1. Edmonton Oilers Nail Yakupov RW Sarnia Sting OHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=130572 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=21228
This is a recording. The Oilers have the first overall pick. They will take Yakupov, even if they need a defenceman as badly as they do. They can make deals to fix that later, as they will be getting a dynamic winger who shows flashes of Pavel Bure and Ilya Kovalchuk. His size and rugged game might be a concern, but the skillset is far too tantalizing to worry about that. The Oilers may consider trading down for a defender, but not likely.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets Filip Forsberg RW Leksands IF SWE http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=142620 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=29626
Year after year, the Blue Jackets cannot seem to find a break. Whether their pick busts or gets traded in desperate deal which does not work out, the Jackets really should not be where they are with so many cracks in the top 10. They select Forsberg, as they say they are in need of a forward with the likely departure of Rick Nash and they also stay away from the Russian factor with Forsberg, though that has said not be an issue. Forsberg has a strong two-way game and good physical play all with some good offensive potential, which if fully reached would make him a premier forward in the league.
3. Montreal Canadiens Alex Galchenyuk C Sarnia Sting OHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=130582 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=74611
The Habs end up grabbing, in my opinion, the best player in the draft, and exactly someone they need. Galchenyuk missed all but two regular season and six playoff games this season as he tore his ACL, but odds are he would be challenging Yakupov for #1 without the injury. Like a hybrid of Marian Hossa and Evgeni Malkin, Galchenyuk has the playmaking ability and goalscorers touch along with the ability to drive by the defender or slow the game down to his pace. Born in Milwaukee of Russian decent, Galchenyuk considers himself American and the Habs will reap the rewards of this pick.
4. New York Islanders Griffin Reinhart D Edmonton Oil Kings WHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=123847 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=41183
Here are the Islanders again, in their familiar spot in the top 5. For the past two years it seemed they would grab a defender but didn’t, but this is the year it will happen….. Well if it does, Reinhart’s stock rose tremendously due to his Memorial Cup run as he has shown the ability to be an all-around defender with a Shea Weber-like potential to explode in a premier player. A lot would have to go right for that to happen, but the Islanders will love Reinhart running their defence as they gear for the future.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly D Moose Jaw Warriors WHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=130695 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=41184
The Leafs are in dire need of elite talent and this is their best shot in years. Burke and company played a great game of poker, because I have no idea who they will take here. If they cannot trade up for Galchenyuk or Forsberg, their options seem varied. Mikhail Grigorenko is the player they would need most but he may slide due to perceived issues. Mathew Dumba and Jacob Trouba seem like “Burke” picks, while the top rated defender by most in Ryan Murray is still available. But I have a feeling about Rielly here. He missed a lot of the season due to a knee injury but came back and impressed. He is the best skating defender in this draft and could be very similar and potentially better than Jake Gardiner. Rielly would give the Leafs a more mobile defence which is needed for today’s game and would help rid the Leafs of the slow footed gang they seem to constantly have.
6. Anaheim Ducks Ryan Murray D Everett Silvertips WHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=120014 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=41768
The Ducks are happy and surprised to see Murray available in this position. They kick tires on Grigorenko but go with Murray as he is an all-defender with good offensive upside, though he does not have a mean streak. He is NHL ready and a safe bet to be a solid contributor, with the potential to be a top pairing defender. If that top pair also include Cam Fowler, watch out.
7. Minnesota Wild Mathew Dumba D Red Deer Rebels WHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=124409 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=53542
From 2004-2009, the Wild have had poor luck with prospects while trading one away far too soon in Nick Leddy. Since 2010, the Wild have had four first rounders they have added themselves and through a trade, which has really turned their prospect pool around. Here they select Dumba, who is a defender with a game similar to P.K. Subban and Calgary days Phaneuf. A booming shot and the ability to make huge open ice hits make him potentially elite, while his size and potential to run himself out of position make him a potential liability. The Wild hope he develops positively and if he does, he will fit right in with a team poised to fully turn things around.
8. Carolina Hurricanes Teuvo Teravainen C/RW Jokerit Helsinki SM-Liiga http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=144613 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=44567
The Hurricanes love to take forwards early and this year will be no exception. Teravainen just seems destined to be a Hurricane (Just like I predicted with Zach Boychuk in 2008). He has absolute elite skills and could potentially have the best offensive upside in the draft, while some have been comparing his skills to Claude Giroux. His size and compete level have brought up red flags to some but not to the red-flagged team. Teravainen will make their top six even scarier than it already is for years to come. I can also see this pick along with Brandon Sutter and a defensive prospect being dealt to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal. That is the one potential deal I will call. Pittsburgh here would then take Jacob Trouba.
11. Washington Capitals via Colorado Avalanche Radek Faksa C Kitchener Rangers OHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=145039 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=98300
Faksa is yet another Kitchener Ranger with all the intangibles such as two-way play, heart, grit, leadership and potential offensive upside. The Capitals would love a player like this and should he reach his offensive upside, like it looks like former Rangers Jeff Skinner and Gabriel Landeskog have, this will be a steal and great pick for the Caps going forward.
12. Buffalo Sabres Mikhail Grigorenko C Quebec Remparts QMJHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=143915 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=42435
The Sabres watched Grigorenko slide enough and decide to put an end to it, and are delighted to do so. Grigorenko has elite talent as a big and skilled centre in the mold of Joe Thornton or Jason Spezza. Many have tagged him with the Russian factor though he has stated he is here to stay. His consistency and ethic has also been knocked very hard but an ankle injury and a bout of mononucleosis are the likely culprits. He should be gone by five at the Leafs, but I see him slipping only to become a steal and a half for Buffalo.
14. Calgary Flames Zemgus Girgensons C Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=130896 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=59843
The Flames have been mastering the “can’t make the playoffs and can’t quite tank” mode to perfection and thus need some young elite talent. Well they got off to a great start last year with Sven Bartschi and hope to continue that trend with the Latvian Girgensons. He plays a North American game with plenty of heart and grit while possessing a good amount of offensive ability, perfect for the Flames.
16. Washington Capitals Tom Wilson RW Plymouth Whalers OHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=130599 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=98663
Wilson is this year’s “He could be the next Lucic!” that seems to pop up every draft. The thing is, he likely has the best chance to develop that type of game. Wilson is all heart and grit and the offensive upside is definitely there, it just seems to be developing slower than anticipated. He can also skate well and has NHL size already. The Capitals would love to add this type of player to their core, someone who will come through when it really matters. He would rank the first Canadian forward taken, which would be a record as to how late it is, the previous being Kris Beech 7th overall in 1999 to…. The Washington Capitals!
17. San Jose Sharks Brendan Gaunce C Belleville Bulls OHL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=128003 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=76290
The Sharks have traded away picks and prospects in order to compete and so far it hasn’t fully worked out. The Sharks need to replenish their thin prospect pool and take Gaunce who is a strong two-way forward that has every intangible you could ask for. The issue is that he may not have the offensive upside the most once thought he had. The potential to be a power centre is there, the question is whether he will be a great second line centre with offensive flair, or a third line checker.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning Andrei Vasilevski G Tolpar Ufa MHL http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=70424
The Lightning grab another top goaltending prospect in Vasilevski who was dynamite in the World Juniors. He has great size combined with amazing mobility and he gives the Lightning three young goaltenders along with Anders Lindback and Dustin Tokarski.
21. Buffalo Sabres via Nashville Predators Sebastian Collberg RW Frolunda SEL http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/p...php?pid=139964 http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=16836
Collberg is a speedy forward with a great shot and tremendous hands. The Sabres took a highly skilled player in Grigorenko with their first pick and are happy to take Collberg, both who will add to the skilled team they already have in the future. Collberg even outplayed Filip Forsberg at the World Juniors and many feel the upside is there.
Heading into the draft, Reilly might have been the least discussed top 10 prospect amongst Leaf fans...much like the Kadri pick, we never saw it coming. Even more surprising that we took him with Forsberg on board at 5.