Red Line Report - Analysis of 1st rd
1. Edmonton Oilers: RW Nail Yakupov. Yakupov is the only true marquee talent in this draft, and his explosive speed and shot give him the highest offensive upside available. He's not big and might struggle initially to handle the physicality of the NHL over a grueling 82-game season, but he is aggressive and loves to throw the body, and is willing to stand up for himself.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets: D Ryan Murray. The Jackets can't wait through two to three years of development. They need immediate help that can step right into the lineup and a workhorse puck mover on the blue line.
3. Montreal Canadiens: C Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk is the type of all-around talent with size and passion who can both distribute and shoot that just about every team is looking for up the middle. He can beat you with a big hit, a creative setup, a clutch goal or even a shot block on the penalty kill.
4. New York Islanders: D Griffin Reinhart. He is easily the biggest defender available at 6-4, 207 pounds, though he's not naturally physical or aggressive. Reinhart is a workhorse who can be used on both special teams and soak up big minutes. He plays an extremely calm game with terrific four-way mobility and puck movement skills
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: D Morgan Rielly. Rielly has the highest offensive upside of this season's available defenseman. If not for the early-November knee injury that cost him most of the season, we're confident he would have been our top rated defenseman.
6. Anaheim Ducks: D Hampus Lindholm. He's a big, powerful skater with a fluid stride and has gone from staying in the background as a defense-first rearguard to an offensive force in a matter of six months. His confidence is skyrocketing and he looks to make an impact on the game at both ends now.
7. Minnesota Wild: D Mathew Dumba. Dumba is dynamic with his fiery intensity and offensive skills. He loves to go looking for the huge blow-up hit in open ice, and usually finds it. The problem is that, at just 6-0, 175 pounds, we're not sure he can continue to play that style against 30 year-old men in the NHL 82 times a year without getting broken in half by midseason.
8. Pittsburgh Penguins (from Carolina): D Derrick Pouliot. Pouliot has exceptional hockey smarts and anticipation, and is a great skater with instant acceleration and escapability around the corners. He handles the puck better than most forwards, sees the ice beautifully and can go end-to-end showing creativity on the rush.
9. Winnipeg Jets: D Jacob Trouba. Trouba is a tremendous skater — likely the best of the whole bunch — who loves to dish out punishment along the walls and easily separates his opponent from the puck. He's a rugged force in the defensive end who scores off the charts in both his character and compete levels.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning: D Slater Koekkoek. He's another player whose draft year was destroyed by injury — in his case, a bad shoulder injury. If his medical reports are clean, he has a really smooth, fluid stride and can wheel with the puck through the neutral zone. We like his power play acumen and offensive upside.
11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado): LW Filip Forsberg. Forsberg is a great competitor who overpowers defenders in puck battles and shoots absolute bombs, including a vicious one-timer on the power play. He has a scorer's mentality and is a horse off the wing who consistently drives through checks and gets to the net.
12. Buffalo Sabres: C Mikhail Grigorenko. His combination of size/skills/skating ability would ordinarily make him a top three overall talent. However, his compete level when he doesn't have the puck on his stick is frequently non-existent, and the perception (whether accurate or not) is that he is the Russian most likely to be lured back home by big money offers from the Kontinental Hockey League.
Rest here: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hocke...les/55767526/1
No way is Trouba a better skater than Rielly.
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