With just over two weeks left until all seven rounds are conducted at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J, the NHL draft is looming closer.
Because of how deep the 2013 draft is going to be, there are a small handful of players that could make an NHL roster next season:
Valeri Nichushkin: The Russian-forward played in the KHL this past season, playing with grown men and still managed to score six points in 18 games. Nichushkin has the size (6-5) and speed to make the Canes’ roster. However, he may not be there at the fifth pick as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nashville Predators, who own the third and fourth pick, respectively, have shown interest in Nichushkin.
Aleksander Barkov: Barkov was only 16-years-old when he played his first game in the SM-Liiga, the top league in Finalnd, playing against men over double his age. This season, he was Tappara’s second-leading scorer and helped lead the team’s best season in a decade. Barkov is mature for his age, leading to the believe he could play in the NHL next season. He also has the size (6-2) to withstand the physicality of a North American sized rink, which he is not used to.
Elias Lindholm: At 17-years-old, Lindholm made his Sweden Elite League debut and has played there ever since and last season he scored 30
points in 49 games. Lindholm is similar to Barkov in their offensive production, hockey intelligence and defensive play with Lindholm being slightly more talented. However, the Sweden native is three inches shorter than Barkov and is also not used to North American ice.
Sean Monahan: Monahan is the least likely to make an NHL roster of these four – he’s never played with grown men and is not as skilled as the other three. However, he does excel on the defensive side of the puck, which has led some prospects straight into the NHL, like Sean Couturier and Alexander Burmistrov. Monahan has a chance of making an NHL roster, but not as likely as the other three.
The Canes will have choices at the fifth pick, should they not trade it, and Rutherford will have to decide on which player he thinks will have the most impact on his roster.