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Top 30 Skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft (December)

Welcome to the Top 30 Skaters for the 2013 NHL Draft December Edition. After another full month of viewings and valuable opportunities to see more potential 1st round talent, the rankings have been expanded from the Top 15 to the Top 30. Please note that this ranking is for skaters only.

Sasha Barkov

Notable Risers:

Sasha Barkov

After beginning the season on a point per game pace in Finland’s top professional league, 17 year-old Sasha Barkov was ranked 4th overall in the JHR November list. Some questioned whether the young star could maintain such a pace over a lengthy season. Now, 31 games into the year, Barkov remains close to that point per game average with 14 goals and 14 assists and has maintained his status as one of the league’s best offensive weapons at the age of 17.

Jonathan Drouin

Since returning from injury, Jonathan Drouin has exceeded teammate and potential 1st overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon in production, scoring 33 points in just 17 games. While his game lacks of the tenacity and physicality of MacKinnon’s, his skill level is at the very least on par.  Possessing the best set of hands in the draft, along with elite vision and a shiftiness that’s difficult to contain, Drouin has been rocketing up most lists in the month of December, including this one.

Valeri Nichushkin

A bit of an unknown commodity entering this season, Valeri Nichushkin opened a lot of eyes at the recent Subway Super Series with his size, speed and tenacity. He showed an affinity towards taking the puck wide and driving to the net hard…very hard. He’s not afraid to go into high traffic areas and really uses his size well to get himself around opposing defensemen. When Nichushkin decides to rush the puck, he’s extremely difficult to stop; an attractive quality for any NHL team in need of a big winger.

Notable Fallers:

Curtis Lazar

Curtis Lazar had a November to forget offensively, posting just 6 assists and no goals in 12 games. He seems to have rediscovered his scoring touch so far in December, potting 5 goals in just 4 games, but scouts love to see consistency and he will have to prove that these extended slumps aren’t an issue going forward.

Josh Morrissey

Much like Lazar, Morrissey dried up offensively in the month of November with just 5 points versus an 11 point effort in October.  He’s an extremely creative player with high hockey sense, but there’s questions as to whether some of his crafty, high risk plays will be successful at the pro level or if they will get him in trouble.  Consistent scoring will help alleviate some of those concerns so Morrissey will need to produce at a good clip to finish out the year.

Full Rankings:

1. Nathan MacKinnon – Center, Halifax Mooseheads

2. Sasha Barkov – Center, Tappara

3. Seth Jones – Defense, Portland Winterhawks

4. Jonathan Drouin – Wing, Halifax Mooseheads

5. Sean Monahan – Center, Ottawa 67’s

6. Valeri Nichushkin – Wing, Chelyabinsk

7. Elias Lindholm – Center, Brynas

8. Ryan Pulock – Defense, Brandon Wheat Kings

9. Hunter Shinkaruk – Wing, Medicine Hat Tigers

10. Nikita Zadorov – Defense, London Knights

11. Adam Erne – Wing, Quebec Remparts

12. Rasmus Ristolainen – Defence, TPS Turku

13. Darnell Nurse – Defense, Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds

14. Robert Hagg – Defense, MODO

15. Artturi Lehkonen – Wing, KalPa

16. Max Domi – Center, London Knights

17. Josh Morrissey – Defense, Prince Albert Raiders

18. Andre Burakowksy – Wing, Malmo

19. Curtis Lazar – Center, Edmonton Oil Kings

20. Frederik Gauthier – Center, Rimouski Oceanic

21. Anthony Mantha – Wing, Val-d’Or Foreurs

22. Anthony Duclair – Wing, Quebec Remparts

23. Kerby Rychel – Wing, Windsor Spitfires

24. JT Compher – Center, USNTDP

25. Keaton Thompson – Defense, USNTDP

26. Jason Dickinson – Center, Guelph Storm

27. William Carrier – Center, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles

28. Morgan Klimchuk – Wing, Regina Pats

29. Bo Horvat – Center, London Knights

30. Valentin Zykov – Wing, Baie-Comeau Drakkar

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Anton Tibaldi

Anton has a degree in Professional Writing from the University of Waterloo and is currently studying a Master's of Sport Management at California State University. He specializes in covering major junior hockey and NHL draft prospects playing in the CHL. Anton currently writes the Back Row, Corner Seat: Prospect Reports at Jr Hockey Recruit and covers the Anaheim Ducks for The Hockey Writers.