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 V –> 21-25 (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Florida, Boston, St. Louis)
Part VI –> 26-30 (Vancouver, Phoenix, New York Rangers, New Jersey, Los Angeles)
Without further ado, here is Part V of our 2012 NHL Mock Draft……
GM: Alex Muscat
Synopsis: Wilson scored nine goals and added 18 assists in 49 games last season for the Whalers. To top it off he led the team with 141 penalty minutes. His stock rose in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game where Wilson dropped the gloves and duked it out with Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades. This was after Wilson drilled Thrower’s teammate, Lukas Sutter, into the boards. The end result was that Wilson sustained a busted knuckle and missed a month of action, but when he returned to the Whalers’ lineup, he stepped up his offensive game. At 6″4′, 200lbs, not only Wilson can create scoring opportunities, he’s a punisher on the ice as well. If the Sabres draft Wilson, he’ll bring a much needed dimension to the lineup. Possibly when the Sabres square off against the Boston Bruins in the near future, Wilson can skate into the opponent’s zone and steamroll the B’s goalie, Tuukka Rask.
NHL Comparable: Milan Lucic (Boston Bruins)
GM: Seth Levin
Synopsis: The Pittsburgh Penguins definitely can use some help in their transition game. Yes, they have Kris Letang, but beyond that, there has been disappointment to an extent in some of the other guys they’ve brought in via free agency. That’s why Slater Koekkoek could be a very appealing option to GM Ray Shero in the number 22 slot of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Koekkoek definitely took a hit to a one-time potential top ten draft status with a serious left shoulder injury for a torn labrum that required surgery and limited him to just 26 games this past season. He still offers a potentially great package of size (6’2”185 lbs), skating ability, vision and shot, meaning he could be a candidate to quarterback the Penguins’ power play a few years from now. His biggest weakness is probably his defensive work, so his potential partner would likely need to be someone who can handle themselves better defensively. Koekkoek was quite a workhorse prior to his injury, playing in over 30 minutes a game for a Peterborough team that was unable to overcome his absence. He scored 18 points in the 26 games he played, an indicator of how much upside Koekkoek has offensively. One other potential black flag is his lack of any playoff experience, but I don’t expect that to hold him up too much. If given ample time to develop, any team (in this case the Penguins) that drafts Koekkoek may get themselves a potential star in the 18-year old Ontario native.
NHL Comparable: Marc Staal (New York Rangers)
GM: Cris Cohen
Synopsis: Lately is seems as though some General Managers may tout a pick’s character and work ethic almost as much as their skills. Laughton is that kind of player. The 18-year-old plays a gritty, complete, 2-way game. Whether it’s winning face-offs, blocking shots or dropping the gloves, he’ll do whatever it takes to help his team win. Laughton is known as a passer and a playmaker, but is capable of putting the puck in the net, scoring 21 goals in 64 games for the Generals this season.
NHL Comparable: Mike Richards (Los Angeles Kings)
GM: Benjamin Woodward
Synopsis: With nearly their entire roster intact and under contract for the next few seasons and prized prospects Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Spooner expected to make the jump to the NHL in 2012-’13, the Boston Bruins have the ability to take a bit of a risk in their first round draft choice. Under the tutelage of long-time Bruins’ center PJ Axelsson, Sebastian Collberg has developed into one of the most skilled prospects in Europe. While he may be a few years away from making significant contributions at the NHL level, Collberg possesses the necessary skill set to become a true top line scorer. His tremendous speed and elusiveness, coupled with one of the best shots of anyone eligible for the 2012 draft, is what will make the undersized Swede hard to pass up when Boston’s selection comes up at No. 24.
NHL Comparable: Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes)
GM: Bill Philp
Synopsis: The 18 year old Saskatchewan native is an offensive defenseman who accumulated 59 points in 72 games with the Winterhawks this past season. He is a skilled passer and skater who has shown great patience with the puck. He is a project, especially defensively, but his offensive worth makes him a steal this late in the first round.
NHL Comparable: Brian Campbell (Florida Panthers)
Filed Under: Boston Bruins • Buffalo Sabres • Eastern Conference • Featured • Florida Panthers • NHL • NHL Teams • Pittsburgh Penguins • Prospects • Rumors • Satire • St. Louis Blues • 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.