Let’s have fun looking into our crystal balls! (Errr, that never sounds right, does it?)
At the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, three defensemen were drafted in the top 10, including the Buffalo Sabres’ first overall pick, Rasmus Ristolainen.
Seth Jones was the talk of the NHL heading into the draft, earning not only the distinction as the number one blueliner in the draft but the number one prospect overall. Word on the street is that this kid is an absolute lock to become a solid, if not elite, defenseman in the NHL.
Not far behind Jones in the rankings, though, were Darnell Nurse and Ristolainen. All three of these blueline prospects have similar physical characteristics – they are all listed at 6’4″, and Nurse is the lightest at 185 lbs. – so it won’t be their size that holds them back from becoming an NHL talent.
Trying to determine which of these guys will become the best defenseman to emerge from the top ten of this year’s draft, then, requires some examination of the system that each of these prospects will find himself in, plus a whole lot of guesswork. Does Jones get the edge because he will be in Nashville’s defensive-minded system? Does Ristolainen get the nod, because Ron Rolston has shown a knack for developing young talent? Is Nurse screwed because Edmonton is, well, Edmonton? Time for me to shut up, and you to speak up!