26. LW Nicolas Kerdiles – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Jan. 11/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 201lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 21Much like other top draft eligible players in this year’s draft, Kerdiles was struck by the injury bug this season—missing six games due to a lower body injury in the middle of the season. Despite the injury, Kerdiles lead the program in goals and assists with 22 goals and 26 assists in 54 games. The University of Wisconsin commit reminds many of former NTDP program mate J.T. Miller in that he’s very strong on the ice, but falls short in the potential offensive upside.
27. RW Tom Wilson – Plymouth (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 29/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 205lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 49Wilson is probably the biggest project in our 1st round, but he’s a player who has enough upside to justify investing a Top 30 pick on. Wilson is one of the biggest forwards in this draft and has developed into a true power forward. He’s an imposing winger who plays a gritty brand of hockey that has certainly caught the eye of NHL teams. He can change the complexion of a game when he engages physically and he has the ability to create a lot of space for his linemates through effective cycling. Offensive upside is fairly limited, but he does have the ability to play with skilled players without being a liability. Wilson is actually not bad at handling the puck, but only 9 goals in 49 games this year is a bit of a concern. For a team drafting late in the 1st round, he’s definitely worth the gamble as he appears to be one of the only players in this draft who is capable of developing into an NHL caliber power forward.
28. LD Brady Skjei – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Mar. 26/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 29While Skjei is not one of the best all-around defensemen in this year’s defensive heavy class, Skjei is one of the best skaters in the entire crop. Skjei loves to skate the puck up, but can also keep the play simple by making a smart pass to get the puck out of the zone on the breakout. Skjei could commit to being more physical in both the neutral zone and defensive zone, an aspect of his game which surely University of Minnesota associate head coach Mike Guentzel will fix in the coming months. Overall, some good size and good upside are enticing at this point in the draft as he has the potential to develop into a Top 4 NHL defenseman.
29. LC Stefan Matteau – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 23/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 210lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 19Matteau is a true “sandpaper” type player who projects to be a gritty winger who can fit in with a number of different roles at the NHL level. Matteau already has a pro frame and brings a physical dynamic to the ice every game. While his skating is fairly average, he keeps his game simple which prevents skating from being an issue in his game. Matteau’s offensive upside is relatively average, but he does have a deft scoring touch and could be a 20/20 type player at the NHL level who can play a physical game. Matteau was originally going to attend North Dakota but since rescinded on his commitment and will play in the QMJHL with Blainville-Boisbrand in 2012-13.
30. LD Michael Matheson – Dubuque (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 27/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 180lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 36Matheson has always been a highly touted defenseman after going in the 2nd round of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft despite concerns about him going the college route. Even so, Matheson’s game grew by leaps and bounds in his first and only season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. With a lack of defensive talent surrounding him in the backend, Matheson struggled early in the season taking a lot of minor penalties to bail his team out. During the playoffs, Matheson on most nights was the best player on the ice, playing a great two way game and quarterbacking the team’s power play. Matheson is a very good skater, but needs to work on his ability to find the open man. Matheson will head to Boston College this fall which will give him a few years to develop before turning pro.
31. RC Colton Sissons – Kelowna (WHL)
DOB: Nov. 5/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 189lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 22Big bodied winger Colton Sissons may not have improved on his overall point total from his rookie season, however he did step up and score 9 more goals, finishing with 26 on the season. Sissons uses his large frame to battle for pucks in the hard areas, and has quick hands around the net. While only 18-years-old, Sissons was thrust into a larger role with a younger Kelowna team this season, and though he didn’t produce huge numbers, his all-around game continued to improve. Sissons will have to work on his foot speed and will also have to show that he can score on a more consistent basis, but certainly has the tools to be a good two-way winger at the next level.
32. RD Ville Pokka – Karpat (Sm-Liiga)
DOB: Jun. 3/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 23Pokka falls just out of our Top 30 as we are a little concerned with the fact that he doesn’t have a defining quality that solidifies his projected role at the NHL level. Despite these concerns, there’s no doubting the fact that Pokka is extremely refined for a 17-year-old defenseman. He does a good job defensively and anticipates the play very well. Pokka moves the puck well and doesn’t take unnecessary risks and also does a good job of handling the forecheck and making smart decisions. This season Pokka answered some doubts about his level of conditioning and asserted himself well internationally.
33. G Malcolm Subban – Belleville (OHL)
DOB: Dec. 21/93 | Catches: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 188lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 30Subban is a very intriguing goalie as his sheer athleticism and outstanding reaction time are very rare amongst goaltenders. He makes up for a lack of net coverage with tremendous lateral movement and recovery and he has proven himself to be a goaltender capable of making the big save to bail his team out. Subban reacts well in traffic and utilizes his reflexes to make difficult saves that many other goaltenders at the junior level are unable to make. Increasing his strength and adding weight are areas he’ll need to address moving forward, but there’s certainly a lot of upside with Subban to like. Don’t be surprised to see a team step up in Round 1 to secure his rights.
34. LD Adam Pelech – Erie (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 18/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 210lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 26Flashy is certainly not an adjective that would be used to describe Adam Pelech’s style of play. Effective, however, would be one that hits the nail on the head. After recovering from a pre-season wrist injury, Pelech was a stabilizing force on the Erie blueline despite only being in his 2nd OHL season. Pelech is a very solid shutdown defenseman and does a good job of using his hockey sense, positioning, and long reach to neutralize opposing forwards. Pelech likely will never be much of an offensive contributor, but if he continues to develop moving forward, he’ll have a great shot of being a reliable defensive defenseman at the NHL level.
35. RW Scott Kosmachuk – Guelph (OHL)
DOB: Jan. 24/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 42Kosmachuk is going to have to overcome a few challenges to be an effective NHL player, but we really believe he’s got the blend of goal scoring ability and grit that might make him a very effective NHL player one day. Kosmachuk does a great job of driving the net and getting shots off which has been the primary catalyst behind his offensive success in the OHL. While not the biggest player, he works hard and shows a willingness to finish checks. His two-way game has been improving, and will likely continue to progress with a strong work ethic. Ryan Callahan may be a lofty comparison, but there are some parallels to be drawn in their style of play.
36. RD Damon Severson – Kelowna (WHL)
DOB: Aug. 7/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 32Severson has been overlooked at times this season, but he may have just as much upside as any defenseman taken out of the WHL in this year’s draft. While struggling at times to find consistency in his game, Severson has shown flashes of a potentially brilliant young defenseman and simply needs to put it all together at this point. Severson plays an all-around solid game, chipping in offense when need be, but also showing a willingness and capability to play in his own end and step up with a hard checking defense style. Severson has a good, hard shot that he gets away with good speed, and is a smart puck mover. With the right development, Damon Severson has top-4 NHL potential written all over him.
37. LW Phil Di Giuseppe – Michigan (CCHA)
DOB: Nov. 09/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 175lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 31The first NCAA player to check in on the rankings, Di Giusppe is a creative winger who is coming off a very strong Freshman season with the University of Michigan. Di Giuseppe came to Michigan after 2 seasons in the OJHL and immediately made an impact with the Wolverines. A lot of his offensive is created by his strong skating as Di Giusppe does a good job advancing the puck and breaking down defenses with his speed. He has good vision and generally does a good job of finding the open man in the offensive zone. Continued development of his all-around game will be paramount, and Di Giuseppe needs to add some strength over the next couple of years at Michigan.
38.G Oscar Dansk – Brynas (SuperElit)
DOB: Feb. 28/94 | Catches: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: NRDansk is an imposing goaltender who has good size and covers a lot of net. He’s a traditional butterfly style goaltender and has good reflexes and lateral movement which allow him to handle a variety of shots. Although technically sound, Dansk’s rebound control is a concern that will need to be addressed if an NHL career is in his future. Dansk is susceptible to letting out poor rebounds and needs to do a better job of steering aside shots to avoid problematic rebounds from seeping out. Overall, Dansk does have some solid upside and at this point would have to be the odds on favourite to be the 3rd goaltender off the board.
39. LW Tanner Pearson – Barrie (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 10/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 39One of the hottest players in the CHL at the start of the season scoring at a frightening pace, Tanner Pearson definitly slowed as the year went on, but it was to be expected. Pearson is a great decision maker with the puck and has a natural ability to find the puck through traffic down low and in front of the net. While he may not have the high end skills of other prospects his hockey sense is top notch and allows him to consistently find the scoresheet despite not making the highlight reels. Despite not having a standout skillset Tanner has no glaring weakness in his game and manages to find the scoresheet on an almost nightly basis. He’s definitely a late bloomer, but a selection in the Top 50 is definitely warranted for Pearson as he does have some legitimate upside to be an NHL player.
40. RW Henrik Samuelsson – Edmonton (WHL)
DOB: Feb. 7/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 195lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 53Samuelsson was a mid-season addition for the Oil Kings in January and ended up being an impact player for Edmonton when they needed him the most. Samuelsson is a strong complementary player that does the dirty work, but has enough skill to finish off plays as well. He’s a versatile player who has played center for the Oil Kings but can also play the wing equally effectively. Has a real good feel for what he needs to bring to the table in order for his team to win. Can play in any role, PP, PK or 5v5, and be effective in each role. Skating is pretty average, and his offensive puck skills aren’t going to blow you away, but Samuelsson is committed to his role and that’s going to go a long way towards determining whether or not he’s going to be an NHL player.
41. RC Mike Winther – Prince Albert (WHL)
DOB: Jul. 9/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 175lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 50Hard working forward Mike Winther had a breakthrough season for the Prince Albert Raiders, posting an impressive 16 powerplay goals – most among draft eligible WHL players. Winther is a speedy forward with an excellent shot, and very good two-way instincts. Winther also added four shorthanded goals for the Raiders, and showed consistent scoring overall throughout the season. Winther will need to continue to work on his physical play and strength, and will need to improve upon his decision making away from the puck to be a fully effective player. Mike Winther should return to the WHL next season with much larger expectations as the former 6th overall bantam pick will be leaned upon heavily to help guide the young Raiders in the next step in their development as a team.
42. LC Mark Jankowski – Stanstead Prep (HS-Que)
DOB: Sep. 13/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 180lbs TSR Midterm Rank: NRIf you want an example of a player coming out of nowhere to establish himself as an NHL prospect, look no further than Mark Jankowski. One of the youngest players in the draft, Jankowski actually wasn’t even drafted in the 15-round OHL Minor Midget Draft two years ago. Since then, he’s blossomed at Stanstead Prep School, so much so that he’s established himself as a potential Top 2 round pick. Jankowski is an intriguing prospect with good size and raw offensive upside. However, playing against weak competition and without much pedigree, the risk factor is very high as well. It goes without saying that the Providence commit could wind up being one of the drafts biggest surprises, or biggest flops.
43. LW Tim Bozon – Kamloops (WHL)
DOB: Mar. 24/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 34Forward Tim Bozon continued a recent surge of Swiss players making their mark in the WHL by scoring at a point per-game average as a rookie with the Kamloops Blazers. Bozon proved a capable goal scorer for one of the top teams in the WHL, scoring an impressive 36 goals, while rapidly adjusting to the more physical North American style of play. Bozon should continue to grow into his lanky frame and will need to improve upon his skating, however his soft hands and quick release have made it difficult for defenders to step up and challenge him as the puck is on his stick, and then back off of it in a hurry. Bozon’s compete level and ability to finish could turn some heads at the draft; a team looking for a scoring winger may take an early flyer on him.
44. LW Nikolai Prokhorkin – CSKA (MHL)
DOB: Sep. 17/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 185lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 52Prokhorkin battled some injuries throughout the season (surprise), but put up some very impressive numbers as an 18-year-old in the MHL this season and saw some limited duty with the CSKA KHL squad. Prohorkin is a skilled winger who has good size and a proven ability to score goals. Transfer issues are sure to be a concern with the Russian winger, but his talent definitely is enough to warrant a Top 50 pick on merit alone. With injuries and transfer concerns, don’t be surprised to see Prokhorkin fall on draft day and provide a team with a nice value pick later in the draft.
45. RD Dalton Thrower – Saskatoon (WHL)
DOB: Dec. 20/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 190lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 45Thrower had a breakthrough season going from 20 points to 54 as he played a more prominent role with the Blades in 2011-12. He showed positive improvements with his puck handling and puck distribution skills this year and also utilized his shot more frequently, tallying 18 goals from the backend. Thrower is a tough player to play against and is a willing combatant who isn’t going to back down from a fight. Defensive play is still a point of some concern as he can be a bit erratic and has a tendency to try and do too much instead of playing a simple game. Size also is not working in his favour, but his two-way play is still enough to justify a 2nd round selection.
46. RD Jordan Schmaltz – Green Bay (USHL)
DOB: Oct. 8/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 190lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 43It wasn’t the year most were hoping for from Jordan Schmaltz, but he did finish strong as a key component of Green Bay’s USHL Clark Cup Championship team. Schmaltz had a tremendous year in 2010-11 but was never able to regain that momentum this past season. An offensive defenseman by nature, Schmaltz appeared to focus heavily on refining his defensive game which came at the expense of the skills that created the buzz around him a year ago. Schmaltz will be heading to the University of North Dakota and while his stock is trending down right now, he’s a nice sleeper pick who could just as easily prove a lot of people wrong down the road.
47. LC Brady Vail – Windsor (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 11/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 200lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 51Like so many players, a year makes all the difference when looking at 16-year-olds versus 17-year-olds. Vail went from a spare part as an OHL rookie to the team’s most versatile centre this season. Vail was used in all situations by Head Coach Bob Boughner and has become a very effective Penalty Killer who is also very effective on the forecheck. Vail’s offensive production took a significant jump in Year 2 and his ability to play against team’s top lines will not be lost on NHL scouts. Overall, Vail projects as a potential 3rd line center who can play a number of roles as well as being a crash and banger.
48. LC Zach Stepan – Shattuck St. Mary’s (HS-MN)
DOB: Jan. 6/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 165lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 56Stepan shows the quick feet and strong edgework on his skates necessary to play at the next level. He also has power to his stride that enables him to quickly gain ice. This should improve as Stepan gains some much needed muscle to his frame. Stepan has solid puck skills and looks to be more of a complimentary player than an elite offensive talent. That said, his hockey sense and ability to read the play separate him from most players in his age group. This applies to his defensive awareness also as Stepan positions himself in the right spots and has the footwork and agility to react to the puck. Stepan looks like a strong second or third line center at the pro level depending on how he progresses.
49. LC Scott Laughton – Oshawa (OHL)
DOB: May 30/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 175lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 54Laughton’s OHL career has been full of ebs and flows thus far, but he did manage to finish this season on a positive heading into Pittsburgh. With no shortage of offensive firepower in Oshawa, Laughton’s minutes are not what they would be on other teams and he sees less powerplay time as a secondary option. With that being said, Laughton did show flashes of his offensive upside during the second half of the season while continuing his strong two-way play. Laughton isn’t an overly big player nor is he going to blow you away with speed, but he competes hard and is a strong checker. His style of play is similar to Brendan Gaunce as Laughton looks like a solid prospect capable of playing 3rd line minutes.
50. LD Cody Corbett – Edmonton (WHL)
DOB: Dec. 14/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 210lbs TSR Midterm Rank: 55Corbett was a December addition for the Oil Kings this season and has shown prolonged periods of strong play as well as some inconsistencies. During the New Year, Corbett was arguably the best defenseman on a team that featured Griffin Reinhart and Mark Pysyk, but his play faded late and much to the concern of scouts, he was a healthy scratch in several playoff games. Like Jankowski, there is a risk factor with Corbett, but he also does have potential to be a very solid two-way defender who has above-average offensive skills and sound positional skills. In a draft that starts to decline in talent in the 2nd round, he might be worth a gamble at this point.
Tags: 2012 NHL Draft, 2012 nhl draft rankings, Adam Pelech, Brady Skjei, Brady Vail, Cody Corbett, Colton Sissons, Dalton Thrower, Damon Severson, Henrik Samuelsson, Jordan Schmaltz, Malcolm Subban, Mark Jankowski, Michael Matheson, Mike Winther, Nicolas Kerdiles, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Oscar Dansk, Phil Di Giuseppe, Scott Kosmachuk, Scott Laughton, Stefan Matteau, Tanner Pearson, Thomas Wilson, Tim Bozon, Ville Pokka, Zach Stepan