With the NHL regular season drawing to a close, for the non-playoff bound teams they can soon set their sites on the NHL Entry Draft that will take place at the end of June. For the clubs at the bottom of the standings they will have to wait to see where they land after the lottery and then decide which player to choose in the first round.
This year’s crop has some impact players that could help turn a franchise around and according to a report on NHL.com from Mike G. Morreale, defenseman Seth Jones has been labeled as the top prospect to help do just that.
All season long it’s been a growing debate as to whether Jones, Jonathan Drouin or Nathan MacKinnon will go first overall. Jones has been at the top or near the number one slot for much of the year and with the final rankings coming out for the NHL Central Scouting department that hasn’t changed.
Jones, whop plays for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL is ranked first as the top prospect available at this year’s draft, followed by MacKinnon at number two and Drouin at number three. Both Drouin and MacKinnon are teammates on the Halifax Mooseheads team in the QMJHL.
Morreale notes that Dan Marr is the NHL Director of Central Scouting and after releasing the final rankings this morning he admits that either player in the top three is someone who will have an immediate impact on any organization.
“These are players you can build your team around, so what kind of player do you want to build with?” Marr said. “Do you want to build from the back-end out, or do you want to build up the middle? There’s no steadfast answer, so the projection is what the player will mean to the team.”
An imposing figure on any blue line at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Jones is the type defenseman that any team in the NHL would love to add. In 61 games this season Jones scored 14 goals and added 42 assists for 56 points as a defenseman.
Of course if a team wins the lottery and they feel they need some offense rather than defense, either MacKinnon or Drouin is an excellent choice.
MacKinnon, 6-foot-0 and 182 pounds scored 32 goals and added 43 assists for 75 assists in 44 games for the Moosehead. Not to out done, Drouin scored 49 goals and added 64 assists for 105 points in 49 games. That’s 30 more points in only five more games for Drouin so why is he slotted at number three and two?
Marr admits that they were evenly matched but in the end the versatility that MacKinnon brings as a “right-handed centerman that can play in any area of the ice” helped propel him to the number two slot.
There is much that still needs to be decided between now and June 30th. Who will get the first overall pick? Who will take MacKinnon and Drouin and in what order?
As the 2013 NHL Entry Draft ramps up, so to will the coverage here at Too Many Men on the Site.