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2013 NHL Mock Draft, No. 4: Brandon's Final Take on the First Round

This is my final full mock draft before the actual draft on June 30. I don't expect much to change from now until then.

Bruce Bennett

Determining what each team would do in a draft is nearly impossible. We put these mocks together as an exercise in futility meant to spark discussion and debate the merits of whatever decisions could be be made. It would be simplest if I could just put up my draft board and match that to each team in the draft based on rankings alone, but that's not how it works in real life.

So consider this a fun mock draft as an example of how I think the draft could shake out and not necessarily what I expect to actually happen.

It's also tough to put a mock draft together that doesn't lead directly to the Dallas Stars getting the player I want most.

If you'll notice in this mock draft, Seth Jones falls to No. 3 overall. There's a strong chance the Avalanche pick Seth Jones -- and they should, since their defense is full of holes -- but the indications are that Patrick Roy is heavily focused on the skilled center out of the QMJHL.

There also has to be one surprise in the top ten or so, and I think Max Domi will slip in. Or he could fall to the back of the first round. Who knows, really.

Pick Team Player League Explanation
1 Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon (C) QMJHL The first big decision of Patrick Roy's tenure in Colorado is a big one - he goes with the player he knows the best and who is also the top in this draft.
2 Florida Panthers Jonathan Drouin (LW) QMJHL The Florida Panthers take the opportunity to add a superstar in the making in this elite winger.
3 Tampa Bay Lightning Seth Jones (D) WHL The Lightning need help all over the map, but can't pass up the chance to draft a franchise No. 1 defenseman at the top of the draft.
4 Nashville Predators Aleksander Barkov (C) FIN The Predators won't waste time in picking up one heck of a talented center who will terrorize the Stars for years to come.
5 Carolina Hurricanes Valeri Nichushkin (RW) KHL This seems like a no-brainer, as the Hurricanes jump at the chance to get the Russian sensation.
6 Calgary Flames Sean Monahan (C) OHL Everyone is so convinced that the Flames will pick Monahan that it most likely won't happen. But for now, this is where he fits.
7 Edmonton Oilers Darnell Nurse (D) OHL The Oilers need defense and they get the second-best defenseman in the draft.
8 Buffalo Sabres Elias Lindholm (C) SEL The Buffalo Sabres are in need of new, young and exciting talent. Lindholm is a franchise center in the making.
9 New Jersey Devils Max Domi (C) OHL The Devils make the first surprising move of the draft and pick the polarizing Max Domi.
10 Dallas Stars Hunter Shinkaruk (C/LW) WHL The Stars select a mature, proven leader who should anchor the Stars forwards for quite some time. Center or wing...that's the question.
11 Philadelphia Flyers Rasmus Ristolainen (D) FIN The Flyers get the best two-way defenseman in the draft.
12 Phoenix Coyotes Bo Horvat (C) OHL The Coyotes need skill up the middle and finally get some elite offense to help out the defensive system.
13 Winnipeg Jets Andre Burakowsky (LW) Swe The Jets pick a smooth skating winger with great puck possession skills.
14 Columbus Blue Jackets Ryan Pulock (D) WHL The Blue Jackets continue their makeover by picking up a defenseman with the best shot from the point in the draft.
15 New York Islanders Nikita Zadorov (D) OHL The Islanders get the large and physical defenseman who also skates at high level. Like a nastier version of Jamie Oleksiak.
16 Buffalo Sabres Adam Erne (LW) QMJHL The Sabres get another elite forward with the speedy power forward out of the Q.
17 Ottawa Senators Alexander Wennberg (C) Swe The powerful center will work well in Ottawa, with skill and a great two-way game to go along with his elusive skating ability.
18 Detroit Red Wings Frederik Gauthier (C) QMJHL The Red Wings get one heck of a two-way center in Gauthier, whose size and unknown ceiling make him one of the more intriguing players in this draft.
19 Columbus Blue Jackets Curtis Lazar (C) WHL The Blue Jackets add skill and grit to their forward group with an already impressive first-round haul.
20 San Jose Sharks Robert Hagg (D) SEL The Sharks need defense and Hagg is one of the better two-way presences in this draft on the blue line.
21 Toronto Maple Leafs Kerby Rychel (LW) QMJHL This power forward would have fit perfectly under Brian Burke, but his sniping skills are too tough for Dave Nonis to pass up.
22 Calgary Flames Josh Morrissey (D) WHL The Flames add speed and offense on the blue line with Morrissey, who will need some time to develop.
23 Washington Capitals Valentin Zykov (RW) QMJHL The Capitals select a strong and skilled forward who has rocketed up the draft charts this past season.
24 Vancouver Canucks J.T. Compher (C) USHL How often do Canadian teams select players from the US development programs? I don't know, but I have it happening twice in this mock draft.
25 Montreal Canadiens Jacob De La Rose (LW) Swe This smooth skating and speedy winger will provide great two-way play for Montreal in a couple of years.
26 Anaheim Ducks Pavel Buchnevich (LW) KHL The Ducks can't believe Buchnevich is still available, and immediately draft a puck possession machine out of Russia.
27 Calgary Flames Steve Santini (D) NTDP Santini is one of those defenseman that does everything very well, but isn't really special at one particular thing.
28 Columbus Blue Jackets Shea Theodore (D) WHL Theodore is a young puck-moving defenseman with the potential to be an elite offensive player from the blue line should he develop his defensive game a bit.
29 Dallas Stars Nicolas Petan (C) WHL The Stars select the high-scoring and dynamically gifted center who is as creative with the puck as he is skilled. The big question: Would the Stars select two undersized forwards in the first round?
30 Chicago Blackhawks Anthony Mantha (LW) QMJHL This large and smooth skating power forward fits perfectly into what the Blackhawks love to put on the ice.