Future Considerations’ director of scouting Dan Stewart predicts how the first round will unfold from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh Friday!
It’s mock season!
It’s that time of year again where guessing what will go down when the 30 NHL teams gather in Pittsburgh for the annual selection process. These mocks are nearly impossible to predict correctly as too many variables cloud the picture.
With this mock draft we have put together we take into consideration team needs, drafting tendencies, rumours heard around the rinks and even a possible trade that could go down before the draft even gets underway.
In a day and age where a salary cap handcuffs a general managers ability to make moves to better their roster both via trade and free agency, the NHL Entry Draft has become the focal point for building a healthy and competitive franchise.
With that in mind, Future Considerations has put together a first round mock draft with just one trade.
This trade is not for one of the big NHL names like Roberto Luongo or Rick Nash, who could find new homes on draft weekend. Instead, it’s the top pick. One team wants it and the team who owns it wants to get rid of it.
So without further ado…
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: “Welcome to the 50th NHL Entry Draft.”
“We have trade to announce!”
“Edmonton trades the first overall selection to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Columbus’ second overall selection and their first selection in the second round.”
“Columbus Blue Jackets now have the first selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.”
1. Columbus Blue Jackets (From Edmonton) – Nail Yakupov – RW – Sarnia Sting
With the inevitable Rick Nash trade pending, they needed to make this move for the draft’s premier talent. They know they need to not fear going Russian again after some of the bad luck they have had with recent first rounders and make this pick starting a new era in Blue Jacket country.
2. Edmonton Oilers (from Columbus) – Ryan Murray – D – Everett Silvertips
They have a plethora of young forwards both in the NHL and on the cusp of making it; they need some defense to grow with those skilled forwards. After a trade to add an additional asset and this addition of Murray they finally have a potential top pairing defensive leader with some two-way upside on the backend.
3. Montreal Canadiens – Alex Galchenyuk – C – Sarnia Sting
The Canadiens have a new GM but an experienced director of scouting running the table. With some nice pieces coming along they do want to focus on adding size, especially at the forward position. They are in a good position to draft a big skilled centre, an organizational need for years with their first selection.
4. New York Islanders – Filip Forsberg – LW – Leksand Jr.
The Islanders have drafting at or near the top of the draft for the past few years. With a handful of young NHL forwards making waves in the show and a somewhat balanced prospect pool the choice is likely to just take best available no matter what position. Forsberg fits the plan.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs – Morgan Rielly – D – Moose Jaw
The Leafs have a very bountiful cupboard of depth prospects at forward and a couple good defensive gems as well but they lack much in the way of real impact prospects. Look for GM Brian Burke to once again select size and grit later in the draft when an impact scorer is not available. They will aslo need to grab a puck stopper to develop as well.
6. Anaheim Ducks – Jacob Trouba – D – NTDP U18
Solid depth up front, a good goalie prospect in the pipeline means the focus is on the backend. GM Bob Murray sure loves his US National Development team prospects, he go back to the well with his first rounder and takes a big but skilled Trouba.
7. Minnesota Wild – Teuvo Teravainen – RW – Jokerit Jr
The Wild have a good and healthy prospect pool for the first time in a while but they need to add offensive depth and a couple more defenders to the mix. They go for the skilled Finn rocketing up most draft boards hoping he can form instant offensive chemistry with top prospect Mikael Granlund.
8. Carolina Hurricanes – Griffin Reinhart – D – Edmonton
The cyclical waters that once had them starved for young defensemen now see that areas chock full of talent contributing at the NHL level with more on the way. GM Jim Rutherford adds the big physical defender with this selection that will compliment all the puck moving defenders already making contributions or are coming down the pipe.
9. Winnipeg Jets – Mathew Dumba – D – Red Deer
With a good young NHL core and a bunch of talent in the pipeline, the Jets can afford to just sit back and take the best available prospect to fall in their lap. A high-end defender like Dumba really helps balance out the pool nicely with their first rounder.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning – Mikhail Grigorenko – C – Quebec
GM Steve Yzerman has made plenty of trades to gain extra draft picks in order to build a long-term winner in Tampa. While they have some nice pieces in the works, they lack depth everywhere. Yzerman has a chance to make a big time addition with this selection of a big skilled centre. Grigoenko reunites with old linemate Nikita Kucherov who made one heck of a dominant offensive duo.
11. Washington Capitals – Radek Faksa – C – Kitchener
With the recent news about Evgeni Kuznetsov leaving his NHL future in question, Washington’s prospect pool look a whole lot weaker. They take the best available in two-way Faksa as they again look to add a prime time player. They could use another scorer on the wing, as could all 29 other teams.
12. Buffalo Sabres – Brendan Gaunce – Belleville
As one of the best drafting and developing teams over the last few seasons they now boast some excellent depth throughout. Look for GM Darcy Regier and his staff to continue to select size and grit where available as they do with this selection of two-way power forward Gaunce.
13. Dallas Stars – Cody Ceci – D – Ottawa
Dallas has depth up front with some big and skilled prospects as well as their future franchise goaltender all in the system, adding defense is needed. GM Joe Nieuwendyk and assistant Les Jackson are still looking to make the Stars a tougher group to play against. They go with the combo of size and skill in the two-way rearguard.
14. Calgary Flames – Derrick Pouliot – D – Portland
A tough track record in seasons past have led to the Flames needing impact players at every position. They need to draft safe with an eye to replacing their aging core. Calgary needs help at every position but has no bigger need than an impact defenseman. They take the first step in remedying this by drafting Pouliot.
15. Ottawa Senators – Hampus Lindholm – D – Rogle Jr
A nice cupboard full of forward talent from the past three drafts means the semi-rebuild will be a quick one. They need to focus now on acquiring some impact defensemen with their first rounder and possibly their second rounder in this draft. They go back to Sweden where they have experienced success and grab Lindholm with this pick.
16. Washington Capitals – Olli Maatta – D – London
The Capitals grabbed skilled power forward Radek Faksa with their first selection; 11th overall and can now add a potential impact defenseman. They go with former coach Dale Hunter’s connection to his junior team and take London’s top CHL Import selection in Maatta.
17. San Jose Sharks – Zemgus Girgensons – C – Dubuque
While the Sharks have some depth throughout their prospect pool at all positions, they lack much in the way of impact players. With an aging roster and no impact defenseman in the system, there is a real need to develop the next Dan Boyle but they cannot pass up the chance to add a power forward at this spot.
18. Chicago Blackhawks – Matt Finn – Guelph
The once talent-rich Blackhawks have been steadily calling upon their prospects to replace those moving on and have greatly reduced the depth of their prospect pool out of necessity. They have a need on the backend and target a defenseman to help balance out the pool.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit) – Ludvig Bysrom – D – Modo Jr
GM Steve Yzerman made a trade with Detroit to get this pick and will look to add to the organizations back end with this selection. With the addition of Bystrom, they take a two-way defender with some nice upside.
20. Philadelphia Flyers – Sebastian Collberg – RW – Frolunda Jr.
Their NHL roster is full of prized young talent but that has left the prospect pool a little shallow. Philadelphia will likely continue to build with assets that possess both size and skill. They wanted to select an impact defenseman with their first rounder but have seen best available as a forward.
21. Buffalo Sabres – Nikolas Kerdiles – LW – NTDP U18
GM Darcy Regier and his staff selected two-way power forward Brendan Gaunce with the top pick and will once again take the top player left on their board in the big, hard working Kerdiles.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins – Tomas Hertl – C – Slavia Praha
The Penguins has a very healthy stable of defensemen who have varying degrees of NHL potential. They need to take the best available skilled forward to compliment their three centres down the line and do just that with Czech power forward Hertl.
23. Florida Panthers – Slater Koekkoek – D – Peterborough
GM Dave Tallon, the prime architect of Chicago’s deep prospect pool that eventually helped them win the Stanley Cup, has once again assembled a strong nucleus of talent coming down the pipe, this time in Florida. If his Chicago days are any tell, Tallon will look to add more defensive prospects to the group after this selection of Koekkoek.
24. Boston Bruins – Tom Wilson – RW – Plymouth
Very strong drafting and developing as well as the Phil Kessel trade have solidified some high-end skill infusion at both forward and defensive positions. GM Peter Chiarelli adds another sizable prospect to play Bruins hockey with this pick.
25. St Louis Blues – Dalton Thrower – D – Saskatoon
They have a good mix of young NHL talent at all positions as well as some blue-chip forward prospects waiting in the wings. They set their sights on defensive prospects with their first rounder this year and one that can eventuially replace current blueline General Barret Jackman.
26. Vancouver Canucks – Pontus Aberg – LW – Djurgardens
The Canucks pipeline has hit a snag over the last couple seasons as some assets have been moved out for immediate help on the big club. They still have some depth but an injection of talent over the next couple drafts is in order. An impact defenseman that can make a difference is on the radar for their first rounder but with Aberg slipping to them they do not hesitate.
27. Phoenix Coyotes – Colton Sissons – LW – Kelowna
The Coyotes possess a very impressive group that contains defensive minded and puck moving defensemen as well as a few nice goaltenders ripening on the vine. They are however desperate for scoring forwards as well as the next generation of checkers to be coming down the pipe. They might have nabbed their future captain with this selection of Sissons.
28. New Jersey Devils – Malcolm Subban – G – Belleville
The Devils are looking to find someone to replace an aging but still capable Martin Brodeur. The addition of Subban gives them the opportunity to find a replacement from within the organization.
29. New York Rangers – Andrei Vasilevski – G – Ufa
The Rangers have good depth at the forward position and a couple nice defensive prospects coming along but what they need is an heir apparent to Henrik Lundqvist’s throne. They look at the remaining puck moving defenseman but see the best available as the high-end goalie.
30. Los Angeles Kings – Martin Frk – Halifax
The Kings still have an enviable stable of prospects coming through the system even after some trades and graduation have thinned the herd. They have plenty of defense on the way but only a small few scoring forwards coming. The Frk selection adds a potential goal scorer to the mix.