The 2013 draft just got very interesting, as the consensus #1 (Seth Jones) is apparently #4 on the Colorado Avalanche draft list. Is the race that close this year? Math suggests there is a clear option for #1 overall, and the name at the top may surprise.

For several years now the gold standard for projecting junior, college, Euro and minor league stats into the NHL is Desjardins NHLE.

FORWARDS NHLE (per 82gp)

  1. Jonathan Drouin, Halifax (QMJHL)  19-30-49
  2. Sasha Barkov, Tappere Tampere (SM-Liiga) 18-22-40
  3. Elias Lindholm, Brynas (SEL) 15-25-40
  4. Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax (QMJHL) 17-22-39
  5. Max Domi, London (OHL) 15-18-33
  6. Hunter Shinkaruk, Medicine Hat (WHL) 14-19-33
  7. Sean Monahan, Ottawa (OHL) 13-20-33
  8. Anthony Mantha, Val d’or (QMJHL) 17-13-30
  9. Valeri Nichushkin, Chelyabinsk Traktor (KHL) 20-10-30
  10. Adam Erne, Quebec (QMJHL) 9-15-24

DEFENSE NHLE (per 82gp)

  1. Seth Jones, Portland (WHL) 6-17-23
  2. Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste Marie (OHL) 4-11-15
  3. Rasmus Ristolainen, TPS Turku (SM-Liiga) 3-10-13

Jonathan Drouin–most often mentioned as the third in the CHL trio of elite talents in this draft–is in fact the top offensive player available this year. The next three forwards–Barkov, Lindholm and MacKinnon–are all quality offensive players and of course MacKinnon’s scouting report (and Barkov’s) boast a wider range of skills.

Jones offense from the blue isn’t earth shattering (Drew Doughty was 82, 6-23-29 NHLE) but he’s right in the same range offensively as guys like Alex Pietrangelo, Zack Bogosian and Michael Del Zotto. Jones has a wide range of skills, so delivering that kind of offense along with all of the other elements makes him an impact prospect.


The other reason Colorado may be going the forward route is history: defensemen taken high in the draft often fail to deliver value, and very often come into their own with their second organization (or later). Even a guy like Chris Pronger–a pure Hall of Famer–did much of his damage after being traded the first time.


The ugly truth is this: nothing has changed since Jason Gregor talked about defensemen and taking them high in the draft one year ago. No one would trade Nail Yakupov for Ryan Murray today, and the gap is extremely likely to widen moving forward.

It’s easier to project forwards into the future, and Colorado is probably making the correct choice in going forward.

  • Tikkanese

    Horcoff(trade or BO), Hemsky(trade), Petrell(UFA), Jones(UFA), Hordi(UFA), Belanger(farm or BO), Smithson(UFA), Eager(farm or BO)Fistric(UFA wants way to much $), Peckham(won’t receive qualifying offer, UFA), Khabby(UFA)

    3C, 4C – trading Gagner especially with Nuge out to start the year is to much change at C, sorry Gagner haters. Hopefully via trade, I don’t like the UFA list.
    Bottom 6 will comprise of Smyth, PRV and 4 new faces.
    One new LW for top 6 – either a trade or UFA, hopefully a banger with hands like a C Stewart.
    Backup G – UFA or trade.
    At least 2 new D, hopefully an established 1A, not a possible 1A and another top 4. Potter isn’t great but is signed and ok for a #7.

    Hall – Nuge – Eberle

    New meaty LW – Gagner – Yakupov

    PRV – New Center(would love Zibanajed here) – New RW

    Smyth – New veteran C – Brown/new extra F

    New 1A – J Schultz

    Smid – New Top 4

    N Schultz – Petry

    #7 Potter/Belov(hopefully he is as good as reported and is our new top 4 guy)

    new backup – Khudobin, Greiss, Emery or trade

    Lander, Klefbom and Marincin all need more time in AHL. With Nuge out to start I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lander up as temporary 4C.

    I’m sure Smyth has a decent year. He’ll be back on the wing where he belongs and hopefully not stuck in the “Belanger Triangle” either. He won’t see much 5×5. He will be a PK specialist, with a little 2nd unit PP time and be a great teammate. You can’t expect more out of a 4LW.

    That’s 9 new faces, that is a lot of change but a quite likely number of change that we are going to see.

  • @S_2_H

    Drouins shooting % was 25% this year!!! Its way above his average and unsustainable! I wouldn’t count on his NHLE to make him a #1.
    Also you have to look at the complete skill sert for players including defense and physical size to properly rate him.
    Drouin is good but not as good as the NHLE shows.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    If Barkov goes earlier, it will just mean one of the other three guys is available and they are all likely to be franchise players…so I doubt it would encourage Poile to move the pick.