1. Jonathan Drouin -- LW/C -- 5'10" -- Halifax Mooseheads -- QMJHL -- 41G, 64A -- 105 points in 64 GP -- +48
Drouin ends-up on top of MacKinnon, barely, because of his natural skill that is always 'on'. He didn't let-up at the World Juniors (U20), the QMJHL playoffs, nor at the Memorial Cup. Has elite natural skill that can make him a top-notch complimentary player or the go-to-guy.
Nothing wrong with being ranked second. MacKinnon was easily the best player to watch at the Memorial Cup. Has elements to his game that NHL Superstars have -- skating, shooting, and IQ. Not much separation between Drouin and MacKinnon -- you know you're going to get an elite player that will contribute (in the near future).
3. Elias Lindholme -- C/RW -- 6'0" -- Brynäs -- SEL -- 11G, 19A; 30 points in 48 GP -- +1
I don't agree with the scouts out there that deem him a no.2 centre (at-best). The fact that he's already playing on the first line in what is arguably the second best league in the world, I think it is only fair to deem his 'ceiling' a no.1 centre. He may be a routinely 70 point guy, but his defensive game will make you happy he's on your team. His overall game really does remind me of Jonathan Toews. I think there is still more more to grow on his offensive game -- if that holds true -- his valuation could appreciate rather quickly.
4. Hunter Shinkaruk -- C/RW -- 5'11" -- Medicine Hat Tigers -- WHL -- 37G, 49A; 86 points in 64 GP -- -13
A strong skater with elite skill and hockey IQ, Shinkaruk is one of those prospects you just know will be great at the next level. Every time I've seen him play, I've found little to complain about in his game. Though classified as a bit 'undersized', Shinkaruk has an already well-rounded game; playing 3 years in the WHL already, he's matured. His leadership qualities add extra icing to the cake.
5. Josh Morrissey -- D -- 6'0" -- Prince Albert Raiders -- WHL -- 15G, 32A; 47 points in 70 GP -- +15
A perfect blend of size and skill, Josh Morrissey, in my opinion, is the best 2-way, transitional d-man in the draft. He's so smart with his stick, too. I think his offensive skills put him over the top. His game is exactly what teams are salivating for -- high-end offensive skills. The fact that he's already so responsible defensively, I think Morrissey is well on his way to being a top-line NHL D-man.
6. Aleksander Barkov -- C -- 6'2" -- Tappara -- SM-liiga -- 21G, 27A; 48 points in 53 GP -- +18
Barkov is skilled, smart, and big. Skating is the aspect of his game, that when you add with a smaller ice surface and stiffer competition, you discount his projected contribution. I think guys like Galchenyuk and Kopitar had more abilities with their hands -- could make-up for their less than spectacular skating. Barkov has me convinced that he has great skill...but more than that -- he'll have to prove once he comes over.
7. Seth Jones -- D -- 6'4" -- Portland Winterhawks -- WHL -- 14G, 42A; 56 points in 61 GP -- +46
How much offense does Jones have is the ultimate question. He has proven already that he can be a mobile d-man. His shot is ready for prime time, but his hitting and offense will be in question at the next level. Remember: it's not just about where you get drafted, it's what you do after the draft.
8. Alexander Wennberg -- C -- 6'2" -- Djurgården -- SWE-1 -- 14G, 18A; 32 points in 46 GP -- +10
He has proven already that he can be a number 2 centre. I think that his smarts to be at the right place and right time, and growth in his offense will amalgamate to produce a real nice C. a bit unorthodox, Wennberg plays an effective game.
9. Max Domi -- C -- 5'10" -- London Knights -- OHL -- 39G, 48A; 87 points in 64 GP -- +33
What is Domi's transition going to be is the only question at this point. He's under-sized, but does so many things the right way that you just can't but help wonder what kind of pro he's going to be. I really think he has a serious chance to be like a Brad Marchand -- Domi has that kind of skill and work ethic. It may be some time before he actually plays an NHL game, but if Domi continues to progress, he could make a huge impact as soon as he makes it to the NHL.
The scoring knack of Artturi Lehkonen is undeniable. He always scores a lot, no matter where he is. The fact that he had 2 concussions and still scored 14 goals as a 17 year old...and then scored 2 more in 4 playoff games, I think he has a real chance of being a scoring machine. It is important to note that his goal-scoring does rely on having the right centre, but having him in your lineup gives you a real threat. I think Lehkonen has some work to do in other areas of his offense game, specifically, being a better passer; with his goal-scoring and stick-handling ability, I'm okay with banking on that part of his game to take him this high. I think he will make a huge impact as an NHL-er (going forward).
11. Sean Monahan -- C -- 6'2" -- Ottawa 67's -- OHL -- 31G, 47A; 78 points in 58 GP -- -18
12. Madison Bowey -- D -- 6'1" -- Kelowna Rockets -- WHL --12G, 18A; 30 points in 69 GP -- +41
13. Ryan Pulock -- D -- 6'0" -- Brandon Wheat Kings -- WHL -- 14G, 31A; 45 points in 61 GP -- -7
14. Marko Dano -- C/RW -- 5'11" -- H.C. Slovan Bratislava -- KHL -- 3G, 4A; 7 points in 37 GP -- +4
15. Anthony Mantha -- RW -- 6'4" -- Val-d'Or Foreurs -- QMJHL -- 50G, 39A; 89 points in 67 GP -- +21
25. Nicholas Baptiste -- RW -- 6'1" -- Sudbury Wolves -- OHL -- 21G, 27A; 48 points in 66 GP -- -1
26. Andre Burakovsky -- LW/RW -- 6'1" -- Malmö -- SWE-1 -- 4G, 7A; 11 points in 43 GP -- -2
27. Pavel Buchnevich -- RW -- 6'0" -- Almaz Cherepovets -- MHL -- 8G, 15A; 23 points in 24 GP -- -2
28. Viktor Arvidsson -- RW -- 5'9" -- Skellefteå -- SEL -- 13G, 7A; 20 points in 62 GP -- +6
29. Sergei Tolchinsky -- RW -- 5'9" -- Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds -- OHL -- 26G, 25A; 51 points in 62 GP -- +8
30. Michael Brodzinski -- D -- 5'11" -- Muskegon Lumberjacks -- USHL -- 16G, 17A; 33 points in 61 GP -- +10
Heading into the draft with my rankings, I know there is no Valeri Nichushkin on the list. It kills me to say this but I haven't seen enough of him to add to my list. He may be what the scouts peg him as; for me, to be honest with myself, I don't have justification to add him (without seeing him).
For the Flames picks: Since there are 3 first-rounders the club has in the top-30, I have thought about this for sometime as to what players fit-the-bill. Pick number 6 should go to (assuming he's available) Elias Lindholme. Too much skill and all-around C play not to take the skilled Swedish pivot. Lindholme has the smarts and skill to be the 'it' centre for the Flames. Assuming the next picks are 22 and 28 for Calgary, I went a little off-the-board with my selections. At 22, I would go and take Artturi Lehkonen. Though only 5'10", Lehkonen has the smarts to play a two-way game and score. Some compare him to Mike Cammalleri; his ability to score is something that won't be discounted when he does it in the NHL. At pick 28, I'd go for the hot-tempered C,Marko Dano. I have loved his game since the beginning of the year; Dano would thrive with a play-maker that could give him the puck to shoot. If available in a later round, I'd love to add his assist man, Martin Reway. Dano can hit, skate, and shoot.
On the premise for Drafting 'for need', this is my mock draft for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft:
1. Colorado -- Seth Jones -- D -- Portland Winterhawks -- WHL