Given the sad state of the Avalanche right now, talk has understandably turned to the draft. The #suckforseth hashtag is making its rounds, but not everyone agrees that Seth Jones is the way to go. There are those firmly in the Nathan MacKinnon camp, as well as a few in the Jonathan Drouin corner. Of course, there are always those who go a bit further down the board. It's time to see exactly how the Avs faithful would play out the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Here are the top five, in order as of 4/6/13, in their own words and those of scouts (courtesy of NHL.com).
1. Seth Jones, D, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
2012-13: 61 games, 14 goals, 42 assists, 56 points, 4 power-play goals, 33 penalty minutes, plus-46 rating
Comparison: "I don't think I play like any specific player in the NHL. I tried to model my game after Nicklas Lidstrom growing up."
Best asset: "I pride myself on my skating abilities, a good shot and can move the puck up the ice quickly."
Where do you need improvement: "I can always work on my lateral movement in corners and tight areas and always making quicker decisions with the puck."
NHL Central Scouting notes that Seth Jones, projected by many to be the top pick in the 2013 Draft, has a rare combination of size, skating ability and hockey IQ.
NHL Central Scouting: "A player with the package of Seth Jones, with his size, skating ability and smarts, doesn't come along very often," Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan told NHL.com. "After his first year in the league this year, he just showed improvement over what he did with the U.S. National Team Development Program the previous season. He skates as well as anyone in the league and is smart. He has all the potential needed to become one of the top D-men in the NHL someday."
2. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
2012-13: 44 games, 32 goals, 43 assists, 75 points, 10 power-play goals, 2 shorthanded goals, 45 penalty minutes, plus-40 rating
Comparison: "Not sure. Tough to say, but I am a skilled forward with grit."
Best asset: "Skating."
Where do you need improvement: "Faceoffs."
NHL Central Scouting: "I think MacKinnon could be another [Steven] Stamkos," Central Scouting's B.J. MacDonald said. "I see that style and tenacity in his game, his intensity around the puck. He wants to be the guy making a difference in the game, in the last minute. Whether they win or lose it, he wants to be that guy who makes that decision. It takes a special player to be like that. And from the games I've seen, he has that type of quality."
3. Jonathan Drouin, LW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
2012-13: 49 games, 41 goals, 64 assists, 105 points, 7 power-play goals, 4 shorthanded goals, 32 penalty minutes, plus-48 rating
Comparison: Claude Giroux
Best asset: "My vision, hockey IQ and quickness."
Where do you need improvement: "In my defensive zone."
NHL Central Scouting: "It's been a long time since I've seen a player with this many skills," Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau said. "I'm not saying a [Sidney] Crosby, but his quickness and hands, I don't think anyone has seen that in a long time. His peripheral vision and doing the things he does … he's just a natural talent. There are no systems for guys like that; you just put them on the ice and let them play. He's proved it all winter and almost won the scoring title despite playing in fewer games."
4. Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
2012-13: 58 games, 31 goals, 47 assists, 78 points, 15 power-play goals, 24 penalty minutes, minus-18 rating
Comparison: "Jonathan Toews because he's a leader, he steps up, is serious and plays the whole 200 feet of the ice."
Best asset: "My ability to create turnovers and turn it into offense; to lead by example and step up. My defensive play in all areas of the ice, and I'm also good at making plays and creating room."
Where do you need improvement: "I need to become faster and stronger on my feet, as well as improve my shooting while skating."
NHL Central Scouting: "I think Sean is pretty accurate with his self-assessments," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "Leadership-wise … Ottawa had such a bad season and most of the time when we went down there he was the only guy generating anything. I don't think his skating is an issue, but that's an area every player always wants to improve, so it doesn't surprise me that he would want to improve even more. Anytime you can get a guy with that type of play-making ability, puck-handling, smarts and that type of creativity on the power play, you'd be happy to get a guy like that."
5. Hunter Shinkaruk, C/LW, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
2012-13: 64 games, 37 goals, 49 assists, 86 points, 14 power-play goals, 44 penalty minutes, minus-13 rating
Comparison: "Sidney Crosby … we compete and have a great skill set."
Best asset: "I have great hands, am creative and battle hard. I am a good skater, am explosive, have a good shot and am a leader."
Where do you need improvement: "I need to get stronger."
NHL Central Scouting: "He can lift you out of your seats, and not too many players can do that," Sullivan said. "I think because he wasn't surrounded as he was last year with his good linemates, he struggled at the start, but his center Curtis Valk [No. 123 on midterm list] this year has really played well. That's what Hunter needed to be effective and take the pressure off. Hunter is a lot like his teammate last year, Emerson Etem. After Medicine Hat's series with Saskatoon, the local papers said the Blades' defense was taken to the hospital with whiplash after having to deal with him. I think the kid has the most potential of any projected first-round prospect. If he goes to an even better team [in the draft], that will make it even easier for him to make the transition."