2012 NHL Draft Thoughts

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2012-06-25

 

Monday, June 25th

 

Over the course of the next few months, expect sporadic comments on the recently drafted players as more information comes out on them.

 

Please check out DobberProspects’ front page for Part One of my 2012 NHL Draft Report Cards.

 

Following the second part, I will release a 30 team ranking based on the weekend draft. Be forewarned, the ranking is just for fun as the process of developing prospects drastically changes over time meaning that three, six, nine of twelve months from not, my ranking could change significantly based on development.

 

In saying that, who tops your list of teams that drafted the best? The worst?

 

Aaron Portzline from the Columbus Dispatch (reliable reporter) posted today that the Islanders’ GM Garth Snow offered every single draft pick in 2012 to Columbus for the chance to move up from 4th overall to 2nd overall, where defenseman Ryan Murray was selected. I am not sure whether Garth Snow should be fired for offering such a ridiculous offer or Scott Howson should be canned for not accepting…if true.

 

The Columbus Blue Jackets fired four of their amateur scouts immediately following the draft. Huh? I guess, regardless of how awful their scouting was, it was still good enough to keep them on throughout the 2012 NHL Draft. One of the four scouts fired was Andrew Shaw (not the Chicago Blackhawks forward), an scout based out of Sarnia, Ontario.  With Yakupov and Galchenyuk already drafted I guess Columbus didn’t see a need to keep him around. I do like the Blue Jackets’ Ryan Murray pick but I truly feel they made a big mistake, for the future, in not taking Alex Galchenyuk 2nd overall. He is exactly what they need, a sizeable skilled pivot with a contagious work ethic. Ryan Murray shares similar intangibles as a defenseman but I don’t feel the “reward” is as good as Galchenyuk’s.

 

Speaking of Alex Galchenyuk, I feel as though the Montreal Canadiens drafted the best future NHLer in the entire draft class. To add, Marc Bergevin added tremendous talent throughout the draft grabbing prospects that have good projectability (Brady Vail, Dalton Thrower) and a few with very good upside (Sebastian Collberg, Charles Hudon, and Tim Bozon).

 

I tweeted this last night and received some backlash from Flyers’ fans but I think there needs to be a change somewhere in their scouting/drafting process. The Flyers have a great nucleus at the NHL level and have done a very good job drafting in the first round, most notably grabbing Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier but there drafting post-first round has left much to be desired. It could be an issue of properly developing their prospects but besides their 3rd round and 6th round selections in 2001, Patrick Sharp and Dennis Seidenberg respectively, the Flyers have not developed or produced a notable NHL regular since then. Andreas Nodl (39th in 2006) and Eric Wellwood (172nd in 2009) still have a chance to develop into serviceable players (I like Wellwood a lot) but they are still missing out on a lot of post-first round selections. Before the Flyers’ fanbase comes down on me too hard, there are certainly other teams in similar or worse situations but could you imagine how much more wicked awesome the Flyers could be if they developed just one or two potential NHLers each year?

 

In the Flyers’ defence, the organization has done a good job identifying and signing impactful free agents including Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Read recently. I should mention that there are several promising recent Flyers’ picks that haven’t been through their development yet so I am not referring to them (at this time) but moreso the picks 2001-2007.

 

I have had time to digest the entire 2012 NHL Draft and here are some of my favourite selections:

 

–        Morgan Rielly (5th, Leafs) – Brian Burke showed patience and grabbed “his top rated player in the entire draft” (PS – I am not buying that statement) and it was refreshing that the he didn’t panic and draft based on need.

 

–        Slater Koekkoek (10th, Lightning) – Yzerman drafted a defenseman with great upside despite playing limited action this year and the young GM continues to show guts on the draft floot.

 

–        Mikhail Grigorenko (12th, Sabres) – I don’t think Regier was expecting Grigorenko to be available to them and as a result swung a deal to grab Zemgus Girgensons two picks later (likely who they targeted at 12th initially).

 

–        Cody Ceci (15th, Senators) – Easy decision for the Murrays to take hometown favourite Cody Ceci who fell a few spots.

 

–        Teuvo Teravainen (18th, Blackhawks) – Just another easy decision for a general manager as the Hawks could potential develop TT as a replacement for Patrick Kane, allowing them to deal the thrifty cab goer down the road.

 

–        Mark Jankowski (21st, Flames) – Feaster trades down to grab a player he knew he could get. He showed balls drafting such a raw prospect considering the Flames’ system is bone dry.

 

–        Brendan Gaunce (26th, Canucks) – Great value pick and could slot in on the third line as soon as 2013-14.

 

–        Matt Finn (35th, Leafs) – No brainer for Brian Burke. Much like Pittsburgh was doing, Toronto has drafted great defensive depth and it’s an area that teams place lots of value in for future trades.

 

–        Dylan Blujus (40th, Lightning) – One of the better sleeper defensemen in the draft. Keep an eye on him.

 

–        Mitchell Heard (41st, Colorado) – Invited to the Leafs’ camp last season and performed well, Heard was a surprise pick this early but he could be a very serviceable depth player.

 

–        Adam Pelech (65th, Islanders) – Exactly the type of defenseman the Islanders need to round out their 4-6 spots.

 

–        Mackenzie MacEachern (67th, Blues) – My gut instinct is that the Blues got a future stud. If I had to put my money on one of two post-second round picks becoming very good NHLers, I think I’d use one on Mac MacEachern. Gut instinct but the kid can score.

 

–        Jarrod Maidens (82nd, Senators) – Continues to battle concussions but if Maidens can shake them the Sens are getting fantastic value at the end of the third round.

 

–        Kevin Roy (97th, Ducks) – This overage entry can flat out score and was well worth using a fourth round pickon.

 

–        Gemel Smith (104th, Stars) – I am not sure how Smith fell so far but his boom-bust game is worthy of a selection here.

 

–        Mikko Vainonen (118th, Predators) – Nashville drafts great defensemen. No exception here. He is expected to come to North America and should be drafted in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, set to take place Wednesday, June 27th.

 

–        Calle Andersson (119th, Rangers) – Solid value pick as some people had him inside their top 60

 

–        Dom Toninato (126th, Leafs) – I personally do not know much about him but I’m being told that he’s got great upside. HockeyProspect.com is an independent scouting agency that had him rated very high. Here is what Dan Shrader (@ShraderD) wrote to me about DT:

“DT has decent size + able to handle more muscle mass. Good instincts, no standout trait though…skating needs work…Split opinions on him, some thought he was top Minnesota High School player, others thought he was a “no prospect”. I’m in the latter. Played well with same linemates on a powerhouse team for years, maybe a product of that. He’s competitive and feisty. I’m not sold on his hockey sense being high end, but it’s decent.”

 

–        Garret Ross (139th, Blackhawks) – A solid overage player that could become a very difficult player to play against, similar to Andrew Shaw.

 

–        Jesse Graham (155th, Islanders) – A boom/bust type of defenseman that I am interested in seeing play next season without Dougie Hamilton in the lineup. I’ve got a good feeling about Graham.

 

–        Connor Brown and Ryan Rupert (156th & 157th, Leafs) – Both players are difficult to play against. Connor Brown posted good numbers on a poor Erie Otters team. Ryan Rupert is one component of the London Knights’ superpest twins. The Leafs have invited his twin brother Matt to camp too.

 

–        Artur Gavrus (180th, Devils) – Led the OHL in rookie scoring before being sidelined with a concussion.

 

–        Christian Djoos (195th, Capitals) – Offensive defenseman with solid hockey bloodlines.

 

–        Nikita Gusev (202nd, Lightning) – I had Tampa Bay selecting Gusev in the Fantasy Prospects Guide (albeit much earlier) before I revamped it to accommodate the New Jersey Devils`decision to keep their 29th pick. Yzerman adds a player who showed tremendous chemistry with Nikita Kucherov (2011 Lightning pick)

 

–        Nick Ebert (211th, Kings) – Poor development and a speculated poor attitude had this former first round ranked defenseman fall all of the way to the final draft spot. Regardless of his issues, I cannot believe there wasn`t a team that snatched him up in the 5th or 6th round.

 

Notable Players who were passed over:

 

Michael Houser (G) – Apparently winning the OHL Championship, OHL Top Goaltender and OHL Player of the Year honours was not enough for a team to take a shot on this late blooming netminder. Don`t worry, Houser will surely get some camp invites.

 

Anton Slepyshev (F) – The KHL`s 1st overall pick in 2011 KHL Draft. KHL risk was too big?

 

Dane Fox (F) – North America’s 46th ranked skater was passed over due to well documented off-ice issues. Personally, I was pulling for Dane as his family made the trek down to Pittsburgh but it appears that NHL clubs want to see him persevere through this and show that he’s willing to work his way to an NHL career. The New York Rangers invited Dane Fox to their camp.

 

Alex Gudbranson (D) – The younger brother of Panthers’ Erik Gudbranson posted respectable numbers on a poor Kingston team but did not get his name called on the weekend.

 

Max Iafrate (D) – The son of former hard-shooting defenseman Al Iafrate wasn’t able to make the final cut.

 

Emil Lundberg (F) – Swedish forward that had respectable draft year numbers even comparing favourably to Filip Forsberg.

 

Nathan Walker (F) – The Aussie from down under was too far away to hear his name called this year after posting very good numbers in Europe.

 

Andrey Makarov (G) – The Russian overage goaltender who relieved Vasilevski during his collapse at the 2012 WJC didn’t get his name called either.

 

Myles Bell (D) – An offensive defenseman worth of being picked based on skill went undrafted for a second straight year as teams are petrified of his legal troubles.

 

Andrew Ryan (F) – Underachieving QMJHL forward didn’t muster up enough hype to don an NHL jersey.

 

Ludvig Rensfeldt (F) – After Chicago chose not to sign their 2011 2nd round pick to an entry-level contract, Rensfeldt was passed over this year as a re-entry.

 

Joonas Donskoi (F) – Similar to Rensfeldt, Donskoi did not garner any interest as a re-entry.

 

I will check back in later in the week to post more thoughts on the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

 

Keep an eye for Part Two of my NHL Draft Report Card series on the front page.

 

The worst part of the NHL Draft was…….Pierre McGuire. Watch him get riled up once he realizes that Malcolm Subban will eventually compete against his brother PK in divisional matchups…..

 

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