BY ERIC BRANDT – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
The 2012 NHL entry draft is still a couple OF months away, However in this short feature we take a closer look at who should be the top selections come draft day.
And with the first pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, I select…
Considered to be the consensus number one selection come June, Nail Yakupov has continued to impress this season registering 69 points in 42 games this year for the Sarnia Sting. Yakupov is coming off a monster rookie season which saw him net 49 goals and 52 helpers in 65 games.
There is no doubt at this point in time that the Russian winger will follow in the footsteps of fellow Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin and be first up on the podium come June.
2. Mikhail Grigorenko (RW, Quebec QMJHL)
Yet another Russian Player will be selected this year in the top three and his name is Mikhail Grigorenko. After being selected second overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft by the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts, Grigorenko has lit up the score sheet with 84 points in 57 games. With the impressive play of Grigorenko, there could very well be Russian players selected back to back to start this year’s draft.
3. Mathew Dumba (D, Red Deer WHL)
At number three, Dumba would be the first defender off the board. He possesses good speed to go along with his great shot. This year with the Red Deer Rebels he has accumulated 20 goals (Tied for first for WHL defenceman) to go along with 34 assists in 66 games played.
4. Ryan Murray (D, Everett WHL)
Everett Silvertip Ryan Murray should be one of the top picks in this year’s draft. Murray’s offensive and defensive skill set won’t keep him on the board very long. Last season for the Silvertips, Murray accumulated 46 points in 70 games leading the team to a playoff berth. Murray was also captain for Team Canada at the world under-18 Championships leading the team to a goal medal. There is no question that Murray be will quick off the board on draft day.
5. Filip Forsberg (LW, Leksands IF Sweden)
Another European that should crack the top five come June. The 17-year-old Filip played for The Leksand J-20 team last season and scored 21 goals and 19 assists. He also contributed six points in six games for Sweden at the 2011 U-18 World Junior Championship. Forsberg could very well be a top five selection in this year’s draft.
6. Alex Galchenyuk (C, Sarnia OHL)
Former first overall pick in the OHL priority selection, Galchenyuk impressed last season posting 83 points in 63 games for the sting. Galchenyuk is currently recovering from a torn ACL and has been held out of the lineup all season. If he continues to impress upon return, there will be no issues with Galchenyuk going in the top 10 of this year’s draft. It is a real testament to Galchenyuk’s skill set and potential that his draft stock has not fallen much after missing an entire season.
7. Griffin Reinhart (D, Edmonton WHL)
The Edmonton Oil Kings’ Griffin Reinhart has played great this season, registering 35 points in 55 games played. Griffin has a solid NHL ready frame standing 6’4 200lbs. It’s not only his size that makes him an intriguing pick, but also the fact that his skating and shot are well above average. Look for Griffin to be a top 10 pick come draft day.
8. Morgan Rielly (D, Moose Jaw WHL)
Injuries have sidelined the Moose Jaw defenceman for most of the season; however there are many reasons as to why Rielly will be selected high in this year’s draft. Rielly started the year off well registering 18 points in 18 games for the Warriors. Not only was his offensive game coming around but he also has the ability to play great defence. Many believe that Rielly could be a solid top four defenceman in the future, so there is little doubt that he could be gone early in the first round.
9. Jacob Trouba (D, United States National Team Development Program)
Trouba is a big defenceman that is currently playing in the USHL. He has recorded 16 points in 17 games played to go along with a very solid plus-10 rating. Trouba is a mobile defenceman who isn’t afraid of taking the body. He has continued to progress this season, and will only continue to improve as he fills out his 6’2 frame.
10. Brendan Gaunce (C, Belleville OHL)
Gaunce is an intriguing gritty centre currently playing for the Belleville Bulls in the OHL. He is enjoying a breakout season where he has posted 64 points in 65 games played. Gaunce is a physical player that has top six potential. There is a good shot for him to go in the top 10 of this year’s draft.
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