I'm Ian Altenbaugh, the web content editor for Hockey's Future.
As you may have recently found out, the 2012 NHL Draft is going to take place later this week.
I am going to have several opportunities to interview some of the top players eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, particularly on Thursday when the NHL holds a lunch and media availability for all of the top prospects. It has not yet been revealed who will be available but expect at least the top five picks of the draft and probably five other players who are highly rated at their position.
So if you have any specific questions you would like me to ask any of the top players available in the 2012 Draft, please post them in this thread, and I'll see what I can do. It will have to be for Thursday however. The scrums during the actual draft are typically big enough that reporters are usually able to only get one or two questions in.
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Talked to many top prospects at the Top Prospects Clinic. Did not really get enough in the way of quotes for a decent article, so I figured I'd share with you guys what I did get. The prospects that were present were Trouba, Murray, Grigorenko, Yakupov, and Galchenyuk. I was able to speak to Murray, Yakupov, and Galchenyuk.
“It’s good to go out there and work with the kids. We go out there and play around. It kind of reminds me of back when I was that age. It’s a lot of fun.”
“I think more anxious and excited than nervous. Everyone kind of doesn’t really know what’s going to happen. That makes it so exciting for Friday. The excitement level is pretty high with everybody I think. We’ve all been talking amongst eachother and everyone says the same thing. We really have no idea where anyone is going to go. So it’s pretty exciting.”
Skating with midgets and mites (future 2025 NHL Draft Class):
“We all started somewhere so it’s good to go out and work with them.”
“I remember they were doing the stomach slide. The Supermans as they called them. I remember doing that way back in (power pete rink?). When I was probably five or six. Every time we’d got on the ice we’d skate as we can then slide on the fresh ice. It brought back a lot of good memories.
What he needs to do to get into the NHL:
“The speed and physical size of the guys. It’s a lot faster game and everyone is so much bigger and stronger than the junior leagues.”
“I really like the way Duncan Keith plays. I like his style and the way he handles himself on the ice. He’s just so good every single zone. So good with the puck as well. Always seems to make the right play.
On playing in the NHL:
“That’s my goal. That’s what I want to do next year. I’ve have a late birthday so I’ve had an extra year in junior already.
The advantages of a late birthday:
“I think [I benefitted]. I missed the cutoff date (for 2011) by twelve days so not by much. I have a pretty big head start on the other guys which I guess the scouts probably keep in mind too.”
“Trying to get more explosive. Trying to get quicker in the gym. Get stronger obviously as well but for the most part get really explosive. Work on the legs quite a bit.
Talking to the kids
“They usually ask what kind of skates are those or what kind of stick is that, or why is it white on the end, or why did you do that?
“Smiling and having fun. If I put myself in their position when I was five or six and I see the big guys skating around I’ll probably be extremely happy too.”
The benefit of having a father who played professional hockey:
“He always tells me a lot of stuff. The list will go on. He gives me so much advice. He’s been an influence on my career so far and he’s a big part of where I am right now.
Did dad have any words of wisdom for the Draft?
“Just have fun.”
On the Knee:
“I did what I could this year. Coming back from the injury I’ve worked out hard. So this weekend is just to have fun and enjoy time with my family.”
“[The knee] feels great. It’s felt great since about four months ago. It feels good and I feel confident and comfortable.
On how Evgeni Malkin inspired him when he came back from a knee injury to earn the scoring title.
“I think that might have made me even more [encouraged]. A lot of people had questions about my knee injury and I said look at Malkin, he’s the MVP of the league right now. He helped me a lot just looking at what he did.”
If frequent teammate and road roommate Nail Yakupov is as silly as he seems:
“Sometimes both. He’s sometimes quiet sometimes not. I don’t know, he’s different.”
On Galchenyuk saying Yakupov put on a show for the media:
Gally? He’s a funny guy. Wants to do everything you know?
“It’s a great town. Just waiting for the draft. Great hotel. Great food. Players are okay.”
How are the ladies?
“Couple of hot ladies.” Yakupov pauses. “You two, and you!” he says motioning to several female members of the media.
“I’m not nervous. No pressure. Just waiting for the draft to see what happens."
Have to say. If some team manages to trade up and get Yakupov (that's ya-KOO-pov!) and Galchenyuk, they will have a dynamic duo for years to come.
It's also probably worth mentioning that the two teams who had the largest prominence at the top prospects camp was Edmonton and Columbus.