May 02 2012 08:18PM
Months are giving way to weeks and eventually weeks will fade into days. The 2012 Entry draft--with the Edmonton Oilers once again at the bow. Ironically, it's the rear end that's likely to get a lot of attention.
IS THIS ANOTHER DRAFT RYAN MURRAY POST?
No, this is my first attempt to cobble together a top 10 for this year's draft. A couple of notes:
- I'm a fan. These are the views of this fan. No claims are made, we're just having fun. If you're looking for accuracy, wait for Bob McKenzie's final list. It's a beauty.
- My list is math heavy (relying on Gabe Desjardins NHLE) but is also aware that defense is an important aspect of the game.
- There are lots of people on the internet better qualified to post their lists. Corey Pronman is one I follow and would suggest he's worth paying attention to this spring (he's been on Nation Radio and we're hopeful he'll be on a couple of more times before the draft).
HERE WE GO!
- R Nail Yakupov: Exceptional talent, he was tracking a little ahead of Taylor Hall’s NHLE before his knee injury. That injury and need may mean he goes below #1, but it's a decision that could easily backfire on a team passing on the Russian.
- D Ryan Murray: Murray does a lot of good things at the defensive end. Almost as important for the Oilers: he’s possibly the most NHL ready player in this season’s entry draft. Knowing the Oilers tradition of avoiding Russian kids, I think it’s reasonable to suggest the possibility exists Edmonton would take Murray #1 overall.
- C Alex Galchenyuk: Yet another impact Russian forward (although born in Milwaukee), knee surgery kept him from playing all but the final 6 games this season and certainly impacts his draft status. Fine stickhandler and good shooter, his 16 year old season is an eye popper.
- C Mikhail Grigorenko: Big center who displays a nice range of skills and is a strong offensive talent. Announced yesterday that he is suffering from mono, unknown impact on his draft number. Described as having all of the elements of a #1 center.
- D Morgan Rielly: Nice speed/size combination and he can move the puck efficiently. Like most of the kids on this year’s list, he’s encountered an injury this season. Rielly's draft number might be hurt by time missed, but his post season performance turned some heads.
- D Griffin Reinhart: Big, mobile defender who can make a solid outlet pass. He’s not flashy, but his draft stock rose as the season wore on. Scouts have been able to watch him deep into the spring (he's an Oil King) and his final slotting may surprise.
- D Matt Dumba: There’s a lot of talent and some chaos too with Mr. Dumba. Risk/reward, high octane offense and hi-lite reel hits. The concern will be injuries–he’s not a big man and those hits will add up.
- L Filip Forsberg: Already has good size, exceptional for his age. Plus shot, creative. His NHLE isn’t impressive but he's a physical player. I've read his skating is a bit of an issue.
- R Pontus Aberg: Speedy winger has been playing (and posting crooked numbers) in the Swedish Elite League. Could be the fastest player in the draft and there were some worries about his offense but he scored 7 goals in one of the world's best leagues as a teenager.
- C Radek Faksa: Another Euro PF type, he's skilled with soft hands and an intelligent player. Doesn't take stupid penalties and delivered a strong season in the OHL. Good shooter, his NHLE suggests Faksa is a little shy of the Russians at the top of the list offensively but can be compared favorably to the rest of the draft.
Grant McKagg writes the tsn bios and much of what you've read here was lifted from his February scouting reports.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
There's always a lot of movement between now and the draft, as teams interview and observe at the combine and scouts get an opportunity to push their preferences up the table. This season reminds me of 2002, a year that seemed to be chaos 1-100 but has so far provided some excellent NHL talent.
Stay tuned. NHL combine list is coming soon.