Photo: Halifax Mooseheads forwards Jonathan Drouin (L) and Nathan MacKinnon (R) head a strong 2013 draft class from the QMJHL (courtesy of Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
If the pre-draft hype is to be believed, 2013 will be a banner year for draft-eligible players coming out of the QMJHL. Not only is the league celebrating their third consecutive Memorial Cup championship, this time led by a pair of draft-eligible Halifax Mooseheads in Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, but as many as eight or nine QMJHL players could be selected in the first round of this year's draft.
Photo: Rimouski Oceanic forward Frederik Gauthier has watched his NHL Draft stock increase steadily over the course of the 2012-13 season (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
While the thought of drafting a solid two-way forward may not be appealing to the average hockey fan, judging by his steady rise in the 2013 NHL Draft rankings, it looks like hockey scouts are excited about the potential of Rimouski Oceanic center, Frederik Gauthier.
Photo: Halifax Mooseheads goaltender Zachary Fucale enters the 2013 NHL Draft as the only goaltending prospect with a genuine chance of being chosen in the first round (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
In what is considered a strong NHL Draft class, the position of goaltender is perhaps the one in this age group that is lacking high-end depth. The one exception to that rule would be Halifax Mooseheads goaltender, Zachary Fucale.
Photo: Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones has drawn media attention since Day 1 of the 2012-13 season, and the 2013 NHL Combine was no exception as the potential first overall selection held court in this media scrum (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
With the 2012-13 CHL season now officially in the books, attention has turned to the 2013 NHL Draft that takes place on June 30th in Newark, NJ. As it happens, the players generally considered to be the top 3 prospects for this draft – Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, and Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin – all happen to be players that competed in the CHL this past season.
Photo: Portland Winterhawks forward and St. Louis Blues prospect Ty Rattie has continued his scoring exploits in the 2012-13 post-season, helping the Winterhawks make the Memorial Cup Tournament after near misses the past two years (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The puck drops for the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup starting Friday evening at 6 PM CST. The host city’s Saskatoon Blades take on the Ontario Hockey League champion London Knights to kick off a tournament that features the CHL’s three top-ranked clubs (and the unranked hosts). In addition, several highly-ranked 2013 prospects plus many well-regarded NHL prospects will be taking part in this tournament.