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Darryl's Dispatch: NHL 2013 Draft Insights

Darryl Houston Smith

Darryl is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and in 2011-12 won the Experts Fantasy Hockey League title. Find more of his work at or BlogTalkRadio. Follow him on Twitter at @dhoustonsmith.

NHL 2013 Draft Insights

The recently concluded NHL draft held few surprises, but that’s not to say that nothing interesting was talked about. Earlier this week, RotoWire published my NHL draft cheat sheet, where I ranked the top 60 players in the draft class of 2013 in terms of talent alone. Of these 60 players, 49 of them went in the first two rounds (82%). Only two (Jackson Houck and Ryan Fitzgerald) lasted as long as the 4th round. Fitzgerald was the last of my 60 top picks to be chosen. He went at 120th overall to Boston. I had to chuckle when I saw that, as my NHL comparable to Fitzgerald was none other than Boston's own David Krejci.

Some of the more interesting observations came from the players themselves. Nate McKinnon (the number 1 pick) had this to say about Seth Jones being picked 4th overall, "I think this is such a tight draft. I don't know if we've seen anything like this before. Any four of us could have been No. 1, I think; it's pretty safe to say. Seth is a very special player, and he's going to have an unbelievable career in Nashville. Maybe in another draft, Seth would have been one, or maybe even this draft he could have been one. It was so tight; I guess it was just team preference." 

McKinnon had this to say when the subject turned to Colorado and Patrick Roy, "They [Colorado] have such a promising team and such good young talent, and hopefully I can be a part of that. When asked about playing for Colorado coach Patrick Roy, McKinnon said, He's a pretty competitive guy, and his will to win is second to none, so I'm pretty excited to play for him. I think we're similar in that we're both very competitive guys, and I think he definitely had a high work ethic and I have the same, so in terms of that I think it's going to work very well. Obviously he's going to be a little different than Dominique (Halifax head coach Dominique Ducharme), but good different. I think it's going to be a smooth transition."

Several other players like Valeri Nichushkin (who has already opted out of his KHL contract for the upcoming season) were also confident of their chances of playing in the NHL next season but like McKinnon not boastful or arrogant. "I don't want to go that far ahead and say what's going to happen is going to happen, but I'm pretty sure I can make a jump to the NHL," said Nichushkin.

When asked about what it meant to him to be picked 2nd overall, Aleksander Barkov said "[It meant] very much, but that's not enough. I want to play in the NHL. I'm very excited and happy to be a part of the Florida Panthers and this is the first step to the NHL in my career." Sean Monahan said "I want to play. That's my goal. I want to play this year, and I think I can. I want to make an impact and I want to be a reliable player out there, too. I don't want to be taken off my own end for face-offs and stuff like that, so I want to compete and be an impact [player] next year."

A few players such as Seth Jones revealed a maturity far beyond their years. When asked if he was disappointed about not being picked higher than fourth overall, Seth had this to say: "Not really. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about going to those teams, but at the same time I'm excited to be a Predator, and obviously Shea Weber is there. He's a great player, and they have a lot of other great players, and I'm happy to be a part of the organization." He went on to say, "This is where I ended up, so I'm extremely happy, and I'm not going to complain." Truly a breath of fresh air for those tired of modern athletes complaining about their lot.