Decisions at top of 2013 draft still affecting NHL
A look at the top of the 2013 NHL Draft a few years later.
The second-guessing came immediately after the Colorado Avalanche picked centre Nathan MacKinnon first and the Florida Panthers selected centre Aleksander Barkov second in the 2013 draft. Blue-chip defenceman Seth Jones was considered the top prospect by many scouts, and winger Jonathan Drouin was coming off a 100point season in juniors.
Less than three years later, those decisions are still reverberating around the NHL.
MacKinnon is in line for a big contract like the $35.4 million, six-year deal Barkov signed with the Panthers on Tuesday. The Nashville Predators traded Jones earlier this month. And Drouin? He was suspended by the Tampa Bay Lightning after failing to show up for a minor-league game and he has demanded a trade from the defending Eastern Conference champion.
“The draft, as we all know, is an imperfect process, science whatever you want to call it,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said. “Let’s see how this plays out.”
So far, things have played out well for the Avalanche and Panthers with MacKinnon and Barkov. MacKinnon won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2013-14 as Colorado made the playoffs, and his 140 career points are the most in the talented draft class that also included Calgary Flames centre Sean Monahan and Carolina Hurricanes centre Elias Lindholm.
MacKinnon has turned into the kind of player Avalanche executives Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy expected. He said in November that he’d like a long-term contract – and the Avalanche have shown a tendency to lock up their cornerstone players with those kinds of deals.
So have the Panthers, who are betting the 20-year-old Barkov keeps improving. Barkov will count $5.9 million against their salary cap through 2022.
“When you put a commitment like this on a young man like this, there are only a few people that can handle this, and Sasha’s unbelievable on and off the ice,” general manager Dale Tallon said. “I’ve never seen a young man at his age be so committed on and off the ice.”