The Hockey Independent crew has come together again; this time to piece together a 2012 NHL Mock Draft for your reading pleasure. The contributing authors to today’s piece will be Cris Cohen (New York Rangers), Seth Levin (New Jersey Devils), Alex Muscat (Detroit Red Wings), Bill Philp (Tampa Bay Lightning) and myself, Benjamin Woodward (Boston Bruins). Each of us have taken on the role of armchair general manager for the sake of this feature. All five of us will have the responsibility of making six selections in the draft, taking into account team needs, talent and other factors when making our decisions. We will be releasing the mock draft in six parts, with five selections in each.
Part I –> 1-5 (Edmonton, Columbus, Montreal, New York Islanders, Toronto)
Part II –> 6-10 (Anaheim, Minnesota, Carolina, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay)
Part III –> 11-15 (Washington, Buffalo, Dallas, Calgary, Ottawa)
Part IV –> 16-20 (Washington, San Jose, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia)
Part V –> 21-25 (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Florida, Boston, St. Louis)
Part VI –> 26-30 (Vancouver, Phoenix, New York Rangers, Los Angeles, New Jersey)
Without further ado, here is Part I of our 2012 NHL Mock Draft……
GM: Seth Levin
Synopsis: Nail Yakupov is considered the best talent in the 2012 NHL Draft pool, cemented by his standing as the number one skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Although you might debate the idea of whether or not the Edmonton Oilers should keep the number one pick due to a more glaring need on the back-line, whoever ends up with the top pick should definitely take Nail Yakupov with their selection. This past year, he put up 69 points in his 42 games for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL and also added nine assists in seven games during the U-20 World Junior Championships, helping to lead Team Russia to the gold medal game before falling to Sweden. While his size may not his best attribute, (listed at just 5’10” 170 lbs), he plays with a more physical style than you might think his size dictates. He will certainly be a player worthy of watching over the coming seasons ahead.
NHL Comparable: Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
GM: Cris Cohen
Synopsis: With the bitter taste of last season fresh in the minds of the fanbase and the all-but-inevitable departure of Rick Nash, the selection of Alex Galchenyuk signals the start of the Blue Jackets’ rebuild. He is a two-way player with the vision, intelligence and creativity that makes him an effective playmaker and goal scorer. Galchenyuk is not afraid to use his 6’1″, 200-pound body when need be. The ACL injury he suffered in the preseason may cause some teams to shy away, but what he can bring to Columbus in terms of his well-rounded overall skill set makes him a difficult player to pass up.
NHL Comparable: Marian Hossa (Chicago Blackhawks)
GM: Bill Philp
Synopsis: Grigorenko had 40 goals and 45 assists in just 59 games during his rookie season under head coach Patrick Roy with Quebec. The 6’3”, 200 lbs, 17 year old center from Khabarovsk, Russia has both size and offensive skill, two areas that have been lacking in Montreal lately.
NHL Comparable: Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)
GM: Benjamin Woodward
Synopsis: Murray — who is widely considered to be the most NHL-ready defenseman in this year’s draft — falling into their lap at the number four spot is the perfect scenario for an Isles team starved for youth and potential on the blueline. Outside of emerging defensive star Travis Hamonic and slow-developing prospect Calvin de Haan, the Isles do not boast much depth on the back-end. While not the flashiest of players in this year’s defense crop, Murray’s intelligence and intangibles is what make him a potential top-pairing NHL defenseman and a sure-bet captain in-the-making.
NHL Comparable: Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators)
GM: Alex Muscat
Synopsis: Forsberg has the physical tools to play in the NHL. He’s a slick skater with great on-ice vision and can play a two-way game. Like most kids his age that are draft-eligible, he’ll have to put on some weight, but that will happen over time.
NHL Comparable: Markus Naslund (Vancouver Canucks)
Filed Under: Columbus Blue Jackets • Eastern Conference • Edmonton Oilers • Featured • Montreal Canadiens • New York Islanders • NHL • NHL Teams • Prospects • Rumors • Satire • Toronto Maple Leafs • Western Conference
About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.