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NHL 2013 Draft: Grades (Teams A-O)

by Bill Placzek on Jul. 2, 2013

Before you e-mail or PM me angered by my disrespect and misjudgment of your favorite team's choice, let me make it clear concerning this specific draft: All GM's and fans could claim their team did great because of the depth of this draft class from pick 1 to 211, and more specifically in the first four tiers (See "What are Tier rankings").NHL teams hope that the high character youngster they selected in all of the rounds will not only graduate to the pro game, but develop into high impact stars. This draft provides many chances of unearthing those type of players. 

My grades will not be based on the amount of picks, but on the possibility of the drafted prospects making contributions on NHL rosters five years from now. The upside of this class is by far one of the finest, but I nor NHL teams cannot accurately predict NHL success for them at this juncture. We can only draw on the opinions of the players' canvass at this particular juncture in their journey.
 
Of course, I will bump up grades for team where they took my favorite prospects, or ones that are clearly ahead of the curve towards NHL long-term advancement and domination. Value in the players picked and where they are picked will also be key factors. At first glance, I like a lot of team boards:
 
Anaheim Ducks: Grade B
1
26
D
Seattle (WHL)
6' 0"
180
2
45
Quebec (QMJHL)
6' 1"
168
3
87
D
US-Under-17 (USAH-NTDP)
6' 1"
165
5
147
5' 10"
175
6
177
C
Blues Espoo (SM-liiga)
5' 9.5"
170
 
Shea Theodore was the last of the first round picks on defense. This offense-first defender is a all-compass skater who takes space and time away on the attack with great reads and passes. He is work in progress, in terms of reading and adjusting to quick in-game changes and reacting to them, and needs time to develop physically. There could be big payoff when he does. Nick Sørensen is a hightly-touted Danish-Swedish prospect who needed reconstructive surgery on his ACL & MCL and will not play again until this season. While at Quebec, his further development was stifled by the rule which limits each team in the "Q" to only suit two European born players per team, and his Quebec team has "vets" Grigorenko and Kucherov ahead of him. Thompson is far from ready but shows the makings of good all-around defenseman, due to his natural poise and balance, and all-around skating ability. Besse needs even more developmental time, but is a small speedy forward who is a goal scorer.
 
I gave them a B based on my prejudices that at least two of the group will play in the NHL. If they end up with only one they get an F because at each of their first two selections there was another player I felt had a better chance at being an NHL pro player.
 
Boston Bruins: Grade C-
2
60
D
Djurgården (Allsvenskan)
6' 2"
182
3
90
Lulea HF (SEL)
6' 2"
192
4
120
C
Boston Jr. (EJHL)
5' 9.5"
168
5
150
D
6' 6"
200
6
180
Frolunda HC (SEL)
6' 0"
187
7
210
6' 3"
210
 
Three years off their Stanley Cup victory, the Bruins draft was one that didn't start until the end of the second round as they used their first rounder as payment for Jaromir Jagr. Big skilled Swede defender Linus Arnesson is already playing in the Super-elite league, and displays tremedous upside based on toughness, skill, smarts and feet. Slovakian Peter Cehlarik is one of the younger players in the Swedish Elitserien. He has a high skill level and excellent wheels for a big man, with a quick release. Wiley Sherman is a huge stay-at-home defender who will improve his feet at Harvard but also needs to add a touch of Bruin aggression to his game. Left wingers Blidh and Dempsey are both long term developmental guys you look to see later.
 
This draft's true grade depends upon the success of the group, but without at least three becoming NHLers it drops.
 
Buffalo Sabres: Grade  A+     
1
8
D
TPS Turku (SM-liiga)
6' 3"
197
1
16
D
London (OHL)
6' 3.5"
205
2
35
C
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
5' 11"
180
2
38
C
Muskegon (USHL)
6' 0"
165
2
52
Kitchener (OHL)
6' 3.25"
188
3
69
Sudbury (OHL)
6' 1.5"
200
5
129
G
Waterloo (USHL)
6' 2"
180
5
130
Modo Hockey (SEL)
5' 11.75"
183
5
143
D
South Kent Prep (Conn) (NE HS Prep)
6' 1"
200
6
159
C
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
5' 10.75"
160
7
189
C
Saginaw (OHL)
5' 9.5"
171
 
With two first rounders and five of the top 69 picks, I was not surprised that they went defense.  What did surprise me is that they did it twice in the first round. Rasmus Ristolainen is a huge man and not that far from making the transition to the NHL. Zadorov is physical and a great balanced skater who actually also may built for more of an up-ice game. Unless you are positive they both start their NHL careers in different years, you are forever linking them in terms of contracts. None of the next four selections at forward are superstars but they certainly are all worthy picks with their best hockey still ahead of them. I was convinced Compher would go in the first, as he is a fierce all-around competitor with tenacity, infectious edge, hockey sense, scoring ability, and relentless two-way commitment.  Hurley is the youngest player in the draft as his birthday is on the cut-off mark. Justin Bailey is a tall skinny winger with soft and hands and excellent anticipation, but needs to add leg strength and improve his balance. Big winger Baptiste moves well and plays strong down low and has very good speed and quickness and great upside. Peterson is Team USA's goalie with good size, overall athleticism, and lateral mobilty in the crease. Swedish wing Possler is a developing North-South skater who displays ability to make plays in high gear. Florentino is a sleeper on his way to Providence college as he continue to develop and maybe grow an up-ice game.
 
I am torn completely on my grade of the Sabres, as I was last season. Last year the Sabres looked like they added two future NHlers, and you can argue that there may still be as many as six choices who only have a little roadblock to eventually make the big show. Besides the top two picks perhaps vying for the the same NHL slot, the entire group needs to fulfill expectations in the higher levels of competition.
 
 
Calgary Flames: Grade  A-
1
6
C
Ottawa 67's (OHL)
6' 1.5"
190
1
22
Gatineau (QMJHL)
6' 1"
175
1
28
C
Regina (WHL)
5' 11"
160
3
67
D
Victoria (BCHL)
6' 4.5"
200
5
135
D
Brandon (WHL)
6' 2.5"
190
6
157
United States
6' 3"
175
7
187
D
Yaroslavl (KHL)
6' 2"
s
7
198
D
5' 11"
173
 
I am sure the Flames would have liked to be a bit higher with the first of their three first rounders but GM Jay Feaster and Director of scouting Tod Button were determined to use these picks to begin restocking the Flames thin prospects crop. For years they used their draft picks whenever they looked for a player fix. Drafts that are strong at every tier don't come along every season, so the planets aligned around their multiple picks, eight in all. I am not the GM in Calgary, but I was happy that Lindholm was off the board before the Flames had to select because I thought Monahan offered a better player in terms of good ole leadership, grit, determination and use of his size. The kid is just scratching the surface, and has the weight on his shoulders of carrying a team with a weak cast. In other draft years, he would go around third overall. Scouts have projected him to go far, and he will make the Flames and be a quality NHL player. So when the Flames got on the clock, there was no real choice. By the time of the Flames second first rounder, they were at the fourth tier. Some might have felt that Emile Poirier seemed like a reach but he is a 200-foot scoring wing with good foot-hand instincts, and a heavy wrister who plays tough. I see him as a future power wing. With that last pick, unbelievably Morgan Klimchuck was still available. Pure and simple he is a opportunistic goal scorer who makes game changing passes, despite his slight 160 lb frame and under six foot height. Teams that had reservations will possibly be kicking themselve in a few years. Enforcer Keegan Kanig has some major skating issues and little lateral mobility, but Flames fans can take solace in the fact that there is no seating in the first eight rows, because if any of them even looked at him, they would be in mortal danger. He is without a doubt the best fighter and has been tougher than most in the dub since he was a 17-year old rookie. Big Eric Roy looks the part of big two way defender, and has solid offensive ability and the size. Tim Harrison is a 2nd yr. eligible American prospect from Dexter Prep in Mass. Rushan Rafikov is an aggressive Russian stay-home defenseman, who needs to not stay home to help the Flames.  
 
 
Carolina Hurricanes: Grade  C+
1
5
C
Brynas IF (SEL)
6' 0"
181
3
66
D
6' 3"
175
5
126
Kitchener (OHL)
6' 1"
197
6
156
D
6' 2"
196
 
I view the Hurricane's fall, that afforded them the chance to pick fifth in one of the strongest drafts ever, as one that was directly based on losing their goalie Cam Ward for a huge part of the season. Elias Lindholm gives them another offensive generator with scoring ability. If he fares well given less time with a smaller North American surface, he may really be another weapon at forward for the 'Canes.  Brett Pesce was an absolute steal in the earlier 3rd round. As he starts college, he will need to put more muscle and weight on his lanky frame. Pederson is also a bit of a longer term project well-balanced wing who has natural scoring ability and a bit of aggression. Tyler Ganly has NHL size but a ways to go before becoming an NHL defenseman.
 
I downgraded the Hurricanes because I felt they took four players who must still develop further to be NHL rostered players.
 
 
Chicago Blackhawks: Grade A
1
30
Plymouth (OHL)
5' 11"
184
2
51
D
6' 3.25"
211
3
74
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
6' 3.25"
216
4
111
D
Djurgården (SEL)
5'11"
180
4
121
US-Under-17 (USAH-NTDP)
5' 10"
165
5
134
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
5' 11"
165
6
181
USNTDP (USHL)
5' 6"
142
7
211
D
Sodertalje SK (Allsvenskan)
6' 2"
187
 
The Cup-winning Blackhawks added Johnny Oduya in return for their second and third rounders, in a move that helped make their defense arguably more mobile than any other team in history. By virtue of the great talent available in this year's draft, they were able to add more skill and grit by selecting Ryan Hartman. They were able to recapture a few more picks with their Cap castoffs, and jumped back into the second to take a huge Swedish defender in Dahlström, who probably was only there due to the fact that he had concussion issues that forced him out of the international tourneys. In John Hayden, who they selected with another captured draft pick, they get a big down-low presence who can be much more once he gains a bit more speed. They traded picks in order to jump up and take Robin Norell before anybody else did. The Swedish defender is almost 200lbs. but a tad under six feet at this juncture. He nonetheless has good up ice ability and an excellent three-zone game. So far Tyler Motte hasn't jumped up to show prolonged excellence, and Luke Johnson is also a project. Lil' Anthony is tiny but fast and skilled and fearless. Their final pick was used to select one of their other sleeper favorites, Swedish defender Robin Press, who the hawks think is big and talented. 
 
Colorado Avalanche: Grade A-   
1
1
C
Halifax (QMJHL)
5' 11.5"
181
2
32
D
Owen Sound (OHL)
6' 0"
180
3
63
G
Mississauga (OHL)
6' 2"
192
4
93
D
Vancouver (WHL)
6' 3.25"
199
5
123
D
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
5' 10"
191
6
153
D
Kingston (OHL)
6' 6"
213
7
183
D
5' 11.25"
184
 
The new regime in Colorado had all it's picks and started with more up-front scoring in drafting Nathan MacKinnon. I thought it was classy the way they told their fan base that they were pulling away from the idea of taking defenseman Seth Jones, a hometown boy. Jones contribution would never come as quickly as MacKinnon's whose nose for the net will have an immediate impact. MacKinnon can also temporarily slip to wing if necessary, and then he has less thinking to do at the NHL higher level. I was stunned that they bypassed Adam Erme, one of Roy's own players in Quebec, but I understand the concern to address the defense. Bigras will never be compared to Jones in stature, upside or present skill sets, but he is quietly a player who goes unnoticed while he plays a mistake-free game considered ordinary in all phases. In Spencer Martin, they get a big goalie to develop. Martin played for a really weak OHL team, and did so inconsistently. He went from a world beater who carried the team for a big part of the season to a player that lost games with lapses in concentration and follow through. Hopefully his best years are ahead. Fist fighter Greersten is a shutdown defender and open ice hitter. Will Butcher is an undersized skilled defender whose stick-handling, skating, passing, and PP QB abilities are exceptional, but stride & foot speed are average. The plan with giant defender Ben Storm is to let him develop his game. Swedish player Wilhelm Westlund's skating allows him to have a good offensive game, but keeps it simple and sticks to solid defense-first play.
 
It is difficult to downgrade a team after they get one of the impact offensive weapons available in the draft class, but I really don't see high upside or guaranteed locks in the rest of the selections. The idea is to ensure long term replacements, and I am not sure if the picks after their first are close making jumps toward the high NHL level.
 
 
Columbus Blue Jackets: Grade A     
1
14
C
6' 1.5"
186
1
19
Windsor (OHL)
6' 0.5"
198
1
27
C
Trenin (Slovak)
5' 10.5"
181
2
50
D
6' 2"
185
3
89
Portland (WHL)
5' 11"
161
4
105
Saginaw (OHL)
6' 2.75"
208
6
165
Frolunda HC (SEL)
6' 0"
165
7
195
C
Dubuque (USHL)
5' 11"
176
 
Like a boy on Christmas morning, new GM Jarmo Kekalainen received three first rounders to play with. He wasted no time in selecting three forwards. Although he wasn't selecting in the top tier, he still had lots to choose from with that 15th pick. Alexander Wennberg is a three-position forward that he was very familiar with. Wennberg has a "feel" for reading defenses and uses his superior passing ability, balanced skating and quick feet with his head up the entire time to pick them apart. By no means is he going to walk in to Columbus yet. He needs to get much stronger. Kerby Rychel is rated as one of the draft climbers who made sure he was a first rounds election by virtue of a second 40-goal season where he shouldered the weight of a weaker OHL club while playing for an owner who was his dad. It sounds like a good match to help add more leadership, grit and goals to the BlueJackets. Dano seemed like a big reach, but the luxury of having three first rounders lets your GM indulge. While not the quickest stop-start player, the stocky Dano plays a robust physical style, and is great in close and the battle areas, because when carrying, he is quite elusive.They balanced the Dano reach with what has to be considered on of the steals of the draft when Dillon Heatherington was still there at pick 50. Never to be confused with a new age up-ice offenseman, he has quietly developed his game as a strong D-man who knows his limits. He may never aspire to a number four second-pair player, but he looks like a guy who plays for you in the NHL without hurting you, and that is what the draft is about; acquiring future NHLers at all levels who help stabilize your roster and salary cap. Denmark import Oliver Bjorkstrand had his coming out in the Western league and although he will never bowl anyone over or get too dirty, he helps create chances with smart movement and strong, persistent forechecking. Oh, and he was the top rookie scorer in the league! Not big, not fast, just fearless and makes plays. No one can fault selecting big Nick Moutrey in the 4th as he has intriguing upside and game. Two seasons ago Norwegian wing Markus Söberg looked like he might be considered in the top 60, but the class got larger and thicker and he went on to the higher Swedish pro league where he fell between the cracks. This is also a real sleeper choice that may pay big dividends. The Blue Jackets didn't stop there and they took Joel Queneville's 2nd cousin, as a longer developmental guyI had hoped that Kekalainen would have gone after Ryan Pulock with that early pick, but with Wenneberg still on the board, there could be no discussion. Pulock was off the board prior to their second selection and if they didn't take Rychel at 19, Toronto would have scooped him before the third Columbus pick. Kekalainen selected four Euro-based players but balanced his selections with large small, finesse/skill players. Surprisingly, they ended up with only one D-man. This was clearly the best draft Columbus has had, with more real prospects than the fans could have ever hoped for. Lets hope they and management give each player the time to hone their abilities and advance.
 
 
Dallas Stars: Grade B
1
10
Chelyabinsk (KHL)
6' 2.75"
194
1
29
Guelph (OHL)
6' 1"
165
2
40
London (OHL)
6' 0.5"
203
2
54
G
Rimouski (QMJHL)
6' 0.75"
185
3
68
D
Rogle BK (Allsvenskan)
6' 0"
183
4
101
Brampton (OHL)
6' 2.25"
202
5
131
Kamloops (WHL)
5' 11"
162
5
149
6' 3"
176
7
182
D
Ilves Jr. (SM-liiga)
6' 1"
176
 
The Dallas face-lift started strongly as they not only had two first rounders, but multiple picks in the second and fifth. In the tenth overall slot they took Valery Nichushkin, one of the more highly debated players in terms of slotting and upside. He may be far closer to attempting an NHL transition, due to his size, speed and skill package. I see two possible problems early on. One is that he really is more of a dynamic one-man show with the puck, and hasn't learned to use teammates and set offensive plays with them. The other is that he will always be an airplane flight from going back home to Russia, if he doesn't make the Stars. Later in slot 29, they took Jason Dickinson, who needs developmental time but may be a strong all-around forward. The second round brought both Remi Elie and Philippe Desrosiers, a highly regarded goaltender prospect. Niklas Hansson is Swedish defender with average size but plenty of feet and compete. Nicholas Paul was a developmental pick with size and girth. Cole Ully is an under six foot wing with smarts and skills. Both Matej Paulovic & Aleski Makela are long-range Euro guys with height but are in need of more muscle and girth.
 
 
Detroit Red Wings: Grade  B
1
20
Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
6' 3"
178
2
48
Owen Sound (OHL)
6' 1"
188
2
58
Guelph (OHL)
5' 9"
150
3
79
C
AIK (Allsvenskan)
6' 1"
189
4
109
West Kelowna (BCHL)
6' 2"
170
5
139
D
Kelowna (WHL)
6' 3.5"
230
6
169
D
6' 5.75"
185
7
199
Finland
6' 2"
165
 
Another textbook example on how to run a draft, the Detroit Red Wings staff came in with all their allotted picks and took the best player available on the board in most cases. They selected the draft's biggest goal scorer with no trepidation given his disinterest in back checking or unearthing pucks. Natasiuk has a robust attack style and gives great effort but is too slow from point A to B. Bertuzzi is a small wrecking ball, and Janmark-Nylen was an off the radar player whom only the Wings thought highly of. Pope is a lanky fluid winger who is a second year eligible player with skills, who will try to improve at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Hampus Melen was yet another special sleeper pick.
 
 
Edmonton Oilers: Grade B+
1
7
D
6' 3.25"
185
2
56
5' 11"
161
3
83
C
Nizhnekamsk (KHL)
6' 4"
200
3
88
Penza Dizel (Slov U-20)
6' 0"
160
4
94
Vancouver (WHL)
6' 0"
184
4
96
London (OHL)
5' 11"
176
4
113
6' 4"
180
5
128
Langley (BCHL)
6' 2"
190
6
158
D
Everett (WHL)
6' 5"
200
7
188
C
6' 0"
184
 
Scheduled to pick in slot seven, the Oilers took Darnell Nurse who may just be that big, tough, fluid defender that they lack. Nurse is just a tad off that top echelon and must also be be considered in that first tier or close to it. They traded one of their two second rounders to acquire more picks, because in a strong thick draft, you want be able to restock your entire organization with as many new options to develop as possible. Although he might not have shown a strong offensive game yet, second rounder Marc-Oliver Roy is an intense big-framed 160 lb. speedster whose effort is contagious over the entire 200 foot surface. Yakimov is an even bigger, stronger on-the-puck center with a heavy shot. Anton Slepyshev went undrafted last year even though he was thought of as a possible high pick, and is a bargain at 88, if he does decide to cross the pond. He is good in all phases, including power play and penalty kill. Houck blossomed into a hard working, two-way wing with a combination of physical edge and offensive prowess this past season and was a steal in the 4th round. Platzer was on a strong veteran club in London, and was drafted to start his development here. Muir' s dad saw time as an NHL defenseman but he is just starting to develop as at tall and lanky wing. Evan Campbell is a good size wing who needs time. Betker is a huge defenseman that needs more repetitions. Chase is a strong skating DUB center who has excellent stick skills, good feet and is a really tough competitor.
 
The deciding factors in dropping the grade to B+ are the two Russians who may not embrace the North American style or care to endure it after doing so.
 
 
Florida Panthers: Grade  A
1
2
C
Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga)
6' 2"
205
2
31
D
Waterloo (USHL)
6' 2.5"
198
4
92
G
Wichita Falls (NAHL)
6' 3.5"
185
4
97
D
Dubuque (USHL)
6' 2.5"
186
4
98
C
St. Michael's (OJHL)
6' 1.25"
205
5
122
5' 10"
180
6
152
C
London (OHL)
6' 5"
211
7
206
D
Halifax (QMJHL)
5' 11"
183
 
Dale Tallon's seven selections became eight and started early when he took Sasha Barkov who I think is a great fit. Big centers like this are very difficult to come by, and despite the gifts of both Jones and Drouin, if the players available grade out equal, the team has to go with best fit. After this pick I thought Tallon did well by starting in the 2nd round with selecting players that are also excellent longer-term developmental fits. Big McCoshen has considerable upside and is a big skilled two-way defender who plays to his size with strong physicality in the front and on the wall. He will begin his development at Boston College. Big Crowley is a goalie they can wait for as a backup plan seven years down to road if their next future one, Jacob Markstom, doesn't pan out. Tallon didn't stop there. Taking a second big D-man in Downing, he gets another big quality defender who shows physicality, a quick stick, long reach, mobility, and skill. Buckles has shown he can score, although there are things to iron out. After Barkov, Clapperton may be the closest to vying for a chance, since he is a bit older and a veteran of multiple tournament challenges. Joshua Brown is a giant DT hoping to get his feet wet, while Weegar has shown he has strong offensive ability and an excellent point shot. Despite that, Tallon gets an A for taking players with enormous upsides at every tier of the draft, without reaching for players just to re-shape the team.
 
 
Los Angeles Kings: Grade  B -
2
37
Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
6' 0"
208
4
103
Guelph (OHL)
6' 6"
226
4
118
US-Under-17 (USAH-NTDP)
6' 275"
204
5
146
G
Red Deer (WHL)
6' 1"
181
5
148
C
6' 0"
202
6
178
D
Guelph (OHL)
6' 1"
177
7
191
Sudbury (OHL)
6' 1"
176
 
The Kings weren't supposed to start picking until 56 players were already picked, but they managed to package a few of their picks to move close to the beginning of that very strong second round, comprised of players who look like first rounders in most other draft years. The Kings hoped they hit pay dirt with Valentin Zykov, a thick high scoring Quebec junior league import. Most saw him as a first rounder with size, skill, speed and an accurate shot. In a draft this strong, someone has to fall, but you have to wonder if the "Russian factor" was the only reason he did, or was he not commited enough to the defensive game? Kings gain. After that the Kings draft turned into a list of list of six developmental players, including a giant wing from Guelph named Auger. My suggestions would be to read their profiles on DraftSite and monitor their progress. 
 
 
Minnesota Wild: Grade C -
2
46
D
Green Bay (USHL)
6' 1"
170
3
81
Owen Sound (OHL)
6' 3"
189
4
107
Shawinigan (QMJHL)
6' 1"
176
5
137
D
Wellington (OJHL)
6' 4"
191
6
167
C
6' 1.75"
193
7
197
D
Victoria (BCHL)
6' 1"
168
7
200
G
Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
6' 0.5"
177
 
The Wild didn't select until the start of the bottom half of the second round when they picked Gustav Olofsson a developing stay-at-home defender. After that the Wild's selections were based on projection and promise, with far too little indication any can advance to the NHL.  I am not saying they can't, but just that at this point they seem to be so far from that objective.
 
 
Montreal Canadiens: Grade  A+     
1
25
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
6' 5"
220
2
34
Leksands (Allsvenskan)
6' 2.25"
189
2
36
G
Halifax (QMJHL)
6' 1.25"
181
2
55
KalPa Kuopio (SM-liiga)
5' 10"
163
3
71
Erie (OHL)
6' 3"
225
3
86
Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
5' 9"
188
4
116
Praha Slavia (Czech)
5' 9.75"
165
6
176
Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
6' 0"
190
 
Coming into the draft GM Bergevin had six picks in the top three rounds, with the first one to come at 25 overall. He didn't disappoint in finding some very intriguing players who might turn the corner and be NHL stars. On the other hand, the top four all come with a bit of tempered enthusiasm too. Giant Michael McCarron talks like he can truly be an enforcer, but was toughest against guys much smaller than he is. De la Rose has intriguing long-term potential as a power wing with size, offensive upside, and a solid two-way impact. Goaler Fucale is the best Canadian goalie in the draft and has significant upside. The slight Lehkonen is an under six footer with good speed, hands, and high-end passing ability. Crisp is a big developmental forward, and Sven Andrighetto is a second year eligible who is very skilled and displays offensive tools in a compact size. Renway is a hard luck kid who is small but an offensive generator. Even big wing Gregoire has upside. They get an A+, despite the fact McCarron isn't the true bill of goods.
 
 
Nashville Predators: Grade B+
1
4
D
Portland (WHL)
6' 3.5"
205
3
64
D
Victoriaville (QMJHL)
6' 5"
223
4
95
C
Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
5' 10"
170
4
99
G
Owen Sound (OHL)
5' 10.25"
181
5
125
Karpat Oulu (SM-liiga)
6' 3"
183
5
140
D
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
6' 0"
165
6
155
C
Timra IK (SEL)
6' 0"
152
6
171
Victoriaville (QMJHL)
5' 10.5"
183
7
185
Victoria (BCHL)
5' 10.5"
173
7
203
G
Peliitat (SM-liiga)
6' 1"
183
 
With ten picks in every round but the second, the Predators were looking to bolster all areas and find some prospects that they might be able to develop equal to the ones teams were choosing earlier. The fourth overall pick allowed them the chance at an impact player in Seth Jones, and that is a heck of way to start your draft, especially at slot four. The rest of their picks took a developmental tone with little certainty that they pan out. Each prospect does have interesting qualities and positives as long as negatives.
 
 
New Jersey Devils: Grade C+
2
42
D
New York (EJHL)
6' 2"
200
3
73
C
Kingston (OHL)
6' 1"
195
4
100
6' 1"
160
6
160
Kelowna (WHL)
5' 11.25"
204
7
208
G
5' 11"
177
 
GM Lou Lamoirello came into the draft with a first and only three other picks and the knowledge that by selecting in this year, he made the 2014 Entry Draft first round pick the one that he would have surrender as punishment for Cap circumvention in the Ilya Kovalchuk signing. What he came away from the draft table dwarfed the addition of Schneider to his present club, where a goalie was going to need replacing. He did come away with five nice picks besides. Santini was a first rounder who possibly slipped because he needs more time. Ryan Kujawinski is a shoot first center with some nasty, but his scoring is in question. High schooler Wood has upside and Bell has resurrected his chances at the NHL with a transition to wing from the back line. And the son of Martin actually does has some upside, despite his size.
 
 
New York Islanders: Grade B
1
15
D
Brandon (WHL)
6' 1"
210
3
70
G
Waterloo (USHL)
6' 2"
185
3
76
Waterloo (USHL)
5' 9"
160
4
106
G
Sioux Falls (USHL)
6' 2"
191
5
136
C
6' 0"
190
6
166
C
Belleville (OHL)
5' 10.25"
170
7
196
D
Regina (WHL)
6' 1"
175
 
Picking from the center of the first round, the Islanders selected Ryan Pulock who has tremendous upside along with the hardest shot in the draft. They didn't have a second but did have picks in every round. When they returned to the mic in the third round their selections were not necessarily ones I liked long-term, as they chose American goalie Eamon McAdam, who will need lots of time and improvement. They also got Taylor Cammarata who is fearless wing, a second developmental goaler in Williams, Crus-Rydberg, who is an smaller finisher, Alan Quine, an undersized center-forward, and Burroughs who in his own zone will need improvement before he can show off his PP passing. The sleeper Pulock is the only reason I didn't drop their grade to B minus.
 
New York Rangers: Grade A
3
65
C
Surrey (BCHL)
6' 3.75"
171
3
75
Cherepovets (KHL)
6' 1"
170
3
80
Quebec (QMJHL)
5' 11"
160
4
110
D
P.E.I. (QMJHL)
6' 4"
220
6
170
G
Kootenay (WHL)
6' 2"
186
 
The Rangers draft day started in the third round when they chose three prospects and two more later. They win the best bang-for-your-buck award, because all their picks have ability and upside to contribute at the NHL level. I think the raw Tambellini is a dark-horse whose size, skills, hands, feet and temperament make him an all-around quality prospect. Granted, Pavel Buchnevich trip across the pond is what actually holds that grade high. A year ago most scouts thought of Duclair as a first rounder but his development seemed to stall. Big defender Graves and goalie Skapki are not locks but there is upside there too. 
 
Ottawa Senators: Grade B
1
17
C
5' 11.25"
191
3
78
G
6' 4"
196
4
102
Djurgården (Allsvenskan)
6' 3"
200
4
108
D
Guelph (OHL)
6' 4.5"
210
5
138
C
Val-d'Or (QMJHL)
5' 11"
172
6
161
United States
6' 3"
193
6
168
C
US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP)
5' 11"
165
    
The argument can be made that the Senators are the team that has the chance to continue to rise in the standings and their seven selections were used in various ways to add to further that upswing. Selecting Lazar gives them a quality all-around leader who is a reliable face-off man and relentless forechecker. Goaler prospect Marcus Högberg plays big and does take up lots of space, and has strong mechanics and calm under fire. Big Tobias Lindberg is an attempt at finding more Swedish gold as they did in Silfverberg. Harpur has only played defense for two seasons. Dunn is one of the younger players available, and he has proven to be a solid contributer in the offensive game in and out. The big youngster will need lots of developmental time. Quentin Shore presently playing at Denver University is not the fastest guy, but one of the most relentless, who displays an aggressive take-no-prisoners style of defensive commitment. As I look over their board, only Curtis Lazar can be viewed as a cant-miss NHL'er. I think that each and every one of their picks deserves merit, but they all come with reserve and a long term period of development.
 
(...Draft Grades continued in next article)