With the Wild continuing to do their best in the Dive For Top Five, and Dan off in sunny Cancun, Mexico, we answer the calls of the Wild fans clamoring for information on who is available with a top five draft pick. While we look in depth into potential draft picks after the season ends, we figured a preview wouldn't be out of the question. Dan has left us with a bit of knowledge to work with.
We added some raw data on the kids to give you a feel for who they are, and where they play.
The thinking of the General Manager always seems to be to draft the best available player, regardless of need. If that is the case, the Wild will almost certainly wind up drafting a defenseman. From the sounds of things, this is a defense heavy draft, which can be good and scary.
What will we be saying in six years? Will we be pining for a player that was available in the top five? Or glad the Wild didn't pick up a couple extra wins so they could snag one of the players listed below?
We'll have to wait and see.
The Minnesota Wild are now in the position of discussing a top 5 draft potential to perhaps becoming a Wild prospect. Sad. Remember that time we were 1st in the NHL?
So who is available in the top 5 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft?
People always come with some corny headline for the top prospect; this year it is Fail for Nail.
A Russian player playing in his second season in the Ontario Hockey League, Yakupov is the entire package of skill and, what Tommy Thompson would call, piazz. He possesses smooth and slick skating with very good speed and feet. He also has a great selection of offensive abilities with great stickhandling, playmaking skills and dangerous shots.
The thing that separates Yakupov from the rest is that he takes his talent and uses it in a fearless, energetic approach. He is the complete offensive dynamo anyone would want with the first overall pick.
Another Russian looking to become the first overall pick, however this one plays in the QMJHL.
While Yakupov is the electric and dynamic type of prospect, Grigorenko is the calm and slick type. Grigorenko has tons of tools to be intrigued about. He has very good skating, great vision, slick stichandling, and a very large frame he could fill out nicely in the NHL. He also plays a very nice two-way game.
While Grigorenko plays a calm and effortless style, some wonder if this is mistaken for just being lazy. This concern of not putting 100% effort consistently has him below Yakupov, but he will get drafted high because he has every single tool (and more) that NHL teams want in a top center prospect.
Challenging Grigorenko for the #2 spot is minute crunching Ryan Murray. This youngster has the playing experience of a veteran defenseman. And there is a reason why.
He possesses effortless and smooth mobility, a calm and poised presence, and displays tons of hockey smarts. He is very good with moving the puck out of danger and can eve run the powerplay. He is a two-way defenseman that can eat TONS of icetime and provide leadership to any team. Some question his upside because while he does everything very well, there's no obvious offensively or defensive skill he exceeds in. His best trait is his cerebral game, which is much harder to gauge and predict.
Do not be surprised to see Murray go over Grigorenko. The way I see it, they are 2A and 2B.
4. Filip Forsberg
Forsberg is a complicated prospect. He is a safe prospect, yet raw. Let me explain:
He has all the tools to become a star. He has great size, very good skating, and an extremely good two way game. He can power his way into the offensive zone, give deliver solid checks, and is reliable in all three zones of the ice. He just has no glaring weaknesses.
He has tons of invaluable playing experience for a youngster like him. While not contributing offensively for gold medal winner Sweden during the WjCs many were hoping from the potential top five pick, he played decent minutes and did not look out of place.
At worst, he can develop into a solid bottom six player. The concern comes from whether he can take the tools he has been gifted with and put them together to become a star powerforward.
At this point, several prospects can easily replace each other at number five, but for me Trouba wins them over.
Trouba plays a solid all-around game while being blessed with great physical tools. He has a hard shot, skates well for a big man, and provides leadership. He was one the bright spots in a disappointing USA team during the WJCs. He displayed good mobility and provided a reliable presence on the blueline.
While not as physical as some other prospects, Trouba makes it up with the fact he possesses long reach, an active stick, and a large body that opposing players have to try to get by.
And the best thing for his chances? He was born in Rochester, Minnesota. Yeah. He just became the favorite of everyone. Got it.