The 2013 NHL Draft takes place this Sunday, and the Buffalo Sabres have a whole bunch of picks in the first two rounds - four, to be exact. There are a heck of a lot more than four players that will be taken in the first two rounds, however, so over the next few days, we're going to throw some previews out featuring some prospects that could be available with each of their first few picks. Today: No. 8.
Monahan is the classic case of a great player stuck on a terrible team. Despite his Ottawa 67's winning just 16 games, the 6'2'' center still managed to score 31 goals with 47 assists, for his second straight 78-point season.He served as captain of the 67's, and has "high end puck skills and playmaking ability", according to NHL Central Scouting.
Monahan was voted as a top three OHL Eastern Conference player for the following categories by OHL coaches: Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler and Best on Face-Offs - not too shabby. He projects as a future #1/#2 center depending on how much of that offense translates to the NHL, though he'll need to work a bit on his play in the defensive zone to really become the total package.
Lindholm is a polished, complete center from Sweden. Standing 6'0'', 181 lbs, the right handed forward is a smooth skating, hard shooting, fluid passing player who gives maximum effort on every shift and is strong despite his just-good-enough size.
He's been compared to Peter Forsberg, which is a good place to start. He's played with Swedish pros for the past two years, so he'd be more ready than some top 10 players to jump right in to the NHL mix. He'd be a steal at 8, but personally I don't think he'll last this long unless some teams ahead of the Sabres want to bulk up on the blue line.
We covered this already in our mock draft post. Check it out here.
Ristolainen is a big Finnish defenseman who stands 6'3'', 201lbs. He's as polished as they come in the draft, and has played two professional seasons already in Europe. His big body gives his a big reach, and he uses his size well, including some big hits. He plays in all situations, and handles every part of the game well.
Depending on who you talk to, Ristolainen is an offensively-gifted two-way defenseman or a superb defenseman in his own zone with good potential regarding what sort of numbers he could put up in the NHL. What is very clear is that he is perhaps the best defenseman in this draft when playing in his own zone, using his superb hockey sense, size and skill in a shutdown role while also being capable of quickly and effectively moving the puck up the ice.
Shinkaruk's small-ish size (5'10'', 181lbs) is the only drawback to his incredible offensive game. His 37 goals and 49 assists this season in the WHL attest to that, as its one of the more defensive-minded leagues in Canada. He's a tenacious skater who will forecheck and take a hit to make the play, and when you combine that with his killer hands and good shot, he has the potential to be a very productive offensive force in the NHL.