By David Dickenson @Dickie_D26
This is my first mock draft for the upcoming 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and despite the draft order not being completely set yet, Iíll do my best with what is given.
I have decided not to include any trades at the current time, since itís too early at this point to do so, but if I feel this is a pick which could be moved I will note it.
So without further adieu hereís our first mock draft:
1. Edmonton Oilers
RW - Nail Yakupov (RUS) Sarnia StingAs a life-long Oilers fan, this is something which has me torn. Should the team pick Yakupov, who is the best player available and add another potential game-breaker to the roster or should they trade the pick in order to pick up Ryan Murray. The Oilers are in desperate need of young defencemen who can make an impact and Edmontonís brass is supposedly enamoured with the young blue liner after his play at the IIHF World Championships recently. Since Iíve indicated there will be no trades in my first mock draft, the Oilers pick Yakupov and continue to build their murders row up front. This pick though is very much in play on the trade market.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets
LW/C - Filip Forsberg (SWE) Leksands
Columbus is heart broken it lost out on the first pick and itís symbolic player of the future to build around in Nail Yakupov; especially since Rick Nash could be traded on this day too. But unless theyíre able to swing a deal to get to the top spot, theyíll have a tough choice to makeÖ pick Ryan Murray to boost their defence or pick Filip Forsberg, who will be a consistent offensive force and top line player for them. Given the weak forward depth in the draft, I see them picking up the big Swede and hoping he lives up to the Mats Sundin comparison playing next to Ryan Johansen for years to come.
3. Montreal Canadiens
C/RW - Mikhail Grigorenko (RUS) Quebec Remparts
Russians seem to love the province of Quebec, and Montreal needs a big skilled centre so this seems like a match made in heaven. Not to mention, Patrick Roy was Grigorenkoís junior coach with the Remparts and will have him prepared to be that big scoring centre Habs fans have been longing for since the dynasty collapsed back in the day. Grigorenko reminds me a little of a Alexei Yashin in that he plays very strong in traffic and when heís there and ready to work, heís an elite player.
4. New York Islanders
D - Ryan Murray (CAN) Everett Silvertips
In this scenario, the Islanders are sprinting to the podium as fast as possible to pick Murray. This scenario fits perfectly into what theyíre trying to build on Long Island, considering the potential of all their young forward prospects. The defence however has been a bit of a black hole for the team and they now have their point man of the future. Murray can play in the NHL tomorrow and gained valuable experience in the World Juniors and the IIHF World Championships. Heís a reliable guy, who plays the game at both ends and has shown some home-run glimpses as a puck moving defenceman.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
C - Alex Galchenyuk (USA) Sarnia Sting
Leaf fans donít even have to go about shortening this quasi-Russianís first name to sound more Canadian. Galchenyuk is an American kid, whoís father played in the AHL and he obviously picked up some of the natural abilities along the way. If not for an injury which wiped out his season, Galchenyuk could have been in the mix for a top three draft slot. Heís a super skilled kid, who brings good size, which has caused scouts to liken him to that of Bobby Ryan. Heís a kid they can draft and let develop at his own pace, which could mean heís in the league next year or in three years time.
6. Anaheim Ducks
D - Jacob Trouba (USA) USNTDP Under-18
Anaheim is very smart when it comes to drafting and realizes how it won a Stanley Cup in the past and continues to use the same formula in building itís club for the future. The Ducks already have a bevy of puck moving defenders in the system, but lack that player with some size and sandpaper which can help put a team on his back like Chris Pronger did for them back in the day. Jacob Trouba is that player. Heís more of a stay at home blue liner, but uses his skating and physical tools to his advantage and boasts a strong point shot to boot. Heís another piece of the puzzle for the Ducks return to prominence.
7. Minnesota Wild
D- Matt Dumba (CAN) Red Deer Rebels
While on paper the Wild donít need another puck moving defenceman on their prospect radar, you canít pass on Matt Dumba at this spot. Besides, heís much more than a puck moving defenceman, heís a bone crushing hitter, a power play QB with a cannon at the point and heís just nasty on the ice. Heís a bit of a riverboat gambler in some ways when heís on the ice where heíll pinch too soon with the hope of scoring , or sacrifice positioning for a big hit, which doesnít always pay off. Heís not overly big, but super athletic and could end up the steal of the draft. Thereís parts of his game which remind me of Chris Chelios back in his heyday and who wouldnít want a player like that on their roster.
8. Carolina Hurricanes
LW - Teuvo Teravainen (FIN) Jokerit
Teravainen is this yearís international man of mystery in the draft having skyrocketed up the rankings late in the season after previously not being ranked as a first round choice. Heís a bit skinny right now, but is very skilled and itís hard to argue with the fact he played the season with Jokerit in the highest Finnish league. He is a very creative player and seems to find a way to score. For all the knocks about his size, his natural offensive skill seems to outweigh it and keep him in the mix as a potential steal in this draft.
9. Winnipeg Jets
D - Morgan Reilly (CAN) Moose Jaw Warriors
As much as the Jets seem intent on adding sizeable forwards in the early rounds of the draft, Morgan Reilly is too good of a player to pass up. Despite missing a big chunk of the season with a torn ACL, heís a player who will likely be a top blue liner in the NHL in the future. His skating and calm demeanor on the ice has scouts thinking Duncan Keith when they see him. His size is not outstanding, but has always played at the top level of his game at all ages including as a member of the famed Notre Dame Hounds hockey program and that speaks volumes.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning
D - Griffin Reinhart (CAN) Edmonton Oil Kings
This kid played a big part in the Edmonton Oil Kings WHL title this season. As the season progressed he just got stronger and made more of an impression on the ice. The son of former NHLer Paul Reinhart is a two-way defender, but still hasnít reached the peak of his potential in either the offensive or defensive ends of the game. Right now heís a good puck mover out of his own zone and works well on the cycle in the offensive zone. His shot from the point has really become sneaky, finding a way to get it on the net through traffic. With some more experience and if he can learn to better use his size a little, he could be a scary player in a few years.
11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado)
LW/C - Radek Faksa (CZE) Kitchener Rangers
Faksa erupted this past season, since joining the Kitchener Rangers. The team seemed to rally around the OHL rookie and embrace him the same way they embraced Gabriel Landeskog the previous year. He is a big kid, who has some skill and solid skating, but needs to fill out a bit more to take his game to the next level. A concussion in the OHL playoffs kind of slowed his progression at the end of the season, but thereís no reason to believe he wonít be ready to pick up where he left off last season.
12. Buffalo Sabres
C - Brendan Gaunce (CAN) Belleville Bulls
Buffaloís new philosophy is to build its team with size and to start shying away more from the small water bugs which have lead their offence in the past few years. Brendan Gaunce fits that mold as heís a big centre, who uses his size and body to protect the puck and get in front of the net for opportunities. Throughout the season Gaunce was the Bulls top offensive player and seemed to be the teams rallying point. When he was out there throwing his weight around and playing hard, his teammates took notice and followed suit. Heís a lead by example guy, who will make a strong physical second line centre in the NHL.
13. Dallas Stars
D - Cody Ceci (CAN) Ottawa 67ís
Ceci started the season low in first round or early in the second round, but saw his stock continue to soar as the season progressed. He saw a tonne of minutes for a strong 67ís squad and his size, thickness and big shot from the point made him a key player in Ottawa this past season. He can be a bit of a risk taker at times with ill-timed pinches and lackadaisical coverage in his own end, but a little coaching should iron out the kinks and make him a NHL defenceman in the same mold as Alex Pietrangelo.
14. Calgary Flames
C - Nicholas Kerdiles (USA) USNTDP Under-18
Kerdiles has been all over the draft boards this season, but late in the season his stock has started to regain its momentum to put him back into the mid first round. Heís a big forward, who fits into a power forward mold the way he uses his deceptive speed while attacking the net. Heís not afraid to get his nose dirty in the corners or camp out in front of the crease while taking a beating in order to get that garbage goal. He should be a good forward for a long time in the NHL.
15. Ottawa Senators
RW - Sebastian Collberg (SWE) Frolunda
The Senators continue their new philosophy of what would Detroit do? And again will score another home-run with the picking of Sebastian Collberg. Heís a good scorer, who despite not being that big managed to make up for it with his quick release and shifty movements. Thereís something about his game that reminds me a little of Jeff Skinner .
16. Washington Capitals
D - Olli Maatta (FIN) London Knights
A stellar OHL championship run, was in part fueled by the inspired play of Maatta on the Knights blue line. Maatta is a two-way defender, but is quick to put his offensive skills to the side to focus on the defensive part of the game first. Heís a smart kid, who despite over thinking things from time to time knew the right play to make and stay composed even when facing pressure in his own end. He may not be flashy, but heíll be consistent and a guy youíre happy is on your team.
17. San Jose Sharks
C - Zemgus Girgensons (LAT) Dubuque Fighting Saints
Girgensons brings a lot of the same elements to the draft as Anze Kopitar did a few years back. He comes from a non traditional hockey country in Latvia, yet still possesses some elite level talents. While he may not have the same scoring acumen of Kopitar, Girgensons bring a better well rounded game, which includes being strong on the face-off, killing penalties as well as still having a good offensive game. This could end up being a steal of a pick, especially if he ends up taking his skills further to become Ryan Kesler 2.0.
18. Chicago Blackhawks
D - Derrick Pouliot (CAN) Portland Winterhawks
Pouliot is a good solid pick up for any team in the draft. If he were a couple inches taller he may be a top-10 pick. The Winterhawks blue liner is quick, makes a good first pass out of his own zone and brings a feistiness which makes him public enemy number one to opposing forwards. He was a little buried on a very deep Portland blue line, but with added ice time and responsibility his game should continue to grow and excel.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit)
G - Oscar Dansk (SWE) Brynas
This kid is a big game goaltender. When heís under the pressure and bright lights of the big stage Dansk shows up and takes his team on his shoulders. Heís a big and mobile kid, who has some of the same elements to his game as Henrik Lundqvist. In addition, he is also a former player at Shattuck St. Mary prep meaning heís more familiar with the North American game and leaving no language barriers. He could be something special and Stevie Y knows it.
20. Philadelphia Flyers
G - Malcolm Subban (CAN) Belleville Bulls
This yearís playoffs was a wake up call to the Flyers about how important goaltending is and with such a young and athletic team, maybe itís time to add a young athletic keeper to the franchise. The younger brother of P.K. would be an excellent addition to the Flyers as heís confident, athletic and calm and is just starting to reach his immense potential after only starting to play goaltender full-time at the age of 12. A little off-season work with an elite goaltender coach and Subban could be something to be reckoned with.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville)
D - Slater Koekkoek (CAN) Peterborough Petes
Koekkoek is one of those players you see and think wow he just doesnít really make mistakes. While injuries hampered this past season, he started to show off his immense upside, which includes his strong play at both ends of the ice. There are similar elements in his game, which Marc Staal also possesses, in that he seems to be continually improving and just having him on the ice brings a confidence that makes his teammates an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins
G - Andrei Vasilevski (RUS) Ufa Tolpar
Vasilevski is a big keeper and considered the top goaltender in the draft. He battles hard and follows the puck well being ready not only for the initial shot, but also ready to pounce on any rebounds. The fact heís Russian and has the skill to potentially start in the league soon helps out Penguins a lot. Since Pittsburgh still has Marc-Andre Fleury as their keeper for near future, Vasilevski can be allowed to stay in the KHL for a couple seasons and be a starter, before making the jump to battle it out for the Pens starting job.
23. Florida Panthers
D - Hampus Lindholm (SWE) Rogle
This is another player who seemingly came out of nowhere throughout the duration of the season to receive first round consideration. Lindholm is a big blue liner, who is a hard worker and nice two-way game, which saw his offensive contributions grow in the past year. Heís not a very physical guy, but still seems to cover a lot of area and not be out of position. This is a bit of a high risk, high reward pick.
24. Boston Bruins
D - Matt Finn (CAN) Guelph Storm
With Dougie Hamilton they have their sizzle and now by adding Matt Finn they have their steak. While Finn was a the Stormís top scoring blue liner this past season, he was much more than that; he was their go-to guy and the one who would do whatever it took to help his team win. Heís not overly big, he plays much bigger on the ice and off ice will speak up and be a character guy which every team could use.
25. St. Louis Blues
C/LW - Cristoval Nieves (USA) Kent HS
For a team deep in young players, the Blues have the luxury of being able to gamble on a high risk, high reward player like Cristoval ďBooĒ Nieves. Nieves is big and lightning quick, but there has been some question about his finishing ability. Either way, this is an ideal pick for the Blues, who are hoping because of his size and tremendous skill, he can take his time to develop and possibly become the next Chris Kreider.
26. Vancouver Canucks
RW - Thomas Wilson (CAN) Plymouth Whalers
The Canucks seem forever in the search for a more stable version of Todd Bertuzzi, since his departure follwing neck break gate. Theyíre hoping they found their guy in massive winger Thomas Wilson, who has NHL power forward written all over him. In addition to being a big kid and having some toughness to hit and drop the gloves when needed, history tells us he can also put the puck in the net, even though things havenít translated that way so far in the OHL.
27. Phoenix Coyotes
LW/C - Tomas Hertl (CZE) Slavia
The Coyotes have an excess of young blue liners in the system and on their roster and now need some scoring to come in and replace all the aging player in the roster who will be moving on in the next few years. At this point in the draft Tomas Hertl brings the best offensive skill set to the table as he displayed in his coming out party at the World Juniors. He also played at the highest level of the Czech league taking a regular shift and got some power play time.
28. New York Rangers
LW - Stefan Matteau (USA) USNTDP Under-18
The son of Stephane Matteau, will probably be a better pro player than a junior or USNTDP player because of his penchant for energetic, edgy, physical play. Heís always going hard and has good size that he could be a nice power forward at the NHL level. He may not have an exceptional high end, but like his dad heíll be a solid, middle of the line guy, who will be a big asset to his team.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles)
D - Brady Skjei (USA) USNTDP Under-18
Skjei is one of the best skaters of any defencemen in the draft and heís a big kid to boot. He has a good offensive ability for a blueliner and playing next season at the University of Minnesota will only help him round it out into a more complete game.
30. New Jersey Devils
LW - Phil DiGiuseppe (CAN) University of Michigan
You have to give him credit for not just playing but being an impact player as a true freshman in University. Heís not the biggest guy in the world, but is very quick on his feet and works hard to get his chances in front of the net.
31. Columbus Blue Jackets
C/LW - Mark Jankowski (CAN) Stanstead College
32. Edmonton Oilers
D - Jordan Schmaltz (USA) Green Bay Gamblers
33. Montreal Canadiens
RW/C - Colton Sissons (CAN) Kelowna Rockets
34. New York Islanders
D - Ludvig Bystrom (SWE) Modo
35. Toronto Maple Leafs
C - Scott Laughton (CAN) Oshawa Generals
36. Anaheim Ducks
D - Dalton Thrower (CAN) Saskatoon
37. Tampa Bay Lightning
LW - Pontus Aberg (SWE) Djurgarden
38. Carolina Hurricanes
RW - Scott Kosmarchuk (CAN) Guelph Storm
39. Winnipeg Jets
LW - Tanner Pearson (CAN) Barrie Colts
40. Tampa Bay Lightning
C - Andreas Athanasiou (CAN) London Knights
41. Colorado Avalanche
C - Jarrod Maidens (CAN) Owen Sound Attack
42. Buffalo Sabres
RW - Martin Frk (CZE) Halifax Mooseheads
43. Dallas Stars
C - Mike Winther (CAN) Prince Albert Raiders
44. Buffalo Sabres
C/RW - Henrik Samuelsson (SWE) Edmonton Oil Kings
45. Columbus Blue Jackets
LW - Danil Zharkov (RUS) Belleville Bulls
46. Minnesota Wild
D - Patrick Sieloff (USA) USNTDP Under-18
47. Carolina Hurricanes
D - Ville Pokka (FIN) Karpat
48. Chicago Blackhawks
RW - Brandon Troock (CAN) Seattle Thunderbirds
49. Detroit Red Wings
D - Calle Andersson (SWE) Farjestads
50. Tampa Bay Lightning
LW - Tim Bozon (FRA) Kamloops Blazers
51. Montreal Canadiens
D - Michael Matheson (CAN) Dubuque Fighting Saints
52. Pittsburgh Penguins
LW - Charles Hudon (CAN) Chicoutimi Sagueneens
53. Florida Panthers
LW - Brady Vail (USA) Windsor Spitfires
54. Colorado Avalanche
C - Gemel Smith (CAN) Owen Sound Attack
55. San Jose Sharks
D - Damon Severson (CAN) Kelowna Rockets
56. St. Louis Blues
LW - Emil Lundberg (SWE) Sodertalje
57. Vancouver Canucks
D - Adam Pelech (CAN) Erie Otters
58. Phoenix Coyotes
LW - Tomas Hyka (CZE) Gatineau Olympiques
59. New Jersey Devils
D - Nick Ebert (USA) Windsor Spitfires
60. Dallas Stars
RW - Brian Hart (USA) Exeter Academy
61. New York Rangers
LW - Anton Slip-sheet (RUS) Novokuznetsk