2013 NHL Draft Preview

“First off, I’d like to congratulate the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the Stanley Cup. I would also like to thank the city of Newark for your hospitality…even though you are ranked as the 10th most dangerous city in the United States. What was Kovalchuk thinking signing a 17-year contract? Anyways, with the 1st pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche are proud to select, from the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he puts the Mac in Big Mac, no not Ronald McDonald, Nathan MacKinnon.”

And that is exactly what I expect a member of the Colorado Avalanche front office, probably Joe Sakic, to say tomorrow at the podium…give or take a few words.

For the last week or so, Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy have made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of giving Seth Jones a happy ending to his “My Life so Far” story (more on that later). The Avalanche intend to take MacKinnon and they better. Nobody likes a liar in sports, or in life, for that matter. If they draft someone else, they better have a heck of a PR department. Though if they pick Jones, no one in Colorado will care that they were lied to for a week.

The top five picks in the draft belong to: Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay, Nashville, and Carolina. Prospects say all the time that it doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they get picked. I don’t believe them. If I were a top prospect in this draft, I would be praying not to go to Florida. My mind cannot envision a headline that acknowledges the Florida Panthers as Stanley Cup Champions. I can’t picture it. Some things just aren’t meant to happen. All 83 of their die-hard fans in attendance would go crazy, though. And sure, Florida has nice weather. But, you know where else has nice weather? EVERYWHERE ELSE – just don’t whine about it. (Side note #1: People complain too much about the weather. “I hate winter….I want summer…It’s too hot…Yay it’s colder…I hate the rain…Now it’s too cold…I hate winter…I want summer.” Well I hate you complaining about the weather for 12 months of the year, so knock it off.)

Alright, back to hockey.

I’m not going to pretend like I know a lot about many players in this draft, so I’ll pick out a few players and give my thoughts on them and where I think they can, or should, go in the draft.

NATHAN MACKINNON – Best thing to come out of Nova Scotia since Sid the no longer kid. Pittsburgh has the best 1-2 punch at Centre in the league. I’ve always believed that a team needs as many offensive weapons up front as they can get. Yes, defense is important. Yes, goaltending trumps everything else. But, you need superstar forwards to get anywhere in this league. Chicago has it. Pittsburgh has it. Edmonton has a girth of young forwards who will get there. Colorado is entering this conversation. Drafting MacKinnon gives them: MacKinnon, Duchene, O’Reilly, and Stastny. That’s a pretty good team down the middle. Now, one of them will likely be traded or moved to the wing. Stastny could be trade bait for a defenseman. MacKinnon is the right pick at #1.

SETH JONES – This might be a long paragraph. Here we go. Over the last few years of the NHL draft, I have developed trust issues with big defensemen projected to go in the top three. Mainly, Erik Johnson (1st overall) and Jack Johnson (3rd overall). Is it a coincidence they have the same last name, and Seth’s last name is Jones, which is along the same lines? Is it a coincidence that Jones has a great chance to be the 2nd overall pick this year, thus making these guys picks number 1, 2, and 3. Well, nothing is a coincidence. If anything, this is a bad omen. Seth Jones may turn out to be a fantastic player, but I’d rather pick a forward 1st overall in this draft. In other drafts, where there isn’t a MacKinnon or Drouin, yes, Seth Jones is the guy to pick.

Earlier, I mentioned Jones’ life story so far. Here’s the story: Seth’s dad is former NBA player, Popeye Jones. No, he is not a sailor man on the side. And no, he isn’t the founder of Popeye’s Chicken. (Side note #2: Popeye’s Chicken is fantastic stuff, but KFC has my heart, in more ways than one.) Anyways, he played for the Denver Nuggets back in 2001 when Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy were chasing a Stanley Cup. Seth wanted to get into hockey as a kid. Popeye didn’t know the first thing about hockey, so he asked Sakic for advice. Sakic told him that Seth should work on his skating. Seth then took skating lessons…no word on whether he learned how to pull off the triple salchow (Side note #3: I had no idea that is how it was spelt. All these years I thought it was Sowcow.) So that’s his story. The perfect ending would be Joe Sakic drafting Jones after all these years, but this isn’t an episode of The Bachelor. This is the NHL and the draft is on TSN, not the Disney Channel…that would be a nightmare.

I think Jones will end up going 2nd overall to the Florida Panthers. Ed Jovanovski isn’t getting any younger and it would be the perfect opportunity to pair him with Erik Gudbranson. Those twin towers could cause chaos for years to come, much like Shea Weber and Ryan Suter did in Nashville – what a party that was.

JONATHAN DROUIN – Gifted, playmaking forward. Likely going to the Tampa Bay Lightning to feed Steven Stamkos passes at the top of the faceoff circle for the next 10 years. With Lecavalier bought out, the door is open for Drouin. He just needs to be invited in. With Drouin, Stamkos, and Hedman as the core for the future, the Lightning will start making playoff appearances again, sooner than later. IF he gets drafted by Florida at #2, he forms the Quebec Connection with Jonathan Huberdeau. Eat your heart out, Montreal. This might be interesting.

DARNELL NURSE – Edmonton can really use another defenseman to build with. Will he still be there by the time the Oilers pick, we’ll find out. I can see the headlines now after Nurse has a good game. “Good Night, Nurse.” “Somebody call a Nurse.” “Who Needs a Doctor when we have a Nurse.” ….And so on and so forth. NEXT…

MAX DOMI – For selfish reasons, I wish the Leafs were in a higher spot to pick him. He is nothing like his father in terms of skill. In stature, he is definitely Tie’s son. I can also see the headlines for him after he has a good game “Win, Lose, or Max.” Ok, that was awful, but you get the point. How about this: If he gets a large contract at some point in his career, “Max-ed Out.” Puns are fun. NEXT…

VALERI NICHUSKIN – His last name is fun to say. His first name reminds me of Valeri Bure. NEXT…

BO HORVAT – I wouldn’t mind the Leafs drafting Horvat, he just won’t be there by pick #21. During his career, it is a must that he turns his back on an organization and demands a trade just so the headlines read “Say it ain’t so Bo.” Gold. NEXT…

KERBY RYCHEL – Reminds me of the N64 character and Robert Reichel. Might be available for the Leafs. NEXT…

ZACH FUCALE – If the New Jersey Devils don’t pick him and don’t crown him as the heir-apparent to Martin Brodeur, the rabid fans in New Jersey better get mad. Like David Puddy mad…

JORDAN SUBBAN – His brother, Pernell Karl, said that Jordan is the better player. Interesting.

My second favourite part of the Draft is when Gary Bettman approaches the podium and receives boos from the crowd. He deserves them. He’s done some good things for the game, but overall, the boos are warranted. (Side note #4: He would be a great heel in the WWE. Just saying.)

My favourite part of the Draft is when Gary Bettman approaches the podium and says, “I have a trade to announce.” He utters these 6 words and I instantly become the most focussed person on the planet. One of the best moments in sports.

The Draft should be fun. TSN has all seven rounds on TV this year. I don’t know if I can last the entire time, but I’ll try. I heard Gino Reda say that there are 211 picks. I’m no math major, but that didn’t add up to me. So, I looked it up. Winnipeg receives a compensatory pick (#59) for not signing their first round selection back in 2008. So there’s that.

If this draft is anything like the NBA Draft was on Thursday, we are in for a wild ride.

Get’cha popcorn chicken ready.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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