With the 2013 NHL Entry Draft over two months behind us, and the upcoming season rapidly approaching, a prospect review for the top 5 picks would be quite appropriate. These players may very likely be playing in the NHL come October and should be considered serious Calder contenders. Starting with picks #5 and #4:
Many scouts had different thoughts on who should be chosen fifth overall by the Carolina Hurricanes. Some suggestions for this pick included Swedish forward Elias Lindholm, Ottawa 67’s centerman Sean Monahan, and big, mobile Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defenseman Darnell Nurse. The Canes went with the Swede. Lindholm played with Brynas for the 2012-13 season where he led all junior players in the Elitserien with 30 points, scoring 11 goals with 19 assists. He also participated in the World Junior Championship for Sweden, assisting in their second place finish. He is considered an all-around forward, with great offensive abilities, responsible defensive play, and an immense intelligence that allows him to read and react to plays. Lindholm is widely considered pro-ready and could be providing support to Carolina’s line-up as early as this upcoming season.
With Seth Jones still available, the fourth overall pick was a no-brainer for the Nashville Predators. The 6’4” Portland Winterhawks defenseman was ranked as the top prospect by scouts for the majority of the 2012-2013 season. The big defenseman had an excellent World Junior tournament, guiding the United States to a gold medal finish. Scouts were praising Jones at this time for his overall talent and never would have predicted that he would be passed up until the fourth selection come draft day. As shocking and slightly disappointing as it would be for the young prospect expecting to go first or second overall to be finally chosen at number four, it was quite the opposite for the Preds. Acquiring Jones with the fourth pick can almost be viewed as a steal when you consider the unbelievable skill the young defenseman possesses. Jones brings size, intelligence with the puck, and outstanding skating to a Nashville team who should be considered lucky to draft such a player where they did, as defenseman like this don’t come around often. With an immediate spot on Nashville’s roster being more than likely, Jones will provide instant assistance to a Predators team that struggled last season. His presence on the blue line will make Nashville a force to be reckoned with for many seasons to come.