PIERRE MCGUIRE'S DRAFT FORECAST

June 25, 2012

SURE THINGS

1. NAIL YAKUPOV

This Russian winger has great speed and superior playmaking abilities, and wants the puck in key situations. Currently with Sarnia of the OHL, Yakupov wants to stay and play in North America. He's a true can't-miss player.

2. RYAN MURRAY

Though he's not a point getter, Murray's a smart shutdown defenseman for Everett of the WHL who should be able to handle the grind of the NHL as an 18-year-old. He's a leader who'll someday be team captain.

3. ALEX GALCHENYUK

A Sarnia teammate of Yakupov's, this 6'1", 198-pound center has command of the game in all three zones. He's a perfect fit for the Canadiens, who will pick third and are starving for size and skill down the middle.

WILD CARDS

1. MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO

He has the tools (40 goals, 45 assists in 59 games for Quebec last season) and body (6'3", 200) to be drafted in the top three, but concerns over his intensity may prevent him from going until the middle of the first round.

2. ZEMGUS GIRGENSONS

This Latvian-born star from Dubuque (USHL) could evolve into a top-end center if he matures physically. Girgensons (6'3", 195) is committed to attending the University of Vermont next season.

3. STEFAN MATTEAU

The 6-foot, 210-pound Matteau, a son of 13-year NHL vet Stephane Matteau, is a good skater for a big man. The question is, Does he become a true power forward who can score or a grinding, two-way winger who only provides depth?

BEST UPSIDES

1. MORGAN RIELLY

A torn ACL last season limited his play with Moose Jaw of the WHL, but Rielly's a mobile and smart defenseman who will play for a long time in the NHL. He handles the puck well and seemingly makes a difference in every game.

2. GRIFFIN REINHART

A huge defenseman (6'4", 200) whose father, Paul, played in the NHL for 11 years, Reinhart can shoot the puck and handle big minutes. He could eventually become a Norris Trophy nominee, much like Nashville's Shea Weber.

3. HAMPUS LINDHOLM

Some scouts think that Lindholm, a smart two-way defenseman from the Swedish club team Rogle, is the player whose stock is rising the most due to his consistent play and serious approach to the game.

PHOTOLEON T. SWITZER/ICON SMI PHOTORICHARD WOLOWICZ/GETTY IMAGES PHOTOMARISSA BAECKER/GETTY IMAGES

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)