Monday night was the 2013 NHL Draft lottery and the New Jersey Devils did not win it. The Colorado Avalanche did so they pick first while the Devils remain at ninth overall. In the open post for the lottery, I asked readers for their top ten prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft and proceeded to keep asking on Twitter. It's something similar to what I asked for in 2011 and while it wasn't a complete representation of the fanbase, I found it interesting then how the readers ranked the top prospects in that draft. As it turned out, the Devils did draft the one they valued the most: Adam Larsson. Therefore, I decided to do it again but extend it to ten prospects to include where the Devils would draft this year.
I didn't get as large of a response this time with only ten top tens to go through. That's understandable as the draft is still ways away and so draft coverage hasn't started yet. I think when more information and time passes, there will be more interest in the draft. Plus, it wasn't clear where the Devils would end up in the first round until the end of the season. There weren't weeks of draft speculation like in 2011. On top of that, coming up with a top five is easier than a top ten, especially for this year where it appears there's a consensus top four. Nonetheless, I did say I would turn it into a post and the results do have some points of interest.
Like in 2011, I awarded points for votes (10 for 1st, 9 for 2nd, etc.), summed them up for a total score, and then ranked them accordingly:
It appears that most of you have an idea of who's in the top ten as only four additional prospects were brought up and all of them would have been picked tenth. Within that top ten is a lot of variation. Seth Jones was near unanimous at first overall and completely unanimous in the top three. Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin were also solid #2 and #3 guys, though some readers swapped them. There was a little more variation for Aleksander Barkov but he ended up solidly in fourth. Valeri Nichushkin ended up solidly in fifth but he was all over the place in some readers, with one leaving him off the top ten completely. Before you say that's ludicrious, it isn't unheard of a prospect dropping in the rankings due to a KHL contract and he's got two years left on a three-year deal. While I didn't get many top tens, it seems to me there's a general idea of the top five and it's order for 2013 in the eyes of the Devils.
Beyond the top five is where opinions varied even more. While defenseman Darnell Nurse finished sixth, there were rankings as high as fourth to one set that didn't include him in the top ten. No one picked him ninth - duh - but he was just everywhere. As it turned it out, it was enough to get him ahead of others. Elias Lindholm did make everyone's top ten but three were for fifth, three were for sixth, three for ninth, and one for tenth. I guess some fans are hoping he'll be around when New Jersey picks while others think he'll go sooner. Sean Monahan was the subject of our first draft prospect profile, which Karen wrote on Thursday. Had I asked for top tens after it, I think he would have received some higher spots, but enough people felt he was pretty good within this group as-is. He just edged out Hunter Shinkaruk who received more votes at #9 than any other prospect. There was some variation but early indications suggest he would be a good selection for New Jersey. Rounding out the list is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, who was never ranked higher than seventh but made everyone's top ten. Seems about right for a tenth overall spot among the readers. Incidentally, here's the breakdown of ranks.
Given where the Devils are drafting, how picks #5 through #8 are going to really drive the team's hand at the draft. It may cause them to trade down based on what happens or make a mad dash to the podium to get someone who slipped further than they thought. That's why I don't think it's sufficient to just ask who you'd want at ninth overall. I'm calling this a preliminary top ten because I didn't get that many top tens and the draft is still a bit under two months away. I'm going to ask this question again closer to the draft in June. By then, we'll have plenty of prospect profiles done, other places will have more draft coverage, and there will be more interest. Perhaps there will be changes in opinion; maybe there will be some other prospects trying to break into the top ten. Thanks to everyone who gave me their top tens for this iteration and we'll revisit this later. Please leave your comments about these rankings and other thoughts about the 2013 NHL Draft in the comments.