Year after year, intelligent hockey minds search the globe for the next generation of hockey stars ready to fulfill their childhood dreams of playing in the National Hockey League. Clichés are thrown around constantly when analyzing the future stars. Each season, we can predictably expect to hear experts claim that this year’s draft class is the “best group of players we have seen in years”. Do not expect this old cliché to be put to rest when referring to the 2013 draft class as, for once, it actually holds some truth. Experts have tagged the 2013 group of draft-eligible players as one of the most talented to come along in quite some time. Time will tell us how good this crop turns out to be but early indications have many feeling that it could rival the deep draft class of 2003 that featured such first round NHL stars as Eric Staal, Zach Parise, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Tomas Vanek, Ryan Kesler, Dustin Brown, Dion Phaneuf, and Ryan Suter to name a few. Ten years after producing one of the most impressive first rounds in the history of the entry draft, the 2013 draft class looks to make a similar impact.
In 2012, the draft was led by Russian superstar winger Nail Yakupov but he was one of the lone prominent forward prospects in what was deemed to be one of the deepest groups of defensive prospects that the NHL has seen in quite some time. After Yakupov was selected atop the class by the Edmonton Oilers, eight defensemen in total were selected in the opening ten picks. Conversely, the 2013 NHL draft class appears to be loaded with an abundance of game-breaking forward prospects and the scouting world is excited at the deep potential of these high-end players.
Below is an early forecast of the 2013 NHL draft class based on viewings, scouting reports and discussions with hockey personalities around the globe. As history can attest, these projections are guaranteed to change and no ranking is set in stone as these players will undoubtedly continue to exceed or disappoint in their draft year expectations. Opportunities could present these talented hockey players with the ice time to showcase their skills and equally as fast, injuries can crush the hopes of these exuberant young hockey talents.