2012 NHL Mock Draft
With only a couple days to go until the NHL draft I've decided to do my annual mock draft. Last year I went 23 for 30 in the 1st round and to be honest I will settle for that this year with all the unpredictability.
With this year being a weaker draft than normal I expect quite a lot of movement in the first round as teams try to move up a couple spots or move down depending on who they like.
We could also see a couple of big names being moved at the draft like Rick Nash and Roberto Luongo. Even if there is no movement I will truly enjoy this day, like I do every year in the draft because you start to see team's direction.
I'm more excited than a Cincinnati Bengals scout when he sees a player with a criminal record.
1. Edmonton Oilers
Nail Yakupov RW Sarnia
I'm not sure this is the right choice for the Oilers but if they don't trade the first overall pick they will select Yakupov. They get the best offensive player in the draft and he should thrive with budding young stars Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Creates a scary explosive young offense for years to come in Edmonton.
2011 — 1. Ryan Nugent Hopkins 19. Oskars Klefbom
2010 — 1. Taylor Hall
2. Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Murray D Everett
The Blue Jackets really need help everywhere but they need it now. Murray is probably the most NHL ready player in this draft. Murray will be paired with Jack Johnson in the future and will form a defensive tandem similar to Keith and Seabrook in Chicago.
2011 — Pick traded for Jeff Carter
2010 — 4. Ryan Johansen
3. Montreal Canadiens
Alex Galchenyuk C Sarnia
Montreal needs help down the middle of the ice and even with Galchenyuk's knee problems he is the Canadiens best bet. With drafting defencemen the past two years they need a dynamic forward to complement their core. They may opt for Mikhail Grigorenko but his playoffs in the QMJHL scared me.
2011 — 17. Nathan Beaulieu
2010 — 22. Jared Tinordi
4. New York Islanders
Griffin Reinhardt D Edmonton
The Islanders passed on a big strong two-way defenceman last year in Dougie Hamilton and they won't make the same mistake this year. They have a lot of skilled forwards in their system but lack a true No. 1 or No. 2 defender.
2011- 5. Ryan Strome
2010- 5. Nino Neiderreiter 30. Brock Nelson
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
Filip Forsberg RW Leksand
Toronto is a fairly deep team on defense and in defensive prospects but they don't have a real deep pool of top end forwards. In Forsberg the Leafs get a big skilled forward that will ultimately play in their top six. He plays a grittier game that Brian Burke will love and his hands are world class.
2011 — 22. Tyler Biggs 25. Stuart Percy
2010 — Traded for Phil Kessel
6. Anaheim Ducks
Matt Dumba D Red Deer
The Ducks seem fairly set on offense with Perry, Getzlaf, and Ryan. They also have Etem and Rakell in the system so they change their focus to defence and add the dynamic Dumba. Dumba hits like a truck and moves so well on the ice. Will look good in the future anchoring a powerplay with Cam Fowler.
2011 — 30. Rickard Rakell
2010 — 12. Cam Fowler 29. Emerson Etem
7. Minnesota Wild
Teuvo Teravainen LW Jokerit
The Wild grab the most creative player in this draft and Teravainen will feel very at home in Minnesota. The Wild already have top Finnish players in Mikko Koivu and Mikael Grandlund. Minnesota has long waited for some top end offensive players and it seems that it's closer to happening.
2011 — 10. Jonas Brodin
2010 — 9. Mikael Granlund
8. Carolina Hurricanes
Radek Faksa C Kitchener
Carolina would really like a complement to Eric Staal or Jeff Skinner because they struggle playing together. In Faksa they get a solid big two-way centre that can play all facets of the game. Carolina GM Jim Rutherford tends to like to draft forwards in the first round because defencemen take longer to develop. Except last year when Ryan Murphy was left on the board at #12.
2011 — 12. Ryan Murphy
2010 — 7. Jeff Skinner
9. Winnipeg Jets
Mikhail Grigorenko C Quebec
Although the Jets will be tempted to draft a defenceman with the ninth selection, the upside of Grigorenko is too hard to pass up. In Grigorenko they get a potential first line center with size and cerebral puck-handling skills. Will be a strong one-two punch with last year's first round pick Mark Scheifele.
2011- 7. Mark Scheifele
2010- 8. Alexander Burmistrov
10. Tampa Bay Lighting
Morgan Rielly D Moose Jaw
Tampa Bay hasn't had a smooth puck-moving defenceman since trading Dan Boyle. In Rielly the Lighting get a silky smooth skater that moves the puck so well. Rielly is an absolute steal at No. 10. He would look good moving the puck to Steve Stamkos which could mean more goals for the superstar.
2011 — 27. Vladislav Namestnikov
2010 — 6. Brett Connolly
11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado)
Jacob Trouba D U.S NTDP
Capitals are loaded with European skill and talent and now need to add some toughness on their blueline. In Trouba they get a physical two-way defenceman that is best in his own end of the ice. Trouba is no fun to play against and he does have an offensive upside.
2011 — Traded pick for Troy Brouwer
2010 — 26. Evgeny Kuznetsov
12. Buffalo Sabres
Hampus Lindholm D Rogle
Buffalo has two first round picks so they have the flexibility to take the best player with the highest ceiling. Lindholm is a strong two-way defenceman and if the season would have been longer he may have progressed to a top 10 pick. Lindholm could be Tyler Myers’ future defense partner.
2011 — 16. Joel Armia
2010 — 23. Mark Pysyk
13. Dallas Stars
Brendan Gaunce C Belleville
Dallas is in need of a big physical centre that can score. Gaunce is the perfect fit for their needs. Gaunce is a future second line centre who can play in all situations.
2011 — 14. Jamie Oleksiak
2010 — 11. Jack Campbell
14. Calgary Flames
Cody Ceci D Ottawa
Calgary is in need of skill at all positions. In Ceci, Calgary gets a pure offensive defenceman with NHL size. Ceci is believed to be close to NHL ready with his size and skills. Ceci is their future powerplay quarterback with a rocket of a shot.
2011 — 13. Sven Baertschi
2010 — Traded to Phoenix for Olli Jokinen
15. Ottawa Senators
Olli Maata D London
Ottawa went offensive heavy in last year's draft and then traded David Rundblad during last season, so Ottawa will need to replenish their defensive corps. In Maata Ottawa gets a defensive defenceman than can move the puck up the ice with poise. Will be a solid NHL defenseman.
2011 — 6. Mika Zibanejad 21. Stefan Noesen 24. Matt Puempel
2010 — Traded pick to STL for David Rundblad
16. Washington Capitals
Tom Wilson RW Plymouth
Washington continues to get nastier in the draft taking Wilson with their second pick. Wilson is the type of player who can protect and make room for Alexander Ovechkin, and Nicklas Backstrom. Wilson is tough to play against, which is something Washington surely needs up front.
See picks #11
17. San Jose Sharks
Derrick Pouliot D Portland
With Dan Boyle aging, the Sharks need a future puck moving defenceman. In Pouliot they get that with a little bit of a nasty streak. Pouliot is a smooth skater that thrives at passing the puck. Pouliot will be a strong NHL powerplay puck distributor.
2011- Traded to Minnesota for Brent Burns
2010- 28. Charlie Coyle
18. Chicago Blackhawks
Slater Koekkoek D Peterborough
Chicago drafted solid two-way forwards last year with their first three pick and this year they add a future top four defenceman with their first pick. Koekkoek is loaded with potential and has a lot of upside. He is a strong skater that works hard. Good future partner for Nicklas Hjalmarsson on the second pair.
2011 — 18. Mark McNeil 26. Philip Danault
2010 — 24. Kevin Hayes
19. Tampa Bay Lighting (from Detroit)
Andrei Vasilevski G UFA
Even with the Lighting adding Anders Lindback last week the Lighting still adds a goaltender with their second 1st round pick. Vasilevski is a future No. 1 goaltender who the Lighting covet. Lindback has never been a No. 1 goalie and Vasilevski is years away from being NHL goaltender so they need the depth.
See pick #10
20. Philadelphia Flyers
Matt Finn D Guelph
Flyers have a strong young team but the cupboard is bare are far as talented prospects. In Finn they get a complete defenceman that plays a smart game. Future top-four defenceman with a small offensive upside.
2011 — 8. Sean Couturier
2010 — Traded for Chris Pronger
21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville)
Zemgus Girgensons C Dubuque
After trading Paul Gaustad for this pick at the trade deadline they replace him with a similar type of player. Girgensons is a solid two-way centre who protects the puck really well. Girgensons is a big centre that the Sabres desperately need.
See Picks #12
22. Pittsburgh Penguins
Ludwig Bystrom D Modo
In the playoffs the Penguins gave up tons of goals. Was it there defense's fault? No, it was the sum of all parts but they could use a solid two way defenseman in their system. In Bystrom the Penguins get a smart mobile defenseman with excellent gap control. A solid two-way defenceman.
2011 — 23. Joe Morrow
2010 — 20. Beau Bennett
23. Florida Panthers
Stefan Matteau LW U.S NTDP
Florida is in need of some team toughness and Matteau fits the bill. Matteau is built like a power forward who likes to hit and play right along the line. Could be an NHL super pest like Steve Ott. Will provide space for the skilled Jonathan Huberdeau.
2011 — 3. Jonathan Huberdeau
2010 — 3. Erik Gudbranson 19. Nick Bjugstad 25. Quinton Howden
24. Boston Bruins
Sebastien Collberg RW Frolunda
The Bruins hit a home run last year landing arguably the best defenceman at No. 9 in Dougie Hamilton. The Bruins are tough and physical but lack a true natural goal scorer to play with the talents of Tyler Seguin. Enter Collberg a goal scorer with a wicked quick release. Lucic will provide him with the room needed.
2011 — 9. Dougie Hamilton
2010 — 2. Tyler Seguin
25. St. Louis Blues
Dalton Thrower D Saskatoon
Even though Barret Jackman just recently signed a new three-year deal, Dalton Thrower is his future replacement. A tough, physical, two-way defenceman who will stick up for his teammates. St. Louis is deep with offensive prospects and could use some defence. Thrower could be a captain someday.
2011 — Traded for Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart
2010 — 14. Jaden Schwartz 16. Vladimir Tarasenko
26. Vancouver Canucks
Pontus Aberg LW Djursgarden
The Canucks need more secondary scoring long-term. Last year they selected Nicklas Jensen who is a bigger forward with soft hands. To complement that pick, they select Aberg, a player who loves to shoot and is dangerous off the rush with his quick feet.
2011 — 29. Nicklas Jensen
2010 — Traded for Keith Ballard
27. Phoenix Coyotes
Tomas Hertl C Slava
Phoenix is hurting for young forwards who can score and are deep on young defenceman. In Hertl they get an offensive forward that is strong on the puck and a very good playmaker.
2011 — 20. Connor Murphy
2010 — 13. Brandon Gormley 27. Mark Visentin
28. New York Rangers
Mark Jankowski C Stanstead
The Rangers need offensive players and Jankowski has the highest offensive potential left on the board. Tough to read because he played against high school kids but he dominated.
2011 — 15. J.T Miller
2010 — 10. Dylan McIlrath
29. New Jersey Devils
Malcolm Subban G Belleville
I have a hard time thinking the Devils don't pick the heir apparent to Martin Brodeur (thought they would have done it years ago but he found his magic last year) in this draft. I can't see any other reason to keep this pick (they lose a first round pick in the next two years for Cap circumvention) other than they like the goalie class this year. Subban is an athletic goaltender who is loaded with potential. They may take a safer route drafting Oskar Dansk but Subban's ceiling is much higher.
2011 — 4. Adam Larsson
2010 — Traded to Atlanta for Ilya Kovalchuk and then to Chicago for Dustin Byfuglien
30. Los Angeles Kings (option to Columbus)
Colton Scissons C/RW Kelowna
He just feels like a King the way he plays the game. Hard-nosed forward who excels on the forecheck and oozes leadership ability. The Kings had moved a lot of their better assets to acquire a Stanley Cup winning team. Scissons fits perfectly with this group.
2011- Traded pick to Edmonton for Dustin Penner
2010- 15. Derek Forbort
For the Raider fans out there I have Mike Winther going to the Anaheim Ducks at the 36th position. They added Dumba in the first round. Now they take a dynamic forward to go with their dynamic defenseman. Ducks have size up front but could use a crafty skilled forward.
Layne Lysitza blogs for the Daily Herald at www.paherald.sk.ca