December 26 2012 09:17AM
This is Nathan MacKinnon, back in Halifax in the Mooseheads dressing room. The talented forward is in Ufa today, part of Team Canada at the WJ's and adding a page to his draft resume. MacKinnon and Seth Jones are generally regarded as the top 2 players for the 2013 draft, and according to several tweets by Bob McKenzie today MacKinnon is the consensus #1.
That's a pretty wide gap, not quite the separation Nail Yakupov enjoyed a year ago but impressive at this point in the year. MacKinnon's role for Canada is as a role player in this tournament, and Jones is a feature player on the American team. MacKinnon's offense is very good for his age (30, 22-30-52) and he's much younger than Jones (342 days by my count) so there's almost a year difference in development despite their being 2013 eligible.
- Craig Button on MacKinnon: Nathan has a burning desire to make a difference in the game and more times than not, he's successful. His skating is excellent with first step quickness that is exceptional. It allows him to beat defenders and create opportunities in a flash. He has great hands and is able to manoeuvre the puck in the tight areas. His shot is quick and accurate and he doesn't allow goalies to get a read on it. He is forceful and at times may be inclined to shoot first rather than consider passing options, but his playmaking is very good. He's a single-minded player in his approach and his determination, along with his skill, allows him to have an impact the game and to do so at the most important times. A clear cut No. 1 centre.
I don't see a lot of mention about his size (MacKinnon is listed as 5.11, 179) but a growth spurt could take care of any concerns in that area.
McKenzie also tweeted out the scouts top 10 (and more) among the WJ eligibles and it's a deep and interesting list:
- C Nathan MacKinnon
- D Seth Jones
- C Aleksandr Barkov
- L Elias Lindholm
- L Jonathan Drouin
- D Rasmus Ristolainen
- L Valeri Nichushkin
- C-L Alex Wennberg
- C-W Jacob De La Rose
- D Linus Arnesson
McKenzie also mentioned some of the kids I passed along in the tee up to the WJ's, among them American Ryan Hartman, Slovak Marco Dano and Swiss defender Mirco Muller. The list would certainly include the now recalled D Robert Hagg who is a ranked draft eligible for 2013.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We talked last week about the large group of draft eligibles at this year's WJs. The McKenzie list gives us a very good idea about the rankings and where some of these kids currently slot. It also tells us the Swedes have a bunch of kids we're not terribly familiar with on this side of the ocean, so we should pay special attention to them.
It's important to remember this is a list of the players who are at the WJ's in Ufa, and does not reflect the overall list for 2013 at this time. Finally, for a team that once employed Risto Siltanen and Reijo Ruotsalainen, how can the Oilers possibly pass up on Rasmus Ristolainen?