Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mock Draft Top 32 2012

Here is my rundown of the top 32. My choices are based on a blend of projected spots, team needs, a team's draft tendancies and where they are in their evolution ie. rebuilding, ready to win, needing a complementary piece. So with all of that, here we go.

1. Edmonton selects Ryan Murray D - Wrestled with this pick forever. While they might be leaving something on the table in terms of pure skill, they shore up a weakness on this club by picking a player that can play on their top pair for the next 10+ years. Very cerebral, puckmoving, big minute Dman. At worst a #2 Dman, perhaps might even be a #1. Murray would play on the Oilers as soon as next season. The Oilers need someone to play immediately in order to mesh with the other younger players on the Oilers. Preferrably a defenseman.

2. Columbus selects Alex Galchenyuk C - A bit of a risky pick taking a player coming off an ACL injury, but the Jackets would like to stay away from the "KHL" factor. Galchenyuk is a smooth 2-way, playmaking centerman that would form a nice 1-2 punch with Ryan Johansen and now the Jackets can start their ascent out of the basement of the NHL. Galchenyuk is more American than Russian but does have dual citizenship. Galchenyuk could play in Columbus as soon as next season.

3. Montreal selects Mikhail Grigorenko C - Montreal badly needs center help and takes Grigorenko to stabilize that position. Grigorenko is a creative offensive center that is equally good at shooting and distributing pucks. There is a "KHL" factor with Grigorenko but his commitment to play in the QMJHL this past season eases that somewhat. Grigorenko could play in Montreal as soon as next season.

4. Islanders select Nail Yakapov LW/RW - Islanders would feel fortunate to grab Yakapov in this spot. A consensus #1 on a lot of people's lists. I don't believe the gap is as big as everyone would like to believe. Yakapov is a dynamic offensive winger that could play pitch and catch with John Tavares and finally their rebuild can get off the ground. He'll play on the Island this year if they can get him.

5. Toronto selects Cody Ceci D - Toronto ends up being the biggest loser in all of this by not getting the center they need. So they continue to stock up the defense and take 67s Dman Cody Ceci. Ceci plays both ends of the rink very well. QBs a good powerplay with a wicked shot and good reads, defensively sound through positioning. Lacks agility but hockey smarts puts him in the right spots. Ceci could play on the Leafs as soon as next year if they choose to.

6. Anaheim selects Jacob Trouba D - Anaheim adds to their D prospect pool. Anaheim is near the end of their cycle where a possible retool looms. Trouba would be a good place to start as he will likely go through the NCAA route and be there for four years, but when he comes out, they should have a full fledged stud on their hands. An all around, tough nosed defenseman that can contribute offensively.

7. Minnesota selects Matthew Dumba D - This pick deviates from past Minnesota picks where this pick is more about "pushing the play" as opposed to "positional hockey". Dumba is a push the pace Dman that does that through rushing the puck or making big hits. I'm not sure if Minnesota would know what to do with Dumba, as Dumba would force them to change their style which clearly isn't working for them anymore. Dumba would likely head to junior to refine his skills.

8. Carolina selects Zemgus Girgensons C - Carolina usually doesn't like the European flavour this high in the draft but Girgensons isn't a typical European. Latvian born player that played in the USHL this past year. Girgensons is a big bodied center that has decent offensive potential, but is just as good on the defensive end. He would be a nice #2C behind Eric Staal. With two big bodied centers, they will be able to keep in the arms race in the Eastern Conference.

9. Winnipeg selects Morgan Rielly D - Rielly would be a nice addition for Winnipeg as its a team that lacks mobility on the backend. Rielly would give Winnipeg a puckrushing, smooth skating Dman to complement the forwards coming through the pipeline for Winnipeg. Great vision and tempo setter on the backend. Needs to work on defensive game.

10. Tampa Bay selects Filip Forsberg RW/LW - This is a team that could really use some help on the backend but could also use some help on the wings, especially if Nikita Kucherov opts for the KHL. Forsberg doesn't deserve to fall much further as he is a big bodied, smooth skating winger that can be a terror on the rush. Could be a suitable replacement for Martin St. Louis in due time and could be setting up one-timers for Stamkos.

11. Washington selects Radek Faksa C - Washington badly needs a 2nd line pivot behind Niklas Backstrom, Faksa fits that bill. Faksa is a big bodied center that plays both ends well. Should be able to complement Washington's offense while helping out on the defensive end. Washington needs to keep working on their depth. This pick is a gift they got from the Avalanche in the Semyon Varlamov deal.

12. Buffalo selects Tomas Hertl C - Center is a position that lacks depth in the Buffalo organization even with the addition of Cody Hodgson. Hertl is another big bodied center with offensive upside that could create a nice 1-2 punch with Hodgson in the future. Hertl would be better served to play in the CHL next season. As of now, he plays in the Czech Republic.

13. Dallas selects Griffin Reinhart D - Dallas has needs at most positions, so they settle on Reinhart. They have another bigger Dman in the system in Jamie Oleksiak but lack depth in the Dman spot. Reinhart would be a good piece to build around. They could ideally use a center but would be reaching for one in this spot. Reinhart is a large and somewhat mobile Dman will help Dallas out in a variety of roles at both ends of the ice.

14. Calgary selects Olli Maatta D - Another team that could use a center but would be reaching for one here. So, Calgary should take the next best Dman on the board which is Olli Maatta. Maatta is a very stout defensive Dman who is finding his offensive game over the quarter of the season. Most 1st year Europeans tend to fizzle as the season goes, Maatta on the other hand, just got stronger.

15. Ottawa selects Pontus Aberg RW - Ottawa's rebuild took very little time and look to build on the wings with Alfredsson at the end of the line and the Filatov experiment failing. So they look to speedy Pontus Aberg. Aberg has speed and sniping ability off the wing, two things Ottawa is looking for. Ottawa has solid winger prospects but none as dynamic as Aberg.

16. Washington selects Sebastian Collberg RW - With a center in their back pocket with the #11 pick, its a good time for a homerun pick for the Capitals. Collberg will give the Caps more skilled depth with playmaking ability. He would be a good insurance policy in case Kuznetsov doesn't come over to North America. Would look nice on a line with Ovechkin in the near future.

17. San Jose selects Hampus Lindholm D - San Jose is near the end of their cycle and closing in on a rebuild. Lindholm is a good piece to start the next cycle with. With being able to store him Sweden for a couple of years, it will give San Jose time to clear the deck for him. Lindholm is an all situations Dman that could become a cornerstone Dman.

18. Chicago selects Teuvo Teravainen LW - Chicago is in a good spot where they can truly take the best player available. They have a propensity to find bigger players that can play in later rounds and are filled with such types all over their lineup and prospect pool. Teravainen is a good player to select to give their prospect pool some balance. Speed and playmaking skill is Teravainen's game. If Chicago ever tires of Patrick Kane's off ice shenanigans, Teravainen would be a decent replacement down the line.

19. Tampa Bay selects Brendan Gaunce C - With Tampa Bay selecting Forsberg at 10, its a good time to work on center depth for the Lightning. Gaunce is a solid bet to be at worst a 3rd line center, at best a 2nd line center. He would be good to have around to combat all of those offensive minded centers in the Eastern Conference. Safe pick for the Lightning.

20. Philadelphia selects Henrik Samuelsson RW/C - Flyers prospect pool is pretty thin considering a lot of their best prospects are playing with the big club. Samuelsson is a fine pick with the philospohy the Flyers preach. Big-bodied, physical forwards that play a puck possession game. Samuelsson fits that bill with an added degree of versatility of playing either the wing or center. Samuelsson will be hotly coveted by a lot of teams drafting in this area.

21. Buffalo selects Martin Frk RW - Buffalo has a nice pleathora of prospects in a variety of positions, so they are in a position to gamble with a player with high upside and that player is Martin Frk. Highly touted to begin the season but suffered through an injury plagued season and watched his draft stock plummet. Had a mediocre season but ended with a strong playoff for a strong Halifax team. Frk is a thick bodied winger with some nice offensive dynamic. His game looks to translate well to the pro game.

22. Pittsburgh selects Nicolas Kerdiles RW - Pittsburgh centers are pretty solidfied and their defense pool is deep, the only thing to do is keep drafting power forwards. They miss out on Samuelsson, so I have them taking Kerdiles. Kerdiles is a big bodied winger with some decent offensive instincts. He's likely to test the NCAA route so they can allow him to develop there with their main club mainly intact.

23. Florida selects Ville Pokka D - Florida prospect pool is pretty deep, a product of being bad for so many years. After Brian Campbell, Florida doesn't have a lot of puck moving defensemen. Enter Ville Pokka. Pokka is a fantastic puckhandler and distributor from the backend. Struggles at times with physicality but isn't terrible defensively.

24. Boston selects Derrick Pouliot D - This goes against the grain of Bruins tendancies. Mobile, slight, puck moving defenseman. I don't think they have had one since Bobby Orr graced the ice. I believe its time for them to put one into the system. Pouliot's ability to distribute and push the pace from the backend will give Boston a different look. Pouliot struggles with reads and strength battles but will enhance the offense of the Bruins. Makes good decisions with the puck.

25. St. Louis selects Colten Sissons RW - St. Louis adds to their robust forwards crop by taking Sissons. Sissons at worst will be a 3rd line up and down, crash and bang type winger. He potentially could add an offensive game at the next level as well. Finishes his checks and is a demon on the forecheck.

26. Vancouver selects Cody Corbett D - Vancouver is another team with a pleathora of prospects across the board. Good idea to add to the prospect pool and make a safe play on Corbett. Corbett is a strong 2-way defender is excels more in his own zone but has offensive upside. At worst I believe he'll be a middle pairing Dman, but has interesting upside to say the least.

27. Phoenix selects Charles Hudon LW - Phoenix needs to up their offensive skill quotient in their prospect pool badly and Hudon is the player with the most offensive upside left on the board. Although undersized, he is a very crafty player in the offensive zone, much like Ray Whitney is with the current Phoenix team. Hudon is a player that will put pucks on sticks, something the current Phoenix team is lacking.

28. Rangers select Matt Finn D - Rangers love Dmen that do a little bit of everything and can play big minutes doing that. Matt Finn fits that bill. An all around Dman with good mobility and the potential for offensive upside. Rangers go safe and pick a Dman with the pleathora of Dmen available in this area of the draft.

29. New Jersey selects Stefan Matteau C/LW - This could be the year New Jersey decides to forfeit their first round pick due to the Kovalchuk signing fiasco. I don't think they will be picking much lower than this in the next 2 years. But if they decide they want to keep the pick for argument's sake, Matteau would be a good find for them here. A hard nosed, borderline dirty, physical forward that can play the wing or center. Has some offensive upside but likely is to play a 2nd or 3rd line role in the pros.

30. Los Angeles selects Phil DiGiuseppe LW - I know it goes against the grain of the Kings picking bigger, brawny forwards, but they could use some speed and skill on the wings. DiGiuseppe just finished his freshman year at the University of Michigan, so he has 3 more years of eligibility if the Kings decide they want to store him away. The Kings are not only a good team but a team that is relatively young, so storing players away may not be a bad idea.

31. Columbus selects Slater Koekkoek D - Columbus needs to fill out its defense prospect pool and Koekkoek is a good player to fill that spot with. Koekkoek is a bit of a raw defenseman but has a variety of tools that makes him an attractive prospect. Very mobile with excellent puck moving skills, his defensive skills are average at best for the time being but getting better with experience.

32. Edmonton selects Damon Severson D - Edmonton selects their 2nd defenseman of the draft by selecting Severson. Severson is a two-way defender that comes with unpolished but good offensive upside. The fact that he shoots right help with the pleathora of left handed Dmen the Oilers have stockpiled. Severson is mobile but plays tough and is defensively sound. Reliability is a big selling point in Severson's game.

A rundown of the the Oilers 1st and 2nd pick:
- The Oilers need to keep stockpiling Dmen, because even mediocre defensemen get better returns than solid wingers. Every team, especially the good ones, are always looking for defensemen. Defensemen are the trade chips that are needed in order to upgrade the areas that need to be upgraded. Ryan Murray could play on the Oilers as soon as next year. Severson will have to take the more conventional route, but there should be room for him as the RH Dmen on the depth chart (ie. Teubert, Plante, Fedun) will likely be moved along or on the big club when its time for him to graduate to the AHL. Oilers don't need more high end diminutive forwards. What they need is currency either in players or cold hard cash, so if/when the time arises, they will be able to outbid everyone when the piece they absolutely have to have is on the market. In the meantime, the Oilers need to sit, wait and grow.

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