Hockey This Week’s 2012 Top 10 Prospects
Here is Hockey This Week’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the 2012 NHL Draft. The Draft will be held in Pittsburgh Friday 22nd and Saturday the 23rd. Sean Cuthbert and I will be covering the 1st round from the Nassau Coliseum Friday night, HTW’s Mike Carver and Paul Cuthbert will be covering the draft from Pittsburgh. Stay tuned to hockeythisweek.com for all your draft coverage.
1. Nail Yakupov
Nail Yakupov is the consensus number 1 pick this year. His game is comprised of elite puck skills and endless offensive potential. His shot is hard and accurate, and his nose for the net should translate into many, many goals. Yakupov’s only question is his size. He missed time this season after getting destroyed with an open ice hit (by Islanders prospect Mike Halmo). He needs to learn to keep his head up and not turn this season’s concussion into a chronic situation. Injuries aside, Yakupov is the player with the highest ceiling in 2012.
2. Ryan Murray
Murray, without question is this draft’s safest pick. There is very little doubt that Murray is going to be a top 2 defenseman in the NHL. He is mature beyond his 18 years, he has size, mobility and plays as sound a defensive game as any one playing in the NHL right now. Murray had a very impressive WJC this past January, and also was invited to play with Canada’s World team after the season, which he drew raves from seasoned NHL vets. Murray still needs to add some muscle to his frame, but his leadership abilities and pure talent will assuredly hear his name very early Friday night.
3. Filip Forsberg
Forsberg (no relation to Peter), is far and away the most complete forward this year. He is a very skilled 2 way forward and has drawn comparisons to Penguins Center Jordan Staal. He has a huge frame (6’2″) and is already near impossible to knock off the puck. He isn’t very flashy and usually looks for the simple play (also makes difficult plays looks simple, has a tremendous ability to play at high speed). As with Murray, Forsberg needs to add muscle and some weight, but is already playing in the SEL and should be an instant success once he makes the transition to the NHL.
4. Mikhail Grigorenko
After playing for Patrick Roy, Mikhail Grigorenko has a pretty good idea what lies ahead of him at the NHL level. A player that has been described as an Evgeni Malkin clone, Grigorenko has elite playmaking skills and makes players around him better instantly. The knock on Grigorenko is his work ethic. He has been known to take off shifts, even entire games. Is that just him being a kid, or a sign of things to come? Whatever the answer, there will be a team (most likely in the top 5) that will definitely take a change on this super talented Center.
5. Mathew Dumba
Mathew Dumba is a star quality player. He has the aura that every time he’s on the ice, he’ll do something to catch your eye. He has eye popping skills, as he’s a tremendous hitter, has a booming shot from the point and is a fan favorite for the way he plays the game. Dumba’s work ethic is off the charts and projects to become a dynamic offensive defenseman. He needs to work on when to pinch and when not to, but a student of the game such as Dumba should be able to figure that out over time. Has the potential to be taken as high as 3.
6. Griffin Reinhart
In a list that is filled with talented defensemen, here is Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart (son of former NHL’er Paul Reinhart), has fantastic size to go along with his offensive game. He’ll need some time to deveolp, but Reinhart oozes potential. At 6’4″ and already 200 lbs, he already has an NHL defenseman’s body, if he adds some more muscle, he could physical force off the blue line. He offensive game is improving and he already possesses a tremendous shot. He has the Hockey IQ and consistency to become an excellent NHL defenseman.
7. Jacob Trouba
When you talk about all around defensemen, Trouba is this year’s guy. He plays a very aggressive game, yet is very smart on the ice. He plays physical, but can skate his way out of trouble with a tremendous stride. He has a booming shot and can capitalize on opponents mistakes. In other words, Trouba is a very talented player. His game should translate very well as he moves up against higher end talent. Has the potential to be a strong top 2 pairing defenseman. He will undoubtedly be one of the first 10 names called June the 22nd.
8. Morgan Reilly
So we have the steady Murray, the flashy Dumba, the physically imposing Reinhart, the 2 way Trouba and that brings us to the best skating defenseman in the top 10 Morgan Reilly. ISS describes Reilly as having “Million Dollar Legs”. He has a talented a playmaker from the blue line as they come. Is an amazing skater and can run a power play with the best of them. He missed a ton of time this year with a knee injury, but he returned late in the season and was very impressive during Moose Jaw’s playoff run. Has potential to be a go to guy in all situations. As with the other defensemen on this list, Reilly has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman.
9. Alex Galchenyuk
Galchenyuk will not be around at number 9 I guarantee you. He is way too talented a player for that. Like Reilly, Galchenyuk missed a bulk of time this year with a torn ACL. He came back at the end of the season and is still considered a top prospect. Since he played with Yakupov, scouts worry that his game wont translate with out him on his wing, but most will tell you (Yakupov included) that Galchunyuk is no slouch and can handle himself in the offensive zone. He’ll need to bulk up to withstand the nightly pounding of being an NHL scorer, but there is little doubt Galchenyuk should become an elite NHL scorer in the near future.
10. Cody Ceci
Why not end this list with what else…another defenseman. Ceci has huge upside in his game and has an NHL ready 6’2″ 210 lbs frame. He is very strong and is an outstanding skater. He’s incredibly intelligent on the ice and is creative on both ends. He has to work on his physical play, but his attitude and hockey sense should translate his game nicely into a strong top 4 NHL defensemen.
Remember, keep checking in here for all your NHL draft needs.
For Hockey This Week….I’m Tony Stabile
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