NHL 2012 Mock Draft: Fail for Nail or Mikhail | The Hockey Writers
Is it ever too early to think about the NHL’s next entry draft?
Many shots will be taken. Many saves will be made. Many hits will be dished out. Many battles for loose pucks will be fought. Many passes will be delivered. Many savvy puck moves will be executed. Many coach tirades will fall on deaf ears.All before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft takes place on June 22nd-23rd in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
Every year it seems I contemplate whether or not to go through the intriguing yet dubious task of putting together a mock draft. We all know how fascinating it is to go through the progress of formulating which team should select which prospect and at what point in the draft.
We also know how quickly a mock draft can go off the rails when the actual NHL draft takes place. Whether it be the Phoenix Coyotes going off the board to take a Blake Wheeler or the Los Angeles Kings selecting Thomas Hickey seemingly out of nowhere, one’s mock draft can be wrecked faster than Michael Grabner can do a lap around the rink.
Of course, temptation got the best of me again yet again.
Today’s article embarks on my first mock draft of the season.
- This is not an attempt to rank prospects – rankings will follow similar to preceding years. This is mere a “guesstimate” at what teams might choose if they were to draft today based on weighing out best player available with team need and past experiences at the draft table.
- Draft order is based on the NHL standings as of morning of January 17th, 2012. Standings and thus team drafting positions will obviously fluctuate on a day-to-day basis from here on end.
Starting this mock draft off with a bang, the Blue Jackets would likely heavily shop this pick should they land the #1 overall pick. Make no mistake, I feel Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko are the 1A and 1B prospects eligible for the 2012 draft. However, given the franchise’s atrocious history with drafting talented Russian players near the top of the draft, they are likely terrified of having similar outcomes as with the two Nikitas – Zherdev and Filatov – and thus go against the consensus Fail for Nail or Mikhail theme of this draft.
If they keep the pick, why not swing for the fences and go with the blueliner with the highest risk/reward in the draft – Mathew Dumba. The Red Deer Rebel defenseman is an explosive and dynamic player with a seemingly unmatched passion for the game. He has a personality that could really be infectious in Columbus.
The Ducks do not hesitate to call the name of Yakupov, perhaps the most talented and creative player in the draft with game-breaking potential.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning – Mikhail Grigorenko
GM Steve Yzerman knows the importance of strength down the middle. The big Russian centerman is an exceptional talent that can control the tempo of a game. He reminds some of Evgeny Malkin. The Lightning also consider potential franchise blueliner Ryan Murray.
4. Edmonton Oilers – Ryan Murray (D, Everett, WHL)
The Oilers have a plethora of talent up front and land their future anchor on the blueline. Put Ryan Murray’s dreadful hard luck semifinal game against Russia out of your mind. Murray experienced Murphy’s Law in that game, but the cool, calm and collected blueliner will put that game behind him. He is a steady, superb skating defenseman with ridiculous upside in the mold of Scott Niedermayer.
5. New York Islanders – Filip Forsberg (C, Leksand, Sweden)
The Islanders were hoping for one of Ryan Murray or Mathew Dumba to further build up the blueline, but gladly settle on the top rated Swedish prospect in the draft – centerman Filip Forsberg (no relation of Peter). Filip was a member of Sweden recent World Juniors gold medal winning squad, albeit with a limited role. He is a good sized center and one of the youngest eligible prospects for the draft. Forsberg projects as an excellent two-way center who creates plenty opportunities for his teammates.
6. Carolina Hurricanes – Alex Galchenyuk (C, Sarnia, OHL)
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft class seems like it’s cursed – cursed with an abnormally high number of injuries to top end prospects. Galchenyuk is at the top of this list, having to miss all of this season with a knee injury. The Canes draft the talented center based on his high end skill level. He had an absolute stunning season for the Sarnia Sting last year with 83 points in 68 games.
7. Montreal Canadiens – Brendan Gaunce (C, Belleville, OHL)
The Habs recent trade of Mike Cammalleri for Rene Bourque makes it evident the value the organization now place on size. Gaunce fits the mould possessing good size and is a tantalizing package of skill, grit, leadership ability and strong two-way play.
8. Buffalo Sabres – Griffin Reinhart (D, Edmonton, WHL)
The Sabres struck black gold the last time they went out west and drafted a big blueliner with high upside. In 2008 it was the towering Tyler Myers. In 2012, it’s 6’3″ Griffin Reinhart, son of former Calgary Flame Paul Reinhart, who has the potential to be a fantastic two-way defenseman, but has to continue to work on consistency.
9. Calgary Flames – Cody Ceci (D, Ottawa 67’s, OHL)
The Flames select the best player available on their list in Cody Ceci. The 6’2″ defenseman can fill the role of powerplay quarterback and is calm and steady in his own zone. At this point in the season, he has notched an impressive 38 points in 41 games in the OHL.
10. Winnipeg Jets– Morgan Rielly (D, Moose Jaw, WHL)
2012 is definitely the year of the defenseman and the year of the injury for the entry draft. Morgan Rielly fits both descriptions. The blueliner was averaging a PPG when he too went down with a knee injury. He is highly regarded for his high hockey IQ and is a scintillating skater.
Read full article at THW for the remainder of the first round mock draft: