TSR 2012 NHL Draft Rankings Preliminary (1-15) 16-30
16. LD Derrick Pouliot – Portland (WHL)
DOB: Jan. 16/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 170lbsThe former first overall bantam pick had an impressive 16 year old season with one of the most talented teams in the entire CHL. Pouliot is an effortless skater, able to effectively transition from either offense to defense, or defense to offense, in a hurry. He has strong offensive instincts, and can join the rush effectively using his skating ability to keep pace with attacking forwards. Pouliot has a good shot that he is able to get to the net frequently, though his shot velocity could use some work. Defensively, Pouliot has to be considered a bit of a project at this point, as the undersized defenseman found himself out-matched by larger WHL forwards, and also occasionally out of position. Pouliot returns to the Hawks this year in a bigger role, and should be primed for a big year offensively.
17. LW Andreas Athanasiou – London (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 6/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 170lbsThe OHL frequently produces a player who comes out of nowhere to surprise as not only an exceptional OHL player, but a very solid NHL prospect as well. Athanasiou falls into that category in 2012 as the Knight’s 4th-round pick in 2010 has quickly established himself as one of the premier ’94 YOB forwards in the OHL. Athanasiou is a slick offensive forward with an abundance of offensive skill. He’s a dangerous forward who is always a threat to score in every game and has really done a good job of putting himself in good positions to find the back of the net. Currently makes up for lack of strength with great bursts of speed but adding some muscle to his frame is very important moving forward. Athanasiou might appear a little off the board right now, but after a very impressive showing with the Canadian U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka, expect a lot of people to take notice.
18. RC Matia Marcantuoni – Kitchener (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 22/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 180lbsEntering the 2010-11 season a lot of was expected of Matia Marcantuoni as some believe he easily could have been a top five pick in the 2010 OHL Priority selection before eventually winding up with the Rangers at the 18th pick. In a limited role last season with a competitive Ranger squad, Marcantuoni saw decent offensive success. Coach Steve Spott will expect higher offensive output this season from the Toronto, Ontario native. He is arguably one of the strongest skaters in the draft, and has a very hard NHL-calibre shot as well. Plays the game at a very high tempo but needs to capitalize on more of his chances.
19. RW Henrik Samuelsson – Modo J20 (SuperElit)
DOB: Feb. 7/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 195lbsThe son of former NHL tough guy Ulf Samuelsson, Henrik brings a lot of power forward qualities that NHL teams are sure to covet at next summer’s NHL Entry Draft. Samuelsson is a big body who utlizes his physical strength to create space on the ice. Skates quite well and does a good job maintaining the puck and competing in physical battles. Displays a lot of grit and plays both ends of the rink very hard… looks for opportunities to finish checks and keeps players honest when he’s on the ice. Samuelsson’s offensive play is still developing but is a wildcard in his overall upside. Elected to play in Sweden this season after his father took an Assistant Coaching job with Modo where Henrik will surely see some time in the Elitserien with a strong year.
20. RW Sebastian Collberg – Frolunda (SuperElit)
DOB: Feb. 23/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 175lbsCollberg is a diminutive winger with high-end skill level. Very good skater with good technique and shifty agility. Collberg thrives on the perimeter and uses his speed and skill-level to create offensive opportunities and odd-man rushes by breaking the defense down with his speed. Has an exceptional shot with pro-calibre release and loves to shoot the puck. Offensive upside translates very well to the NHL level and Collberg doesn’t mind playing in traffic areas either, which should help his eventual transition to the North American game. Still needs to improve his two-way game and add some strength but with a productive season Collberg should see some time in the Elitserien and could be a major riser this year.
21. LC Brendan Gaunce – Belleville (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 25/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 205lbsIt was a bit of a tough season for Gaunce as the highly touted 16-year-old rookie met his fair share of struggles with a Belleville squad that ended up being hard pressed to find the back of the net. Gaunce’s season saw many ebs and flows but was an overall productive season for the 2nd overall pick in the 2010 OHL Priortiy Selection. Coming into the league as one of the most dominant Minor Midget players from a year before, Gaunce has all of the qualities you look for in a two-way forward. Gaunce has good size and does a good job bringing a consistent effort to the rink every night. Competes hard and does a good job winning battles on the ice. Doesn’t have elite offensive skill but is an offensively productive player who is a threat to create offense at any time. Skating is an area where he will need to improve but Gaunce projects to be a solid second line type NHL center with good character and strong two-way play.
22. LC Scott Laughton – Oshawa (OHL)
DOB: May 30/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 175lbsScott Laughton is currently known for a solid two-way talent; he is a competitive player every shift and understands his role on the ice. Although the Oshawa Generals already high end talent up front, it is likely that Laughton sees an increased offensive role with the team. If the Oakville, Ont. is able to put together a solid offensive season there is no question he could see his stock rise into the top fifteen in the draft. He is a similar, albeit smaller, version of teammate Boone Jenner, but if he pans out could be the better overall prospect. At this point, Laughton and Gaunce are similar players who will be interesting prospects to follow as both 17-year-olds spend the season battling it out in the OHL’s East Division as rivals.
23. LW Cristoval Nieves – Kent HS (HS-MA)
DOB: Jan. 23/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 185lbsBlessed with a big frame – 6’3″ to be exact – Nieves has phenomenal stick work and deceptive agility, speed, and acceleration. Labeled mostly as a playmaker, Nieves isn’t afraid to get creative. A superb passer, he is easily the best player playing for Kent and it looks as though he is coming back for another season. He still has some “filling out” to do being only 185 lbs, but just his skills and explosiveness will excite many scouts. Committed to the University of Michigan in 2012, Nieves might crack the first round at next year’s draft. On the off chance he doesn’t, look for him to go in the early 2nd.
24. RD Cody Ceci – Ottawa (OHL)
DOB: Dec. 21/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 190lbsCeci’s sophomore season in the OHL was promising as the Ottawa native took the steps forward that most were expecting after his rookie season. Already playing with pro size, Ceci entrenched himself as one of the better defensive defensemen in the OHL last season with very responsible play while logging heavy minutes. His physical play took a step forward last season and it was noticeable that he was much improved in handling defensive zone coverage and preventing himself from over-committing. Has some offensive upside and serves as an effective PP quarterback at the OHL level. Ceci projects to be a potential late first-round pick or early second-round pick as a player who has the potential to be a dependable NHL defenseman who might not have quite as much high-end upside as some of the other players available in the range.
25. Gianluca Curcuruto – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 25/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 188lbsCurcuruto is a puck mover first and foremost, but as his -1 indicates he is also a strong two-way player. His -1 was among the best on his team last year, which is exceptional considering he was a rookie defenseman on a team that gave up the second most goals in the entire Western Conference while finishing dead last in points. Despite his rookie status, he took on a leadership role, providing a calming influence when things were going haywire on a very bad Greyhounds team. We currently have him going in the bottom third of the first round, but it won’t be a surprise to see him rise as he’s a player with considerable raw talent.
26. LD Michael Matheson – Dubuque (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 27/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 170lbsMatheson is set to join the Dubuque Fighting Saints after spending the 2010/11 season playing in the QMAAA. Regarded as one of the top 94′s in Quebec, Matheson elected to bypass the Major Junior route in favour of a 2012 commitment to Boston College. Matheson is lauded for his leadership skills, intelligence and maturity off the ice. On the ice, Matheson provides those intangibles as well as a skill set of smooth skating and puck skills. Matheson uses his hockey sense and ability to close on the puck and puck carrier to force the play and transition the puck quickly to offense. He has quick hands and shows some pretty nifty puck handling. Matheson might be the type of player who amasses points by simply possessing the puck often and moving it to the right player to create offense.
27. RW Pontus Aberg – Djurgarden (SuperElit)
DOB: Sep. 23/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 190lbsAberg’s game is centered around his superb skating ability. At this point, he projects to be one of the top skaters in the draft and creates most of his offense with his quick acceleration and high-end speed. Has solid offensive skill and an adept shot which allow him to be an effective scorer. Needs to prove that he can take his offensive production to the next level this season and be a consistent producer. Has fairly average on-ice vision and needs to do a better job of utilizing teammates and distributing the puck as the defense can focus on him if he’s not moving the puck. Aberg also needs to show an increased commitment to the defensive end as his speed will be a two-way asset as he improves his defensive play.
28. RD Ville Pokka – Karpat (SM-Liiga)
DOB: Jun. 3/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 198lbsPokka is another ’94 YOB defenseman from Finland who will have expectations in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. At this point he isn’t quite as refined as Maatta and doesn’t possess as much offensive potential as his countryman does, but Pokka still projects to be a very capable NHLer with his solid defensive zone play. Pokka is a smart player who understands his role and plays well within his means, tools that will allow him to take a regular shift in the SM-Liiga this year as a 17-year-old. He will be in a group of players looking to vie for a first round selection and can do a lot for his stock if he has a strong WJC at Christmas.
29. LC A.J. Michaelson – Waterloo (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 8/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 185lbsAJ Michaelson joined the trend of high school hockey players making the jump their senior year to the junior level. Michaelson joins the Waterloo Blackhawks this season after playing for Apple Valley High School in Minnesota. The move has many US junior followers scratching their head due to Michaelson’s commitment to Apple Valley program last offseason when he turned down an offer to play for the USNTDP in Ann Arbor, Mich. Nonetheless, Michaelson has the skills to standout in the USHL this season as the six foot forward can flat out fly. It will be interesting to see if Michaelson’s speed, which allowed him to create tons of scoring opportunities in high school by going wide on the rush, will continue to be effective against the bigger, stronger competition. Scouts have questioned Michaelson’s durability after he missed a third of his sophomore season due to groin injury, but the University of Minnesota commit shored up durability questions when played in all of the team’s 25 games last year totaling 29 goals and 31 assists.
30. LW Nicolas Kerdiles – USNTDP U18 (USHL)
DOB: Jan. 11/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 175lbsKerdiles may not own dazzling puck skills but he does play a very solid two way game and puts enough points on the board to merit a spot on the Top 30. Kerdiles skates well and attacks open ice with speed. Kerdiles seems to do his best work along the boards and deep in the offensive zone. He has a knack for coming out of traffic with the puck and takes the puck hard to the net. Kerdiles also goes to the net hard without the puck on the rush or looking for the dirty goals in front. He makes the simple, easy play when he has the puck and is good at identifying the best option. Where Kerdiles really stands out is in his defensive play. He’s good at keeping his stick in the passing lanes and reads the play well. Kerdiles forechecks hard when he’s the first man in but also shows discipline in taking away passing options. Kerdiles is also very good at providing support and knows when to step into the play. More often than not, Kerdiles is the guy who ends up with the puck in those instances. If Kerdiles’ offensive skills and output improve, he could climb the rankings much like fellow USNTDP player JT Miller last year.
TSR 2012 NHL Draft Rankings Preliminary (1-15) 16-30
Tags: 2012 nhl draft prospects, 2012 nhl draft rankings, A.J. Michaelson, Andreas Athanasiou, Brendan Gaunce, Cody Ceci, Cristoval Nieves, Derrick Pouliot, Henrik Samuelsson, Matia Marcantuoni, Michael Matheson, Nicolas Kerdiles, Pontus Aberg, Scott Laughton, Sebastian Collberg, Ville Pokka