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.



No, this is my first attempt to cobble together a top 10 for this year’s draft. A couple of notes:

  1. 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.
  2. My list is math heavy (relying on Gabe Desjardins NHLE) but is also aware that defense is an important aspect of the game.
  3. 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).



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.



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.

  • ItsTheBGB

    I think Morgan Reilly will end up being the best defender in this years draft. He has more offense than Murray and Reinhart and is also an excellent skater. Also, my friend is no expert, but he plays in the dub and he thinks Reilly will be the best, for what it’s worth.

  • Will Edmonton draft the best player available or the most NHL ready?

    Yakupov and Murray are the only two that make the NHL next year IMO. They’re also the oldest players in the draft. (out of the top 10)

    1. Grigorenko

    2. Galchenyuk

    3. Dumba

    4. Rielly

    5. Yakupov

  • Buchburgler

    Everyone talks about how Murray is the most ‘NHL ready’ but it also seems the consensus last year was that the Nuge was not ‘NHL Ready’ … but that still seemed to work out ok. Just seems like a silly reason to draft someone when almost every report/list i’ve read rates someone else (e.g Yakupov + other forwards) as better prospects.

  • Oilers4ever

    We definately need a dman… but you have to take the best player available in the draft if you have the number one pick. You look like a dumb ass if you don’t. If you don’t want Yakupov then you better be trading down with Columbus and get something in return. Otherwise, you have to pick Yakupov. As good as Murray is, I think he will still struggle more in his first couple years (as rookie dmen do) more than Yakupov will.

  • TCW_96

    We have to take the pick(nail),if we move down we will never be happy with what we get in return,and we will bash oiler management for years to come,should of took nail,should of took nail.just pick him and let it ride.

  • Peterborough

    Murray is the best player in the draft.

    Murray over Reilly because the Oilers don’t need the best rushing defenseman, they need the best passing defenseman.

    One doesn’t maximize Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, and Hemsky unless you have defensemen who can move the puck quickly out of the defensive zone, and hit the forward on the tape and in stride.

    The extra 100 horsepower in the engine won’t do any good with a broken transmission.

    As many of Ryan Murray, Jason Garrison, and Justin Schultz as possible.

    • fuzzy muppet

      Why does nearly EVERY professional scout have Yakupov #1 then?

      In fact, NO scout has Murray as #1. None.

      You don’t take him #1. Trading down is an option, but you don’t take a solid guy #1. You take the guy that has the best potential to go supernova.

      This year, it’s Yakupov.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Maybe its the Kool-aid talkin, but I wonder if Tallon would like the 1st pick for Gudbranson. Im still not sold on Nail with his knee, and still strikes me as a possible ego problem, talented yes but all the talent in the world wont help if you dont put the team first.

  • CaptainLander

    Unless the Oil plan in winning the cup next year they have a lot of time. The NRY have 3 first round draft pick under 26 playing in there top 4. But non have been selected in the the top 10.

    I say draft Yak, play him in a easier role for the next 2 years and let his offense shine. If he can manage to get 50 – 60 points in the NHL for his first 2 seasons then you have 2 options at that point keep him, if things like injury or commitment of simply a desire to play with more Russian becomes and issue then trade him. His value should be higher then now as a kid never having played in the NHL.

  • CaptainLander

    My vote goes to the ice queen………..Jamie Salae!

    Now about hockey, the best strategy due to the nature of this draft ( that being there are no real front runners except Nail) is to draft down and get a North American player and assets in return.

    There will be gems hidden in this draft, and if you are selecting first you have only one option. Having a couple of options in the first round sound very appealing, especially since Stu has shown a proclivity of finding these gems.

  • CaptainLander

    One thing about this year’s first round is that it’s blessed with a large number of defenceman. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a few of them drop as certain teams will want to draft a forward. Do not preclude the possibility of stepping up from 31st overall to grab a blueliner that the team really likes. There’s a few guys on the roster we could move. Or combine a later pick to move up. Maybe the guy you like will fall. Musil was a nice pick up at 31 last year. Tyler Pitlick the year before that.

  • fuzzy muppet


    Murrays the best defencemen in the draft, Yakupov is a concensus 1st overall selection by virtually everyone from what I have heard. Its hard to turn down an opportunity to draft a guy who is being compared to Bure. The thoughts of having a Hall flying down the wing, and then coming over the boards on the second line is guy like Yakupov is a truely intriguing possibility. Imagine the poor second paiing defencemen whos got to fear having to face one of these speedsters all night.

    The Oilers management should be able to put together a decent defence next season or they should be replaced. Theve got enough assets, cap space, and lure to solidify their defence. I’d love Murray, but you gotta take the consensus first overall guy/

  • fuzzy muppet

    I disagree with taking Murray based on the fact that the NHL roster needs a Dman today. The Oilers need to add a top 2 dman to help them right now. And they need somebody that has proven they are capable of the job. They need to find this guy through free agency or trade.

    You draft Ryan Murray if you think that your current crop of Dman prospects is lacking a top end, puck mover. If the Oilers feel that way, then draft Murray. Or if they feel Murray will be a better player that Yakupov in 3-5 years, then draft Murray.

    If you draft Murray to be a top 2 dman today, chances are that you’re setting up the team for failure in 2012-2013 if Murray fails to deliver in his first year. Also, you run the risk of hurting Murray’s development by putting him in a situation he’s not ready for.

  • Clyde Frog

    Yakupov destroyed Hall, Hopkins, Galchenyuk, Tyler Seguin and pretty much every kid who has been drafted in the past 4 years in their 16 year old season.

    He almost scored 50 freaking goals in his 16 year old season… How is this is a discussion?

    He hits, competes, scores, seems to care… Everything someone wants in a prospect… The only problem is his passport, but he has been in the CHL for the past 2 years and seems intent on playing in the NHL. (

    All the KHL haters need to realize that ANY player regardless of their passport can bolt to that league, being russian doesn’t give them a monopoly. Please see Omark for proof.

    Yeah, I don’t see how you pass on this talent for a shot at shoring up a team need that could vanish with 1 of 12 prospects developing and a 1 player trade.

  • fuzzy muppet

    I’m getting a bit tired of the rankings by the traditional methods….gpg, QC, Desjardin, etc. although they have some use.
    I would also like to see a five star ranking system for each player on the different hockey element, such as, Skating (speed, quickness, manuverability,etc.), SHot, playmaking, toughness, attitude, difference maker, etc.
    I believe these are some of the attributes the scouts look at when trying to gauge a players abilities. I would imagine they have some kind of form they use to rate all the players they watch during ther year which would be intersting to see.

  • fuzzy muppet

    I’m getting a bit tired of the rankings by the traditional methods….gpg, QC, Desjardin, etc. although they have some use.
    I would also like to see a five star ranking system for each player on the different hockey element, such as, Skating (speed, quickness, manuverability,etc.), SHot, playmaking, toughness, attitude, difference maker, etc.
    I believe these are some of the attributes the scouts look at when trying to gauge a players abilities. I would imagine they have some kind of form they use to rate all the players they watch during ther year which would be intersting to see.

  • D

    @WBC – I think you’re close, but was never sure who between OKC girl and Scarlet Jo was number 1 and number 2.

    Wanyes bastard child wrote:

    1) OKC girl

    2) Scarlet Jo

    3) Diane Lane

    4) Catherine Zeta Jones

    5) Name escapes me but she is home grown and did law and order or some show like that… red dress, all leg and in an operating room.

    6) Sophia Vergara

    7) Debbie Harris

    8) Ummm… the one with the nice bum at the top of this post?

    9) Piper Perabo

    10) All the rest.

    Am I close?

    • Lowetide

      Odd? Why? Bob Mckenzie had Murray #3 last time I checked (mid-season) so Mr. Pronman’s list would seem to be more unusual.

      Finding out WHY he thinks that way is what makes Pronman’s stuff interesting.

  • I still believe Oilers are taking Yakupov first. Maybe they are bluffing Columbus with the promotion of Murray , as well as putting him on the IIHF World Championship team. I’m sure they would trade their #1 to Columbus if they were sure they would take Murray. In exchange for the #2 pick and the #18 pick Columbus has.

    There is a lot of misdirection going on now. But if I wanted the #2 pick and #18 pick from Columbus I would be pumping the tires of the player I do not want to take.

    Why is Murray on the World Championship team?

  • Reg Dunlop

    Isn’t it odd that the Preds rebound when they sit Russian talent for Canadian grit(Tootoo)? In 5 years the oil will be making Yak a healthy scratch in favor of Pitlick. The Nashville situation also shows that Canadians(Tootoo) can hold their liquor better.

    Moral of this: if you draft Yak keep your eye on spiking vodka sales at Liquorbarn.

    • Given that Tootoo voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA’s substance abuse program to deal with his alcohol problem, that’s a pretty tasteless comment.

      Given that his brother committed suicide after a drunk driving arrest, it’s more tasteless still.

      I know that it probably wasn’t meant that way, and that when we’re talking about people we don’t know it’s easy to trivialize these sorts of problems. I’m really not trying to be a dick, or pick on you in particular – lots of people say that kind of thing without meaning any harm by it. I’ve probably done it myself a time or two.

      But it’s also probably a good idea to remember exactly how serious the situation is.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Murray might be the most “NHL ready” of the defencemen, but does he have the most upside?

    To me if your’re going to draft a defenceman early in the draft, you should go for the someone with the most potential. Don’t make a “safe” pick.

    Having said that, I say draft Yakupov as he has separated himself as being the best player now and probably has the greatest potential to be an impact player.

  • Sox and Oil

    It’s funny, looking at the various Draft Rankings Murray may not be the best defenseman in the draft nevermind best player. Meanwhile Yak is the consensus #1 and half the fan base is hell bent against him. Why do we like to talk so much?