Future Considerations’ managing editor Aaron Vickers predicts how the first round will unfold from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh Friday!
After what seems like an eternity, the National Hockey League will gather together in Pittsburgh for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft just 362 days from meeting in Minnesota.
But unlike last year, what happens with the first overall pick is more of a mystery.
While there is little question surrounding who the draft’s best player is, the question remains if Nail Yakupov will be taken first overall and if so, which team will make the pick?
This is just one of many questions that will be answered in just a short period of time. In the meantime, here is what you could see once that first pick is announced.
So without further ado…
- Edmonton Oilers – Nail Yakupov – RW – Sarnia
The Oilers would be remised if they didn’t take the consensus top pick in the draft, adding Yakupov to the likes of Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – Alex Galchenyuk – C – Sarnia
Galchenyuk is no consolation prize for the Blue Jackets, who pick up the best pivot in the draft.
- Montreal Canadiens – Mikhail Grigorenko – C – Quebec
The Canadiens are thrilled to welcome Russian centre Grigorenko to their fold, giving the team an elite prospect down the middle who played just up the road.
- New York Islanders – Ryan Murray – D – Everett
The Islanders could be the big winners of the draft lottery after having the Oilers initially pass on Murray, allowing the club to snap him up fourth.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Filip Forsberg – LW – Leksand Jr.
There isn’t much to not like about Forsberg’s game, which will make him a great fit among the Maple Leafs forward core.
- Anaheim Ducks – Mathew Dumba – D – Red Deer
The Ducks need for a blue chip defenseman to join Cam Fowler makes Dumba the best fit on the blueline.
- Minnesota Wild – Teuvu Teravainen – RW – Jokerit Jr.
The Wild are fortunate to snap up one of the draft’s fastest risers and a player who could develop some chemistry with fellow Finn Mikael Granlund.
- Carolina Hurricanes – Radek Faksa – C – Kitchener
The Hurricanes aren’t shy to draft players from Kitchener, and adding Faksa to the fold after Ryan Murray in 2011 and Jeff Skinner in 2010 continues that trend.
- Winnipeg Jets – Griffin Reinhart – D – Edmonton
One of the most intriguing packages on defense, Reinhart adds another dimension to the prospect core that will one day patrol the Jets blueline.
- Tampa Bay Lightning – Morgan Rielly – D – Moose Jaw
Defensive depth begins to show with the draft as the Lightning grab perhaps the most offensively gifted blueliner in the class.
- Washington Capitals (via COL) – Brendan Gaunce – C – Belleville
The blend of grit, two-way play and competitive nature out of Gaunce can be of great benefit to a Capitals team looking for more of all three.
- Buffalo Sabres – Jacob Trouba – D – NTDP U18
With some nice development from forwards in the organization, it’s hard to turn away from one of the elite defensemen in the 2012 draft class if you’re the Sabres.
- Dallas Stars – Cody Ceci – D – Ottawa 67’s
Ceci is one of the draft’s top-rising defensemen through the season and his play has made him an attractive addition to the Stars.
- Calgary Flames – Sebastian Collberg – RW – Frolunda Jr
In a further attempt to bring in offensive talent, the Flames opt with the smaller-yet-gifted Collberg to bolster the forward pool.
- Ottawa Senators – Hampus Lindholm – D – Rogle Jr
The Senators won’t shy away from Swedish defenders after the emergence of Erik Karlsson, and Lindholm will give the team an option from the left side.
- Washington Capitals – Olli Maatta – D – London
There are very few detractions from Maatta’s game, which make him a relatively safe pick for the Capitals with intriguing upside after a strong OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup run.
- San Jose Sharks – Zemgus Girgensons – C – Dubuque
The explosive Latvian has all the makings of a multi-tool forward at the NHL level, making him an attractive commodity to the Sharks despite an injury-riddled season.
- Chicago Blackhawks – Derrick Pouliot – D – Portland
Another defenseman in a talented draft from the blueline, Pouliot’s high-octane presence will certainly be welcomed in Chicago.
- Tampa Bay Lightning (via Detroit) – Slater Koekkoek – D – Peterborough
An injury left Koekkoek on the shelf for the latter part of the season, but his high skill level won’t keep him from slipping past the Lightning.
- Philadelphia Flyers – Colton Sissons – RW – Kelowna
Sissons has made many fans with his combination of leadership and physicality, the perfect blend for a future Flyer.
- Buffalo Sabres (via Nashville) – Nicolas Kerdiles – LW – NTDP U18
A combination of size, speed, soft hands and work ethic has created high expectations for what could be the draft’s top American forward.
- Pittsburgh Penguins – Pontus Aberg – LW – Djurgarden
With above-average senses in the offensive end and a strong work ethic, the Penguins end up with the perfect addition ready to contribute soon.
- Florida Panthers – Ludvig Bystrom – D – Modo Jr
With a strong collection of offensive prospects already in the system, the Panthers can strengthen their future blueline with the two-way Bystrom.
- Boston Bruins – Matt Finn – D – Guelph
Showcasing intelligence at both ends of the ice this season, Finn could be the perfect addition to the Bruins blueline in the future.
- St. Louis Blues – Tomas Hertl – C – Slavia Praha
One of the more creative offensive forwards available in the draft, Hertl will also add size and muscle in the Blues future.
- Vancouver Canucks – Dalton Thrower – D – Saskatoon
There isn’t much that Thrower didn’t do at either end this season, which makes him impossible to pass on by his hometown Canucks.
- Phoenix Coyotes – Henrik Samuelsson – RW – Edmonton
The connections between Samuelsson and Phoenix are plentiful, but it was his play since returning to North America that makes him a valuable option for the Coyotes.
- New York Rangers – Tom Wilson – RW – Plymouth
The Rangers will have a tough time passing on the combination of Wilson’s big body that blends physicality, puck skills and heart.
- New Jersey Devils – Malcolm Subban – G – Belleville
With an aging duo at the NHL level, the Devils hope to set themselves up between the pipes with one of the draft’s elite goalies.
- Los Angeles Kings – Stefan Matteau – LW – NTDP U18
The Kings appreciate a player that can help them win in a variety of ways, something Matteau can deliver.