Welcome to TSR’s Mid-Term Top 60 Rankings for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. For the first time we have included goaltenders in our rankings this year which is the one major change to announce. For viewer ease, we have divided the rankings up into two separate sections. We love to hear feedback via email, our comments section, or connecting with us on Twitter @TSRhockey. Enjoy!
Be sure to check out the second half of our Top 60: (1-30) (31-60)
1. LC Mikhail Grigorenko – Quebec (QMJHL)
DOB: May 16/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbsLet’s be clear about it, there’s not a lot separating Grigorenko and Yakupov right now – so much so you could even call them 1A and 1B in either order. Grigorenko won out our top spot due to his size and the extra value we feel he brings as a center. Skill-wise, Grigorenko and Yakupov are different players, with Grigorenko being more of a playmaking pivot who is more methodical and uses his on-ice vision to create opportunities. Thus far, Grigorenko has played very well in the QMJHL and acquitted himself fairly well in the World Juniors as well. It looks to be a 2-horse race with Yakupov down the stretch as Alex Galchenyuk still battles back from injury, and in the end, it likely comes down to preference when picking between Grigorenko and Yakupov.
2. RW Nail Yakupov – Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: Oct. 6/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 190lbsYakupov has to be considered more of a 1B than a #2 at this point with a lot of hockey still left to be played. The 18-year-old Russian is the biggest game-breaker in this draft and plays a very similar style to Taylor Hall only with more physicality away from the puck. Yakupov is a phenomenal skater and his ability to use his speed while creating offense is unparalleled in this draft class. Projecting as a dynamic top-line forward, the only real concern with Yakupov lies in his stature and determining whether or not his body will be able to hold up with his style of play at the next level.
3. LC Alex Galchenyuk – Sarnia (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 12/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 200lbsFor a player who was primed to make a run at the top spot, Galchenyuk’s season has been derailed by a pre-season knee injury that will keep him out for at least another month. Galchenyuk is not overly dynamic, but his elusive style of play is very comparable to Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. Galchenyuk has good size and does a great job of stickhandling and weaving in and out of traffic. He has a great shot and a deceptive release and a goal scorer’s instinct that simply cannot be taught. He’s certainly a wildcard right now, but his upside is just as high as anyone in this draft.
4. LD Ryan Murray – Everett (WHL)
DOB: Sep. 27/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 201lbsAfter missing nearly two months of the WHL season due to a high ankle sprain and a generally forgettable WJC tournament, Murray will finish out the season with the last-place Everett Silvertips, who will look to their captain to lead their building team towards a brighter future. Murray is a great skater with excellent lateral movement, and sees the game well as plays develop around him. He is a very capable playmaker and can effectively jump into or lead the rush up the ice. With a heavy shot from the point, it certainly appears that Ryan Murray has all of the tangibles that NHL teams love to build around on their blueline. It will be important for Murray to forget some of his struggles this year, and continue to build towards what should be a very good professional career.
5. LD Morgan Rielly – Moose Jaw (WHL)
DOB: Mar. 9/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbsContinues to rehab from a torn ACL that ended his season back in November. Rielly is an offensive dynamo who does a tremendous job of generating offense with his speed and vision. Excellent surveyor of the ice that has a great feel for how to set the tempo for his team. Defensive play may be questionable due to his shorter stature, but makes up for it with quick footwork. Excellent vision and hands around the net. If his season wasn’t cut short, we believe you’d see Rielly make a serious charge at Murray in the rankings.
6. RC Filip Forsberg – Leksand (Allsvenskan)
DOB: Aug. 13/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 181lbsForsberg had a bit of a rough start to the season offensively, but has come on nicely over the past couple of months in Leksand – a period that also included some strong play in the World Juniors as a 17-year-old. Forsberg has a high skill level and displays good puck skills to go along with a quality shot. He is an above average skater and plays with a high energy level and is also willing to finish checks and compete in board battles. Overall, he’s still a work in progress, but his ceiling is quite high and his unique skill-set makes him a player that teams will covet in the draft.
7. RD Jacob Trouba – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 26/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 195lbsTrouba is a big-time right-handed defenseman who projects to be a top pairing two-way defenseman. Despite being only 17-years-old, Trouba is extremely polished and has already proved himself against much older competition as one of the United States’ top defensemen at the World Juniors. The U18 captain has great size and lateral ability and is very mobile in all 3 zones. Trouba plays with a physical edge but shows good decision making, knowing when to take the body and when to use his pokecheck and positioning to make defensive plays. His offensive game is still evolving, but he shows good upside and a quality shot which indicate strong future potential. As it stands, Trouba is already a very safe NHL pick, and if he can continue to improve his offensive game, he could be an exceptional NHL defenseman for a long time.
8. RD Matt Dumba – Red Deer (WHL)
DOB: Jul. 25/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 185lbsDumba continues to be what he is, looking to make a big impact all over the ice, either through big hits, big shots, or making crisp breakout passes. His defensive play is a little erratic at times and his ability to handle the rigor of his style of play at the next level could be a concern, but he’s certainly a game-breaker with his style of play. Dumba isn’t the biggest player on the ice but plays like he is. He does a great job of buying time and capitalizing on opportunities while using his high-end skill level to his advantage.
9. LC Zemgus Girgensons – Dubuque (USHL)
DOB: Jan. 5/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 200lbsThere was a lot of pressure on Girgesons to have a good showing in the World Juniors on a Latvia squad that lacked talent from top to bottom. While some where indifferent about his play, Girgensons did show some positive signs that he could play a solid two-way game despite having minimal support in his lineup. Girgensons plays a reliable two-way style of play and is a strong center in all 3 zones. He uses his size to his advantage and as his skating continues to improve, his offense should benefit as well. Girgensons will be taking the college route at Vermont, but as a projected high-end 1st round pick, it will be interesting to see what route he takes in his development path.
10. LD Slater Koekkoek – Peterborough (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 18/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 185lbsIt may be a surprise to most to see Koekkoek this high on our list, but for those who have seen him play a lot, you may be on the same page as us. Koekkoek has a tremendous package of size, skill, and potential which could be a home-run in a few years. Currently out for the season with a torn labrum, Koekkoek was playing 30+ minutes a night with the Petes before the injury. Koekkoek is a great skater and does a good job of moving the puck and making good decisions. His skating ability allows him to lead rushes and his offensive zone play is very good. He’s still in the progress of filling out his frame and improving his defensive zone play, but the skill-set that Koekkoek brings to the table cannot be overlooked as his ceiling could be as high as any of the defensemen in this draft.
11. LC Brendan Gaunce – Belleville (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 25/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 215lbsGaunce is never going to be the type of player to wow you with dynamic offensive flair, but you can rest assured he brings more than enough to the table. As one of the top two-way forwards in the draft, Gaunce has developed into a player that a coach can feel confident in putting on the ice in any situation. He has good size and competes hard, winning lots of puck battles and being a difficult player to contain. His game is centered around his ability to do the little things and his intangibles, such as leadership, are qualities that separate him from others. Gaunce is still a very capable offensive player and has a good scoring touch, especially around the net. His skating still needs to improve, but his game has a lot of parallels to Ryan O’Reilly at the same age.
12. RW Sebastian Collberg – Frolunda (SuperElit)
DOB: Feb. 23/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 175lbsStats don’t tell the full story as Collberg has had trouble finding playing time this season, which started with a lengthy stint in the Elitserien. Collberg is one of the most intriguing offensive talents in the draft and his shot is arguably the most lethal in the draft. Collberg plays with a lot of flair in his game, and when he’s getting offensive opportunities his shot is a tremendous asset to his game. Being a little undersized, Collberg needs to continue to add strength to his game and prove thatt he can battle through tight defenses and avoid being neutralized by physical teams.
13. LD Olli Maatta – London (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 22/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 202lbsMaatta is a cerebral defenseman whose strength lies in his ability to play a simple and effective game. He’s got NHL size and is a very smooth skater and does a good job of making good decisions on the breakout and moving the puck with efficiency. He doesn’t play with very much physicality but Maatta is extremely polished for a 17-year-old and does a good job positioning himself to make plays on the puck and utilizing his long reach to his advantage. His offensive upside is questionable right now but Maatta has shown that he is capable of playing the point effectively on the powerplay. Maatta doesn’t project to be much of a game-breaker, but he looks like a solid mid-pairing defenseman who could have a long NHL career.
14. LW Pontus Aberg – Djrugarden (Elitserien)
DOB: Sep. 23/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 195lbsWhile Forsberg and Collberg may be considered to be having “underwhelming” seasons thus far, Aberg has proven to be a very pleasant surprise when it comes to Swedish prospects. Skating in the Elitserien as a rookie, Aberg has put himself into contention as a Rookie-of-the-Year candidate with some strong offensive results this season. Aberg has always been regarded as a great two-way player and someone who brings it every shift with a high effort-level, but his offensive emergence has been the major catalyst behind his rising in the draft rankings.
15. RD Griffin Reinhart – Edmonton (WHL)
DOB: Jan. 24/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 207lbsReinhart continues to be a prospect that you wish just could be physical more often, and while that aspect of his game can be frustrating, he still has a number of tools which make him a high-end prospect. Reinhart has a very heavy point shot and makes good first passes while being equally effective in the offensive and defensive ends. Has a good feel for when to jump into the rush. Reinhart at times seems disinterested in the game and could benefit from showing more competitiveness and emotion in his game. He’s got all the tools to be a high-end NHL defenseman, but he needs to use them more consistently.
16. LC Radek Faksa – Kitchener (OHL)
DOB: Jan. 09/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 202lbsRadek Faksa has seen his name shoot up the draft rankings ever since coming over to the Ontario Hockey League from HC Trinec of the Czech U20 league. Kitchener drafted the Czech native 22nd overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft namely based on his offensively skill, but that is not all he brings to the table. Faksa has great size and does a pretty good job of utilizing it to his advantage. He’s shown to be an effective two-way player and has displayed improved consistency this year. Faksa lacks a wow factor to his game, but he projects to be a very solid mid 1st round pick at this point.
17. LD Matt Finn – Guelph (OHL)
DOB: Feb. 24/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbsFinn has done a nice job of taking his game to the next level this season and really asserting himself as the go-to defenseman on the Guelph blueline. Finn can play in all situations and has shown considerable improvement at both ends of the ice this season. He’s a competitor who is not afraid to finish checks but does a good job of picking his spots and playing within his means. Offensively, Finn has steadily improved and is becoming a very effective offensive defenseman and the true QB on the Storm powerplay. While Finn doesn’t have natural physical tools, he has a strong hockey IQ and does a good job of playing a smart game while minimizing mistakes.
18. RD Cody Ceci – Ottawa (OHL)
DOB: Dec. 21/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 207lbsAs it stands, Ceci has to be considered one of the premier defensemen not only in the OHL, but the Canadian Hockey League as a whole. He plays a strong offensive game and has developed into an exceptional puck mover and one of the top powerplay players in the OHL. Ceci has a big shot and does a good job distributing the puck and activating in the offensive zone. His defensive game has improved considerably since his 16-year-old season, but he still needs to show an increased commitment to the defensive end. As an 18-year-old, Ceci is a little ahead in the development curve of some of the other defensemen in the draft, but his strong offensive upside makes him a quality pick in this range.
19. LC Stefan Matteau – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Feb. 23/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 210lbsMatteau’s game translates well to the professional ranks which makes him valuable as a relatively safe bet in this range. He has pro size as well as an effective skill set that will suit the physical rigors of the NHL. Matteau shoots well, makes the simple play with the puck and brings a physical edge to his game. What Matteau lacks in pure foot speed, he makes up with an efficient skating stride that should allow him to gain quickness as he continues to get stronger. Matteau was originally slated to attend North Dakota but has since committed to play in the QMJHL next year with Blainville-Boisbriand.
20. LC Tomas Hertl – HC Slavia Praha (Czech)
DOB: Nov. 12/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 200lbsHertl had a very productive first half to the season and may be even underrated at #20 in our rankings. Playing in the Czech Extraliga on a weak team, Hertl has worked his way up the depth chart and been an effective offensive contributor for the team. Hertl has a good blend of size and skating ability and displays some grit and a willingness to finish checks. At the World Juniors, Hertl was one of the top Czech forwards and had a strong showing in the tournament. If Hertl can close out his season with continued strong play he will make a compelling case to be a Top 20 pick this summer.
21. LW Nicolas Kerdiles – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Jan. 11/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 201lbsKerdiles continues to develop steadily into a productive offensive player. He has the necessary skating, shooting and puck skills to compete at the highest level. Kerdiles also does the little things well such as protecting the puck in traffic and possessing a nose for the net. Kerdiles will contribute defensively as he has the awareness to keep on the defensive side of the puck and maintains discipline and positioning in the defensive zone and on the forecheck. A strong U18 Championship could make Kerdiles this year’s JT Miller.
22. RC Colton Sissons – Kelowna (WHL)
DOB: Nov. 5/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 189lbsWith good size and a lethal shot, Sissons undoubtedly projects on the high end as a top-6 winger in the NHL. His game is not without question marks, though – as he currently has a team-worst -15 rating. Sissons could also benefit from using his teammates better as evidenced by his low assist totals, however has certainly shown a knack for being a hard worker on the ice. Sissons was recently named captain of his team for the upcoming CHL top prospects game, which proves his ability to lead by example on the ice. Look for Sissons to continue to put up impressive goal scoring numbers, while also continuing to improve his all-around game leading up to the draft.
23. RD Ville Pokka – Karpat (Sm-Liiga)
DOB: Jun. 3/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 195lbsPokka is far from flashy, but he’s a defenseman who gets the job done. Despite being an average skater and having mobility concerns, Pokka does a great job of anticipating and reading the play and getting himself into position accordingly. Conditioning appeared to be a concern with his game a season ago, which is something that he has addressed this year by getting into better shape with the results now paying off. Pokka is a composed defenseman who does a good job moving the puck and making heady decisions under pressure. His shot is above average and he has shown that he is capable of playing on the powerplay as well. Pokka certainly doesn’t have elite upside, but he has shown steady improvement.
24. LD Derrick Pouliot – Portland (WHL)
DOB: Jan. 16/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 185lbsAfter being selected #1 overall in the WHL bantam draft, Portland’s Derick Pouliot continues to develop into a top offensive defenseman in the WHL. A silky smooth skater, Pouliot has spent time on the talented team’s top powerplay unit for much of the season. He has a good – if not overly powerful – shot from the point, that he gets through traffic and on net with regularity. While he is an above average passer, Pouliot is sometimes the victim of trying to do too much, and is susceptible to the occasional glaring mistake. The mid-sized defenseman certainly has the skillset to be a future powerplay quarterback at the next level, but at this point should to be considered a bit of a project by whichever team selects him on draft day.
25. LW Charles Hudon – Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
DOB: Jun. 23/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.10 | Weight: 170lbsHudon is undersized and his skating isn’t going to blow you away, but he’s a skilled player who always seems to find ways to score goals and create offense. Offensively, Hudon’s skill level is very high and he has the offensive tools that few in this draft can match. One of the things that separates Hudon from others, however, is his willingness to battle through adversity and find ways to score goals when the defense is keying in on him. There’s no doubt that Hudon is a risky pick, but for a team picking at the end of the 1st round, he could be well worth that risk in several years.
26. LD Adam Pelech – Erie (OHL)
DOB: Aug. 18/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 210lbsPelech had a late start to the season after recovering from a wrist injury, but the 17-year-old has been one of the few bright spots on an absolutely dismal Erie team. Pelech projects as a reliable defensive defenseman who does a great job of playing against top lines and shutting down high-end forwards. Pelech plays a very smart game and has great defensive positioning and a strong understanding of defensive zone systems. He has an active stick and wins lots of board battles which makes him an asset on the penalty kill as well. His offensive upside is below-average, but Pelech projects to be a strong 2nd pair defenseman who can log heavy minutes and be an effective penalty killer.
27. G Andrei Vasilevski – UFA (MHL)
DOB: Jul. 25/94 | Catches: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 205lbsThere’s always several players who drastically improve their stock at the World Juniors and Vasilevski is testament to that theory this year. While the big goaltender has been one of the top goaltenders in the MHL this season, he really put his name on the map with a tremendous goaltending performance at the World Juniors where he split time with Andrey Makarov. Vasilevski has great size and has a strong net presence. He has good angles and squares up well to shooters and does a good job of challenging them by coming out of the net. The Russian factor is always a concern for NHL teams but on talent alone, Vasilevski is certainly deserving of a Top 30 pick.
28. LW Anton Slepyshev – Metallurg (KHL)
DOB: May 13/94 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 190lbsThere is obviously some risk to taking Slepyshev based on the fact that he’s already contributing in the KHL and might not be in any hurry to cross the pond, but the upside is well worth that risk ala Evgeni Kuznetsov. Slepyshev is a big winger who oozes offensive skill with an array of slick puckhandling skills and the ability to dangle in and out of traffic. He’s already showing he can compete with men in the second best league in the world and as he continues to learn how to use his size and strength, he’ll be a very dangerous forward. We’re working with some limited viewing so don’t be surprised to see him rise between now and our finals.
29. LD Brady Skjei – USNTDP (USHL)
DOB: Mar. 26/94 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbsSkjei is an imposing defenseman who continued to grow this season and has been climbing the charts as well. For a big player, Skjei is tremendously mobile and his high-end skating ability allows him to work in transition and handle incoming forechecks. He’s still got a raw skill-set and is learning how to use his size effectively, but the Minnesota commit has an enticing skill-set that projects well at the NHL level. At this point, Skjei has to be considered to be the 2012 edition of the NTDP’s Connor Murphy, and we’ll see how he plays over the coming months as he makes a final push up the charts.
30. G Malcolm Subban – Belleville (OHL)
DOB: Dec. 21/93 | Catches: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 188lbsWith his style of play in net, Subban seems a lot like a throwback QMJHL goalie from the 90′s with his lightning quick reflexes and athleticism in goal. After playing Midget hockey as a 16-year-old, Subban has finally started to fill out his lanky frame and the increased strength has made a big difference in his play. Subban has very good lateral ability and does a great job of making recovery saves on 2nd and 3rd chances. He has great hands and does a good job of making saves in traffic and using his quick reflexes to make saves that few goaltenders can make. While he still projects as a long-term prospect, any team looking to boost their organizational depth in goal can add a goaltender with big-time upside in Subban.
Be sure to check out the second half of our Top 60: (1-30) (31-60)
Tags: 2012 NHL Draft, 2012 nhl draft prospects, 2012 nhl draft rankings, Adam Pelech, Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Vasilevski, Anton Slepyshev, Brady Skjei, Brendan Gaunce, Charles Hudon, Cody Ceci, Colton Sissons, Derrick Pouliot, Filip Forsberg, Griffin Reinhart, Jacob Trouba, Malcolm Subban, Matt Dumba, Matt Finn, Mikhail Grigorenko, Morgan Rielly, Nail Yakupov, Nicolas Kerdiles, Olli Maatta, Pontus Aberg, Radek Faksa, Ryan Murray, Sebastian Collberg, Slater Koekkoek, Stefan Matteau, Tomas Hertl, Ville Pokka, Zemgus Girgensons