2013 NHL Draft: Florida's pick at #2 is a bit of a mystery leading into the draft

Aleks Barkov is an alternative for the #2 overall pick - Rich Schultz

It's not clear what the Cats plan to do at #2, and that will have an affect (potentially) on the Lightning at #3.

There's still speculative rhetoric about the #1 overall pick of the Colorado Avalanche from some media people and fans. While there is room for speculation, it's been made abundantly clear that the Avs plan to take a forward and likely Halifax center Nathan Mackinnon first overall at the 2013 NHL draft this afternoon.

So let's take Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy at their word and stop with the perception the pick is iffy. The Avs are going forward and at #1 and most likely Nathan Mackinnon.

OK, then what?

See, that's the mystery of the draft. It's not the #1 overall pick, but the #2 overall selection. It's not Colorado, and their publicly displayed affection for an offensive player... It's Florida and GM Dale Tallon's poker face.

There's no telling what the Panthers are planning to do. Do they go with the best-on-the-board pick with Seth Jones, which many a mock-draft have predicted? It's highly possible, if not probable... After all, this was the NHL team that was musing during the NHL season about getting the chance to take Jones #1 overall. Mock drafts in general of late simply pushed Jones to #2 overall when word leaked out the Avs wanted Mackinnon.

Or do the Panthers go offense again and snatch up the likes of Jonathan Drouin, or the top European prospect on the board with Aleksander Barkov? Donny Rivette over at Litter Box Cats had picked Drouin earlier this month in the SB Nation mock draft specifically because of how muted the Panthers offensive attack is... Though it's questionable if taking a wing to compliment Jonathan Huberdeau (the 2013 Calder Award winning forward) is the right call.

The uncertainty at #2 breeds uncertainty at #3, that's the chief reason I put focus on the Panthers pick. If Jones is indeed gone, then the stage is set for a further predictable fall of dominos for the Lightning's pick at 3, followed by Nashville's at 4 and Carolina's selection at 5.

But if Florida goes with a forward... All bets are off. There's no telling what Tampa Bay does in that scenario, or who is left for other top 5 teams to chose from.

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