As the twenty-game mark approaches, the NHL standings are starting to take true form and with that projecting where teams might end up selecting in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft becomes a little easier. Mock drafts remain a pure guessing game and are constructed merely to entertain hockey’s most die-hard fans but it also serves to show whereabouts draft-eligible players are being considered. Predicting how thousands of scouting hours, among hundreds of scouts, from thirty different NHL franchise, all with different needs will reflect the final 2013 NHL draft order is virtually impossible. As you browse through the following mock draft take into account the countless different scenarios and possibilities and accept that the end result of the mock draft is for sheer recreation.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Jonathan Drouin, LW (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)</p>
The Blue Jackets are in a tough position with arguably four franchise players to choose from with the top selection. Last season, Columbus was robbed of the top pick when the Edmonton Oilers won the draft lottery to select Nail Yakupov. With a slew of talented defensive prospects, including 2012 2nd overall selection Ryan Murray, and three first round picks, Columbus opts to select Jonathan Drouin. In Drouin, the Jackets add an electrifying player who will get fans out of their seats with all-world puck skills and an unmatched on-ice hockey sense in this draft class. If Columbus passes on Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon certainly would be an equally valuable player for the Blue Jackets with his blazing speed and total package of skills.
Washington Capitals – Seth Jones, D (Portland Winterhawks, WHL)</p>
In recent drafts, owning the second overall pick often results in an easy decision – pick the next best player. However, in the 2013 draft class the decision becomes more complicated not knowing which player will be selected first overall as well as having several other worthy candidates. With MacKinnon and Seth Jones available, Washington has an opportunity to add a valuable centre ice man or a future defensive stalwart. After taking a look at the Capitals’ depth chart and factoring in how difficult it is to find a defenseman of Seth Jones’ calibre, George McPhee (assuming he is still in charge) will draft the Texas born Seth Jones and add a vital player for decades to come.
Buffalo Sabres – Nathan MacKinnon, C (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)</p>
All 30 NHL teams would love to have the opportunity to own the third overall selection in 2013 NHL Entry Draft with the high-end prospect crop available this season. Buffalo essentially owns a top pick and they will quickly snap up the draft’s best skating pivot in Nathan MacKinnon if he remains on the board long enough to reach third overall. The Sabres have had a lowly season to date but bringing in a player of MacKinnon’s breed would quickly mend bad feelings swirling around the Buffalo Sabres’ fan base.