With the NHL Draft quickly approaching, franchises around the league are in high gear, trying to determine the perfect fits and hidden gems to be found in the 2013 prospect pool.
This year’s draft is widely considered to be heavy on offensive talent, with some even comparing it to the loaded draft class of 2003.
Every Canadian team has at least one first-round pick; the Calgary Flames have three in the first, while Montreal has six selections in the first three rounds. Both the Flames and the Winnipeg Jets have nine picks overall in the draft, that will run all seven rounds on the same day.
Here is a guide on where each Canadian franchise is picking and a thought on whom they may select in the first round.
Total No. of selections: 8
Picks: 1st (25), 2nd (34), 2nd (36), 2nd (55), 3rd (71), 3rd (86), 6th (176), 7th (206)
Notes: Acquired the 34th pick from Nashville in the 2012 Hal Gill-Andrei Kostitsyn trade; acquired the 36th pick in the 2012 deal that included sending Michael Cammalleri to Calgary; acquired the 71st pick from Dallas in exchange for Erik Cole in 2013; no fourth rounder as a result of the Habs’ acquisition of James Wisniewski in the 2010-11 season; no fifth rounder as a result of the Canadiens’ acquisition of Davis Drewiske in 2013.
Last year’s first-round pick: Alexander Galchenyuk (F, 3rd overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: The bruising and offensively-budding Frederik Gauthier of the Rimouski Oceanic not only fills the Canadiens’ need for size up front (he weighs in at six-foot-five and 210 pounds), but he is also a French-Canadien — a factor that the Habs are well-known to take into account. But will he still be around at 25?
Total No. of selections: 7
Picks: 1st (17), 3rd (78), 4th (102), 4th (108), 5th (138), 6th (161), 6th (168)
Notes: No second rounder because of their acquisition of Ben Bishop from the St. Louis Blues in 2012; acquired the 102nd pick from Tampa Bay as part of the Ben Bishop-Cory Conacher trade in 2013; acquired the 161st pick from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Sergei Gonchar’s negotiation rights (conditional upon him signing, which he has); no seventh-round pick as a result of their 2011 acquisition of Rob Klinkhammer from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Last year’s first-round pick: Cody Ceci (D, 15th overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: Brandon Wheat Kings’ captain Ryan Pulock would be a nice fit for the Senators whose defensive prospect pipeline is considerably weaker than their forward group. A right-handed shot with a bomb from the point, he is a smart, character guy with good size (six-foot-one, 211 pounds) and solid mobility.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Total No. of selections: 6
Picks: 1st (21), 2nd (51), 3rd (82), 4th (117) 5th (142), 6th (172), 7th (202)
Notes: Nashville has the Leafs’ fourth rounder (Matthew Lombardi trade) but Leafs have Anaheim’s 4th (Joffrey Lupul trade).
Last year’s first-round pick: Morgan Rielly (D, 5th overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: Adam Erne of the Quebec Remparts perfectly fits the bill of sandpaper and skill that the Maple Leafs love. Erne is a strong skater with soft hands who continues to develop every year, but his real passion is scoring in the rough areas of the ice. Another very possible option for the Leafs is Windsor’s Kerby Rychel, who brings a similar skill set to Erne’s.
Total No. of selections: 9
Picks: 1st (6), 1st (22), 1st (28), 3rd (67), 4th (97), 5th (135), 6th (157th), 7th (187), 7th (198)
Notes: Acquired the 22nd pick in the deal that sent Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues in 2013; acquired the 28th pick from the Penguins in the trade that sent Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh in 2013; no second rounder as a result of the Michael Cammalleri acquisition in 2012 (see above); traded their fifth rounder (127th) to the Washington Capitals for Dennis Wideman in 2012; acquired Columbus’ fifth rounder (135th) in exchange for Blake Comeau in 2013; acquired the 198th pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Henrik Karlsson in 2013.
Last year’s first-round pick: Mark Jankowski (F, 21st overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: Ottawa 67′s captain Sean Monahan is the perfect fit for the rebuilding Flames. Loaded with character and a through-the-charts leadership intangible, the six-foot-two and 186-pounder is an accomplished centreman and a fierce competitor on all 200 feet of the ice. The poorness of his team this year played a part in pushing him out of the top five, but this possible Jonathan Toews clone is the kind of kid that any franchise would love to have.
Total No. of selections: 6
Picks: 1st (7), 2nd (37), 2nd (56), 5th (128), 6th (158), 7th (188)
Notes: Acquired the 56th pick as a result of the deal that sent Andrew Cogliano to the Anaheim Ducks in 2011; no third-round pick due to the acquisition of Mark Fistric in 2013 from the Dallas Stars; no fourth-round pick because of the 2013 acquisition of Jerred Smithson from the Florida Panthers.
Last year’s first-round pick: Nail Yakupov (F, 1st overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound Darnell Nurse is very likely the best defensive prospect in the draft at taking care of his own end. At six-foot-four and 190 pounds, Nurse learned a lot from playing with a quality group of two-way Greyhound defenders regarding his puck-moving, offensive game; but his calling card is as a reliable, shutdown defender. The young, offensive Oilers have reneged on picking a defender at the top of the draft the last three years, but this time around Nurse would be the prudent pick.
Picks: 1st (24), 3rd (85), 4th (115), 5th (145), 6th (175), 7th (205)
Notes: No second-round pick as a result of the 2013 acquisition of Derek Roy from the Stars; traded away then re-acquired the 85th pick from the Florida Panthers – sent the pick in the 2011 Chris Higgins acquisition and got it back in the Mikael Samuelsson, Marco Sturm-David Booth trade later the same year.
Last year’s first-round pick: Brendan Gaunce (F, 26th overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: The Vancouver Canucks are known for taking whichever player is the best available when they draft and by 24, that could very well be the Kelowna Rockets’ high-octane, puck-rusher Madison Bowey. He is physically strong for his age and excels at the physical game, and is the latest high quality defenceman to come out of the Kelowna blue liner factory.
Picks: 1st (13), 2nd (43), 2nd (59), 3rd (74th), 3rd (91st), 4th (104), 5th (134), 6th (164), 7th (190)
Notes: Received the 59th pick as compensation for electing not to sign 2008 first-round pick Daultan Leveille – the pick will serve as the Chicago Blackhawks’ second-round pick that the Jets acquired in exchange for Johnny Oduya in 2012; Winnipeg also owns the Hawks’ third-round pick from that same Oduya deal; acquired the 190th pick in the 2013 trade that sent Alexei Ponikarovsky to New Jersey; traded their seventh rounder (194) to the Penguins for Eric Tangradi in 2013.
Last year’s first-round pick: Jacob Trouba (D, 9th overall)
Possible 2013 first-round pick: Edmonton Oil Kings centre Curtis Lazar is one of those players that “any team would love to have.” Lazar is a hard-nosed, hard-working type player, and he found his offensive game to boot in the second half of last season. He’s a solid player at six-foot and 198 pounds and feels equally at home on the power play and penalty kill.
*The Winnipeg Jets will be re-aligned to the Western Conference for the 2013-14 season, so put them there for the purposes of our guide