Corey Abbott

In The Crease

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Eastern Teams Draft Grades

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Boston Bruins - C-

Top pick: Linus Arnesson (60th overall)

The Boston Bruins did not make their first pick of the 2013 draft until the second round, when they selected Swedish defenseman Linus Arnesson with the 60th overall choice.  The Bruins like his defensive awareness and his ability to move the puck, but he is viewed as a bit of a project.   Boston used the majority of their remaining five picks on hard working and hard-nosed players who fit the fold of their team ideology as does  Ryan Fitzgerald, son of former NHLer Tom Fitzgerald.  He is committed to play for Boston College next year.  With the benefit of hindsight, relinquishing their first-round selection to rent Jaromir Jagr was probably an ill-advised decision. 


Buffalo Sabres - A

Top pick: Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall)

The Buffalo Sabres added several prospects with their league-high 11 draft picks on Sunday.  They snagged a pair of superb defensemen with their two first-round choices.  Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov (16th overall) have plenty of size and they both play a physical game.  They also possess some offensive potential and have the all the makings of potential top-four blueliners.  Ristolainen is probably further along in his development, though, and he could make the jump to the NHL as soon as next season.  Buffalo also added a pair of Western New York products by drafting Justin Bailey (52nd overall) and Sean Malone (159th overall).  J.T. Compher is another intriguing prospect, whom the Sabres took in the second round with the number 35 pick. He will play for the University of Michigan in the fall.  Buffalo dipped into the trade market, too, by acquiring blueliner Jamie McBain and a second-round pick from Carolina in exchange for Andrej Sekera


Carolina Hurricanes - B

Top pick: Elias Lindholm (5th overall)

Carolina was rumored to be shopping the number five pick hard going into the draft.  They were seeking help on the back end and were dangling the fifth choice as bait.  Despite the hype and the intrigue, the Hurricanes ended up staying in the fifth spot and they selected Swedish center Elias Lindholm.  Lindholm earned praise from the Canes for his character and leadership.  They envision him being a top-level talent, and with comparisons to Peter Forsberg, it's easy to assume the best for his future.  Carolina got their defenseman later when they acquired Andrej Sekera from Buffalo. 


Florida Panthers - A

Top pick: Aleksander Barkov (2nd overall)

When the Panthers stepped up to the podium, they were expected to make rearguard Seth Jones the second pick in the 2013 draft after Colorado took Nathan MacKinnon first overall.  However, they ventured off script by taking Barkov instead.  Florida has a glaring need for a big center and they feel they have some solid prospects on defense who are in line for more ice time, so the decision appears to be a good fit on paper.  Barkov lit up the Finnish Elite League and performed well at the World Junior Championship, as well.  He is thought to be NHL ready and the Panthers want to use him on their roster as soon as next season.  Florida decided to pick up a blueliner in the second round when they went with a potential two-way stud in Ian McCoshen with the 31st overall selection.  He will attend Boston College next season.     


Montreal Canadiens - B+

Top pick: Mike McCarron (25th overall)

One of Montreal's off-season goals was to get bigger and they started working toward it with the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.  Enter 6-foot-5, 228-pound winger Mike McCarron.  The Habs prospect wants to model his game after Boston's Milan Lucic and he is set to play with Western Michigan or London in the OHL next year.  Zachary Fucale was expected to be the first goaltender taken in the 2013 draft class and he went 36th overall to Montreal.  He provides the team with some much-needed depth in the crease.  Sven Andrighetto is on the smaller side, but he plays with plenty of tempo and has lots of scoring potential. 


New Jersey Devils - B

Top pick: Steven Santini (42nd overall)

New Jersey made the biggest splash on draft day by landing netminder Cory Schneider from Vancouver in exchange for the ninth overall pick.  The Devils found their heir apparent to Martin Brodeur when they got Schneider in front of their hometown fans, but the two of them are expected to split starts in 2013-14.  The Canucks used the draft choice on center Bo Horvat.  New Jersey's first pick came in the second round when they grabbed defender Steven Santini with the 42nd overall selection.  He was named the best defenseman at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship and is going to play for Boston College next season.  The Devils also made a classy pick in the seventh round when they traded back into the draft to choose goalie Anthony Brodeur, Martin Brodeur's son and the 208th overall.  Martin had the honor of making the selection. 


New York Islanders - B-

Top pick: Ryan Pulock (15th overall)

The Islanders picked out of the top 10 for the first time in the past six drafts.  For a second straight year, they chose a defenseman out of the WHL when they opted for offensive blueliner Ryan Pulock.  He should help build a solid defense corps in the future alongside 2012 first rounder Griffin Reinhart.  New York also made a deal when they sent former fifth overall pick Nino Niederreiter to Minnesota for physical forward Cal Clutterbuck and the number 70 selection, goaltender Eamon McAdam. 


New York Rangers - C-

Top pick: Adam Tambellini (65th overall)

The Rangers didn't make their first pick of the 2013 draft until the third round when they selected Tambellini 65th overall.  The son of former NHLer Steve and the brother of Jeff, spent the 2012-13 campaign playing in Switzerland.  Columbus received New York's first-round choice, which they used to take Kerby Rychel, 19th overall, in the Rick Nash deal. San Jose acquired the Rangers' second rounder for Ryane Clowe, which was spent on Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau.  New York's next pick, Pavel Buchnevich, has had his skill level compared to that of former Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov , who tragically lost his life after collapsing on the bench during a KHL game. 


Ottawa Senators - B-

Top pick: Curtis Lazar (17th overall)

The Ottawa Senators wanted to move up but they were unable to do so.   As a result, they used their pick at number 17 to take Curtis Lazar.  The Senators envision him eventually playing a second-line role similar to that of New York captain Ryan Callahan.  He has plenty of leadership and character, as well as a knack for the net.  Ottawa's next pick came in the third round, 78th overall, when they chose Swedish goalie Marcus Hogberg. 


Philadelphia Flyers - C+

Top pick: Samuel Morin (11th overall)

Philadelphia went into the 2013 draft with the expectation they would stock up on defensemen and they did just that by using four of their six picks on blueliners.  The Flyers may have reached a bit by choosing Morin at No. 11, but they were able to snag Robert Hagg with their second pick, 41st overall, after he fell further than some had anticipated.  Morin's physical nature and his size appealed to the Flyers and he should be an imposing figure once he makes the jump to the NHL.  Hagg has the potential to be a mobile two-way threat.  However, it should be noted that both players aren't considered to be ready for NHL action for at least another two years.   


Pittsburgh Penguins - C-

Top pick: Tristan Jarry (44th overall)

Pittsburgh went for broke this season by trading to acquire Jarome Iginla and Doug Murray for what they hoped would be a long playoff run.  The Penguins were stopped easily by Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, so the moves didn't pan out and they were left without a first rounder.  Goaltender Tristan Jarry was the first selection of the Pens at number 44.  He was impressive in the WHL and has high hopes of challenging for a roster spot, but he's unlikely to play in the NHL any time soon.  Pittsburgh also shipped Tyler Kennedy to San Jose for a second-round choice. 


Tampa Bay Lightning - A

Top pick: Jonathan Drouin (3rd overall)

Tampa Bay also decided to pass on highly-touted defenseman Seth Jones in order to select Nathan MacKinnon's teammate Jonathan Drouin.  The sublimely skilled forward was the QMJHL MVP and the CHL's Player of the Year, so it's easy to see why the Lightning had him ranked ahead of Jones on their wanted list.  He has a very legitimate shot to crack Tampa's lineup out of training camp.  The Bolts brought on board another solid prospect when they seized Adam Erne with the 33rd overall pick.  He is projected to become a skilled power forward. 


Toronto Maple Leafs - B-

Top pick: Frederik Gauthier (21st overall)

Toronto obtained a center for now and one for the future.  The Leafs drafted Gauthier with the 21st pick in the opening round.  He has great size, defensive awareness and some offensive potential.  He's probably a year or two away from joining the NHL ranks, though, so he has more time to develop his all-around game.  Toronto also acquired middleman Dave Bolland from Chicago for three draft picks, including a fourth rounder in 2014.  The Leafs spent a sixth round choice on goaltender Antoine Bibeau, who jumped to the ninth spot among North American goalies after not making the chart in the midterm rankings, despite being amongst the league leaders in the QMJHL.       


Washington Capitals - C

Top pick: Andre Burakovsky (23rd overall)

Washington's first-round pick is slated to need some time to develop.  He has potential as a scoring threat, but needs to play more consistently.  The Capitals think he could play junior hockey in North America, which would be a very good step for his development.  Washington also got offensive-minded blueliner Madison Bowey with the 53rd overall pick in the draft.  He has played well on the international stage with Canada at the 2013 Under-18 World Championship and in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.


Winnipeg Jets - B+

Top pick: Josh Morrissey (13th overall)

The Winnipeg Jets collected a number of intriguing prospects at the 2013 draft.  They made 11 selections and defenseman Josh Morrissey led the charge at pick number 13.  He has the makings of a very good all-around rearguard and earned plenty of praise for his intelligence on the ice.  The Jets picked WHL scoring machine Nicolas Petan with the 43rd selection and they got another WHL sniper in round three when they chose J.C. Lipon 91st overall.  Winnipeg also added goaltender Eric Comrie, the second-ranked North American in the crease, with the 49th pick in the draft.  The Jets made a trade on draft day as well when they acquired penalty kill expert Michael Frolik from Chicago in exchange for a pair of picks. 

Corey Abbott is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him Twitter @CoreAbbott.
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