I know it has been a while since the 2013 NHL Draft came to a close, but this is something I have been meaning to comment on for a while and simply haven't gotten around to writing. Since its been a while, here is a list of who picked whom and in which position.
6th Overall - Calgary - Sean Monahan
Center - 6'2"/185 lbs
8th Overall - Buffalo - Rasmus Ristolainen
Defence - 6'3"/203 lbs
14th Overall - Columbus - Alexander Wennberg
Center - 6'1"/183 lbs
16th Overall - Buffalo - Nikita Zadorov
Defence - 6'5"/230 lbs
19th Overall - Columbus - Kerby Rychel
Left Wing - 6'1"/205 lbs
22nd Overall - Calgary - Emile Poirier
Left Wing - 6'1"/183 lbs
27th Overall - Columbus - Marko Dano
Center - 5'11"/180 lbs
28th Overall - Calgary - Morgan Klimchuk
Left Wing - 5'11"/180 lbs
Beginning with Buffalo, I believe that they did a fantastic job picking up these two defensemen. Both are big mean players with a decent offensive upside and mobility. The pair of them should be able to learn from current Sabers blueliner Tyler Myers moving forward which will help them get a leg up in their development and hopefully skip and potential speed bumps. While defensemen usually take longer to develop, I'd be willing to guess that both will hit the NHL before they can legally drink in the States. I fully expect both of these players to be legitimate top 4 defensemen in the NHL.
With Sean Monahan headed to Calgary they have an excellent piece with which to begin their rebuild. Monahan is a dominant defensive centerman whose offensive upside is yet to be determined. This past year as Captain of the Ottawa 67's he put up 78 points in 58 games on a rubbish team that finished dead last in the OHL last season.
I must admit I do not know much about the other two Flames draft picks. Personally, given the players available to them when they were drafting, I would have much rather seen them pick up center Hunter Shinkaruk and goaltender Zachary Fucale. As the Flames must have realized in the past decade while they were searching for a pivot to play with Jarome Iginla, you can never have enough depth down the middle. Shinkaruk is a character guy that competes every night. Fucale was being hailed as one of the best goalie prospects in the past decade. On a team that has questionable prospects coming up in the crease I thought this would have went a long way to putting the pieces together for the Flames.
With new GM Jarmo Kekalainen at the helm, I thought the Blue Jackets did very well drafting this year, especially considering they just missed the playoffs and were selecting in the 14th position. Alex Wennberg has a very high hockey IQ in addition to having a great skill set. Their second pick, Kerby Rychel, is a player that I am very high on as far as his ceiling. Already with NHL size, if he continues to develop his skating, I believe that he can be the next Corey Perry in this league.
Now with their last pick, Columbus picked up Marko Dano. Now since their GM is the first European GM in NHL history I'm assuming he has a little bit better inside scoop when it comes to players outside of North America. Personally I would have rather seen them take one of the following:
Ryan Hartman who brings grit and a physical edge in addition to some offensive talent,
Robert Hagg who is a smooth skating defensemen that would look great alongside Ryan Murray for years to come, or
Zach Fucale who, as stated above, would give them an outstanding goalie prospect moving forward.
All in all I think Buffalo did an excellent job with their two selections. I don't think most people realize this just yet, but I believe Buffalo is on the verge of a full rebuild. That being said, with the draft choices they made last year down the middle and the defensemen they selected this year, I believe they are well on their way. Couple that with moving out Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller for young prospects or draft picks and I can see this team rising from the ashes much faster than Calgary or any other team looking at a rebuild.
Calgary has a long way to go. It looks like this will be a team preaching patients to their fans for many years to come. I doubt Jay Feaster will be around to see his team develop into a contender five to seven years from now. It usually takes somewhere in that range from day one of a rebuild until contention, and it doesn't help that the Flames put it off for so many years. I really wish that the Flames would have made the two picks I mentioned above since quality centermen and goaltending seem to be so hard to come by in this league. If I am Jay Feaster I am currently planning on moving out the rest of the pieces that have any remaining value this upcoming season for more draft picks or defensive prospects.
Finally the Columbus Blue Jackets appear to be rising from the ashes. I wholeheartedly believe that new GM Jarmo Kekalainen with do a tremendous job revamping this team. Columbus has a few pieces in place already with 2012 first rounder Ryan Murray ready to step into the league next year and a few other players that are poised to take the next step. Adding this years draft class to the mix should be the beginning of something that has the potential to do something really special. While I'm not sure about their third pick Dano, I am sure about Rychel, Wennberg and their new GM. Columbus has finally turned the corner and will be challenging in the East very soon.
Thanks for the read. Let me know what you think in the comments.