My turn, my turn, my turn!
So the draft is only a day away and I am shaking! I can't be the only one who thinks tomorrow is the best part of the hockey season. Because it is (I'll change my mind if we win the Stanley Cup), so this is my take on what happens of draft day, with no trades done, because ... I don't have to explain it. This is my turf!
And here ... we ... go ...
1. EDMONTON OILERS - RW NAIL YAKUPOV
If the Oilers don't trade their pick for defensemen (pro player or prospects), then they select the clear number one draft eligible player Nail Yakupov. He's electrifying, dynamic, and brings tons of offense you want in a first overall pick. Russian factor doesn't apply as much as he is already playing in the OHL and seems to be a sure-success in NHL that there just won't be that incentive to go back home.
2. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS - D RYAN MURRAY
This team needs help everywhere, and because of years of not successfully developing top tier-talent, they need a prospect that brings both upside and a low risk factor. Not many kids could have done what Ryan Murray has done: played for Team Canada U-20, Team Canada men, and led his junior team as captain. He may not be that superstar defenseman, but he brings all the skills to be a top defenseman on the Blue Jacket's team, and a guy who will eat top minutes in all situations against top players, and be a future captain.
3. MONTREAL CANADIANS - C ALEX GALCHENYUK
Looking for the guy with the highest upside left available in the draft? Look no further than Yakupov's linemate, Alex Galchenyuk. If he wasn't injured for the year, he could be in contention for the #1 spot. But seeing how he was, he drops slightly, but its unifiable he has some great dynamic skills for a centerman. Canadians need talent and size at center, and Galchenyuk brings both. He also has a similar Russian factor as Yakupov, so Montreal has little to worry about.
4. NEW YORK ISLANDERS - LW FILIP FORSBERG
The Islanders is starting to pile up some impressive prospects but still struggle to find a way to develop them properly into the NHL, Nino Niederreiter and Josh Bailey being prime examples. While their defense seems to be a bigger hole, they can't pass up the chance of selecting Filip Forsberg. Forsberg is a well-rounded prospect that has an intriguing balance of high upside and low risk. He is also one of the more NHL ready prospects in this draft, so he may soon find a place next to John Tavarse and Ryan Strome, but if the Islanders have learned anything, it should be to be careful with their youngsters.
We should know...(James Sheppard *cough*)
5. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS - D GRIFFIN REINHART
When you hear comparisons of Shea Weber, it makes you stop and pay close attention. Griffin Reinhart is a kid that has all the tools: huge size, long reach, top skill, decent mobility, and tons of character. While not as flashy as some other available prospects, Reinhart plays a quietly effective game, with tools at his disposable that he can develop over the next few years, with a chance of becoming the top defensive prospect of the 2012 draft. The Maple Leafs need bluechip talent everywhere, and Reinhart gives them a low risk/high reward guy to do that.
6. ANAHEIM DUCKS - D JACOB TROUBA
The Ducks found a steal in Cam Fowler and have good mix of talented young players/prospects in Luca Sbisa, Sami Vatanen, Emerson Etem, and Kyle Palmeri. I'm sure they have more, but I'm not going to list them ALL out. The point is, they all have tons of upside, but one thing that they could use a physical element on that skilled blueline. Fowler, Sbisa and Vatanen can really move the puck, but a guy like Jacob Trouba could round out that top four with physical presence and defensive play. It will make that defense very, VERY dangerous.
7. MINNESOTA WILD - LW TEUVO TERAVAINEN
NOO!!! My top two defenseman (Reinhart and Trouba) are off the board! So should pick up other defenseman like Matt Dumba or Morgan Rielly to fix that hole in our blueline? Nope, I say take a Fin with the name Teuvo Teravainen.
Although this hole in defense has been made more apparent with the departure of Brent Burns and emergence of our forward talent, our goal scoring need still remains. Teravainen is a slick, smart goal-scorer that should fit very well next to our baby Jesus (I'm referring to Mikhael Granlund for those who don't know the name of our savior). Our skilled forward prospects consist of powerforwards, two-way forwards, and playmakers, very few have the ability to carry the team's need for goal scoring.
Now we have one.
8. CAROLINA HURRICANES - C RADEK FAKSA
I think the Canes select Radek Faksa, not because they like the Kitchener Ranger's nonsense, but because he's a skilled forward and Carolina already have a skilled defensive prospect pool, with Ryan Murphy and Brian Dumoulin leading the pack. Faksa is a skilled centerman that is extremely talented defensively but with the tools and upside to develop his offensive game and become more of a two-way player. Carolina's forward prospects really lack talent and Faksa brings in skill as well as a "safe" label that a team like the Cane's need to rebuild its forward prospect pool.
9. WINNIPEG JETS - D MATT DUMBA
Some may be wondering why Mikhail Grigorenko is still. In my opinion, Russian factor not considered, Matt Dumba has just the same amount of "wow" factor that Grigorenko has. WITH the Russian factor, Dumba gets the step up. This highly skilled defenseman is electrifying offensively and physically. He has a powerful shot, loves to hit (and hits like a train) and is extremely mobile. While decent defensively, there is still some questions about the decisions he makes in his own zone or when to pinch in, but the Jets lack bluechip talent (besides Mark Schiefele) and Dumba can really bring some hype and excitement to the new team.
10. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING - D MORGAN RIELLY
The Tampa Lightning have many skilled forwards and Steven Stamkos is only 21 years-old and will be there for awhile, but their defensive prospect pool needs a definite upgrade. Any defenseman could do, but if you wanted to be more specific, a puck moving defenseman is what they need. Morgan Rielly is exactly that and would fit perfectly in the Lightning system. He's extremely mobile, makes a great first pass (in fact, all his passes are great), and his injuries seem to be part of his past as he did very well during the combine. While he doesn't possess your ideal size, his talent is great and something Tampa needs greatly.
11. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (VIA COLORADO) - C MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO
The Capitals lack bluechip talent in their system besides a notable few. Overall, it lacks depth of talent and if they wanted to select the player with the highest upside left in the draft, Mikhail Grigorenko is still there. Washington has shown to be comfortable with Russian prospects, and seeing that they need skill, Grigorenko makes the most sense.
12. BUFFALO SABRES - D CODY CECI
The Sabres have been able to find very good talent despite not being the flashiest group of prospects. However, their upside in their prospect pool is considered quite low, with only Joel Armia having bluechip upside. So in order to fix that, they select the best player available at #12 and pick defenseman Cody Ceci. A very coachable player, he brings size, experience, and two-way play. There is very little not to like about Ceci besides maybe not as high upside as the previous selected draft prospects. Either way, the Sabres get a good prospect with good upside that is still quite a safe pick.
13. DALLAS STARS - D HAMPUS LINDHOLM
The Stars have good depth in all positions but lack offense from their blueline and from their forwards in their prospect pool (much like ours). Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm is a quick riser up the rankings after an impressive U-18 tournament where he showed off his ability to run the offense and keep the puck in the opposing zone. A sort of offensive version of our Jonas Brodin, Lindholm is a very welcome addition to a defensive pool that stars defensive Jamie Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth. Lindholm has a very high upside but is still very raw and will need to take his time developing in Sweden before making the jump to the NHL.
14. CALGARY FLAMES - D OLLI MAATTA
The Calgary Flames are starting to see some promise in their prospects, especially with their last's years pick, Sven Bartschi. But they need to continue adding talent and be smart about it because they lack alot of top talent in their organization. Olli Maatta started the year as a safe, defensive prospect, but enjoyed an explosive playoffs, hinting he just may have more hidden in his toolbox than originally predicted. Low risk, maybe some hidden top pairing potential, the Flames jump on that chance. They either get a top pairing defenseman, or a smart and strong #4 defensive d-man. They win either way.
15. OTTAWA SENATORS - D SLATER KOEKKOEK
The Senators made a huge push for talented forwards last year selecting three forwards in the first round. It has proven to strengthen their future offense, so this year they'll spend their first round pick to help add some talent to their prospective blueline. Slater Koekkoek was injured almost the entire season so he didn't get much chance to prove that he can be a top pairing defenseman, but the people who were able to get an early viewing of him can definitely see he has the tools. He has the size, skating, offensive and defensive skills, and able to eat tons of minutes. The only problem: he hasn't been able to show any of that season. But the upside is there, and the Senators jump on it, hoping he can turn into a top pairing two-way defenseman.
16. WASHINGTON CAPITALS - C BRENDAN GAUNCE
With their previous pick, they selected Mikhail Grigorenko, who is super skilled but has some red flags. With their second pick, they select a more safer prospect who is still quite skilled but a notable lower upside in center Brendan Gaunce. He has pro size, protects the puck well and works the cycle effectively, all which could translate into a 2-3 line centerman. He doesn't possess great speed or dynamic hands, but he is prospect that will work nicely in any coach's system with a well-rounded game and physical attributes.
17. SAN JOSE SHARKS - C ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS
With the trade for Brent Burns, they lost their first round pick (turned into Zack Phillips) and their top prospect in Charlie Coyle. Trading away both of these assets have left the team lacking depth and bluechip talent. Although Burns is a great player, they would really like to have back Coyle so they select Zemgus Girgensons, who has a very similar skillset. Big, competitive, powerful, physical, and great hands. There are questions if he has the offensive hockey sense but it is hard to tell as he has always been stuck on average teams and had never really had the opportunity to show that he can be an asset without being the one carrying the team (wouldn't it be great to see how good Mikko Koivu can do when he doesn't have to do EVERYTHING?).
18. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS - D DERRICK POULIOT
The Blackhawks have one of the best prospect pools in the league so this draft is just icing on their beautiful ice cream cake (I like ice cream cakes). You had to nitpick on something, you could argue they don't have enough offensive defensemen outside Nick Leddy (Adam Clendening still have alot of developing to do). Derrick Pouliot is a slick offensive defenseman who moves the puck very well and is a powerful and smooth skater. His defensive game needs alot of work but looking at the Blackhawk's defensive prospect core, they have the luxury to give him all the development time in the world.
19. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING - D MATT FINN
Their recent success in Riku Helenius and trade for Anders Lindback helps shore their immediate need for goaltending, so they continue adding more talent to their blueline with defenseman Matt Finn. He is a well-rounded player that needs to work on every aspect of his game but it is his smarts that seperate him from the rest of the defensemen in the draft. While he needs to get faster, stronger, and just work on both zones, he is smart with the puck and makes quick and decisive decisions. His upside is questionable but he is quickly progressing and is just so smart that he is projected by many as a second pairing two-way defenseman. He will work nicely into the Lightning system because he is the type of player that can eat minutes and play in all situations.
20. PHILADELPHIA FLYERS - D BRADY SKJEI
Besides Sean Courturier and Brayden Schenn, the Flyers lack top talent in the organization. Defense seems to be their greatest need and defenseman Brady Skjei could be their answer. He brings a very exciting skillset, as he can rush the puck from one end to the other, complimented by smooth skating and very large size. The areas he needs to improve is his consistency and decision-making on when he should rush the puck and when he should just make the simple play. He does have some large question marks but his upside is huge and that could pay dividends for a team that needs top talent desperately in their prospect pool.
21. BUFFALO SABRES (VIA NASHVILLE) - RW TOM WILSON
A few miss Zack Kassian as they would have loved to see him develop his combination of size and skill within the Buffalo system. Tom Wilson will give something similar to him, and for an organization that needs physicality and skill, Wilson fits in perfectly. With the earlier addition of Cody Ceci, now they have two prospects that bring size and skill to the pipeline, just at different positions. Wilson has questionable upside as he isn't the most agile prospect nor does he have dynamic hands or offensive creativity, but by scoring 13 points in 13 playoff games this season, he just may prove that his ability to use his size as well as a strong wristshot is all that he needs to put up points.
22. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS - RW SEBASTIAN COLLBERG
The Penguins are having trouble developing that scoring winger to compliment Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Although they managed to fix that with a trade, their problem of developing an offensive winger still stands. Sebastian Collberg is a skilled scoring winger that has done great in international events against the world's best junior players, but is having a tough time in the SEL against men with 0 points in 41 games. Perhaps that could be contributed to his limited ice time, but if he isn't scoring points, due to his limited size and strength, he isn't doing anything. He isn't afraid to get dirty, but he just isn't effective physically. At this point in the draft, the Penguins are happy to take a skilled winger with top six upside because Collberg is willing to do the work, he just needs the ice time to prove it.
23. FLORIDA PANTHERS - D LUDVIG BYSTROM
The Florida Panthers have the top prospect pool in the league. They have bluechip talent everywhere and they have depth everywhere. If you had to choose the weakest position, it would be their defense, although its anything but weak. Still, they need to draft someone, and they select two-way defenseman Ludvig Bystrom. He is a smart two-way Swedish defender that plays a quiet but effective game. He has a good all-around game, skates very smoothly and plays in all zones very well. There is question how high is upside is, but the Panthers aren't in dire need for immediate talent so Bystrom is a safe pick to add to their developing youth.
24. BOSTON BRUINS - G ANDREI VASILEVSKI
Some may be worried about taking a goaltender, especially a Russian one, with a first round pick. But considering that the Bruins could use top end talent in every position and that at this point there is very little of that besides in goaltending, Andrei Vasilevski makes the most sense. He has tons of upside for a goaltender as he has size, moves quickly and smoothly, and anticipates the play very well. The combination of his inconsistency, the Russian factor, and the fact that drafting goaltenders high is seemingly out of style has Vasilevski dropping but there is no doubt he has the tools to become a star.
25. ST. LOUIS BLUES - RW COLTON SISSONS
There is alot of talent in the Blues organization. While no longer technically prospects, Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk are young enough to be considered the future of the team. So what else do they need? There's alot of skill at forwards but a few guys with skill and physicality wouldn't hurt. In comes Colton Sissons, who is extremely versatile and has tons of character. Questionable offensive upside and not the fastest, but he has strength, leadership, versatility, and skill. A player with all the intangibles.
26. VANCOUVER CANUCKS - C TOMAS HERTL
The Canucks have some quiet depth in their prospect pool but lack some bluechip talent. This point in the draft, its hard to find, but center Tomas Hertl might have enough upside to be interesting. His skating needs alot of work but he brings alot to the game outside that. He has size, protects the puck well, and has a solid overall offensive skill set. He uses his body well and plays a sound two-way game. He isn't an exciting prospect but he should be a good value pick this late in the first round.
27. PHOENIX COYOTES - LW PHIL DI GIUSEPPE
Over the past few years, the Coyotes have been stockpiling defensive youth and no longer need to spend a first on a defenseman for awhile. What is missing are forwards with offensive potential, so they select forward Phil Di Giuseppe, who surprised many when he was the last cut for Team Canada U-20. Di Giuseppe is a solid all-round forward that plays a strong game with decent size and speed. He's got a good shot, works the boards hard, and plays with energy. All these could translate into a powerforward in the future and all the while still quite a safe prospect which also works well.
28. NEW YORK RANGERS - G MALCOLM SUBBAN
The Rangers have a very well-rounded prospect pool but could use improvements in their goaltending prospect pool. At the point in the draft, the only prospects left that have game-breaking abilities are goaltenders and the Rangers could use some of that talent, so they select Malcom Subban. He's a very quick and atheltic goaltender, who uses his vision and anticipation to steal games. However, he does need to work on a few fundamentals and his consistency; he only started playing goaltender when he was 12.
29. NEW JERSEY DEVILS - C MARK JANKOWSKI
I honestly do not understand why they decided to hold this pick, so that tells me there must be some they have in mind. Its hard to predict who that is this late in the draft, but Mark Jankowski has the upside to prove them right. He has alot of impressive tools: large frame to fill out, dynamic hands, smooth skating, and impressive intagibles. The biggest problem with Jankowski is that he plays with the worst of the worst. He plays in a Canadian prep school, which is below US High School and BCHL, which is below USHL, which is below CHL etc etc. You get my point. He is super hard to project, super hard to compare, and he has tons of works he needs to do. But if he puts it all together, he can be one very good player.
30. LOS ANGELES KINGS - D JAKE MCCABE
It is hard to find a fault in the King's organization with talent nicely spread in every area. With the last pick in the first round, they make sure their defense is well-stocked with the addition of defenseman Jake McCabe. He started off the year as a defensive defenseman but with some time on the PP, he started to produce some offense. McCabe is a quiet but effective player that moves well and plays solid in both ends of the ice. He has a solid frame, and with the last pick of the round, the Kings don't mind adding a well-rounded prospect who has decent upside.
For a more quicker look without all the explanation, here is a nice table for ya!
|#||Team Name||Player Name||Pos.||Team||League|
|1||Edmonton Oilers||Nail Yakupov||RW||Sarnia||OHL|
|2||Columbus Blue Jackets||Ryan Murray||D||Everett||WHL|
|3||Montreal Canadians||Alex Galchenyuk||C||Sarnia||OHL|
|4||New York Islanders||Filip Forsberg||LW||Leksand||Sweden-2|
|5||Toronto Maple Leafs||Griffin Reinhart||D||Edmonton||WHL|
|6||Anaheim Ducks||Jacob Trouba||D||USA-18||USHL|
|7||Minnesota Wild||Teuvo Teravainen||LW||Jokerit Jr.||Fin-Jr.|
|8||Carolina Hurricanes||Radek Faksa||C||Kitchener||OHL|
|9||Winnipeg Jets||Matt Dumba||D||Red Deer||WHL|
|10||Tampa Bay Lightning||Morgan Rielly||D||Moose Jaw||WHL|
|11||Washington Capitals (via COL)||Mikhail Grigorenko||C||Quebec||QMJHL|
|12||Buffalo Sabres||Cody Ceci||D||Ottawa||OHL|
|13||Dallas Stars||Hampus Lindholm||D||Rogle Jr.||Swe-Jr.|
|14||Calgary Flames||Olli Maatta||D||London||OHL|
|15||Ottawa Senators||Slater Koekkoek||D||Peterborough||OHL|
|16||Washington Capitals||Brendan Gaunce||C||Belleville||OHL|
|17||San Jose Sharks||Zemgus Girgensons||C||Dubuque||USHL|
|18||Chicago Blackhawks||Derrick Pouliot||D||Portland||WHL|
|19||Tampa Bay Lightning (via DET)||Matt Finn||D||Guelph||OHL|
|20||Philadelphia Flyers||Brady Skjei||D||USA U-18||USHL|
|21||Buffalo Sabres (via NAS)||Tom Wilson||RW||Plymouth||OHL|
|22||Pittsburgh Penguins||Sebastian Collberg||RW||Frolunda||SEL|
|23||Florida Panthers||Ludvig Bystrom||D||Modo Jr.||Swe-Jr.|
|24||Boston Bruins||Andrei Vasilevski||G||UFA 2||Rus-Jr.|
|25||St. Louis Blues||Colton Sissons||RW||Kelowna||WHL|
|26||Vancouver Canucks||Tomas Hertl||C||Slavia||CZRep|
|27||Phoenix Coyotes||Phil Di Giuseppe||LW||Michigan||CCHA|
|28||New York Rangers||Malcolm Subban||G||Belleville||OHL|
|29||New Jersey Devils||Mark Jankowski||C||Stanstea College||High-QC|
|30||Los Angeles Kings||Jake McCabe||D||U of Wisconsin||WCHA|