TSR 2012 NHL Draft Rankings Preliminary (1-15) 16-30
Welcome to TSR’s 2012 NHL Preliminary Top 30 Rankings for Draft-Eligible Skaters. Going into our third year of operations, we’re pleased to bring out a Pre-Season Top 30 for the first time in TSR history. The 2012 NHL Entry Draft has no shortage of high-end talent and projects to be a very exciting crop with tremendous depth throughout the top rounds. I would like to thank every member of our team for their contributions to the rankings and after several weeks of revisions and deliberations, we’re extremely pleased to present you with the finished product. As always, we appreciate you taking the time to check us out and hope that we can become a reliable site for your hockey prospect coverage needs!
1. LW Nail Yakupov – Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: Nov. 06/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 170lbsNail Yakupov is this 2012′s version of Taylor Hall. They are each the kind of game-breaking talents that you simply cannot pass over, no matter what your positional needs are. Both were named the CHL Rookie of the Year (2008 and 2011), and can take over a game in any number of ways. Despite not having ideal “power forward” size, Yakupov is not afraid to throw his weight around if he doesn’t feel like turning defenders inside out with a sick array of moves. With elite-level talent, Yakupov comes into the season as the projected top pick by TSR but will have a number of very talented players right on his heels from Day 1.
2. LC Mikhail Grigorenko – Quebec (QMJHL)
DOB: May 16/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 185lbsGrigorenko is a big-time talent who will be taking his game across the pond to play under Patrick Roy as a Quebec Rempart this season. He’s got a big frame that he uses well in unison with an elite skill-set. Has very good hands and does a good job of controlling the play with his ability to fight off checks and create scoring chances. Should be one of the top scorers in the QMJHL this season and could wind up leading the league in assists. Needs to show a little more consistency and prove that he can handle the tight-checking that teams are sure to challenge him with. One of a number of players who will challenge Yakupov for top honours.
3. LC Alex Galchenyuk – Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 12/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 185lbsThe first overall pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection was one of two “super-rookies” in the Sarnia lineup and certainly lived up to his pedigree as a 16-year-old rookie. A season later, Galchenyuk is poised to take his game to the next level with an even better sophomore season. Galchenyuk is a dangerous offensive player who has good hockey sense and knows where to be on the ice. A very good stickhandler with a deceptive release on his shot, Galchenyuk is fully capable of creating his own offensive chances. A bit of an awkward skater who probably will remind some of Evgeni Malkin with his skating stride and the way he creates chances.
4. LD Ryan Murray – Everett (WHL)
DOB: Sep. 27/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 190lbsRyan Murray may very well be the most NHL ready prospect in the entire draft. Murray has excellent hockey sense, makes smart, effective passes in every situation, and has a strong, accurate shot from the point. Defensively, Murray is rarely found out of position, and uses his strong skating and lateral mobility to keep pace with forwards attacking on the rush. Though slightly undersized, Murray is rarely out-muscled for the puck, and can certainly hold his own against larger opponents. It’s tough to find any holes in Murray’s game, as he competes hard on a nightly basis and seems to improve more and more as time goes on. Already his team’s captain as a 17-year-old, Murray is certainly mature beyond his years, and should almost undoubtedly be a top-five pick in the upcoming draft.
5. RD Nick Ebert – Windsor (OHL)
DOB: May 11/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 190lbsAs a 15 year old in 2009-2010, playing against players several years his senior, Ebert was a force for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. As an OHL rookie, he put up 41 points while playing second fiddle to Ryan Ellis (11th overall, Nashville – 2009). With Ellis turning pro this season, the Spitfires defense is in Ebert’s very capable hands. He has what I like to call pro-ready size, and a similar build to his hockey idol Scott Stevens. Like Stevens, Ebert is a very good two-way defenseman who isn’t afraid to mix it up physically. Ebert has a chance to be taken with the 5th pick overall exactly 20 years after Stevens went 5th to Washington. This season Ebert will need to show increased maturity on the ice and prove to scouts that he has the decision-making that will allow him to translate his raw physical skills to the next level.
6. RD Jacob Trouba – USNTDP U18 (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 26/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 172lbsTrouba is at the head of the class for the USNTDP draft prospects. The right-handed shooting defenseman brings a physical edge to the skills that make him an elite prospect. He has very quick feet that are always moving to ensure that he has good position on the player he is defending against. Trouba has a quick stick that he uses to poke check the puck off the attacking forward and the presence to gather in the loose puck and quickly move it to an open teammate. The quickness in his hands that allow for the poke check also are evident in that Trouba has the ability to move the puck from forehand to backhand and vice versa in order to protect the puck from the opposition. From there he buys time to make the right pass to his partner or to an open forward. Trouba is also very calm and composed with the puck and passes well. He also possesses a strong shot from the point. As mentioned, Trouba blends these skills with a willingness to deliver text book body checks either along the boards or in open ice. Trouba has been compared to Cam Fowler and while he may not possess the natural offensive flair that Fowler has, he’s a more polished two-way defender at this point in his development.
7. LW Filip Forsberg – Leksand (Allsvenskan)
DOB: Aug. 13/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 180lbsAnother year that sees most of the high-end European players already playing in North America allows for Filip Forsberg to be the cream of the crop in regards to players actually spending the season playing in Europe. He’s a player that is very noticeable in a game and does a good job of creating chances on every shift. Has decent size and does a good job of using his speed to create opportunities. Big-time goal scorer that loves to shoot the puck and has a very good shot. Projects to be a strong offensive player who has 30+ goal potential in him.
8. RD Griffin Reinhart – Edmonton (WHL)
DOB: Jan. 24/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 198lbsGriffin Reinhart is a player that has a lot of hockey tools going for him. Big frame, smooth skater, above average shot, to go along with a solid first pass. For someone 6’4″ he has really good mobility. The key for Reinhart this year will be to take one of those skills and make it elite, then GMs and scouts alike will salivate at the potential. Other things Reinhart will have to work on is understanding coverages and working on using his body to separate man from puck. He will get an opportunity to be featured on the top pairing for the Oil Kings this season if he keeps progressing like he has up to this point. He has the pedigree to be a top pairing Dman, he just needs to tighten up his game and bring it all together.
9. RD Matt Dumba – Red Deer (WHL)
DOB: Jul. 25/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 175lbsMathew Dumba is a big-time risk/reward type player. Loves cruising for the big hit, and loves getting under the opposition’s skin. Owns a fearsome shot from the point and is a very fluid skater. Its his skating that allows him to line up his victims. Dumba loves to hit so much, that occasionally is throws himself of his own game. He looks for hits when they aren’t there, putting himself out of position. The biggest thing for Dumba will be plain and simple, growth. The more he grows, the more durable he’ll become and the more he’ll be able to play his style, like he does for the Rebels. Look for a big year from Dumba as he’s already shown that he is more than capable defenseman in the WHL. He has also shown himself to be a very adept leader.
10. LD Morgan Rielly – Moose Jaw (WHL)
DOB: Mar. 09/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 170lbsMorgan Rielly is an excellant tempo setter of a game from the back end. A smooth puckhandler that has very little issue with getting the puck out of trouble spots. He has an excellent sense of timing, knowing when to jump into a rush or knowing when to back off, slowing it down or creating chaos. Rielly has some issues away from the puck, he has an active stick, but has issues with strength battles which is something that could potentially hinder him at the next level. It will be intriguing to see how Rielly does this year with his club team in Moose Jaw. He has shown a penchant to be able to flourish in the tournament setting, be it the U18s or the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. This year Rielly will need to show how is he going to help make Moose Jaw a better team.
11. RD Jordan Schmaltz – Sioux City (USHL)
DOB: Oct. 08/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 175lbsSioux City’s Jordan Schmaltz enters his second full season with the Musketeers with more attention surrounding his game than he has seen in his young hockey career. This is saying a lot considering the six-foot-two defenseman has been in the media and scouts’ spotlight shortly before his verbal commitment to the University of Wisconsin at 14 years old. All the attention Schmaltz receives is certainly deserved as the six-foot-two defenseman is arguably the best player at his position with the puck on his stick among the 2012 draft eligible players. Schmaltz works wonders on the Musketeers’ power play, scoring eight goals and 20 assists with the man advantage last season. Schmaltz, who decommitted after the Badgers’ coaching change, is set to play at North Dakota next season, but don’t be surprised to see him play alongside draft eligible Nick Ebert next season as the Windsor Spitfires to continue to make a play on the Verona, WI native whom they took in the seventh round of the 2009 Priority Selection Draft.
12. LD Olli Maatta – London (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 22/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 175lbsMaatta comes to the OHL with big expectations after the London Knights made him the first pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. The big Finn is a little rough around the edges, but a player that has some promise moving forward. Does a great job of taking care of his own end and very opportunistic at the offensive end. Makes good passes and always has his head up and is aware of what is going on in the game. Pretty average skater at this point with room to improve both technique and his acceleration and lateral movement. Doesn’t have very many elite qualities to his game, but the all-around package is very enticing.
13. LC Zemgus Girgensons – Dubuque (USHL)
DOB: Jan. 05/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 194lbsLatvian native Zemgus Girgensons continues to take the path less travelled in regards to his hockey development. Girgensons came over to the US in 2008 rather than staying to play for Latvia’s U20 development team (SK Riga), a team stationed in his hometown. After playing one season in the EJHL, the six foot center made the jump to the USHL last season and had a huge year with 21 goals and 28 assists in 51 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. With many new faces upfront for Dubuque this season, Girgensons will have to take it upon himself to create scoring opportunities. Girgensons will likely be up to the challenge as he displays great offensive awareness. Despite not being an extremely physical player, Girgensons works hard his team’s own end and all-in-all has a very complete game. Even though Girgensons was selected by the Kelowna Rockets in the 2011 CHL Import Draft, Girgensons remains committed to the Fighting Saints and will start his collegiate career next fall with the University of Vermont.
14. LD Slater Koekkoek – Peterborough (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 18/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 183lbsSlater Koekkoek quietly flew under the radar during his OHL rookie season in 2010/11 despite putting together a very impressive 65-game season for the Petes. On a team that arguably lacked 3 OHL calibre defensemen, Koekkoek quickly solidified himself as a pillar on the young D and logged what would probably amount to nearly 30 minutes a night. Koekkoek is a very smart defenseman who does a great job of letting the game come to him. He’s got the size and physicality to play tight defense and be counted on as a reliable PK guy. Offensively he does a good job of finding outlets and makes good decisions with the puck. Has a decent shot that he could utilize more but became more comfortable on the PP as the season went on. The combination of his two-way ability and hockey smarts makes Koekkoek a very interesting prospect who won’t fly under the radar for long.
15. RW Martin Frk – Halifax (QMJHL)
DOB: Oct. 05/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 203lbsMartin Frk is a prospect from Czech Republic that has already completed one season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He plays a very North American style game which allowed him to adapt quickly to the “Q”. The Mooseheads knew what they were getting when they drafted him 3rd overall in the 2010 CHL import draft and so far he’s be all that was advertised. Like most players out of Europe he has great skill but Frk brings so much more. He’s a power forward that loves to hit and has a lethal shot. If he can continue to improve his two way game and drive to the net more often he should cement his status as a first-round pick and the type of versatile two-way player that would be a tremendous asset to any NHL roster.
TSR 2012 NHL Draft Rankings Preliminary (1-15) 16-30
Tags: 2012 nhl draft prospects, 2012 nhl draft rankings, Alex Galchenyuk, Filip Forsberg, Griffin Reinhart, Jacob Trouba, Jordan Schmaltz, Martin Frk, Matt Dumba, Mikhail Grigorenko, Morgan Rielly, Nail Yakupov, Nick Ebert, Olli Maatta, Ryan Murray, Slater Koekkoek, Zemgus Girgensons