1. RW Nail Yakupov – Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: Oct. 6/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 190lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 2Nail Yakupov is one of the only game-breakers in a draft class that lacks high-end offensive talent. His speed and offensive flair can change the tide of a game in one shift. He does not shy away from contact and plays a fearless game for a player who will be undersized at the NHL level. That style of play is one of the few concerns with Yakupov’s game as he missed a lot of time this year with injuries and it remains to be seen whether or not that will inhibit his play at the next level. When he’s in the lineup, Yakupov has the ability to distribute the puck with the best of them and has no shortage of offensive flair in his repertoire.
2. RC Filip Forsberg – Leksand (Allsvenskan)
DOB: Aug. 13/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 181lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 6Forsberg may not be the “sexy” pick this high in the draft, but like his countryman Gabriel Landeskog from a year ago, Forsberg brings a versatile style of game that should make him a coach’s favourite. Forsberg displays a strong willingness to play a power style of game and as he continues to physically mature, we can expect him to become more effective in this regard. Despite what some may consider modest numbers this season, Forsberg has a high skill level and shows dynamic flashes with quality stick handling and good straightaway speed. Forsberg’s offensive ceiling is not as high as some of the other players in this crop, but his all-around attributes and intangibles combine to form a very attractive for NHL teams looking for a bonafide Top 2 line winger.
3. LC Alex Galchenyuk – Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 12/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 3Looking strictly at numbers, 2 goals and 4 points in 8 total games this season doesn’t seem like very much to get excited about. Luckily for Galchneyuk, his tale has been well told and a brilliant 16-year-old season showed NHL teams the talent this 18-year-old possesses. Despite tearing his ACL during the OHL pre-season, Galchenyuk feverishly rehabbed in time to make it back into the Sting lineup before the conclusion of the season, easing concerns about any long-term effects. In full form, Galchenyuk is a dynamic offensive forward who can flat out produce. He is often a very deceptive player and lurks around the ice, always seeming to be around the puck. Galchenyuk has great hands and an even better shot with a pro-calibre release and pin-point accuracy. If he can continue to improve his skating, his style is somewhat comparable to Evgeni Malkin. While Galchneyuk iis still raw in some regards, his ceiling likely is higher than any other player in this draft.
4. LD Ryan Murray – Everett (WHL)
DOB: Sep. 27/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 201lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 4Murray checks in as our top rated defenseman, and with good reason. After taking over his team’s captaincy as a 17-year- old, Murray suited up for team Canada at the World Junior Championships, while maintaining his leadership role for a young Everett Silvertips team that surprised many in the WHL by making a late season push into the playoffs. Murray possesses excellent hockey sense, is a great skater, and is a very complete player for someone his age. Murray is equally effective in all three zones, able to move the puck quickly and efficiently, and doesn’t shy away from any kind of physical play. Ryan Murray has all of the tools to be an effective top-4 defenseman in the NHL, and may be one of the most NHL ready players in the draft, evidenced by a brief showing with Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships.
5. LC Mikhail Grigorenko – Quebec (QMJHL)
DOB: May 16/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 1As the QMJHL season wore on, so did Mikhail Grigorenko. A strong first half put Grigorenko atop TSR’s Midterm Rankings, but an uninspiring second half dropped him all the way down to 5th in our final rankings. Grigorenko is coming off a season where he still managed to win the QMJHL & CHL Rookie of the Year award and found the back of the net 40 times in only 59 games. However, his consistency late in the season and a disappointing showing in the playoffs could be some cause for concern. Despite the negative ending to his season, Grigorenko is one of the premier offensive talents available in this draft and still projects as a potential 1st line center who could be seeing NHL duty as early as next season.
6. LD Morgan Rielly – Moose Jaw (WHL)
DOB: Mar. 9/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 5Rielly got into only 23 games this season due to an untimely torn ACL injury near the beginning of the season. Rielly came back to play in 5 playoff games which shows his dedication even though it was met with mixed results. Rielly’s game is all about puckhandling and skating as he is superb in both aspects of the game. At his best, Rielly is a very smooth puck distributor who has the ability to skate the puck and create off the rush. While Rielly will never overwhelm opponents physically nor with his defensive game, his exceptional offensive poise and composure makes him a very valuable player moving forward.
7. RD Matt Dumba – Red Deer (WHL)
DOB: Jul. 25/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 8Dumba plays the game with a high motor, one that is matched by few defensemen even at the pro level. His ambitious style of play has been well documented as Dumba lives and dies by the sword – not to sound cliché. Size is a bit of a concern given his style of play, but there is no doubting the competitive nature of Dumba. He has the ability to throw game-changing hits and never backs down from a battle on the ice. Offensively, Dumba shows strong potential moving forward and he has displayed a strong ability to find the back of the net, and projects to be a very capable point producer at the next level. If Dumba can overcome concerns about his ability to handle the rigor of the pro game while showing more consistency, he has the ability to be a real player to watch at the NHL level.
8. LD Olli Maatta – London (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 22/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 202lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 13After an indifferent start to the season and a concussion at the World Junior Championships, Maatta took his game to the next level down the stretch and in the playoffs. Does a great job of playing his role as a steady defenseman who can contribute offensively and quarterback the transition game. Had a bit of an inflated offensive post-season, but displayed some of the upside he is capable of when he focuses more on his offensive game. Maatta lacks a dynamic element to his game, but the 17-year-old Finn makes up for it with excellent hockey sense and anticipation. We said in the Mid-Terms that he’s the type of player who will have an underappreciated 15+ year NHL career and continue to believe that he should be a very good 2/3 type defenseman who is capable of playing in all situations.
9. RD Jacob Trouba – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 26/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 195lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 7Like many of his predecessors who were regarded as blue-chip NHL prospects, Trouba represented the States in the World Junior Championship in his draft year this past Christmas. Trouba had some good moments and some moments where he struggled at the World Juniors, but the experience really paid off in the second half of the season. Trouba is a very physical defender who will make forwards pay for their mistakes. Trouba moves the puck very well and has a cannon of a shot. While his overall package is enticing, hockey sense is a bit of a concern with Trouba as he’s proven to be prone to mistakes and turnovers. Trouba, who lead all NTDP defensemen in points with 32 in 54 games, will stay in Ann Arbor as he is headed to the University of Michigan next season.
10. RD Griffin Reinhart – Edmonton (WHL)
DOB: Jan. 24/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 207lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 15Reinhart’s game has gotten stronger as the season has gone along and is making an impact more and more each game. Reinhart is an imposing frame and one of the taller WHL players. One of the real attractive aspects of Reinhart’s game is his proficiency offensively as well as defensively. Offensively, he has a solid point shot, join into rushes but doesn’t force the play, and makes crisp outlet passes. Defensively, he is positionally sound, and knows how to use his long reach. Reinhart takes the body effectively and doesn’t go around looking to destroy the opposition. His toughness has been questioned but he answered the bell during the playoffs. Consistency and decision making are also areas where Reinhart will need to display improvement moving forward.
11. LW Teuvo Teravainen – Jokerit (SM-Liiga)
DOB: Sep. 11/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 170lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 37There is arguably no player this season who has seen their stock rise more than Tevuo Teravainen. The 5-foot-11 winger had a torrid start to the season with the Jokerit J20 team before showcasing his offensive skills in the SM-Liiga, Finland’s premier men’s league. Teravainen is undersized, which is a concern, but his puck wizardry and offensive instincts are among the elite players in this draft crop. A team might roll the dice with him a bit as there are some concerns about how he will deal with the physical style of play in the NHL, but with his skill-set and speed, it’s a risk worth taking in a draft that lacks high-end potential from the forwards.
12. LD Slater Koekkoek – Peterborough (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 18/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 10At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Koekkoek is another player who fell victim to the “NHL Draft Curse” in 2012. While a shoulder surgery ended Koekkoek’s season to only 26 games, the Mountain, Ont. native has shown some high-end potential thus far in his OHL career. Koekkoek is a horse at the OHL level and rarely plays under 30 minutes a game, even dating back to his rookie season a year ago. Koekkoek has size, skating ability, physicality, and an offensive game that could combine to form a player who could very well be the homerun pick of the draft. While there is a lot to like, Koekkoek does need to refine some areas of his game, namely defensive zone coverage. He’s prone to running around and overplaying the puck which is a major area of his game that will need to improve if he lives up to his potential.
13. LD Hampus Lindholm – Rogle (Allsvenskan)
DOB: Jan. 20/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 41Lindholm is a solid two-way defenseman who still has room to improve moving forward. The 6-foot-2 Swede displays above average offensive instincts and does a good job of anticipating when to jump into the offensive side of the game. He is a very strong skater and displays good lateral movement and an ability to skate transitionally which will be major assets moving forward. Defensively, Lindholm is solid albeit unspectacular. He can be prone to mental lapses and needs to do a better job of letting the play come to him rather than force it. Lindholm has come on of late and did have a solid showing at the U18’s which has been the major catalyst behind his ascension in our final rankings.
14. LC Brendan Gaunce – Belleville (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 25/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 215lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 11Gaunce is an extremely well rounded prospect who processes great vision, hockey sense, as well as leadership qualities. He’s not a player who will overwhelm you any in one aspect of the game but he does have the unique ability to be such a complete player at this young of an age. Gaunce is a great decision maker both with the puck on his stick as well as away from the puck on the defensive end of the ice. He has an extremely hard and accurate shot which has the ability to find its way to the net through traffic. Gaunce could very well develop into a player who will be on the ice at all points of the game and never look out of place. At this point in time he seems to have the upside as a strong two-way centerman, he does however have to work on his skating ability to get there.
15. RD Cody Ceci – Ottawa (OHL)
DOB: Dec. 21/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 207lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 18Ceci is a well rounded defencemen with great hockey sense and the ability to consistently make smart plays with the puck. An above average skater, Ceci uses his speed to keep opposing attackers to the outside on the rush. While he does lack a mean streak, he does have good size which we would like to see him use on a more consistent basis. Where Ceci likely shines most is at making the first pass out of his own zone, he truly has the ability to hit tape to tape passes from across the rink. Ceci also thrives on the powerplay where he can combine his big shot and his ability to move the puck into one of the best packages in the OHL.
16. LC Radek Faksa – Kitchener (OHL)
DOB: Jan. 09/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 202lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 16Faksa came into the season touted as a potential 1st round pick and finishes our rankings just outside the top half of Round 1. Faksa has good size and has demonstrated a consistent ability to be an effective two-way center that is capable of using his size to his advantage. He has an adapt scoring touch and occasionally shows flashes of high-end offense, albeit inconsistently. Like Gaunce, Faksa lacks a wow factor in his game which causes him to slide a bit on our list, but he does project to be a solid 2nd or 3rd line center at the next level.
17. RW Sebastian Collberg – Frolunda (SuperElit)
DOB: Feb. 23/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 175lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 12Collberg had some unexpected offensive struggles in league play this year, some of which was due to a lack of playing time in the Elitserien which caused him to bounce between the SuperElit and the pro squad. While the numbers certainly aren’t going to blow you away, Collberg was at his best during international competition and showed flashes of his offensive flair while donning the Tre Kronner. Collberg is undersized, but he makes up for it with some slick hands and an NHL release. He’s a threat to score anytime he gets the puck in the offensive zone and does a good job of finding open ice despite being a smaller player.
18. LW Anton Slepyshev – Metallurg (KHL)
DOB: May 13/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 190lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 28The KHL will undoubtedly be of concern for NHL teams when weighing their options with Slepyshev, but on talent alone, he has certainly proven himself as a 1st rounder in this draft. Slepyshev is a dynamic winger who has slick puckhandling skills and loves to showcase them when he has the opportunity. He has NHL size and has proven himself against professional players as a 17-year-old which bodes well moving forward as he finds more comfort. Slepyshev could be a good gamble for a team drafting in the late 1st round that can afford to be patient with him over the next several years, otherwise he likely has limited appeal for teams looking for a player who is committed to the organization from the outset.
19. LD Ludvig Bystrom – MODO (Elitserien)
DOB: Jul. 20/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 208lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 35Bystrom had a very impressive season with MODO, earning himself 20 games with the senior team along the way. In comparison to his fellow countryman Hampus Lindholm, Bystrom has higher offensive potential and showed a lot of that upside this past season as one of the top scoring defensemen in the SuperElit. Bystrom’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress and he would likely be considered fairly average in that regard. He definitely has a tendency to focus more on the offensive game and does a good job utilizing his hockey IQ and puck moving abilities in that regard.
20. LC Zemgus Girgensons – Dubuque (USHL)
DOB: Jan. 5/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 9After a great first season in Dubuque, Girgensons took some positive strides in his final season in the USHL. Girgensons added big time playing experience, representing Latvia at this year’s World Junior Championship and leadership experience, being one of the youngest captains in the USHL this season. Teams looking at selecting Girgensons in the middle of the first round are getting a guy who can be a top six center or a guy who can play a third line grind role. Girgensons plays with a “skate through a brick wall attitude,” but that attitude may make some teams leery as he was injured on three separate occasions this season. Girgensons is slated to head to the University of Vermont this fall while his CHL rights are currently held by the Kelowna Rockets.
21. LD Derrick Pouliot – Portland (WHL)
DOB: Jan. 16/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 24Pouliot is a slick skating puck moving defenseman who helped quarterback the powerplay for one of the most explosive teams in all of junior hockey. The former 1st overall Bantam Draft pick continues to improve at both ends of the ice, however still has a long way to go in developing his defensive zone game. Not a large player by any means, Pouliot relies on his high end skating ability to move the puck up the ice, and has a good, though not hard, shot from the point, that he typically finds a way to get through to the net. Derrick is also a great passer, but will have to learn to make better decisions in all three zones before he’s fully effective and able to move on to the next level.
22. G Andrei Vasilevski – UFA (MHL)
DOB: Jul. 25/94 | Catches: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 205lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 27Vasilevski is an impressive goaltender who would certainly warrant the use of a 1st round selection this summer in Pittsburgh. The 17-year-old netminder has great size, lateral ability, and net coverage. He does a good job of remaining composed in the net and doesn’t give opposing shooters very much to shoot at with good positioning and utilizing his size well. Vasilevski sometimes plays a hybrid style in goal but squares up to shooters well and as evidenced by his play in the World Juniors, is battle tested against some of the top teenaged players in the world. Moving forward, Vasilevski will need to continue to improve his quickness and reaction time and could also stand to improve on his puck handling skills.
23. LC Tomas Hertl – HC Slavia Praha (Czech)
DOB: Nov. 12/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 20Hertl had a very productive season playing in the Czech Extraliga for Slavia Praha as well as seeing national duty at the U20 level. Hertl is an interesting prospect who has good size and some solid offensive upside. He’s an unconventional skater with a bit of an awkward stride, but Hertl still has solid speed and agility. He forechecks well and does a good job of understanding his responsibilities in all 3 zones and is pretty complete at this age. Offensively, he has the potential to be a 20/20 type player consistently in the NHL and possibly more during his prime seasons while being an effective two-way player. Likely projects as a tweener between the 2nd and 3rd lines if his development continues to progress.
24. LW Pontus Aberg – Djrugarden (Elitserien)
DOB: Sep. 23/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 195lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 14Aberg is a versatile winger who has tremendous straightaway speed and skating ability. As an undersized player, a lot of Aberg’s success hinges on his speed, which he utilizes every game. Aberg is a dynamic player who has good agility and the ability to find his way through traffic. He has above average offensive upside and is accomplished both as a scorer and a set-up man. Aberg competes hard and rarely takes a shift off which also makes up for some of the size concerns some may have. Overall, Aberg has the potential to be a Top 6 forward in the NHL but if he can develop as a PK guy, he should still be able to find a role as a Bottom 6 player who can create matchup problems with his speed.
25. LD Matt Finn – Guelph (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 24/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 17Finn came into the season with a chip on his shoulder after being cut from the Canadian entry at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and quickly went about dispelling any concerns about his game. Finn is a solid all-around player who has done a good job of improving his footwork this year and improving his skating. He really made his mark this year as a solid powerplay defenseman who was also counted on to play in all situations. Overall, Finn doesn’t really have any defining qualities that jump out at you, but he competes hard and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either. Given how much he improved this past season, it’s tough to cap what he can do moving forward.
Tags: 2012 nhl draft prospects, 2012 nhl draft rankings, Alexander Galchenyuk, Andrei Vasilevski, Anton Slepyshev, Brendan Gaunce, Cody Ceci, Derrick Pouliot, Filip Forsberg, Griffin Reinhart, Hampus Lindholm, Jacob Trouba, Ludvig Bystrom, Matt Dumba, Matt Finn, Mikhail Grigorenko, Morgan Rielly, Nail Yakupov, Olli Maatta, Pontus Aberg, Radek Faksa, Ryan Murray, Sebastian Collberg, Slater Koekkoek, Teuvo Teravainen, Tomas Hertl, Zemgus Girgensons