Thursday, June 20, 2013

NHL Mock Draft: Picks 1-5

Seeing as the NHL Draft is 10 days away, I will be coming out with who I think will be going where, and most likely, seeing much of that fall flat.  Since I do need to allow for explanations, I'll be breaking it into sections of five, so today will be about the first five picks.  So, here we go.

1. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax Mooseheads

With recent rumblings that the Avs are going to not pick Seth Jones with the first overall pick, that leaves any of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin, and Nathan MacKinnon as the possibilities.  MacKinnon is the safest of the three, and though the Avs could also take Drouin (they need help on the wings), MacKinnon is the surest bet to contribute right away.

2. Florida Panthers: Seth Jones, Portland Winterhawks

The Panthers need as much young talent as possible, and without a defenseman that can play the big minutes and contribute on both ends of the ice (sorry, Brian Campbell), Jones has the potential to fill that role.  Defensemen like Jones don't come along very often, and certainly, coaching is less of an issue here than in either Colorado or Tampa Bay, as Kevin Dineen will be entering his third year as coach (Patrick Roy will be a first timer in the NHL and Tampa Bay has Jon Cooper, who is still an interim coach as of this time).

3. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jonathan Drouin, Halifax Mooseheads

Tampa Bay needs to get younger at forward, and though Aleksander Barkov would give the Lightning a viable second option at center, the wings need a little more help, and Drouin can step in on the first line right away and take some attention away from Steven Stamkos while learning from Martin St. Louis.

4. Nashville Predators: Aleksander Barkov, Tappara (FIN)

Nashville needs scoring, and lots of it.  Barkov is the best player remaining, while he is a scoring threat, he is also good in his own end, something that Nashville would love.

5. Carolina Hurricanes: Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Carolina desperately needs defense, and certainly, they could be eyeing a trade up to get Seth Jones.  If they choose to stay here, Nurse would be a very good pick here.  The Hurricanes were regularly torched in their own end, and while Cam Ward's injury didn't help matters, the blue line as a whole needs some help, and Nurse is the best defenseman left at this point in the draft.

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