June 22, 2012
2012 NHL Draft Tracker -- First Round
Sarnia Sting winger Nail Yakupov is the consensus No. 1 pick, but the rest of the crop is anybody's guess. As SI.com's Allan Muir explained in his first round Mock Draft, "So many of the top players spent extended periods on injured reserve that teams have to do more projecting based on fewer viewings. Other hopefuls have glaring deficiencies in one area -- size, skating, finishing touch -- that force teams to hold their noses while they swing for the fences. 'Everything is about tempering expectations' a scout told me. 'There are going to be some players [coming out of this class], but a lot of these kids would have been second-round [picks] last year, or next year. It's a tough year to accurately judge [some of] the talent. You just hope you're not the guy who argued against [drafting] the kid who turns out to be a star.'" For updates to this page throughout Round 1, click "refresh" periodically..

1 RW Nail Yakupov Sarnia OHL 5-11 190
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: To be sure, there have been a lot of questions about him over the last few weeks, but most of that tearing down is being done by teams with no chance to draft him, or by fellow journalists who choose to promulgate the anti-Russian angle. To be fair, the Oilers may yet trade out of the spot. But whoever holds it most certainly will take this winger who plays with flair. "He's an entertainer," one scout said. "He plays at top speed and executes plays that others couldn't imagine." Being the fastest, most creative player is one thing, but it's Yakupov's desire that makes him special. He's used to battling through the heaviest checking and he competes at both ends of the ice. He's not big, but he won't be intimidated. He takes the abuse, then finds a way to get to where he can make things happen. He'll be an All-Star caliber player. PLAYER PROFILE
2 D Ryan Murray Everett WHL 6-0 195
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: The word every scout uses to describe him is "mature", as in "he plays a mature game." That's telling, because it suggests that with Murray, what you see is what you get. That's not to say he won't get better as he gets more experience under his belt, but there's not a lot of projection involved, either. If you saw him play (albeit sparingly) for Canada at the World Championships, you could see that he plays a reliable, all-around game. He won't put up big offensive numbers, but Columbus can count on him to step in immediately and eventually develop into a strong No. 2 defender. For a team that could really use some positive buzz short-term and can't afford to miss on its pick, Murray is the safest bet. PLAYER PROFILE
3 C Alex Galchenyuk Sarnia OHL 6-1 197
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Galchenyuk comes with question marks -- a torn ACL limited him to just two regular season games this year -- but there's less uncertainty given how well ACL recoveries go these days. And there is so much upside with this kid. Born in Milwaukee but raised in Russia, Switzerland and Italy, he has tremendous hockey sense, plays a reliable defensive game and is equally adept at playmaking as he is at finishing. He'll need another year or two in juniors to compensate for lost development time, but he's a very good bet to mature into a top-six role. PLAYER PROFILE
4 D Griffin Reinhart Edmonton WHL 6-2 207
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: The son of former All-Star Paul Reinhart, he's blessed with an uncannily high hockey IQ and the patience of Job -- if Job had been a skilled puck-handler who showed incredible poise under pressure from hulking forecheckers. What really motivates scouts here is the sense that he's just scratched the surface of what he will become. PLAYER PROFILE
5 D Morgan Rielly Moose Jaw WHL 6-0 190
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: A highly skilled playmaking defender who draws comparisons to Duncan Keith makes a lot of sense here. Scouts didn't get much time to see Rielly this year -- he tore his ACL in his 18th game and missed the rest of the season plus two rounds of the playoffs -- but that didn't limit their enthusiasm. He scored 24 points in the 23 games he played, confirming his reputation as someone who can generate offense from the blueline. A beautiful skater before the injury, he looked fluid in those five playoff contests, and tests at the draft combine showed that his knee is fine. "He looked good," said a scout in attendance who praised Rielly as the best passer in the draft, and one of the sharpest minds. PLAYER PROFILE
6 D Hampus Lindholm Rogle Jr. Sweden 6-3 196
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Ask any scout about him and his description invariably starts with his skating. "He's quick off the mark, great balance, agile, can turn on a dime," one said. The top-rated European defender, Lindholm also earns praise for his passing and his poise under pressure. He's equally adept in his own end, where he uses his size effectively, if not aggressively. PLAYER PROFILE
7 D Mathew Dumba Red Deer WHL 6-0 177
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: A high-end blueline prospect. It's easy to get caught up in his offensive numbers -- he scored 20 goals this season, then led the Under-18 tournament in scoring, so he knows how to get the puck to the net -- but he's also an aggressive defender in his own zone who's capable of delivering a game-changing, open-ice hit. Of course, that's a tougher game to play at the pro level, especially at his size. He has a couple years to fill out a very skinny frame, but the hope is that he'll learn to rely more on his skating, puck skills and smarts. If he does that, he could be a dynamic defender. PLAYER PROFILE
8 D Derrick Pouliot Portland WHL 6-0 192
Pick acquired from Carolina plus Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumolin for Jordan Staal. ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: The first-overall pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam draft is lauded as one of the best playmakers in this crop. He makes a great first pass, and his offensive reads are strong, tools that have teams projecting him as a second unit power play QB. But, as one scout said, "there are times when it looks like he's never played inside his own zone before." Learning to play away from the puck will be critical to his development, as will gaining the mental toughness to overcome what another scout called "teenage confidence issues -- sky high one minute, gone the next." PLAYER PROFILE
9 D Jacob Trouba USA U-18 USHL 6-2 196
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: One of the best athletes in the draft, he's a defenseman in the mold of Dion Phaneuf -- nasty in his own end with the ability to make things happen in the offensive zone. He's quick on his feet and makes the most of his size to intimidate opposing forwards. If there's a chance to make the big hit, he's happy to oblige. He's aggressive with the puck and has a big bomb from the point. There are some questions about his ability to read the game defensively, but if a team thinks they can address this, Trouba could mature into a top-two defender. PLAYER PROFILE
10 D Slater Koekkoek Peterborough OHL 6-2 184
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Another one of those asterisk players, Koekkoek missed all but 26 games due to a torn labrum. If not for the injury, the buzz would have been about the workhorse duty he pulled. It wasn't unusual for Koekkoek (pronounced koo-koo) to log 25-30 minutes a night for the Petes, playing in all situations. One scout compared him to former NHLer Daryl Sydor. "He won't be an elite defender, but he has all the tools to be a really, really good one," the scout said. "Great size, strong skater, good hockey sense, fierce competitor. Plays an all-around game," said another. PLAYER PROFILE
11 LW Filip Forsberg Leksands Sweden 6-2 180
Pick acquired from Colorado. ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: What he lacks in electricity, he makes up for in determination. "He has a lot of battle in him," a scout said. "He works hard for the puck, protects it well, and gets it to the net." Paired with a playmaking center, he'll be a consistent finisher. Scouts rave about his leadership qualities -- he's the sort of player who can rally a room around him and carry it during tough times. PLAYER PROFILE
12 C Mikhail Grigorenko Quebec QMJHL 6-2 200
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: There's a lot to like about him, including his size, scoring ability, speed, creativity. When you find a scout willing to offer up a comparable player, they name guys like Alexei Yashin and Olli Jokinen: good players, the kind that put up some solid numbers but aren't thought of as guys you win with. Add in concerns (fair or not) that Grigorenko might pull a Nikita Filatov and bolt to the KHL if things get rough. PLAYER PROFILE
13 C Radek Faksa Kitchener OHL 6-3 203
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: A burgeoning power forward with a great work ethic. "He has that blend of size and skill that every team wants down the middle," a scout said. He'll need to add some muscle to play the same way in the NHL, but with a velvety touch and a responsible approach to defense, it's easy to see him maturing into a nice second line center. PLAYER PROFILE
14 C Zemgus Girgensons Dubuque USHL 6-2 198
Pick acquired from Calgary for picks No. 21 and 42. ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: "I could see him going [top 10]," a scout said. It's easy to see why after a season in which Girgensons was the most effective draft-eligible player in the USHL. There are questions about his offensive upside -- scouts I spoke with pegged his at 15-25 goals and 45-60 points -- but what Girgensons lacks in finishing polish, he makes up for with grit. He always wants the puck and he'll run you over if that's what it takes to get it. "He's a miserable S.O.B. to play against," the same scout offered. Said another, "Relentless, great intensity, loves to compete." Sounds like a Ryan Kesler starter kit. PLAYER PROFILE
15 D Cody Ceci Ottawa OHL 6-2 207
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Ceci projects as something like a poor-man's Dan Boyle, a second-pairing defender at worst. He has good size, is solid on his feet and makes sound decisions with and without the puck. He eats a lot of important minutes for Ottawa in the OHL because he can be counted on to play a complete, 200-foot game. The only thing that keeps him from going higher is the absence of a reliable physical game. "He doesn't shy away from contact, but when you see a player that size, you want to see him use the body more often," a scout warned. PLAYER PROFILE
16 RW Tom Wilson Plymouth OHL 6-4 195
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: One scout described Wilson to me as this year's Taylor Pyatt. "He won't do much for you in the regular season, but you'll see what he's worth in the playoffs." Probably the toughest player among the top-tier prospects, Wilson's big and physical and strong on the cycle. He goes hard to the net and always gives an honest effort. But don't expect the kid to score much unless you have blueliners who can bank it in off his backside from the point. "He hasn't got much of a shot," another scout said. PLAYER PROFILE
17 C Tomas Hertl Slavia Czech Republic 6-2 200
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Say what you want about the diminished talent in the Czech league. It's still populated with men, and Hertl managed 25 points in 38 games against them. Scouts love his big body and believe he still has some filling out to do, which bodes well for a physical/defensive style that earned comparisons to Martin Hanzal. Beyond that, he's a bit limited. Not the most agile skater or finisher, he has a tendency to try to do too much. If he simplifies his game and learns to use his wingers more effectively, he could mature into a solid checking center. PLAYER PROFILE
18 LW Teuvo Teravainen Jokerit Finland 5-11 165
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: The dynamic winger who just might be the most creative scorer in this year's class. "Great vision, agile skater, handles the puck well in traffic," said one scout. He also earned praise as a shooter, but there are cautions that he tends to play on the perimeter in Finland. If he wants to score in the NHL, he needs to drive the net, and if he's not doing that at this size, he'll need at least a couple of years to add some muscle to his frame. PLAYER PROFILE
19 G Andrei Vasilevski Ufa 2 Russia-JR 6-3 204
Acquired from Detroit. CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Vasilevski helped Russia capture silver at the 2012 World Junior Championships posting four wins, a 2.01 goals-against average and a .953 save-percentage to go along with two shutouts -- he finished the tournament ranked second in wins and save-percentage. Fellow 2012 Draft prospects Nail Yakupov (No. 1 ranked North American skater) and Mikhail Grigorenko (No. 3 ranked North American skater) were his World Junior teammates. PLAYER PROFILE
20 C Scott Laughton Oshawa OHL 6-0 175
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: His offense hasn't yet met the expectations set for a guy who was the third overall pick in the OHL draft, but he's a safe call because he is so competitive every time he steps on the ice. "He's motivated, sharp on the draw, a great defensive player. He works the body well and will drop the mitts when necessary," one scout said, adding, "he's a great team guy." His upside projects to a Dave Bolland-type. PLAYER PROFILE
21 C Mark Jankowski Stanstead Quebec HS 6-2 175
Acquired from Buffalo via Nashville. ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: A player regarded by many as boom or bust. Jankowski has great bloodlines -- his father Lou played for Detroit and his great-uncle is Red Kelly -- and he absolutely dominated his high school league, scoring 53 goals in 57 games. Scouts call him a "toolsy" player. "Great vision, soft hands, unselfish, protects the puck well," one said. And despite the fact that he grew more than six inches over the last 18 months, he plays a game that's more skill than power, similar to Vincent Lecavalier. But the question remains: how good is he, really? He whipped up on kids with limited hockey potential and he's very early in his development. If a team believes they've seen the start of something big, and can afford to give him the three or four more years of development he needs, then Jankowski would be a tremendous value pick here. PLAYER PROFILE
22 D Olli Maatta London OHL 6-2 202
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: He made an impression during London's run to the Memorial Cup Final. "He plays a meat-and-potatoes [style]," a scout said. "He's physical, he battles, he's got a lot of compete in him." Another suggested that Maatta may develop enough of an offensive game one day to be trusted with first-pairing minutes, but it's a mistake to overvalue him based on the playoffs. "He makes a good first pass, he can get the puck to the net, but don't expect him to be a point producer," that scout said. "He could be a reliable top-four defender." PLAYER PROFILE
23 D Michael Matheson Dubuque USHL 6-1 178
CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Matheson represented Canada at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and played for Team Quebec at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he finished with eight points (2-6--8) in six games. He captained Lac St. Louis Lions to a bronze medal at Canada?s National Midget Championship in 2011 and was named Top Defenseman after recording eight points (3-5--8) in seven games. In 2010-11, he was named to the LDHMAAAQ All-Star Team and in 2009-10 was named Rookie of the Year. PLAYER PROFILE
24 G Malcolm Subban Belleville OHL 6-1 195
CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban's younger borther. Says Central Scouting's Al Jensen: "I see Malcolm as Carey Price. He's calm and poised. I find [Marc-Andre] Fleury as more of an acrobatic goalie and getting out there, but Malcolm is very good with his positioning, with outstanding lateral ability and quickness. He can make a big save to turn a game around, but he covers post-to-post so well with his butterfly. His leg extension is incredible and he has a very quick glove hand." PLAYER PROFILE
25 D Jordan Schmaltz Green Bay USHL 6-2 180
CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: "The type of player everybody wants on their team because he's a puck-moving offensive defenseman who can see opportunities, spring forward and make the great pass from any situation. He loves to join in the rush and has that skating ability to sort of take the risk of taking the puck deep, and be able to get back using his skating ability." PLAYER PROFILE
26 C Brendan Gaunce Belleville OHL 6-1 207
CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: He won gold with Canada at the 2011 Under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and with Team Ontario at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he finished the tournament with four points (3-1--4) in six games including a goal and an assist in the title game. Most recently, he won a bronze medal at the 2012 World Under-18 Championships. After being selected second overall in the 2010 OHL Priority draft, Gaunce led Belleville in rookie scoring in 2010-11 finishing with 36 points (11-25--36) in 65 games. PLAYER PROFILE
27 C Henrik Samuelsson Edmonton WHL 6-2 216
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Henrik isn't exactly a chip off the block, but like his father Ulf, he's the guy that you love to have on your team but absolutely despise lining up against. He probably tops out as a checking line winger, but with his size and fearlessness, he might be able to bring some value to the power play as well. PLAYER PROFILE
28 D Brady Skjei USA U-18 League 6-2 196
ALLAN MUIR'S TAKE: Not everyone likes Skjei -- who is slated to play for the Minnesota Gophers next season -- to go in the first round, but someone might have fallen in love with his effortless skating and big frame enough to grab him early. He's not particularly physical, and his transition skills are average. If you feel like he can be taught to address these flaws, then Skjei might mature into a second-pairing defender. If not, he's going to frustrate a lot of folks for doing so little with so much. PLAYER PROFILE
29 C Stefan Matteau USA U-18 USHL 6-1 215
CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Posted 32 points in second season with US National Development Program. Intends to join Blainville-Boibriand Armada of the QMHJL for 2012-13. Father is former New York Ranger Stephane Matteau, who played 13 seasons in the NHL. PLAYER PROFILE
30 LW Tanner Pearson Barrie OHL 6-0 198
CENTRAL SCOUTING'S TAKE: Represented Team Canada for the first time at the 2012 World Junior Championship, where he recorded six points (one goal, five assists) in six games to help Canada capture the bronze medal. He became the first junior player since Danny Syvret in 2005 to skate for Team Canada after being passed over in the NHL Draft. PLAYER PROFILE

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)