too familiar with Sherman or Blidh but Sherman definitely looks to have upside with his size and success in the high school division. Nothing too sexy but just solid quality picks from the Bruins, as per usual.
Buffalo Sabres: A++
Selections: Rasmus Ristolainen (9), Nikita Zadorov (16), JT Compher (35), Connor Hurley (38), Justin Bailey (52), Nicholas Baptiste (69), Calvin Petersen (129), Gustav Possler (130), Anthony Florentino (143), Sean Malone (159), Eric Locke (189)
I know I mentioned this in my last rankings but the Buffalo Sabres killed it at this draft. With the exception of Anthony Florentino, a player I am not overly familiar with (but may be good), there wasn’t a selection I disliked and feel they got tremendous value at almost every single pick. Buffalo had a slew of picks to make an impact but It appears they nailed a lot of them. Ristolainen adds poise to a blue line that desperately needs it, Zadorov could be a tremendous value long term at the 16th position and Compher (35), Bailey (52), Baptiste (69), Petersen (129) and Locke (189) all went MUCH lower than I expected. In addition, it was nice to see Connor Hurley (38), who I had ranked higher than most at 39th, go even before I had him slotted. I am excited to follow Hurley’s development over the next few years. Nice touch grabbing hometown boy Justin Bailey too (who I dad them taking in my mock).
Calgary Flames: B+
Selections: Sean Monahan (6), Emile Poirier (22), Morgan Klimchuk (28), Keegan Kanzig (67), Eric Roy (135), Tim Harrison (157), Rushan Rafikov (187), John Gilmour (198)
Calgary did well with their first round selections, although, I would’ve liked to see them grab Fucale with 22nd/28th. In the end, Poirier and Klimchuk (who I really like) are really good prospects. Sean Monahan was an absolute need for the Flames and it makes me feel good that I correctly predicted it in my mock . I feel as though the Flames reached BIG TIME using their lone 3rd round selection on big tough defender Keegan Kanzig, as these types of selections are usually saved for the later rounds. Eric Roy was a great snatch in the 5th round and I was surprised to see him still available. The last three selections (Harrison, Rafikov, Gilmour) were used well to try and add some good value picks with some good NHL upside, albeit longshots. Overall, Calgary came out of the gates running with good 1st round selections, slept through the middle and had a decent finish.
Carolina Hurricanes: B
Selections: Elias Lindholm (5), Brett Pesce (66th), Brent Pedersen (126), Tyler Ganly (156)
Rutherford added four prospects plus Andrej Sekera (from Buffalo) to their organization and all of them were solid additions. Lindholm was an excellent pick as he is extremely versatile, an element the Canes need as they juggle to find their best lines. Coming into the draft, I felt Pesce was a defenseman flying under the radar a bit but Carolina grabbed him early in the 3rd and in the area I had him ranked so I love this pick. He could develop into a Brent Seabrook type of even Justin Faulk-like. The ‘Canes scouting staff must have been paying attention to Pedersen’s skill set in Kitchener, while checking up on prospect Ryan Murphy. Pedersen is a big body up front and owns some nice skills for a 5th round selection…keep an eye on him, if he figures it out (something he hasn’t quite done yet), the Canes could be looking back on this pick as a good one.
Chicago Blackhawks: B
Selections: Ryan Hartman (30), Carl Dahlstrom (51), John Hayden (74), Robin Norell (111), Tyler Motte (121), Luke Johnson (134), Anthony Louis (181), Robin Press (211)
Three Swedes and five Americans was the storyline for the Stanley Cup Champs on draft day. Chicago did well grabbing prospects differing in size (5-6 Anthony Louis vs. 6-2 John Hayden) and style (agitating skilled Ryan Hartman vs the physical Hayden). Particularly, I really liked the American forwards Chicago landed in Hartman, Hayden, Motte and Anthony Louis, the latter two being big boom-bust type of players. Chicago can afford to take chances on prospects like this with their ability to bring so many home-grown talents into the NHL roster. Dahlstrom, not overly flashy, will bring size and stability as a defensive defenseman. Solid day for Chicago Blackhawks, who are probably still fighting off their hangovers from celebrating with Mr. Stanley Cup.
Colorado Avalanche: A
Selections: Nathan MacKinnon (1), Chris Bigras (32), Spencer Martin (63), Mason Geertsen (93), Will Butcher (123), Ben Storm (153), Wilhelm Westlund (183)
It’s hard not to have an awesome draft when you can select Nathan MacKinnon first overall but the Avalanche and their new management team did exceptionally well. At times, I felt as though they were following my work all season long as they ended up snatching up many of my favourite players including Chris Bigras, Spencer Martin (G), Mason Geertsen, Will Butcher and Wilhelm Westlund. Specifically, Bigras and Martin were two players I watched a lot of and absolutely became enamoured with. Bigras is a low-maintenance defenseman with loads of hockey sense and Spencer Martin, while he struggled at times, shows elite skills of a future starting goaltender. Will Butcher is a defenseman I had ranked much higher based solely on his offensive upside. Westlund is an undersized defenseman with good skating ability and he projects as a do-it-all type of defenseman at the next level so getting him late was great value. Solid draft for a team that really needs to make good on some draft picks….and keep them in their own system.
Columbus Blue Jackets: A –
Selections: Alexander Wennberg (14), Kerby Rychel (19), Marko Dano (27), Dillon Heatherington (50), Oliver Bjorkstrand (89), Nick Moutrey (105), Markus Soberg (165), Peter Quenneville (195)
As I mentioned in yesterday’s ramblings, Jarmo Kekalainen had a very good debut draft for the Blue Jackets. Much like the Sabres, Kekalainen and his staff were able to get great value at each draft spot starting with Alexander Wennberg (14) and Kerby Rychel (19) early in the first round. I felt taking Marko Dano at 27th was too early with the names that were still on the board (Hartman, Zykov, Erne, Fucale, etc) but he brings a rare combination of skill and tenaciousness (personally, I like Hartman more). However, Heatherington at 50th, Bjorkstrand at 89th and Moutrey at 105th were absolutely awesome selections, each bringing unique talents to the organization. Look for Moutrey to break out in the OHL next season.
Check back throughout the week as I continue to break down the remaining NHL team’s draft report cards. Please check back in the ramblings archives for more thoughts on the draft.
Thanks for Reading,