Mock Draft 2012: Picks 1-10
My annual mock draft wraps-up today with picks 1 thru 10. Enjoy.
1. EDMONTON OILERS - Ryan Murray, D, Everett (WHL)
Analysis: For the third straight season the Oilers get set to pick first overall. Much like the rest of the draft, uncertainty surrounds the Oilers and the 1st overall selection. After stock piling their forward depth with former number one picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it is no secret the Oilers need help on the back-end. There is wide speculation the Oilers could move the pick for a top-tier defensemen but with the reported asking price high, that seems more and more unlikely to happen. Nail Yakupov is the consensus number one pick but if the Oilers do in fact keep the pick, skipping on Murray would be a mistake in my mind. Murray is a smooth skating defenseman, who many say will be part of a top pairing for years to come. Murray doesn’t do anything flashy but has good hockey sense and can move the puck.
2. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS - Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
Analysis: Things went from bad to worse for the Blue Jackets after yet another disappointing non-playoff season. Captain and Franchise player Rick Nash asked for a trade and they lost out on the picking number one. Not all is bad if the Oilers do select Murray with the number one selection as Yakupov, the best player in the draft, falls to the Jackets at number two. The Jackets might be gun shy with the Russian factor with past failures (Nikita Filatov, Nikolay Zherdev) but skipping on Yakupov would no doubt cost Scott Howson his job. Yakupov was limited to just 42 games last season with the Sarnia Sting but is projected as an offensive forward. Yakupov broke Sarnia's team recorded with 101 points in his rookie season ('10-11), which was held by Steven Stamkos.
3. MONTREAL CANADIENS - Alex Galchenyuk, C, Sarnia (OHL)
Analysis: The face-lift in Montreal has begun as new GM Marc Bergevin looks to put his stamp on the Canadiens heading into his first draft. Having the number three pick is never a bad thing but in such an uncertain draft, Bergevin and co. better make sure they select the right guy. Galchenyuk, who played only two regular season games after suffering an ACL injury, is the number one center the Canadiens have been looking for, for years. Galchenyuk, who was born in the U.S. but has Russian routs, is a highly skilled center man and has been compared to Bobby Ryan and Marian Hossa.
4. NEW YORK ISLANDERS - Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Analysis: It’s becoming routine for the Islanders and Garth Snow to select in the top ten this time of year, as pressure for these picks to pay off has never been more important with the uncertainty of the Islanders future on Long Island. The Islanders last four; top ten picks have been forwards (Ryan Strome, Nino Niederreiter, John Tavares and Josh Bailey), so it’s time the Isles start to build their back-end. Rielly is the best offensive defensemen available in the draft and with time ticking on Calvin De Haan making the next step, Rielly is the right choice at number four. Rielly, like Galchenyuk, suffered a serious ACL injury and only appeared in 18 regular season games. Returning in the playoffs, Rielly posted six points in six games.
5. TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS – Filip Forsberg, LW, Leksand (Swe.)
Analysis: All eyes are on Brian Burke as pressure mounts on the Leafs GM to get his team over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time since he was hired in 2008. Burke usually loves the spotlight and isn’t afraid to make big moves which has rumors swirling Burke could trade with Edmonton for the first overall pick. Looking at both teams situations, I think it makes sense for the teams to swap picks. I have said it for a while but Luke Schenn and the 5th pick for the 1st pick seems like a good deal to me but reports say the Oilers asking price is higher. If the Leafs keep the 5th pick, grabbing Forsberg would be a very good decision. Forsberg, the highest rated European skater in the draft, has huge upside and creativity which has him projected as a solid two-way forward. Forsberg is said to be the safest forward pick in the draft.
6. ANAHEIM DUCKS - Mikhail Grigorenko, C, Quebec (QMJHL)
Analysis: The Ducks season ended poorly as they missed the playoffs and their top defense prospect, Justin Schultz announced he would not sign with the team and instead hit the market on July 1st. At pick six the Ducks could really go anywhere, especially defense but with young Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa already playing full time, the Ducks have to start looking and developing secondary scoring behind Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. Grigorenko enters the draft as the biggest question mark in the 1st round as he was once competing with Yakupov for top spot and has now fallen out of the top ten on some draft boards. Teams are concerned about the ‘Russian Factor’ as some people wonder if Grigorenko will go to the KHL and there was even a report stating teams are questioning whether he is 18 (teams are believed to think Grigorenko might be 20). No one is questioning Grigorenko’s skill as he is projected as an offensive forward but his willingness to compete has some teams looking elsewhere. It’s a huge risk for the Ducks but one I think they might make.
7. MINNESOTA WILD - Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton (WHL)
Analysis: It looks to be a busy summer in Minnesota, as the transition to a higher tempo, more exciting team to watch continues. Reports out of Minnesota have the Wild possibly making a pitch to potential UFA Zach Parise and with prospects Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin and Charlie Coyle on the cusp of becoming full-time NHLer’s, the future looks bright in Minny. With the number seven pick, the Wild would be happy to announce Reinhart’s name. Reinhart at 6-4’, 207 will add some much needed size to the Wild’s back end down the road. Reinhart has done nothing but improve throughout the year as he projects to be a two-way defenseman. Griffin’s older brother, Max is a draft pick of the Flames, while younger brother Sam, had a phenomenal rookie season with the Kootney Ice and looks to be a top five pick in the 2014 draft.
8. CAROLINA HURRICANES - Radek Faksa, C, Kitchener (OHL)
Analysis: Much like the Wild, the Hurricanes are said to be looking to add a top-6 forward this summer to play alongside Eric Staal. Rumors have swirled Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins could be a possibility to come play with his brother as Jordan is set to become a UFA after next season. If the Hurricanes are able to make a splash, it could cost them this pick. Keeping the pick, Jim Rutherford and the Canes could look to draft their third consecutive Kitchener Ranger (Ryan Murphy ’11, Jeff Skinner ’10) with Faksa. Rangers head coach, Steve Spott thinks Faksa could be another Gabriel Landeskog type of player. Faksa, who was a rookie in the OHL this season, has the size, skill and skating ability which has scouts thinking he will become an impactful power forward.
9. WINNIPEG JETS - Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa (OHL)
Analysis: One year down, hopefully many more to come as Jets fans where on top of the world to finally have their team back and though they didn’t make the playoffs, the Jets were better than many expected. The Jets have their hands full this summer with RFA’s Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavalec and have said they want to add size with the number nine pick. Enter Ceci, who at 6-2’, 207 has the size and skating ability that will make him a solid offensive defenseman. Ceci is said to be built like a house and uses his size to his advantage with a booming shot from the point. Ceci has to shore up his defensive zone but with his size, it seems like a good, safe pick for the Jets.
10. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING - Matt Dumba, D, Red Deer (WHL)
Analysis: The first of two first round picks for the Lightning, will keep Steve Yzerman busy Friday night. Already getting to work, Yzerman acquired Anders Lindback from the Predators last week to help shore up his goaltending situation, which should help Yzerman sleep a little easier at night. Having Dumba available at number ten, might make Yzerman’s week even better. Compared to playing a similar type of game as Dion Phaneuf, Dumba has huge offensive upside, while keeping opponents on edge when they step on the ice against him, making sure they always have their heads up. Dumba, who is from Calgary, doesn’t have the size that Phaneuf has but is said to be good in the dressing room and simply loves to play the game. Dumba is a can’t miss at number ten as there is a strong possibility he will go higher.
I have never been good at these things but I don't think I'm alone as mock drafts are usually a crab shoot. I have a ton of fun doing it though, as this is one of my favourite times of the year. With rumors swirling about potential trades and of course the picks, the draft can't come soon enough.
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