2013 NHL draft: Rambling thoughts on mock drafts and player rankings

Gail Oskin

Sunday is turning into Christmas morning, when all the presents will be unwrapped starting around 3 PM.

Okay, okay, I hate late Christmas mornings too, but there's nothing we can do about that... "We" being those who are eagerly waiting for the festivities to commence.

On Tuesday evening, I was darting around the Internet and trying to see if there had been published reports about Dale Tallon and his interests / intentions with the #2 overall selection for this year's draft... But when I checked Twitter and saw updates on Craig Button's final pre-draft rankings and mock draft, I found myself sidetracked in a thought. It's a thought that's been gestating and manifesting for most of the month of June regarding the draft.

I've already confessed how taken aback I was on June 5th with the SB Nation mock draft when Seth Jones fell into Raw Charge's lap (picking of the Tampa Bay lightning). I found appeal in the mock draft conversation that those who were on-the-ground in Colorado and south Florida could justify their selections in a manner that wasn't echoing what other mock drafts were suggesting their picks would be.

Colorado wanted the top forward in the draft, while Florida wanted offense.

Last week, Joe Sakic tipped his hand and stated that the Avalanche were going offense with the #1 overall pick, and just Monday Patrick Roy further conceded what the Avs are leaning toward doing (taking Nathan Mackinnon first overall). You could read all of this on Raw Charge, we reported on both incidents.

The thing is, even with those intentions coming to light in the past week, there are still freshly written mock drafts that are coming out in public (USA Today for example) that suggest Seth Jones will go #1 overall... And the justification being Seth Jones should go #1 overall.

Therein lay my issue; it seems a memo has been missed through the media, larger blogosphere and through fans. Maybe we caught the bug from the NFL and how they conduct mock drafts and such leading up to football's grand event each spring? Whatever, there's an issue here: Mock drafts aren't rankings. Mock drafts are supposed to be educated guesses at what each team intends to do

I really like the DC Mock Draft Database, I link to it every year and I promote it... But it often shows how uneducated the mockups are. Most people making these drafts up don't look at the larger organization for each team; they look at the NHL club and connect dots.

Colorado has let it be known to the public - to their fanbase, the people buy team paraphernalia and tickets and such - that they're going with a forward as the #1 overall pick. As of early this week, their intention is to select Nathan Mackinnon. Period. End of speculation on who they chose as the pick.

I admit, I've gotten caught up on the speculative rhetoric on Twitter (talking to Raw Charge's friend and colleague Mike Gallimore) that something fishy might be up and Colorado might just be doing this to sell the pick... But in the end, if the Avs go ahead and trade the pick or select Seth Jones in a grand spectacle of slight-of-hand, they're going to piss off the people back home who have been told the intended direction of the club come Sunday afternoon. They'd alienate their fanbase in a comparable fashion to than antics of OK Hockey Group, former owners here in Tampa.

The problem after going on rankings-versus-organization plans with the draft goes by way of Halifax: Jonathan Drouin has repeatedly been linked to the Tampa Bay Lightning as a replacement for Martin St. Louis... And it just so happens he's been the 3rd ranked player in the draft. Never mind the fact the Lightning bring players along slowly, never mind the fact there is depth at wing that's percolating up to the NHL level. Drouin started being linked to the Lightning because it was the most convenient thing to do. Barkov? Nichushkin? Please. The only option at 3 is Jonathan Drouin because all the hype and previous reports about the 3rd overall pick says it's Drouin.

Of course, no one truly knows what the Lightning are going to do at 3rd overall until Steve Yzerman and company trots out and makes their short announcement of the pick. (Sidenote: Dear Steve Yzerman; thank you so, so much for not making a scene with your selections and just announcing the pick. This is not sarcasm, this is genuine appreciation.) They could go forward, they could go defense - it depends on who is remains on the board after the first two picks.

Back to my point: Mock drafts are not supposed to be ambiguous player rankings. If you want to rank prospects - by all means, please do.

This post was written by a member of the Raw Charge community and does not necessarily represent or express the views or opinions of Raw Charge staff.

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