2012 NHL Draft Preview

The NHL Draft signifies the beginning of the NHL offseason as teams begin to rebuild and look to the future of the game. The new generation is coming up as players from the minor leagues look to get in to the NHL and make an impact. Of course the draft is not the only way to do this as free agency is right around the corner for teams to add players. The free agency market is thin this year as there are a few questions about the players that may be available and the lack of big names that will be out there. This leaves the trade market as one of the few ways to add key players to a team that can have an impact next year. The draft plays a key role in this as the trade market begins to heat up around the draft. As the draft approaches teams begin to look for other options besides the draft to improve their team. The draft becomes an integral part of this process as it represents a golden opportunity for the GMs. One of the big reasons for the opportunity is that the executives are all together in the same place at the same time and can talk face to face about deals. Instead of playing phone tag GMs can meet in person to negotiate which can work out better deals. Another reason for the opportunity is that draft picks are still in play and with the draft so close a trade can provide immediate results. Instead of trading a player for a future draft pick teams can trade a player for a pick that they can use that same day to get a good young player. These two factors make draft day a big trading day that could be the theme of the draft this year. There is another aspect to this year that may change that completely as the new CBA negotiations may stop many GMs from making a deal. This throws a wrench into the draft day trade rumours as there could be silence on draft day rather than the usual busy trade wire. Some teams may bite the bullet though as a few teams may need to make a move if they hope to have any hope for next year. There are a few rumours already as Roberto Luongo is on the trade block with a few teams needing a goalie including the Toronto Maple Leafs. Rick Nash has also been named as a possible trade piece for the Columbus Blue Jackets if someone can pay the heavy price for him. There are also rumours circulating the first overall pick as many people believe that the Oilers may be willing to trade the top pick for a veteran defenceman. Even though there are plenty of trade rumours and an uncertain future teams will still look towards the future of the game at the draft. Whether or not there will be trades does not change the fact that teams will be choosing their future as the new generation of NHL players find out where they may be playing in the future. As teams rev up for their picks The Sport Addiction is here for a mock draft of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

 

1. Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers desperately need a defenceman and after years of picking great offensive talents. The Oilers do have the ability to trade this pick for a veteran and if they don’t they may very well take another young forward but if they are smart they would take what they need and pass on Yakupov to take the top defenceman in the draft.

Who They Will Draft:

Ryan Murray, D (Everett Silvertips)

 

2. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Jackets are in need of everything really as they were the worst team in the NHL last year, by a lot, and couldn’t even get any luck in the lottery. Really anyone they take will be a good fit because they have more than one glaring hole and so they can simply go with the person they have ranked top on their board which may happen to be the #1 prospect.

Who They Will Draft:

Nail Yakupov, RW (Sarnia Sting)

 

3. Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens had a bad year last year and a new front office and coaching staff will look to make an impression with their first pick. It will be hard to make a mistake though as it is clear that the second best Russian in the draft will be available and will be a great fit as he has already become a fan favorite in the QMJHL.

Who They Will Draft:

Mikhail Grigorenko, C (Quebec Remparts)

 

4. New York Islanders

This is where the draft gets murky as the top three are clear but the rest are a toss-up based on team needs. The Islanders are a team that needs defence instead of offence and although there are plenty of offensive stars available they really don’t need any so instead they will look to get a top defenceman and fill a hole, even if it surprises most people.

Who They Will Draft:

Matt Dumba, D (Red Deer Rebels)

 

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

Brian Burke is skating on thin ice after a disappointing stint as GM and will need to make a big impact at this pick to start what could be his last year in Toronto off right. He will get lucky too as the Leafs could finally find the top line centre they have been looking for the last few years but they will take a risk with his injury history.

Who They Will Draft:

Alex Galchenyuk, C (Sarnia Sting)

 

6. Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks did not perform as many thought in 2011-12 and need some help in a few places if they hope to get back to the playoffs. The needs they have may not be able to be filled at the draft and so they will take someone who could fill a need in the future with a few aging forwards that will not be around for much longer.

Who They Will Draft:

Filip Forsberg, RW (Leksand)

 

7. Minnesota Wild

The Wild started their season off great but fell quickly in the second half as they wore down and eventually missed the playoffs. This year the Wild have seen that they have many pieces to win but one of the big things they need is a defenceman who can finally replace the loss of Brent Burns.

Who They Will Draft:

Morgan Reilly, D (Moose Jaw Warriors)

 

8. Carolina Hurricanes

The Canes have rarely taken a defenceman in the first round of the draft and so even though they may benefit from it they will not take one this time. Instead they will go to the top player left in the draft in an elite Finnish forward who could make an impact early and prove to be a good linemate for Eric Staal.

Who They Will Draft:

Teuvo Teravainen, LW (Jokerit)

 

9. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets were simply handed a team last year and took the year to find out what exactly they had but this year they know what they want and will go into the draft better prepared. They took a potential great forward last year and this year they will look to add another forward with a much different style who could become a fan favorite.

Who They Will Draft:

Radek Faksa, C (Kitchener Rangers)

 

10. Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning seem to be realizing that they will find it hard to find a young goaltender here so they have looked to young defenceman to fill the whole. They will look for another young defenceman who could end up joining Hedberg on the top pairing in the future creating a truly elite defensive pair.

Who They Will Draft:

Jacob Trouba, D (US NTDP U-18)

 

11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado)

The Caps are in tough as they do not have a coach and do not know who may fit in the system the best. In that respect they may very well just take the best player available and will add to their forwards with a solid offensive talent who could develop into an elite forward to go alongside the already potent talent in Washington.

Who They Will Draft:

Brendan Gaunce, C (Belleville Bulls)

 

12. Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have a bit of new life as they enter the second year of new ownership with the new commitment to winning that started last year. With that the Sabres have signed their defenceman in Ehrhoff and so they will look past the defenders and towards another talented forward.

Who They Will Draft:

Sebastien Collberg, RW (Frolunda)

 

13. Dallas Stars

The Stars are looking at a tough period as they have now missed the playoffs two years in a row and will need to work on their depth to improve their team. One need that has come up recently is a need for three or even four lines that can all be impact lines and Dallas will look to start their third line with this pick.

Who they Will Draft:

Zemgus Girgensons, C (Dubuque Fighting Saints)

 

14. Calgary Flames

The Flames need to get younger and need to do it fast as they look to add some young talent that can make an impact immediately. They may find this in one of the biggest defenceman in the draft and they will only need to drive him down the road from Edmonton where he spent his junior career.

Who They Will Draft:

Griffin Reinhart, D (Edmonton Oil Kings)

 

15. Ottawa Senators

The Sens are a hotbed for great Swedish players and Erik Karlsson is just the latest example of that so it is no surprise that they will likely go with another Swede here. The question is whether or not they want the young forward or a potential defensive partner for Karlsson and in the end it may come down to the fact that another defenceman will never hurt.

Who They Will Draft:

Hampus Lindholm, D (Rogle)

 

16. Washington Capitals

The Caps will take their second selection in the draft after their first pick came at the expense of the Colorado Avalanche. With this second pick the Caps will solve a problem that they need to solve as they will look to the defensive side of the game to provide a solid player that may make an impact immediately in the NHL.

Who They Will Draft:

Cody Ceci, D (Ottawa 67s)

 

17. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks once again disappointed even with little to no pressure on them and they will need to begin building a system if they hope to compete. It all starts in the draft as they look to add young talent that can eventually make an impact and with some top forwards on the team they may be looking for a blueliner to even things out.

Who They Will Draft:

Olli Maatta, D (London Knights)

 

18. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks were disappointing last year even though they made the playoffs but they have very little big holes. Since they do not have any big holes they will just look for the best player available and a two-way defender that is only second to Morgan Reilly in his offensive abilities could be the best option for the hawks.

Who They Will Draft:

Derrick Pouliot, D (Portland Winterhawks)

 

19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit)

Despite the fact that they signed a goalie already they will still look to get a future goaltender in case it doesn’t work out. With a second pick in the first round the Lightning are free to take someone who can finally fill the void in net but they will still need a free agent to fill the void until the goaltending prospect can develop into an NHL starter.

Who They Will Draft:

Malcolm Subban, G (Belleville Bulls)

 

20. Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers looked to be close to a Stanley Cup team but an injury to Chris Pronger and a disappointing season by their goaltenders stopped their hopes. Now the Flyers need to start thinking about the future and life without Pronger and so they will look to take the best defenceman they can get in this spot.

Who They Will Draft:

Matthew Finn, D (Guelph Storm)

 

21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville)

The Sabres are looking to add to their forward talent that they have addressed in their first pick and may just do again. Rather than picking another sniping forward with some great hands they will look to add a forward that has some great two-way ability to the second line and has the ability to add some points when needed.

Who They Will Draft:

Pontus Aberg, LW (Djurgarden)

 

22. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are looking to reload this year and will need to do so with some major contract talks with two of their stars that may leave their pockets empty. That being said they will need to draft someone and there is no reason to take a centre that could only at best be a 4th liner on this team so they will go for a winger that can provide some support for their big three centres.

Who They Will Draft:

Thomas Wilson, RW (Plymouth Whalers)

 

23. Florida Panthers

The Panthers surprised a lot of people this year and a big part of that was the fact that they have one of the best systems in the NHL. This year all they can do is add to the stable of great talent and so they will take the best player available and add another great blueliner to go alongside and already deep pool.

Who They Will Draft:

Brady Skjei, D (US NTDP U-18)

 

24. Boston Bruins

The Bruins have many things set up for them and do not have a lot of holes to fill which puts them in a position to take a risky player. They will do just that as they will add a great defenceman who has had some issues with injuries but taking him and allowing him develop is an option that the Bruins have.

Who They Will Draft:

Slater Koekkoek, D (Peterborough Petes)

 

25. St. Louis Blues

The Blues have spent the better part of the last few years building a solid blue line with some of the best young talent. Now it is time to begin developing some forwards to take the pressure off the goalies and the defence and so they will go for the best forward left who could turn out to be a very big impact player.

Who They Will Draft:

Thomas Hertl, C (Slavia)

 

26. Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks are moving on this year as they look to get back to their performance of 2011 and a part of this will be adding a good forward to the mix. They will do this and possibly create one of the best stories in the first round as the best player available will be a Vancouverite who has played in BC his entire career.

Who They Will Draft:

Colton Sissons, C (Kelowna Rocket)

 

27. Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes are alive for another year with a new owner as they continue one business as usual picking in the 27th spot after a successful postseason. This pick is a hard one to make as many players that can make an impact are gone and so the Yote’s will be looking to find a development player that may need some work in the minors.

Who They Will Draft:

Henrik Samuelsson, C (Edmonton Oil Kings)

 

28. New York Rangers

They came so close but could not do it but the Rangers will be back at it again next year with John Tortorella behind the bench. As a result of their coach the Rangers will likely be looking for tough defensive minded players and what better than to take one of the best defenceman left in the draft.

Who They Will Draft:

Ludvig Bystrom, D (Elitserien)

 

29. New Jersey Devils

The Devils signed a big contract with Ilya Kovalchuk and because of the way it was structured this pick could be forfeited as a penalty. If they do pick in this spot they will be looking for a possible replacement for aging goaltender Martin Brodeur even if it takes some time to develop him into the goalie they need after Marty.

Who They Will Draft:

Andrei Vasilevski, G (Ufa)

 

30. Los Angeles Kings

After winning their first Stanley Cup in team history the Kings will be on top of the world and looking to continue their momentum in the draft. If the Kings take this pick, Columbus has the option of taking this pick due to the Carter trade, they will be looking to add some depth and will look to the centre with the intangibles who they can develop.

Who Will They Draft:

Scott Laughton, C (Oshawa Generals)

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