The 2013 NHL draft is upcoming on June 30, and the experts are starting to post mock drafts.
The draft order won’t be finalized until the playoffs are completed, but the Canucks can expect to pick approximately 26th overall, as they did in 2012 after a similar first-round loss following a successful regular season.
NHL.com has posted three different mock drafts by Adam Kimelman, Steven Hoffner and Mike G. Morreale. They project the Canucks to take either Nikita Zadorov, Ian McCoshen or Bo Horvat, respectively. Zadorov and McCoshen are blueliners, and Horvat is a center.
Picking a defenseman would be more likely, as the Canucks have taken a winger (Nicklas Jensen, 2011) and a center (Brendan Gaunce, 2012) in the first round of the last two drafts.
Zadorov is a hulking 6’5”, 230-pound defender playing for the London Knights of the OHL.
It would be a steal if he dropped down far enough for the Canucks to take him, as International Scouting Services has him listed as eighth overall on their most recent list of the top 30 skaters eligible for the 2013 draft. But if the Canucks could get him, Zadorov could be an physical power on the Vancouver blue line.
McCoshen is a smaller defender than Zadorov at 6’2” and 207 pounds, but he projects to have more offensive upside. However, he has been playing for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL, and coming from a lower league than the CHL, he would likely need more development to be NHL-ready.
That may not be an issue, however, as McCoshen has already committed to play NCAA hockey for Boston College next year and therefore would be a long-term project anyways.
The third player projected for the Canucks, Bo Horvat, is a teammate of Zadorov’s with the London Knights. Horvat is a 6’0”, 200-pound center with a reputation for being physical and winning battles along the boards and in the corners.
While a physical center to help on the forecheck and on the penalty kill would be a definite asset for the Canucks, that falls a little too close to the projection for Brendan Gaunce, and it is unlikely the Canucks would draft two such similar centers in consecutive years.
Most likely, the Canucks will pick the best defender that is available when they are picking in the latter half of the first round, and if they are lucky, it will be a potential gem like Zadorov.