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A closer look at the 2013 NHL draft class, including MacKinnon and Jones

MacKinnon and Jones were among the top picks in the 2013 draft. Six years later, they are helping their teams to big upset playoff victories. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

No, it's not a big anniversary of the 2013 NHL draft. But the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets just pulled off huge upsets in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, so we got to thinking about one of the more interesting drafts in recent years. After all, that 2013 draft year started with Nathan MacKinnon vs. Seth Jones.

It was also the first year I had public draft rankings, then with CBS Sports and only 60 players deep. One of the things you notice is how shallow a draft it turned out to be. Only 15 players from this class have surpassed the 100-career-points threshold. Twenty-six of the 211 players selected have surpassed the 200-career-game mark, and 109 have appeared in at least one NHL game. It reminds you how hard it is to make the NHL and stay there. For most draft picks, their highest value is on the day they're drafted.

Let's remember the wild 2013 draft, featuring a pair of stars who have led their playoff teams to improbable trips to the second round. I provide regrades, as well as my ranking at the time of the draft for full context.


The top four

1. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon, C

Regrade: A+ | 2013 rank: 3

After you're finished pointing and laughing at the hilarity of having MacKinnon third on my final draft board that year, we can all agree that he has spent the past two seasons as one of the league's best forwards. His performance against the Flames was a small sample of what beast mode looks like for MacKinnon. It's clear that he is the best player in this draft class, and there's a chance he'll end up with a Hart Trophy or two to solidify it.

2. Florida Panthers: Aleksander Barkov, C

Regrade: A+ | 2013 rank: 5

Barkov has grown into one of the elite two-way centers in the game. Although this year wasn't his best defensively, it was his best offensively, with 96 points. He impacts the game in so many ways that you sometimes forget how skilled he is. Why was he fifth on my board? I had some concerns about Barkov's upside. He was already so big and strong that his production in Liiga didn't strike me. But his 48 points that season remains the record for a U18 player in Liiga history.