NHL Fantasy Hockey Pool Strategy Guide

2013 NHL Entry Draft: Fantasy Impact

The latest batch of NHL rookies was ushered into the league at the 2013 Entry Draft in New Jersey.  While most teams were looking to stockpile assets, a few were fortunate enough to draft prospects who could step into their starting line-ups in 2013-2014.

It’s an important event on the fantasy hockey calendar, as some rookies considered at your fantasy draft this fall will come from this list of picks.

The biggest fantasy news coming out of the draft is that Vancouver Canucks’ GM Mike Gillis traded Cory Schneider – the team’s starting goalie – to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth-pick overall.  It’s a move that took place because the Canucks couldn’t move Roberto Luongo and his massive contract, and because the team couldn’t afford to keep both top goalies. After a full year of the Luongo-saga, the Canucks have turned the page and now have their number-one man between the pipes.  It’s Luongo once again.

The trade will be debated all summer and all season, and probably for years to come.  The whole reason why the drama existed in the first place was because Luongo wasn’t getting the job done.  Luongo had a very good 2013 season in a back-up role, but it still wasn’t as good as Schneider’s year as the starter.  The franchise has done an about-face and we wonder if they won’t regret this trade five years from now.  Move Luongo up your 2013-14 goalie rankings, his value as the Canucks’ starter is far greater than as the back-up.

As for the Entry Draft, here's our rundown of the top 10 picks – the rookies with the greatest chance to make the NHL this year.

1. (Colorado) Nathan MacKinnon – C, Halfax, QMJHL

No secrets here. Colorado took MacKinnon first overall after saying they would for the previous two weeks. He's young (turns 18 in September), but the Avs love his leadership and clutch scoring.  MacKinnon led the Halifax Moosheads to a Memorial Cup championship in 2012-13.  He'll get a chance to make the big club at training camp.  Joe Sakic has high hopes that he will.

2. (Florida) Aleksander Barkov – C, Tappara, Finland

The story here is that the Panthers didn’t take Seth Jones, and that drafting a franchise defenseman wasn’t as important as adding another top forward.  Barkov is commended for his strong two-way play, and he’s considered by many scouts to be the most NHL-ready pick at this year’s draft (TSN).

3. (Tampa Bay) Jonathan Drouin – LW, Halfax, QMJHL

While Jones continued to dangle, Steve Yzerman hung up the phone and drafted the QMJHL’s MVP, Jonathan Drouin.  Drouin isn’t very big, but his offensive skill is second to none in the 2013 draft.

4. (Nashville) Seth Jones – D, Portland, WHL

The look on the face of Predators’ GM David Poile at the post-pick interview said it all.  The team is ecstatic to have Seth Jones fall into their lap at fourth overall.  Our own entry draft poll had respondents evenly split between Jones and MacKinnon as the number one option.  Jones is one of the best bets to play in the National Hockey League in ‘13-14.

5. (Carolina) Elias Lindholm – C, Brynas, Sweden

Lindholm is an offensive-minded center, who played amongst men in the Swedish Elite League last year.  The Hurricanes don't really need a center, but Lindholm appears to be a pick they just couldn't pass up.  Just don't expect him to play in '13-14; according to TSN's Bob Mackenzie, Lindholm is committed to his Swedish club next year.

6. (Calgary) Sean Monahan – C, Ottawa, OHL

Calgary needed a top-six center badly heading in the draft, and Monohan will hopefully fit the bill one day soon.  He led the 67s in scoring in ‘12-13, and could make the big club out of camp.

7. (Edmonton) Darnell Nurse – D, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL

Nurse is the son of former CFL wide receiver Richard Nurse, and nephew of former NFL QB Donavan McNabb.  At 6’4” he has the height to catapult him straight into the NHL in 2013-14, but he’ll need to keep at it in the gym to get his weight up (185 lbs).

8. (Buffalo) Rasmus Ristolainen – D, TPS, Finland

Big and tall, Ristolainen comes with a “heavy shot and physical play [modeled] after Predators captain Shea Weber,” according to the NHL.  

9. (Vancouver) Bo Horvat – C, OHL, Londin

This was a complete shocker, not because the Canucks drafted Horvat, but because they traded franchise goaltender Cory Schneider to New Jersey in order to get him with the ninth pick.  Horvat is touted as another strong two-way player, and he played a huge factor in London’s OHL championship run in 2013 (16 goals in 21 games).  

10. (Dallas) Valeri Nichushkin – RW, Russia, Chelyabinsk

There was talk prior to the draft of Nichushkin finding his way into the top five picks, but he fell to tenth.  He’s tall (6’3”) and touted for his ability to score “big goals and dominate games” (NHL).

Of course, we’ll have a full rundown of all the top rookies heading into the season in our Top 30+ Rookie Ratings found exclusively in the 2013-2014 Regular Season Draft Guide. Our definitive fantasy hockey pool rookie rankings provide an in-depth look at all the top NHL prospects for '13-14.  For sale starting this August.


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