The NHL Lockout forced the league to turn the 2013 NHL Draft into a marathon draft session on Sunday, June 30. This year marks the 10th anniversary one of the strongest and deepest drafts in NHL history.

It is a topic that The Hockey News (THN) chose to highlight in their 2013 Draft Preview issue. Senior Editor Brian Costello offered up two quotes from their 2003 Draft Preview issue that spoke to the depth of the 2003 Draft.

One GM told THN, “There are 12 guys in our tops five.”

An Assistant GM offered up two opinions, “Anyone from one to 45 is real good. You’ll get a player at 45 and the guy could end up being as good as the guy at 10.” Costello pointed out that the 10th player drafted was Andrei Kostitsyn and Patrice Bergeron was drafted 45th.

He also said, “Some late first round and second round guys will turn out to be real solid, franchise-type players.” Costello pointed out that Corey Perry was selected 28th and Shea Weber was 49th.

When comparing 2003 to 2013 Costello writes “… the 2013 draft is shaping up to be the best since the 2003 edition. Most scouts love the depth of talent. One scout compares it favorably to 2003. That’s saying a lot.”

Detroit’s Director of Amateur Scouting, Joe McDonnell, confirms the depth of the 2013 Draft.

“I think it’s real deep draft,” McDonnell admitted to Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com. “We just finished up our year-end meetings [on May 26] and know we’re going to get a player if we’re picking in the 18th spot or lower. We think we’re going to get a real good player no matter where we’re picking in the first round.”

The 2013 Draft should please teams that like to take the best player available and teams that are looking to draft for need – especially at the top of the draft.

“It’s almost a what-are-you-looking-for type of draft. What do you need, and just pick one. I especially think that’s the case for a team in the top 10,” McDonnell explained to Morreale. “The players available are all so close and tight … even when you get past the top three, the list goes on and on.”

The conventional wisdom seemed to point the Avalanche in the direction of the Denver-trained Seth Jones – a defenseman some have compared to Chris Pronger.

However, the powers-that-be in Colorado seemed prepared to turn conventional wisdom into Draft fodder.

“If we do pick first, we’re leaning more toward one of those three forwards,” Avalanche Executive Vice president of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic told Adrian Dater of The Denver Post.

Dater writes that, if the Avalanche keep the pick, they would look at Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin or Alexander Barkov.

There is a connection to the first two forwards and the Avalanche. Patrick Roy, Coach and Vice President of Hockey Operations, is very familiar with MacKinnon and Drouin who both played in the QMJHL.

While many think Sakic is bluffing, Dater said that is not the case. While the Avs may yet trade down in the draft in exchange for established NHL talent and a lower first round draft pick, if Colorado keeps the pick they intend to use it on a forward.

On June 25, ESPN The Magazine reported that Roy favors selecting MacKinnon with the first overall pick, with Drouin and Barkov as the next two choices in order.

As a result, it is very possible that the draft landscape could change very much if a team believes Jones is the missing piece of their puzzle.

If Sakic is willing to trade down, just how far down would he be willing to go?

Whether they have an interest in Jones or not, could Columbus or Calgary be active teams in terms of trades with each team owning three first round draft picks?

Could Jim Nill look to move his two first round picks in an attempt to get his tenure in Dallas off to a quick start?

In this Mock Draft, each player has ratings for the following scouting services: The Hockey News (THN), NHL’s Central Scouting (CS), McKeen’s (McK), and International Scouting Service (ISS). CS breaks down their ratings by North American skaters (NAS), European skaters (ES), North American goaltenders (NAG) and European goaltenders (EG). THN lists each prospect’s NHL Translation. ISS provides a prospects’ comparable NHL player.

The Draft positions utilized are those as of June 27, 2013 – with one exception. If Sakic and the Avalanche pass on Seth Jones, then I see Carolina swapping picks with Florida so the Hurricanes can draft Jones.

1. COLORADO AVALANCHE – Nathan MacKinnon – C
THN: # 1 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 2 NA—– McK: # 2
ISS: #1 (Jeremy Roenick)
MacKinnon out up huge numbers in the QMJHL (32 goals and 43 assists) in just 44 games as injuries cut short his season. Roy is saying that MacKinnon is the front-runner as the Oilers continue to stockpile young scoring forwards.

2. CAROLINA HURRICANES* – Seth Jones – D
THN: # 1 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 1 NAS —– McK: # 1
ISS: #2 (Alex Pietrangelo)
Jones gives the ‘Canes an all-around solid d-man whose ability on the defensive end adds balance to their defense corps and addresses a need for defensive help on the blue line.

3. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING – Aleksander Barkov – C
THN: # 6 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 1ES —– McK: # 5
ISS: # 5 (Ryan Getzlaf)
With Vincent Lecavalier being bought out, Tampa Bay will probably look to Barkov as the anchor for their second line and serve as a great one-two punch with Steven Stamkos for a long time.

4. NASHVILLE PREDATORS – Jonathan Drouin – LW
THN: # 2 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 2 NAS—– McK: # 3
ISS: # 3 (Pavel Datsyuk)
The Predators have long had a defensive system in place and have yearned for scoring help. Drouin projects out as much as a playmaker and he is a goal scorer – giving Nashville the big-time forward they have searched for.

5. FLORIDA PANTHERS* – Valeri Nichushkin – LW
THN: # 5 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 2 ES —– McK: # 6
ISS: # 4 (Jaromir Jagr)
There is always a concern about drafting Russian players in the 1st round since the NHL and KHL do not have a transfer agreement in place. However, Nichushkin is an imposing offensive force with a combination of size (6-4/202) and hockey sense.

6. CALGARY FLAMES – Sean Monahan – C
THN: # 7 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 5 NAS —– McK: # 11
ISS: # 9 (Mikko Koivu)
With all of the young turk forwards in the Western Conference, Calgary will turn to Monahan to help make up the difference. He is a playmaking center who has strong hockey skills

7. EDMONTON OILERS – Darnell Nurse – D
THN: # 8 (Tw-way Defenseman) —– CS: # 4 NAS —– McK: # 8
ISS: # 6 (Brent Seabrook)
THN compared Nurse to a Chris Pronger based on his playing ability and size (6-5/192). While he still has some filling out to do, Nurse has the ability to be a shutdown d-man with a developing offensive game.

8. BUFFALO SABRES – Elias Lindholm – C
THN: # 4 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 3 ES—– McK: # 4
ISS: # 7 (Zach Parise)
Sabres could use an impact d-man or forward, but should go with the best offensive forward left on the board. They can find a solid d-man later, but won’t be able to match Lindholm’s ability or NHL-readiness later in the draft.

9. NEW JERSEY DEVILS – Bo Horvat – C
THN: # 16 (Two-way Forward) —– CS: # 15 NAS —– McK: # 14
ISS: # 10 (Ryan O’Reilly)
The perennial search for Martin Brodeur’s eventual replacement continues. The Devils might need to replace Patrik Elias and David Clarkson and must forfeit their 2014 1st rounder as part of their penalty for circumventing the salary cap with Ilya Kovalchuk. After drafting Stefan Matteau last year, Max Domi could be a possibility here. In the end, it will be the solid Horvat who will fit in well in NJ’s system.

10. DALLAS STARS – Max Domi – C
THN: # 15 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 19 NAS —– McK: # 9
ISS: # 25 (Sergei Samsonov)
Domi might not have the size Jim Nill would love, but he does have his father’s heart to along with an offensive game that Tie could only dream of having.

11. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS – Rasmus Ristolainen – D
THN: # 22 (Two-way defenseman) —– CS: # 4 ES —– McK: # 21
ISS: # 11 (Niklas Kronwall)
This could be a potential spot for Zach Fucale with Ilya Bryzgalov being bought out. However, they will likely pair Steve Mason up with a veteran and use this pick to add a big-time blue line prospect.

12. PHOENIX COYOTES – Hunter Shinkaruk – C
THN: # 23 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 6 NAS —– McK: # 22
ISS: # 13 (David Perron)
Shinkaruk is as strong an offensive player in the Draft. He is an outstanding competitor with solid hockey sense. He still needs work in the defensive zone and has to get stronger, but he is natural-born leader who will be a Captain in the NHL.

13. WINNIPEG JETS – Nikita Zadorov – D
THN: # 14 (Defensive Defenseman) —– CS: #22 NAS —– McK: # 7
ISS: # 8 (Jared Cowan)
Zadorov is a nice combination of defensive ability and size (6-5/230) who left Russia to play in the OHL. His ability projects him out to a top four blueliner who is developing some offensive skills.

14. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Anthony Mantha – LW
THN: # 24 (Offensive Forward) —– CS: # 10 NAS —– McK: #24
ISS: # 24 (Wojtek Wolski)
Mantha was the only draft-eligible Junior player to score 50 goals. He has a sniper’s touch, but must his work level and physical play. With three 1st rounders, it is still worth taking the risk on the offensive potential.

15. NEW YORK ISLANDERS – Zachary Fucale – G
THN: # 25 (Starting Goalie) —– CS: # 1 NAG —– McK: # 28
ISS: # 1 G (Carey Price)
After using all seven picks on d-men last year, you have to figure GM Garth Snow looks to add depth to his forward corps. However, without an impact goaltender in the organization, Snow will snap up the best netminder in the draft. If he does select a forward, look for him to reach for someone like Michael McCarron or J.T. Compher.

16. BUFFALO SABRES – Samuel Morin – D
THN: # (Two-way defenseman) —– CS: # 23 NAS —– McK: # 13
ISS: # 32 (Tyler Myers)
Alexander Wennberg might also be a good call here, but Buffalo has to be tempted at thought of pairing Morin (6-6/200) with Myers (6-8/227). Despite his size, Morin is mobile blueliner who needs to develop his game and work on filling out his body.

17. OTTAWA SENATORS – Alexander Wennberg – C
THN: # 11 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 5 ES —– McK: # 13
ISS: # 15 (Jakub Voracek)
Ottawa will need to add depth to their defense corps, but Wennberg’s offensive abilities are too much to pass on. While he needs to bulk up and add a physical aspect to his game, his skating, puck-handling and hockey sense power his game.

18. DETROIT RED WINGS – Adam Erne – LW
THN: # 13 (Two-way forward) —– CS: # 26 NAS —– McK: # 20
ISS: # 37 (Kyle Okposo)
Erne, who will turn 19 in April, has posted back-to-back 28 goal seasons in the QMJHL. He is a developing player who does a little bit of everything well. One scout told THN that he is a “high-productivity/low-flash guy”.

19. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Curtis Lazar – C
THN: # 9 (Character Forward) —– CS: # 20 NAS —– McK: # 12
ISS: # 12 (Dustin Brown)
Jackets could look for a d-man, but they should have some options with their 3rd pick of the round. Lazar is a good two-way player that features an excellent shot. At 5-11/193, Lazar will have to work on getting stronger and he must find a consistency to his game for him to move from top nine forward to top six (and better) forward).

20. SAN JOSE SHARKS – Kerby Rychel – LW
THN: # 21(Power Forward) —– CS: # 17 NAS —– McK: # 25
ISS: # 20 (Chris Kunitz)
Rychel’s Dad (Warren) played in the NHL and Kerby’s Windsor Junior team has been very successful so Rychel should be well-prepared to take the next step to the NHL. He is a character-type player who has tallied two straight 40 goal seasons.

21. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – Valentin Zykov – RW
THN: # 31 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 7 NAS —– McK: # 32
ISS: # 19 (Devin Setoguchi)
Toronto might be better off with a center (Frederick Gauthier or Nic Petan), but Zykov’s offensive ability is too hard to pass up. Zykov left Russia to continue his development in the QMJHL and scored 40 goals in his rookie season.

22. CALGARY FLAMES – Robert Hagg – D
THN: # 12 (Two-way defenseman) —– CS: # 8 ES—– McK: # 19
ISS: # 31 (John Carlson)
Hagg got a huge break as injuries the Swedish WJC team wreaked havoc with their defense. Hagg stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. He is a mobile d-man who is a good defender. He will need a couple of years to develop his game, but he has NHL size already (6-2/204).

23. WASHINGTON CAPITALS – Ryan Pulock – D
THN: # 10 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: 12 NAS # —– McK: # 15
ISS: # 14 (Dan Boyle)
THN pointed out that the Caps only have one blueliner under contract for 2014-15 so defense is a good way to go, although the gritty Ryan Hartman would look good too. Pulock would give Washington another deadly weapon from the point on the PP, and he kills penalties too. While good defensively, it is his big-time shot that is his calling card.

24. VANCOUVER CANUCKS – Ryan Hartman – RW
THN: # 28 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 16 NAS —– McK: # 36
ISS: # 41 (Brad Marchand)
If you are going to commit to John Tortorella as your coach then you might as draft a Torts’ player. THN called him the “prototypical guy you love on your team, but hate to play against.” He helped lead the USA to Gold at the WJC as part of their shutdown line. He plays bigger than his size (5-11/187) and has room to develop an offensive game.

25. MONTREAL CANADIENS – Frederick Gauthier – C
THN: # 30 (Defensive Forward) —– CS: # 8 NAS —– McK: # 23
ISS: # 18 (Brandon Sutter)
THN pointed out that the Habs have plenty of guys who play bigger than their size (e.g. Brandon Prust and Brendan Gallagher). Gauthier not only brings size (6-5/210), he also brings a solid two-way game. There are some concerns over his poor playoff performance, but has the all-around game to be a solid second line contributor.

26. ANAHEIM DUCKS – Michael McCarron – RW
THN: # 27 (Power Forward) —– CS: # 35 NAS —– McK: # 33
ISS: # 23 (John LeClair)
The Ducks would like to have seen Gauthier drop to them. Instead they take size on the wing instead (6-5/228). The USNTDP player will be attending Western Michigan where he will play for former NHL coach Andy Murray – unless he bolts for London (OHL). McCarron needs to continue his development and maturity – as well working on his skating and puck skills.

27. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS – Josh Morrissey – D
THN: # 19 (Offensive Defenseman) —– CS: # 27 NAS—– McK: # 18
ISS: # 21 (Kris Letang)
With all of the offensive players they brought in via trades last year and the draft this year, Morrissey ties in well as on offensive d-man who can skate, move the puck and QB the PP. There are some concerns on his size (6-0/182), but his offensive abilities makes him a dangerous player – even though he will need to bulk up and get stronger.

28. CALGARY FLAMES – Eric Comrie – G
THN: # 32 (Starting Goaltender) —– CS: # 2 NAG —– McK: #52
ISS: # 6 Goalie (No player comparison given)
With the future of Miikka Kiprusoff up in the air, the Flames need to bring in a goaltender with one of their three picks. The 6th pick is too high and the 22nd pick too low to draft Fucale. It is possible they will try to package their lower two 1st rounders to move in the round – perhaps swapping them with the Islanders. If not, then the Flames will draft Comrie, the half-brother of ex-NHLers Mike and Paul Comrie. Interestingly enough, Mike was forced to retire after undergoing a third hip surgery. Eric played just 37 games due to a hip injury, but he is well-schooled on playing goal because his Junior team is owned by Olaf Kolzig.

29. DALLAS STARS – Andre Burakovsky – LW
THN: # 17 (Skilled Forward) —– CS: # 6 ES —– McK: # 16
ISS: # 16 (Daniel Alfredsson)
Burakovsky is no stranger to the NHL as his father Robert was an 11th round pick in the 1985 draft by the Rangers who played 23 NHL games with Ottawa. Andre is a very good offensive player with his puck skills being the key to his game. He needs to work on his defensive play and his consistency in order to reach his full potential in the NHL.

30. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – Steve Santini – D
THN: # 65 (Two-way Defenseman) —– CS: 47 NAS # —– McK: # 41
ISS: # 17 (Daniel Girardi)
Santini is committed to play at Boston College. He is a character player who is a big-time defensive d-man who likes to use his size (6-2/207) and hockey sense to patrol the defensive zone. He plays a smart game offensively, but it is his defensive work that earned him best defenseman honors at the 2013 Under-18 tournament in Sochi, Russia.

First Round Draft Pick Transactions

• The Minnesota Wild’s first-round pick will go to the Buffalo Sabres as the result of trade on April 3, 2013 that sent Jason Pominville and a fourth-round pick in 2014 to Minnesota in exchange for Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, a second-round pick in 2014, and this pick.
• The New York Ranger’s first-round pick will go to the Columbus Blue Jackets as the result of a trade on July 23, 2012 that sent Rick Nash, Steven Deslisle, and a conditional third-round pick in 2013 to New York in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Erixon and this pick. The condition – the Rangers did not reach the Stanley Cup Finals – was converted on May 25, 2013.
• The St. Louis Blues’ first-round pick will go to the Calgary Flames as the result of a trade on April 1, 2013 that sent Jay Bouwmesster to St. Louis in exchange for Mark Cundari, Reto Berra, and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Calgary will receive St. Louis’ first-round pick in 2013 if St. Louis qualifies for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs – was converted on April 23, 2013.
• The Los Angeles Kings’ first-round pick will go to the Columbus Blue Jackets as a result of a trade on February 23, 2012 that sent Jeff Carter to Los Angeles in exchange for Jack Johnson and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). One condition was converted on April 5, 2012, when Los Angeles qualified for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, giving Columbus the right to choose between Los Angeles’ first-round picks in either 2012 or 2013. The other condition was converted on June 22, 2012, when Columbus chose not to take Los Angeles’ first round pick in 2012, giving them this pick.
• The Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-round pick will go to the Calgary Flames as the result of a trade on March 27, 2013 that sent Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh in exchange for Kenny Agostino, Ben Hanowksi, and this pick.
• The Boston Bruins’ first-round pick will go to the Dallas Stars as the result of a trade on April 2, 2013 that sent Jaromir Jagr to Boston in exchange for Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne, and this pick (being conditional at the time of the trade). The condition – Dallas will receive a first-round pick if Boston advances to the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals – was converted on May 25, 2013.

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