The Shortened 2013 NHL season might have just started, but there is already some decent buzz surrounding the upcoming draft after the season. While the focus seems to mostly be on mock drafts and projectability, here is a look at three players who could make an impact for a NHL team next fall.
Monahan has the size (6’2”, 195 pounds) and experience (three seasons with the Ottawa 67s) to step in right now for a NHL team and contribute. Despite just being 18 years old right now, the center is a very skilled and creative offensive threat. His defense continues to improve, and that aspect of his game will more than likely dictate just how much he plays right away. He won’t be a first line type of guy, but the second or third line for the right team is possible.
Teams looking for defense in the 2013 draft will not find a better option than Ristolainen. The Finnish prospect currently plays for TPS Turku, and his ability to utilize his size at a relatively young age should get him on a NHL roster right away. He still has a way to go offensively, but he is NHL-ready due to his defensive skills.
It might seem weird to some that a defenseman can be described as an offensive star, but that is how many have labeled the star player on the Portland Winterhawks. The son of NBA veteran Popeye Jones, Seth has an NBA-type body on the ice. Despite the fact that he will still be 18 as the season starts next year, the team that drafts him will more than likely look to utilize him on a nightly basis making him set to be a fantasy hockey star player as well.