The U-18 World Junior Championship is set to begin in just a few short days, an event that could bring the last major shake-up in the rankings of the 2013 NHL Draft prospects. So it is no surprise that the pre-WJC release of ISS Hockey's ranking of the top 30 NHL Draft prospects sports few surprises, and instead reflects pretty much the status quo from the March rankings.
For the fourth consecutive month, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones is ranked as the top prospect for this year's draft. Jones and his Winterhawks teammates have advanced to the WHL's Western Conference Final after a sweep of the Spokane Chiefs. Jones has been productive in the WHL playoffs, posting two goals and six assists while sporting a +8 rating through 10 playoff games.
Sitting second is Russian prospect Valeri Nichushkin from Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. Nichushkin's totals from the regular season were modest, given that he received only limited ice time. But the big forward has displayed some of his offensive prowess in the post-season, scoring six goals and adding two assists in 19 KHL playoff games.