Now that the 2013 NHL draft is over, the focus has shifted from where the top players would land to how well these prospect fit with the teams that selected them.
While the 2013 draft class was one of the deepest in years, not every player landed with a team that will fully utilizes their unique skill sets. For others, the fit couldn’t have been more perfect.
The following prospects were top-10 selections and landed with a franchise that will help develop them into stars at the NHL level.
Seth Jones, D, Nashville Predators
As much as it had to hurt defensive prospect Seth Jones to fall to No. 4 overall—the defenseman was previously ranked as the top prospect by NHL.com—the fact that he landed on a team like the Nashville Predators must be a dream come true.
Not only will Jones be set up to succeed on a team predicated on defensive play, the fact that he will be learning alongside one of the best all-around defenders in Shea Weber will ensure that the talented prospect blossoms into a star in Tennessee.
Nashville's small hockey market will give Jones a chance to grow as a player without intense scrutiny, which is perfect for not only the defensive prospect himself—who slipped a few spots in the draft and is eager to live up to expectations—but for the team as well.
Expect Jones to play with a chip on his shoulder.
Jonathan Drouin, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the teams that could have used a top-tier defenseman and passed on Jones, but the franchise made the right decision drafting left wing prospect Jonathan Drouin.
Drouin is smaller than most NHL teams would imagine from the No. 3 overall pick (5' 10" and 186 pounds), but with elite speed, skating ability and hockey I.Q., Tampa Bay improved its offensive group by leaps and bounds.
While the franchise already boasts an impressive offense with center Steven Stamkos and right wing Martin St. Louis, Drouin was the best play-making forward in the 2013 class and will make the bona fide snipers around him even more impressive.
The Lightning will expect Drouin to step in sooner rather than later and help bring the franchise to the next level with his offensive prowess. It will be a tall order for the young player, but it’s a role he has proven to thrive in during his time with the Halifax Mooseheads.
Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers
Jones stole all the headlines in this draft as the top prospect, but the Edmonton Oilers selected a prospect that has the potential to be just as effective at the next level when the team took Darnell Nurse at No. 7 overall.
While it’s clear that Nurse’s lineage helps his cause—he's the son of a former Canadian Football League player and the nephew of former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb—it was the luck of being drafted by the Oilers that will help his development.
Edmonton has lacked an elite defender for years, and with the commitment showed to Nurse by taking him at No. 7, it’s clear that the franchise is excited about his potential and expects big things from the top-10 selection.
Nurse will be given ample opportunities to shine as the franchise’s top defenseman, both at even strength and on special teams. While he still needs time to develop physically and mature on the ice as a player, the Oilers have finally found a reliable, top-four defender that will dominate the NHL within his first two seasons.
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