We are now counting down to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In so many ways this one is completely different than the previous two for Oiler fans. The biggest difference? The pick may be dealt.
FINAL TOP 30
This list is slightly changed from the one you may have read at Oilers Nation. More Americans and some small movement overall. As always, this is a fan’s top 30, no inside info and the references in the 30 are likely things you’ve already seen if you’re a follower of the draft.
I use Desjardins NHLE as a factor, and players with a wide range of skills get a push.
- R Nail Yakupov NHLE 18-22-40. Dynamic offensive player, absolutely the king of the offensive hill. tsn: quick feet, tremendous burst, top-notch agility, slick hands, dangerous shot, quick release.Terrific skills, franchise talent.
- D Ryan Murray NHLE 5-12-17. Murray is going to be closely watched when he turns pro, as math suggests there is not elite but many of the “saw him good” scouts swear he’s something else. I don’t recall a prospect as divisive this close to the top of the draft. Comps I’ve heard range from Scott Niedermayer to Jay Bouwmeester.
- C Alex Galchenyuk NHLE 11-19-30 (this is based on his 10-11 season). Frankly, I think this guy may end up making everybody look stupid for not taking him with the top pick. Exceptional puck handler and his size makes him a lock for the lottery.
- C Mikhail Grigorenko NHLE 16-17-33. I know there are questions about effort, but there’s just too much here. Size AND skill AND he’s a center and on it goes. There is no doubt some risk but the possible reward is immense.
- D Griffin Reinhart NHLE 5-10-15. He has convinced NHL scouts that he’s going to be a shutdown defender of some quality. This is Pronger draft-territory, there has to be a lot of shut down. Solid defender who can move the puck and like his Dad he should have some success on the PP because of his shot (Paul Reinhart scored 49% of his NHL goals on the powerplay). However, it is important to remember this: of the top end defenders, none have more value invested in goal prevention. He’s this high because of vast improvement September to May.
- R Teuvo Teravainen NHLE 12-8-20. Teravainen is exactly the type of player who often rips up the charts late in a draft season, perhaps suggesting he is somehow less impressive than the kids we’ve been reading about all winter. Not so. Teravainen has been there all along, our focus was elsewhere.
- D Morgan Rielly NHLE 4-21-25. Best offensive potential among the high end defenders, I keep coming back to those flashes of brilliance he showed against the Oil Kings in the playoffs. He seems to be moving late and I will watch Bob McKenze’s final list next week to see how high he is listed.
- L Filip Forsberg NHLE 3-3-6. PF with skill, he’d rank higher on my list if Forsberg had posted better offense in Sweden’s 2nd league or at the WJ’s. Martin Lunden knows a lot about the Swe-2 league and told me his offensive chances (or rather being placed in high offensive situations) would probably be very low. Forsberg’s agent feels he needs another year of development in Sweden.
- D Matt Dumba NHLE 7-13-20 I think he’s underrated on my list but can’t find a way to place him higher. The worry about style (based on his size) is too much for me to overcome. He might end up being the best defenseman in this draft.
- D Olli Maatta NHLE 2-12-14. Has a nice range of skills and might be that very rare player who just “gets” playing defense at a very young age. Has a nice range of skills both offensively and defensively, Calm feet, good skater, moves the puck expertly and recovers well, Maatta closes the gap in a heartbeat and looks completely in control. I think we should follow Murray and Maatta closely, as they appear to be similar player types.
- D Cody Ceci NHLE 7-16-23. Nice range of skills, good size-speed and he’s clearly a talented young player. I think Ceci is the last of the defenseman we could reasonably assume has at least a chance to become the best defender in the draft.
- L Pontus Aberg NHLE 11-9-20. Speed winger with good skill level, Corey Pronman tells us he played about 10 minutes a night in the SEL (making his production very good). I have him this far behind Teravainen—who appears to be a similar player—based purely on their descriptions. Aberg could be the better player.
- C Radek Faksa NHLE 12-15-27. Big forward (6.03, 203) with a nice range of skills and no obvious weaknesses. What’s more, he’s apparently healthy and his size/skill will get him noticed. He could easily end up among the top 10 picks this year. OHL prospects says “he’s big but also has an explosive first few steps” and a team looking for just that might reach a little.
- D Jacob Trouba NHLE 4-14-18. 6.02, 194 and played well for Team USA at the World Juniors. Yet another defender with a wide range of skills, A little like Ryan Murray in that he’s an excellent skater and effective puck mover but it isn’t a certainty he’ll be a big PP contributor once he arrives in the NHL. Off to play NCAA with Michigan in the fall.
- C Zemgus Girgensons NHLE 11-14-25. Skilled player from the same country as Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss (Latvia) Girgensons has been lighting up Dubuque (USHL) for two winters in a row now. 2-way center, excellent skater and all kinds of skill. Plays with grit, 6.02, 200.
- D Dalton Thrower NHL 7-13-20. Exactly the kind of player teams look for in one significant way: he improved a great deal from September to March. Fine skater with good offensive ability, he’s also a hard hitter and an agitator. Oilers haven’t said a word about him but I can’t imagine they’re unaware of his skills.
- L Tomas Hertl NHLE 19-21-40. Impressive season in the Czech league (the NHLE number for Czech may be inflated but we’ll stick with it with an asterisk) and he’s clearly skilled. Hertl’s foot speed is an issue and that could impact his draft number, but he’s described as a heady player and the results in a Euro pro league are exceptional for his age.
- C Brendan Gaunce NHLE 10-15-25. Big forward with skill who can crash and bang. He’s certainly good enough to project as a skill player and he does have plenty of grit. He’s a player the Oilers might consider trading up for in their efforts to add a skill/grit player for the top 6F.
- D Matt Finn NHLE 6-13-19. Mobile defender with good speed–this defense crop never ends–and looks like a decent candidate to push through and have an NHL career as a PP defender. Finn is not as physical as some of the other kids and that might impact where he goes.
- D Derrick Pouliot NHLE 4-16-20. Another puck moving defender and a player with plus skating skills. Average size (6.0, 181) and does not have a physical reputation. He’s a terrific passer, it’s one of his best skills. Played on a very good junior team so the numbers may be somewhat inflated.
- D Hampus Lindholm NHLE unavailable. A good skating defenseman, he also has size and there’s quite a bit on him defensively. Redline loves him–well likes him quite a bit–and there’s some offensive potential too.
- G Andre Vasilevski NHLE unavailable I’ve made every effort not to steal from a specific draft expert, but Corey Pronman’s description of this player–and reason for his ranking–is so good I’m just going to send you over there. Needless to say, a very interesting prospect.
- R Henrik Samuelsson NHLE 6-14-20. PF and a player whose draft stock rose through the spring as he helped power the Oil Kings to the Memorial Cup. Size/skill combination makes him a terrific prospect, and he’s right in the wheelhouse for a team like Edmonton. He might be a perfect fit.
- R Tanner Pearson NHLE 15-22-37. He’ll be 20 two months after the draft so we’re talking about a player who doesn’t have the development time ahead of him that we’ll see from the others on this list. Smart player with skill and good size and he could come right away with the right opportunity.
- D Slater Koekkoek NHLE 5-12-17. Offensive defenseman with size, skill and an injury history. He’s the first player on my list who could fall out of the first round (well, at least I think so) and he’s a raw player in that it’s going to take some time. Described as a physical defender.
- C Scott Laughton NHLE 8-12-20. If this was 1973, Laughton would be on his way to the Flyers–hell, he could be a Flyer now. Lacks top end skill but can play the game, but he makes a lot of things happen because of his agitating style. Smart, determined player and at 6.0, 175 he certainly doesn’t shy away from physical play.
- D Damon Severson NHLE 3-13-16. Makes the list for a nice range of skills and his size will make him stand out for some teams (6.02, 200 at age 18). Streaky offense, not as promising offensively as some of the others in this year’s draft.
- L Tim Bozon NHLE 13-12-25. I like this player a lot, he’s a good skater with a plus shot and good footspeed. Described as a terrific passer and his shot is rated as being one of the best in the draft. Thinks the game well too, and there’s not much left to criticize.
- D Brady Skjei NHLE 2-9-11. A late breaker, like Thrower he kept moving up the charts all season long. Terrific skater with good size, he is not an overly physical defender. Will play for Minnesota (NCAA) in the fall.
- R Sebastian Collberg NHLE 0-0-0. Played in the SEL this season but didn’t get a lot of playing time.Collberg did play well at the World Juniors (6, 4-3-7) and his scouting report suggests good things offensively. Speed is his calling card and elite prospects tells us he doesn’t shy away from traffic.