2012 NHL Top 30 Mock Draft
Prospect Insider - Shane Malloy
What’s fun about a mock draft is balancing the best player available versus an organization’s draft tendencies and long term needs regardless of your personal thoughts. The other aspect is you can build different scenarios and potential trades. This year’s crop is average overall, with a group of potential elite prospects in the top 10. The remaining 20 draft picks in the first round have array of good skills and teams may find a sleeper pick in the early second round.
Every couple of year’s we hear the cries of a weak draft or it is a crapshoot, which is a misnomer since certain organizations simply do their homework. Now it may be asking allot for this year’s draft to mirror the 2003 NHL Draft where over 90% of player chosen in the first round have played at 200 game or more. In the end they may be a little closer to the 2002 and able get around 66% of the players to be full-time NHL players.
This draft may see some significant movement with the Washington, Buffalo, Tampa Bay and potentially Columbus all with two picks in the first round. With most NHL drafts, trade speculation runs ramped and Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Toronto are garnering most of the speculation.
What makes the NHL draft intriguing anything can happen to alter the fortunes of an organization. Unfortunately all these potential trades can wreak havoc on your mock draft and make it a moot point, but the excitement makes it all worthwhile so buckle up!
Note: All these player write-ups are from my scouting reports, so I expect that a few grammatical errors.
1. Edmonton Oilers – (RW) Nail Yakupov – Sarnia (OHL)
He is the premier goal scorer in this draft class and his ability to be a one shot scorer cannot be underestimated. His capacity to score clutch goals and he should be able to translate that to the NHL. His dynamic skating is already at an NHL level and simply can make defenders look silly as he can weave in and out of traffic like a NFL running back. What makes him truly special is the fact he is not one-dimensional and can be a playmaker as well carrying the puck through the neutral zone. What really sets his game apart from other is that if defenders shut him down, he will attack the ice from a different angle and continue to alter his speed. The level of effort he exudes without the puck is commendable and he will not be just an offensive force but he capable defensive player as well. He plays with passion and enthusiasm and that rubs off on his teammates especially since he is just as excited when they score a goal. He should develop into a first line forward with the capacity to score 40 goals a year and be a point a game player on a regular basis.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets – (D) Ryan Murray – Everett (WHL)
He is the prototypical two-way defenseman that every team looks for, as he is the glue of a defense core. What sets Murray apart from the majority of defensemen in this draft class is his hockey sense and consistent defensive habits. He keeps his game simple in a high efficient way with and without the puck, does not force the play or over compensate.
His game almost looks effortless because of his consistent body position all over the ice. That seems obvious, but many current professional players do have his level of consistency in the little habits. His offensive contributions at the junior hockey level may not fully translate into the NHL unless he receives top power play time. In terms of long term projection Ryan Murray has a similar game to Dan Hamhuis in the 2011-2012 season. He could be a solid top pairing defenseman that a coach can put in all situations and rely on without fear.
3. Montreal Canadiens – (C) Alex Galchenyuk – Sarnia (OHL)
In terms of overall talent I consider him the most complete player in the draft with the highest upside at the NHL level. His hockey sense and ability to make players around him better are at an NHL level already. His skating ability does not seem to be hampered by his injury and he is a dangerous skater as he can change speed and angles with or without the puck. His poise play making are at an NHL level and he will have no problems processing information and making plays in traffic. Once he reaches the full maturity of his 6’1” and 200lbs frame he will be harder to contain and be able to fight off larger forwards and defensemen. His two-way ability and willingness to play defense and matchup head to head against top line centers should continue to improve quickly. He should project into a first line center with the ability to produce on a point a game basis or better in the NHL once he has finished developing.
4. New York Islanders – (D) Matt Dumba – Red Deer (WHL)
He is a two-way defenseman with a riverboat gambler style in both the offensive and defensive zone. He displays athleticism, which he uses to dominate at the junior level. However he takes unnecessary risks with and without the puck pursuing the big play that can hurt his team on occasion. He plays with passion and has a strong worth ethic and there is no denying he possesses a strong skill set overall. He has the knack for making thunderous open ice body checks that can change the momentum in a game at the junior level. Has the ability to produce points once inside the offensive zone and his shot is a legitimate weapon on the power play. Has the potential to be valuable asset and a number 2/3 defenseman in the NHL in similar mold of James Wisniewski.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs – (LW) Fillip Forsberg – Leksand (SWE)
A potential power forward that plays the wing and center, but is more suited to the wing at the pro level. Has the ability to control the play down low with his 6’2” and 190 lbs frame and forces defenders to take liberties and he draws penalties. He has the hockey sense and puck skills to play on a top line and he is fearless driving to the net. Is a dangerous shooter in close and can get the puck away quickly even in heavy traffic. He likes to set up around the crease and create havoc along with time and space for his line-mates. He is responsible in his own end and he makes and effort and hustles in puck pursuit. His only current draw back is that his skating needs to be improved, as he would not be able to keep up to the NHL pace yet. Overall he is an elite talent and would be fine compliment to a playmaking center and a goal-scoring winger.
6. Anaheim Ducks – (D) Griffin Reinhart – Edmonton (WHL)
A potential NHL top pairing two-way defenseman who will be able to log high minutes and shut down top line NHL forwards in the future. He has the potential to play in all situations and relied upon by his coaching staff not to make mistakes. His hockey sense, size and work ethic will allow him to adjust and improve quickly over the next five years. At 6’4” and over 200lbs he will an imposing figure and difficult to play against due to his strength and range. Although he is big in stature he does not have an aggressive style and it would not hurt his game if he showed a really nasty edge once in a while. He should be chosen within the top five picks overall and I consider him to be the top defenseman overall in the 2012 draft class.
7. Minnesota Wild – (D) Jacob Trouba – USNTDP (USA)
An excellent overall defenseman that is equally strong on offense as on defense with good size at 6’2” and 200lbs. He skating ability and high level of hockey sense allow him to take chances in the offensive and defensive zone others do not dare to attempt. He plays a highly competitive game and likes the challenge of going against the other teams best. His aggression and willingness to hit make him tough to play against. Once he finishes developing he should project into a first pairing NHL defenseman that can be put into a shut down role and man the powerplay. I consider him the second best defenseman available in this draft class.
8. Carolina Hurricanes - (C) Mikhail Grigorenko – Quebec (QMJHL)
He is an intriguing package of size 6’3.5” and 200 lbs and skill that should develop into a top line NHL forward. His hockey sense and pucks skills can already compete at an NHL level, however the remainder of his game needs to continue to develop. His skating ability is at a high level already and it may improve once he continues to get stronger. As a pivot he is equally dangerous in passing and shooting opportunities and I would not consider him a natural playmaking center. He has shown the ability to be an elite clutch goal scorer at the junior level, which is rare for a center. He had 47.5% in clutch goals in the regular season and despite being a more offensive league that is still quite impressive. If the team that drafts him is patient and helps him develop his game away from the puck they could have an elite NHL forward that can be a game breaker. To his credit he seems to have embraced living in North America especially Canada and looks to be 100% committed to staying in the NHL.
9. Winnipeg Jets – (D) Cody Ceci – Ottawa (OHL)
I would expect him to be a top pairing defenseman that you can put on the ice in all situations and should excel. His combination of size at 6’2” and 205 with his hockey sense and good skating ability is a rare player even at the NHL level. It is his offensive abilities that make him a special player and could become valuable asset on the power play in the NHL. In the defensive zone he is very good as he uses his quickness and size well. However it is his consistent defensive habit at his age that makes you think he could be a shut down defenseman as well. He is not the most aggressive player and he prefers to be a puck possession style defender and use size to block out players instead of banging and crashing. Is arguably the best defenseman in this draft class.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning – (C) Teuvo Tervainen – Jokerit (FIN)
Behind Galchenyuk and Yakupov he is the most dynamic offensive player in this draft class. This smaller skilled forward has an elite level hockey sense and the ability to dance and dart through defenders to create offensive opportunities. He is so elusive it like trying to hit a mosquito at a picnic or watching Rocky trying to catch the chicken. He is equally dangerous as a goal scorer or a playmaker, which makes him difficult to defend as he is not predictable in his actions. He has the potential to be top line forward in the NHL and can create offense out of thin air. His upside will depend on his work ethic and willingness to play responsible defense.
11. Washington Caps (From Colorado) - (D) Morgan Reilly - Moose Jaw (WHL)
A gifted offensive defenseman that has the ability to generate offense in any situation. Shows the potential to be first pairing NHL defenseman and top end power play quarter back. He can create offensive opportunities with a excellent first pass and disrupt any manner of fore-check a team sends his way. His intelligence and skating ability will allow him to move the puck and rush the puck with equal efficiency. He will need time to develop his physical strength for his defensive game to handle NHL forwards. He will need an extra year of development at the junior or AHL level to make up for the lost time due to his knee injury. He did not miss a beat or any quickness or lateral movement after the knee injury. He seemed confident and did not hesitate to play his style upon his return. I consider him the purist offensive defenseman in the draft and should develop into a top pairing defenseman in the NHL.
12. Buffalo Sabres – (C) Radek Faksa – Kitchener (OHL)
Is a great combination of size at 6’3” and 202lbs and skill and shows the hockey sense to become a top six forward in the NHL. What makes his total package and upside unique is that he skates really well for his size. When it comes to his overall offensive skill he has the ability to be good playmaker and goal scorer so is not predictable. His ability to score clutch goals at the center position is excellent and he can be counted when a big goal is needed. Another advantage is he has a strong work ethic and good defensive habits at a young age. He plays such a solid consistent game 5 on 5 that he should be able to translate that into the pro ranks. He may not have the enough elite puck skills to be number one center, but he could develop into a premier second line center.
13. Dallas Stars – (C) Brendan Gaunce – Belleville (OHL)
A potential power center that has two-way ability and the chance to be a good second line center in the NHL. It is hard not to like his size at 6’2 and 215lbs and his puck skills and his willingness to get his nose dirty. He is an underrated defensive player and his ability to shut down top player and penalty kill is excellent. He is one of the best offensive 5 on 5 players in the draft with 67.7% of points coming on even strength. The only factor in his game that needs work is his skating, which would be considered below average at the NHL level. Even if he improves to the average skating level in the NHL, his work ethic, hockey sense and puck skills will make up the difference. He is a clutch performer on both sides of the ice and is the type of player you want in the playoffs.
14. Calgary Flames - (D) Derrick Pouliot – Portland (WHL)
The prototypical puck possession offensive defenseman that has the talent to be a power play quarter back at the NHL level. His hockey sense, elusive skating ability and puck skills will be valuable in creating offense from the defensive zone. His ability to slip the fore-check make a precise first pass to a forward at full speed moving through the neutral zone is his best asset. He is not the biggest defender at 5’11 and 186 pounds so he must compete hard when he does not have the puck. He should develop into a very good top four NHL defenseman that can man the top powerplay and create offense.
15. Ottawa Senators – (D) Hampus Lindholm – Rogle Jr. (SWE)
He shows a good upside as a two-way second pairing defenseman at the NHL level in a few years. He possesses good size at 6’2” and 195 lbs and range with his overall strong skating ability. His hockey sense on both sides of the ice allows him to make smart and safe plays with or without the puck. Has the potential to be a power play quarterback as he moves the puck efficiently and gets the puck on net consistently. It is hard not to like his work ethic and reliability and has an offensive upside that should improve once he plays in a higher tempo game. Overall he should be drafted somewhere before 20th in this years draft and I would consider him a safe pick.
16. Washington Capitals – (C) Tomas Hertl – Slavia (CZE)
A nice combination of size at 6’2” and skill with the offensive upside to be a solid second line forward in the NHL. He is capable of playing a two-way game and is equally skilled as playmaker as a goal scorer. He is unassuming player on the ice and does not give you that wow factor, but his highly intelligent and calculating on the ice. The fact he had played with men with Slavia in the Czech Republic cannot be under estimated in terms of his development. He could be a nice complimentary player to a number one center once he finishes developing.
17. San Jose Sharks – (C) Zemgus Girgensons – Dubuque (USHL)
He is a gritty and skilled two-way center that hustles and battles all over the ice and has hockey sense to be a valuable NHL player. At 6’2” and 200 lbs he brings the potential size you need for physical style forward that likes to get his nose dirty. His puck skills are sometimes underrated due to his style of play, but his ability to make plays in traffic is good. He is a strong skater that can keep up to a high tempo and is capable of playing with elite skill level players. What makes him a valuable prospect is his work ethic without the puck and his willingness to pay the price to win games. He has the ability to project into a solid defensive forward that can shut down skilled forwards and can still produce offense. His in your face style makes him a favorite of teammates and coaches appreciate his will and coachability.
18. Chicago Blackhawks – (D) Brady Skjei – USNTP (USA)
A strapping 6’3” and 200lbs defenseman that plays a good shut down defensive game and shows enough hockey sense and pucks skills to contribute. As he continues to develop his offensive numbers may not translate at an NHL level, but he makes smart decisions with the puck. He competes hard on every shift and shows enough jam to battle in the trenches when needed. He skates very well for size and he could development into a solid complimentary second pairing defenseman to a more offensive partner at the NHL level.
19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit) – (D) Olli Maatta – London (OHL)
He has the ability to be a solid two-way third pairing defenseman at the NHL level, has the good size for an NHL defenseman at 6’2” and over 202 lbs. I would not consider him a top four NHL defenseman despite his statistics as he has deficiencies in his game that will not translate well into the NHL. He was consistently protected defensively having Scott Harrington and Jarred Tinordi playing against the opposition’s top lines. He does not show the puck movement ability 5 on 5 versus the top lines in junior to expect that to improve and translate into the NHL. To his credit he works extremely hard and competes on every shift. That level of work ethic with the right player development may increase his overall upside. If not for a weaker draft class he would not be chosen until the second round.
20. Philadelphia Flyers – (G) Malcom Subban – Belleville (OHL)
A highly athletic netminder with capability to steal games as he always finds a way to make the critical save when his team needs it. A couple of the factors that could make him a number one goaltender in the NHL are his quick lateral movement and his ability to learn and adapt quickly. His technique and mechanics are solid and works very hard to remain consistent and disciplined. He plays a smart and aggressive style and he forces the opposition to beat him the perfect shot. I cannot emphasize enough how intelligent he is and that will make tremendous difference on his professional development. It is hard not to appreciate his passion and enthusiasm he has for the game.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville) – (LW) Sebastien Collberg – Frolunda Jr. (SWE)
A slick skilled goal scorer that can dance his way through the opposition creating offensive opportunities. His hockey sense and ability to control the puck make him dangerous once he gains the offensive zone. He is equally skilled as a playmaker off the wall, which makes him unpredictable and difficult to defend. His quickness and agility allow to create time and space for himself and his linemates. Unfortunately his is not blessed with size at 5’11 and 176lbs so he will over compensate with skill and work ethic to succeed in the NHL. He appears smart enough to process information at an elite level so it may be a matter of willingness and desire. The question remains is he willing to pay the price to play in the NHL because he has the skill.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins - (LW) Pontas Aberg – Djurgarden (SWE)
A dangerous offensive scoring winger with the ability to put the puck in the net in rapid fashion. Although his not the biggest forward at 5’11” and 195lbs he has a low center of gravity and balance to contribute inside the circles down low. He possesses the hockey sense and puck skills to play with elite level linemates and should not having any difficulties adjusting to the North American game. He is one of those player you want to get the puck to with a little time and space as he can shoot the lights out if given the chance. He is particularly dangerous on the powerplay where he sets up for a one-timer with his right-handed shot. He has the potential to be a good second line scoring winger that could contribute on a consistent basis.
23. Florida Panthers – (D) Jordan Schmaltz – Green Bay (USHL)
A smart puck moving defenseman with an offensive upside that likes to play a high tempo puck possession game. His ability to move or skate the puck up the ice is his greatest asset and he likes to force the opposition to chase the play. At 6’2” and 190lbs he has the NHL frame teams are looking for although he does play a rugged physical style. He displays the prowess to become a power play quarterback and he particularly skilled at directing the play in the offensive zone. He will need to time to physically mature and become more consistent without the puck. However he has the capability to be good second pairing defenseman that can provide offense in the NHL.
24. Boston Bruins – (LW) Stefan Matteau – USNTDP (USA)
I would consider him the best power forward in the draft at 6’2 and 215lbs and he still has room to fill out physically. He plays like a bull in a china shop as he bangs and crashes his way though the neutral zone on his way to the net. He is at his best when he aggressive on the forecheck and drives to the net without fear. In saying that his hockey sense and puck skills are good and uses the time and space he creates well in offensive situations. He is a shoot first player and would be better suited on the wing where he has less defensive responsibilities and more opportunity to use his power game. He skates well for size and he should not have any troubles keeping up to an NHL pace once he finishes developing. He is solid defensively while showing hustle and determination chasing down and battling for loose pucks. He is the type of second line complimentary player that every organization is looking for and is a playoff style player.
25. St. Louis Blues – (D) Ville Pokka – Karpat (FIN)
A puck moving two-way defenseman that does not wow you with his puck skills or physical abilities, but is smart and makes the right plays. Overall he is a good skater that uses his quickness and speed well in game situations and does not just race around the ice. Now he is not the most physically imposing defenseman at 6’0” and 195 pounds, but he competes on every shift and does not back down. He is the type of defender that can play with anyone as he adapts quickly and is efficient when moving the puck. He has the potential to develop into a good second pairing defenseman that can be used in all situations.
26. Vancouver Canucks – (D) - Matt Finn – Guelph (OHL)
An offensive minded defenseman that excels on the power play and when the puck is on his stick. With his mobility he can push the puck up the ice with his feet as well as his passing ability. The majority of his points come of the power play with 62.5% and only 35% coming at even strength. That is a concern long-term, as a puck moving defenseman must produce 5 on 5 at the NHL level. On the defensive side is not strength and work will need to be done on his consistency and attention to detail. He his not the biggest blueliner at 6’0” and 195lbs and show a little more willingness to get his nose dirty. Overall he has the hockey sense and offensive talent and it will be a matter if other parts of his game will develop. He could be a third pairing and number five defenseman that is a power play specialist at the NHL level.
27. Phoenix Coyotes – (D) – Slater Koekkoek – Peterborough (OHL)
An unfortunate injury derailed his a potentially promising season. Not all was lost for this two-way defenseman you shows offensive acumen on the powerplay. He was on pace to double offensive out put this year and a large percentage of his points came off the powerplay. He shows the poise and hockey sense with the puck that should translate into the NHL one day. He must be more productive in 5 on 5 situations and not rely solely on the powerplay. He possesses the potential size at 6’2” and 185 lbs and has yet to fully fill out his frame. The skating ability is their as well and everything points that he could develop into a second but most likely a third pairing defenseman at the NHL level.
28. New York Rangers – (G) Oscar Dansk – Brynas Jr (SWE)
A big goaltender at 6’2” and 190lbs that uses his size well to cut down the angles and does not over commit in his body position very often. He challenges the shooters well and keeps good angles so players must try to pick corners. He is highly competitive and never gives up on the play and he can make the secondary saves when things break down in front of him. He displays a good ability to track the puck in traffic and for his age his rebound control is quite consistent. He has
29. New Jersey Devils – (G) Andrei Vasilevski – UFA2 (RUS)
He may the most NHL ready of all the goaltenders in this draft class as he plays a smart mature game and constantly battles and can make spectacular saves. He shows tremendous poise when the game in on the line and he give his team a chance to win every night. He has great size for a netminder at 6’3” and 204lbs and he uses it well cover the net down low. His shot recovery and ability to keep him eyes on the puck and not lose focus are some of his strengths. He is a goalies that teammates want to rally around and battle for and that cannot be underestimated moving forward.
30. LA Kings (Columbus Option) – (C) – Lukas Sutter – Saskatoon (WHL)
A hard nosed and hard working two way forward that takes no prisoners and gives 100% every time he is on the ice. He has decent size at 6’1 and 207lbs and he will need it since he plays gritty style with an non-stop motor. He does not possesses the elite hockey sense and puck skills as others on this list, however he plays the price to produce points in the dirty areas. He is an underrated scorer as 50% of 28 goals this year were clutch that had a direct positive impact on the game. Also two-third of his points are produced even strength so he is not piling up points on the powerplay. He has the capability of projecting into a top-level third line center in the NHL once his game has finished developing. Now their are other players that may be more skilled and have higher potential upside, but they might not play in the NHL at all.
2011 NHL Draft - Top 100 List and 2011 NHL Mock Draft - June 2011.
2011 NHL Top 30 Mock Draft
Prospect Insider - Shane Malloy
What’s fun about a mock draft is balancing the best player available versus an organization’s draft tendencies and long term needs regardless of your personal thoughts. The other aspect is you can build different scenarios and potential trades. This year’s crop is stronger than the past, with a group of potential elite prospects in the top 15. The remaining 15 draft picks in the first round have array of good skills and teams may find first round talent in the early second round.
Almost every year we hear the cries of a weak draft or it is a crapshoot, which is a misnomer since certain organizations simply do their homework. Now it may be asking allot for this year’s draft to mirror the 2003 NHL Draft where over 90% of player chosen have played at 100 game or more. In the end they may be a little closer to the 2002 and able get around 80% of the players to be full-time NHL players.
This draft may see some significant movement with the Edmonton, Toronto, Colorado and Ottawa all with two picks in the first round. With most NHL drafts, trade speculation runs ramped and Colorado and Toronto are garnering most of the speculation.
What makes the NHL draft intriguing anything can happen to alter the fortunes of an organization. Unfortunately all these potential trades can wreak havoc on your mock draft and make it a moot point, but the excitement makes it all worthwhile so buckle up!
1. Edmonton Oilers – Ryan Nugent Hopkins – Center – Red Deer (WHL)
2. Colorado Avalanche – Adam Larsson – Defense – Skelleftea (SWE)
3. Florida Panthers – Gabriel Landeskog – Left Wing - Kitchener (OHL)
4. New Jersey Devils – Jonathan Huberdeau – Center – Saint John (QMJHL)
5. New York Islanders – Doug Hamilton – Defense – Niagara (OHL)
6. Ottawa Senators – Sean Couturier – Center – Drummondville (QMJHL)
7. Winnipeg Jets – Ryan Strome – Center – Niagara (OHL)
8. Philadelphia Flyers (from Columbus) – Ryan Murphy – Defense – Kitchener (OHL)
9. Boston Bruins (from Toronto) – Nathan Beaulieu – Defense – Saint John (QMJHL)
10. Minnesota Wild – Mika Zibanejad – Center/Left Wing – Djurdgarden (SWE)
11. Colorado Avalanche (from St. Louis) – Joel Armia – Right Wing – Assat (FIN)
12. Carolina Hurricanes – Joe Morrow – Defense – Portland (WHL)
13. Calgary Flames – Zack Phillps – Center/Right Wing – Saint John (QMJHL)
14. Dallas Stars – Jonas Brodin – Defense – Farjstads (SWE)
15. New York Rangers – Mark McNeil – Center – Prince Albert (WHL)
16. Buffalo Sabres – Mark Scheifele – Center – Barrie (OHL)
17. Montreal Canadiens – Duncan Siemens – Defense – Saskatoon (WHL)
18. Chicago Blackhawks – Boone Jenner – Center – Oshawa (OHL)
19. Edmonton Oilers (from LA) – Oscar Klefbom – Defense – Farjstad (SWE)
20. Phoenix Coyotes – Sven Bartschi – Left Wing – Portland (WHL)
21. Ottawa Senators (from Nashville) – Ty Rattie – Right Wing – Portland (WHL)
22. Anaheim Ducks – Jamie Oleksiak – Defense – Northeastern (NCAA)
23. Pittsburgh Penguins – Tomas Jurco – Left Wing – Saint John (QMJHL)
24. Detroit Red Wings – Vlad Namestnikov – Center – London (OHL)
25. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Philadelphia) – Matt Puempel – Peterborough (OHL)
26. Washington Capitals – Nicklas Jensen – Left Wing – Oshawa (OHL)
27. Tampa Bay Lightning – Stuart Percy – Defense – Mississauga (OHL)
28. San Jose Sharks – Rocco Grimaldi – Center – USNDTP
29. Vancouver Canucks – Scott Mayfield – Defense – Youngstown (USHL)
30. Toronto Maple Leafs (From Boston) – Tyler Biggs – Right Wing - USNDTP