The start of the 2013 NHL season wasn't the most confident of beginnings, with a 113-day lockout taking a big chunk out of the league's scheduled games. But on Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins proved it was worth the wait by providing fans with one of the most electric Stanley Cup finals in recent memory.
And it starts all over again with the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30, held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The draft will be televised and TSN will have FOUR specials about the young players who will be the focus of the hockey world.
For die-hard hockey fans, the draft offers up a glimpse of what their favourite team might look like next year. Will that hotshot rookie be a goal-scoring sensation? Can that young goalie backstop your team into the playoffs? This year's draft will be the first time that all seven rounds will be held on the same day.
The Colorado Avalanche, who have the first pick, say they won't use it to grab No. 1 prospect defenseman Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks, ESPN reports.
It's rare to see a defenceman rated as a no. 1 prospect and Seth Jones, son of NBA player Popeye Jones, is an intriguing talent. But defencemen, even one as good as Jones, can take years to adjust to the style and speed of NHL play. Instead, Colorado is vying for Halifax Mooseheads centre Nathan MacKinnon.
"It would be tough for us not to take MacKinnon," new coach Patrick Roy told ESPN The Magazine. "MacKinnon is ready to play tomorrow."
The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, at sixth and seventh pick, will be the first two Canadian teams to make a pick. The Flames will be looking at rebuilding their aging core and also have the 22nd and 28th picks in the first round from late-season trades.
“The one thing I believe with the pick at six, we want to get a player who has the opportunity to come in here right now and compete for a job. We really like this draft. We think at 22 and 28, we’re going to be happy with the players who are still on the board,” Flames GM Jay Feaster told the Globe and Mail.
The Oilers have had a number of high-profile draft picks in recent years (Nail Yakupov, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall), but hockey pundits are speculating whether Edmonton will trade their pick for a veteran defenceman, an asset the team sorely needs.
The Jets will be picking in 13th spot while the Senators will be picking in 17th spot. The Leafs (21st spot), Canucks (24th) and Canadiens (25th spot) round out the Canadian teams selecting at the draft.
An intriguing prospect for the Leafs is OHL centre Max Domi, son of popular former Leafs enforcer Tie Domi. There are also rumours that the Leafs could trade to get an earlier pick in the draft.
The Canucks, drafting late in the first round will have to ponder moving long-time goalie Roberto Luongo. While the Canadiens probably won't be making a big splash with their late pick.
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