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 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 IV of our 2012 NHL Mock Draft……
GM: Benjamin Woodward
Synopsis: Outside of top-pairing defensemen John Carlson (Natick, MA) and Karl Alzner, the Capitals don’t have much in the way of youth or potential on the back end. After adding exciting young Finnish forward Teuvo Teravainen earlier in the draft (pick #11), the Caps would be best suited to take one of the many talented blueliners left on the board when their turn comes around again at the sixteen spot. Skjei is a lengthy defenseman with explosive skating ability who often takes advantage of his abnormally long reach with poke-checks and excellent gap control. While Skjei isn’t the most physical of defensemen, he is an above-average puck mover who will greatly improve his team’s transitional game.
NHL Comparable: Mark Streit (New York Islanders)
GM: Seth Levin
Synopsis: When trying to determine whom to select in the NHL Draft, a team tends to try and find itself as highly skilled a player as they can. Zemgus Girgensons, a Latvian player who came to the United States to play in the USHL appears to fit the mold of a potentially highly skilled player, as it seemed pretty clear to many he was the best player in the league. He put up 104 points over his two seasons (in 100 games), playing for Dubuque. At 6’1” 195 lbs, Girgensons has enough size and skill to give a lot of teams a good reason to watch him closely and consider his selection. You would think he will fill out a little more too, as he fills out and gets stronger in the coming years. Not only does he have a strong skill set on the offensive side of the ice, but he also is pretty polished for an 18-year old in the defensive zone as well, and can play a bit of a physical game too when the need arises. He also seems to also add a lot of intangibles to the mix, and Girgensons definitely has the ability of developing into and being a legit-top six forward, but at worst, should be a checking line forward that can occasionally chip in with a timely goal. It seems like the type of pick that could work out great for the San Jose Sharks at number 17, especially if he gets the proper time to develop and can stay injury-free.
NHL Comparable: Ryan Kesler (Vancouver Canucks)
GM: Alex Muscat
Synopsis: Dansk has been known for being money in the big games. One of them was in the World Jr. A Challenge earlier this year when he stopped all 44 shots in a 1-0 win over Team USA. He’s no stranger to playing in North America as he played three years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota. His size, technique and athleticism are his biggest attributes. He is cool as a cucumber and forces the shooters to commit first. The Blackhawks need a long-term solution in goal and Dansk can be the franchise goalie that they’ve been lacking.
NHL Comparable: Jack Campbell (Dallas Stars)
GM: Bill Philp
Synopsis: Subban is a very athletic butterfly goalie with lightning quick reflexes and is as agile as they come. He has a good glove and blocker and is an excellent skater. While the Lightning would be happy on draft day to get Subban, he is not yet NHL ready and the Bolts will have to show patience. The brother of NHL defensman PK Subban is projected to be a number one netminder and may well fill Tampa Bay’s most pressing need.
NHL Comparable: Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens)
GM: Cris Cohen
Synopsis: Perhaps the best thing that could have happened to Finn was being of the last players cut from Canada’s roster for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament as it propelled him to commit to improving his conditioning and his game. His simple, 2-way style is not flashy but he is capable of moving the puck and making good outlet passes. Finn does a lot of things well, but nothing that stands out on its own. Perhaps his greatest asset is his excellent hockey sense, which helps him assess and react to whatever situation he may be in. Finn is not NHL-ready, so he can’t provide an instant shot in the arm to a club that will need to upgrade on the blueline for next year. For most teams making selections, draft day is about stocking for the future and the Flyers will be no different with this selection.
NHL Comparable: Dan Girardi (New York Rangers)
Filed Under: Chicago Blackhawks • Eastern Conference • Featured • NHL • NHL Teams • Philadelphia Flyers • Prospects • Rumors • San Jose Sharks • Satire • Tampa Bay Lightning • Washington Capitals • Western Conference
About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. 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.