2012 NHL Draft: Top 30 Prospects

Ranking and breaking down the Top 30 Prospects ahead of Friday’s first round of the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.

1. Nail Yakupov, RW (Sarnia, OHL)

Born: Oct. 6, 1993 | 5’10.5″ – 189
Stats: 42 GP – 31 G – 38 A – 69 P
Rankings: No. 1 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 1 ISS, No. 1 Red Line Report, No. 1 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Yakupov is a dynamic, game-breaking talent. He can create offence on his own and will be a difference-maker in the NHL. His defensive game saw an improvement, but injuries took a toll and his playoffs were disappointing. He’s still the draft’s top prospect and will be a star in the NHL, where he will play next season.

2. Ryan Murray, D (Everett, WHL)

Born: Sept. 27, 1993 | 6’0.5″ — 195
Stats: 46 GP – 9 G – 22 A – 31 P
Rankings: No. 2 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 3 ISS, No. 4 Red Line Report, No. 4 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Murray is the consensus top defenceman in the draft and should have a very long career. He can play a solid two-way game, but will likely play more of a shutdown defensive role at the next level. Murray’s maturity and leadership skills are years beyond his age. He’s a steady, reliable and low-maintenance player who will wear a letter and make those around him better.

3. Alex Galchenyuk, C (Sarnia, OHL)

Born: Feb. 12, 1994 | 6′.05″ — 198
Stats: 2 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 P
Rankings: No. 4 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 14 ISS, No. 6 Red Line Report, No. 2 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Galchenyuk is a big, strong centre with a scorer’s touch and offensive instincts. He missed the majority of the season with a torn ACL suffered in pre-season, but came back in time for the final two regular season games and the playoffs. By his own admission, he was hitting his stride in the final two playoffs games. He’s a determined, hard-working player with a high ceiling.

4. Filip Forsberg, C/W (Leksand, Swe)

Born: Aug. 13, 1994 | 6’2.0″ — 181
Stats: 43 GP – 8 G – 9 A – 17 P
Rankings: No. 1 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 2 ISS, No. 2 Red Line Report, No. 3 by McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Forsberg is a big, powerful centre who should evolve into a power-forward at the NHL level. He uses his frame well to shield the puck and create time and space and is already a difficult player to move from in front of the net. Forsberg has a scorer’s touch and instincts and will sometimes underutilize teammates looking for a goal. His potential is high.

5. Morgan Rielly, D (Moose Jaw, WHL)

Born: Mar. 9, 1994 | 5’11.5″ — 190
Stats: 18 GP – 3 G – 15 A – 18 P
Rankings: No. 5 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 7 ISS, No. 7 Red Line Report, No. 8 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Rielly’s second season was cut short with an ACL tear, but he came back for the playoffs and put to rest any concerns about his injury’s lasting effect. A mobile and gifted stickhandler, Rielly is at his best when he’s carrying the puck deep in the offensive zone and surveying his options. He’s comparable to Ryan Murphy, the Kitchener defenceman taken in the first round by Carolina in last year’s draft.

6. Mathew Dumba, D (Red Deer, WHL)

Born: July 25, 1994 | 5’11.75″ — 173
Stats: 69 GP – 20 G – 37 A – 57 P
Rankings: No. 11 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 8 ISS, No. 3 Red Line Report, No. 6 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Dumba plays the game with such passion and intensity, it rubs off on his teammates. What he loses in size he makes up for with his intelligence and vision of the ice. He took his game to new heights at the under-18 tournament in April, displaying his excellent point shot and offensive abilities. Dumba is a punishing hitter who can deliver crushing blows when an opponent’s head is down.

7. Griffin Reinhart, D (Edmonton, WHL)

Born: Jan. 24, 1994 | 6’3.75″ — 197
Stats: 58 GP – 12 G – 24 A – 36 P
Rankings: No. 10 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 6 ISS, No. 9 Red Line Report, No. 7 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: The middle son of former Calgary Flames defenceman Paul Reinhart is a chip off the old block. Reinhart is a big defenceman with two-way ability. He’s been labeled a shutdown defenceman, which is only partially true since he can rush the puck up and has a good shot. He’s not a vicious hitter, but a timely one and makes good reads. He’s a pro in every sense of the word and will be a long-time NHLer.

8. Mikhail Grigorenko, C (Quebec, QMJHL)

Born: May 16, 1994 | 6’3.0″ — 200
Stats: 59 GP – 40 G – 45 A – 85 P
Rankings: No. 3 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 4 ISS, No. 8 Red Line Report, No. 9 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Grigorenko is this year’s most polarizing player. He’s an exceptionally gifted offensive player — when he wants to be, which isn’t quite often enough. His consistency is an issue and he came under fire for a disappointing playoffs, but it was later discovered he was playing with mononucleosis. When he’s on his game, he’s an electrifying scorer with imposing size and skill. Grigorenko has done everything he can to prove his sincerity towards playing in the NHL in the weeks leading up to the draft.

9. Jacob Trouba, D (USNTDP, USHL)

Born: Feb. 26, 1994 | 6’2.0″ — 193
Stats: 22 GP – 4 G – 14 A – 18 P
Rankings: No. 9 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 5 ISS, No. 11 Red Line Report, No. 10 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Trouba is a big, physical, two-way presence who does many of the little things well. He picks his spots very well physically and can make some devastating open-ice hits. Trouba is also tough in the corners due to his imposing size, strength and long reach. His offensive game is underrated and he can find the net well with his point shot. He does so many things well that it’s hard to label him in any particular category.

10. Teuvo Teravainen, LW (Jokerit, Fin)

Born: Sept. 11, 1994 | 5’11.0″ — 165
Stats: 40 GP – 11 G – 7 A – 18 P
Rankings: No. 2 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 9 ISS, No. 5 Red Line Report, No. 5 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Teravainen is one of the draft’s most intriguing prospects. He stormed onto the scene with splendid performances in both international and league play, displaying some true wizardry with the puck and a scorer’s touch. His size, however, leaves many questioning just how effective he will be against the bigger players in North America.

11. Hampus Lindholm, D (Rogle, Swe)

Born: Jan. 20, 1994 | 6’2.5″ — 196
Stats: 20 GP – 1 G – 3 A – 4 P
Rankings: No. 4 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 19 ISS, No. 20 Red Line Report, No. 11 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Lindholm is the draft’s quickest riser, coming out of near obscurity to fall in the conversation near the back of the top 10. He’s a swift-skating, two-way defenceman who can make dazzling rushes up the ice and create offensively. Lindholm is a very effective player at both ends of the rink and should be a wanted man on draft day.

12. Cody Ceci, D (Ottawa, OHL)

Born: Dec. 21, 1993 | 6’2.5″ — 207
Stats: 64 GP – 17 G – 43 A – 60 P
Rankings: No. 6 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 10 ISS, No. 18 Red Line Report, No. 12 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Ceci is another mobile, puck-rushing defenceman with offensive instincts. He creates problems for opposing teams defensively due to his vision and penchant to act as a fourth forward. Ceci is never afraid to jump in the rush and has a good point shot, making him a dual threat as a power-play quarterback. His defensive zone coverage and skating are two areas he will need to improve.

13. Olli Maatta, D (London, OHL)

Born: Aug. 22, 1994 | 6’1.5″ — 202
Stats: 58 GP – 5 G – 27 A – 32 P
Rankings: No. 8 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 12 ISS, No. 13 Red Line Report, No. 13 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Maatta was one of the draft’s biggest secrets until his offensive game came around in London’s playoff run. He’s a very good two-way defender who will almost never lose a puck battle in the corner. His vision of the ice and intelligence is off the charts and he will make plays in junior that most others can’t make. Maatta may only need one more season in junior before making the jump to the NHL.

14. Radek Faksa, C (Kitchener, OHL)

Born: Jan. 9, 1994 | 6’2.5″ — 203
Stats: 62 GP – 29 G – 37 A – 66 P
Rankings: No. 7 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 16 ISS, No. 16 Red Line Report, No. 16 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Faksa is a two-way player with size and good potential to project to the pro game. He suffered a concussion in the playoffs that kept him out of action and limited his effectiveness once he returned. When he’s healthy and on his game, he’s tough along the walls, can plant himself in front of the net and provide a strong defensive blanket. He may not be a home run, but he will be a solid and dependable pro for many years.

15. Zemgus Girgensons, C (Dubuque, USHL)

Born: | 6’1.5″ — 198
Stats: 49 GP – 24 G – 31 A – 55 P
Rankings: No. 18 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 24 ISS, No. 19 Red Line Report, No. 15 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Girgensons will soon become the highest drafted Latvian player when he’s taken in the first round. He plays like a bull in a china shop, a heat-seeking missile looking to destroy every player on the opposing team. His strength and rugged nature will make him a sought after commodity, particularly when considering his potential offensively.

16. Andrei Vasilevski, G (Ufa2, MHL)

Born: July 25, 1994 | 6’3″ — 205
Stats: 27 GP – 2.23 GAA – .931 save %
Rankings: No. 10 Red Line Report, No. 23 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Vasilevski is an athletic goalie who’s strong on his positioning and will aggressively challenge shooters. He’s a difference-maker in goal and has shown the ability to carry his team to victory, but may need to work on his mental resolve. He fell apart against Canada in the semifinals of the world juniors, but his play up to that point was magnificent. Vasilevski could be the best goalie in the draft.

17. Tom Wilson, RW (Plymouth, OHL)

Born: Mar. 29, 1994 | 6’3.5″ — 203
Stats: 49 GP – 9 G – 18 A – 27 P
Rankings: No. 15 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 17 ISS, No. 28 Red Line Report, No. 19 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Wilson is a dying breed, a power-forward so big and so mean he can intimidate the biggest player on the other team. He’s fearless and will drop his gloves in an instant to defend a teammate or to defend the crushing hit he just laid on an opponent. He needs to play within the whistles as he can let his emotions get the best of him. After an increased role during the playoffs, we’re just scratching the surface of his offensive potential.

18. Malcolm Subban, G (Belleville, OHL)

Born: Dec. 21, 1993 | 6’1.0″ — 188
Stats: 39 GP – 2.50 GAA – .923 save % – 3 SO
Rankings: No. 1 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 24 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: The middle Subban bucked the trend by donning the pads and gloves of a goaltender at age 12 following his beginnings as a defenceman. He’s a very athletic goaltender who relies mostly on his strong positioning and size. Subban instantly makes his team better, as the Bulls’ record was drastically different when he was injured. His potential is quite high considering his late start to the position.

19. Sebastian Collberg, RW (Frolunda, Swe)

Born: Feb. 23, 1994 | 5’11.0″ — 176
Stats: 41 GP – 0 G – 0 A – 0 P
Rankings: No. 3 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 13 ISS, No. 22 Red Line Report, No. 14 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Collberg is a hard-working, honest player that leaves it all on the ice. He plays a solid, two-way game, but his offensive potential is perhaps a bit limited to the talent of those around him. Collberg willingly plays a physical game and understands how to take a hit and maintain possession of the puck. He could be a complementary, top-six forward on a good team.

20. Tomas Hertl, C (Slavia, Cze)

Born: Nov. 12, 1993 | 6’2.0″ — 198
Stats: 38 GP – 12 G – 13 A – 25 P
Rankings: No. 5 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 26 Red Line Report, No. 27 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Hertl burst onto the scene at the world juniors, catching the attention of every scout in attendance in Alberta. He’s a pure offensive performer who can create on any shift. His defensive game and skating are two areas of concern, but are underlined by the vast potential he displays as an offensive player.

21. Derrick Pouliot, D (Portland, WHL)

Born: Jan. 16, 1994 | 5’11.25″ — 190
Stats: 72 GP – 11 G – 48 A – 59 P
Rankings: No. 12 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 22 ISS, No. 12 Red Line Report, No. 17 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Pouliot is a puck-rushing defenceman with dynamic offensive abilities. He’s fearless in taking the puck and carrying it deep in the offensive zone. He has a good enough shot to find the back of the net, but makes his impact with his vision and ability to find the open man. Pouliot will enjoy a fine career running a power play in the NHL.

22. Brendan Gaunce, C (Belleville, OHL)

Born: Mar. 25, 1994 | 6’2.0″ — 215
Stats: 68 GP – 28 G – 40 A – 68 P
Rankings: No. 13 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 11 ISS, No. 31 Red Line Report, No. 18 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: The younger brother of Colorado prospect Cameron Gaunce, Brendan is a physical, two-way player with the type of leadership qualities that should see him become some team’s captain. He plays a power-forward style and will work hard at both ends of the rink, giving an honest effort each night. His skating could improve and his offensive attributes are underrated at this point.

23. Matt Finn, D (Guelph, OHL)

Born: Feb. 24, 1994 | 6’0.25″ — 192
Stats: 61 GP – 10 G – 38 A – 48 P
Rankings: No. 16 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 18 ISS, No. 14 Red Line Report, No. 20 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Finn is one of the quicker rising prospects in the draft after a successful second half to his season unlocked the hidden promise to his game. He showed more poise and confidence rushing the puck and displays good potential as an offensive defenceman. His defensive game could use some improvement, but considering his quick rise and potential, Finn will be a valued prospect.

24. Pontus Aberg, LW (Djurgarden, Swe)

Born: Sept. 23, 1993 | 5’11.0″ — 194
Stats: 47 GP – 8 G – 7 A – 15 P
Rankings: No. 6 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 20 ISS, No. 15 Red Line Report, No. 28 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Aberg had some injuries cut his season short at times this season, but displayed nice potential as an offensive forward while healthy. He has a nice shot and a scorer’s touch which goes well with his skating ability. His smaller stature and defensive game are two areas for concern which could make him fall to the back of the first round.

25. Henrik Samuelsson, C (Edmonton, WHL)

Born: Feb. 7, 1994 | 6’2.25″ — 211
Stats: 28 GP – 7 G – 16 A – 23 P
Rankings: No. 75 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 27 ISS, No. 24 Red Line Report, No. 32 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: The son of former NHLer Ulf, Henrik Samuelsson proved the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. He plays a robust, physical game that often falls on the wrong side of the disciplinary line, earning a handful of suspensions in a shortened season. He’s already physically mature and can manhandle the opposition in junior. Samuelsson displayed good vision and offensive potential in the playoffs and in the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

26. Brady Skjei, D (USNTDP, USHL)

Born: Mar. 26, 1994 | 6’2.75″ — 200
Stats: 24 GP – 3 G – 9 A – 12 P
Rankings: No. 19 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 26 ISS, No. 29 Red Line Report, No. 21 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Skjei was somewhat overshadowed on the U.S. under-18 team due to the fact he was playing behind Jacob Trouba and 2013 draft eligible Seth Jones. He’s a steady two-way defenceman who’s responsible and reliable with low maintenance. He does many things well and will earn the confidence of his coaching staff with his dependability. Skjei can plug into a roster sooner than later.

27. Slater Koekkoek, D (Peterborough, OHL)

Born: Feb. 18, 1994 | 6’2.0″ — 184
Stats: 26 GP – 5 G – 13 A – 18 P
Rankings: No. 23 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 21 ISS, No. 21 Red Line Report, No. 22 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Koekkoek is one of the harder prospects to read because he does many things well, but isn’t exceptionally-gifted in any one area. He also missed a large chunk of the season when a shoulder injury sidelined him in December. Koekkoek is a good skater and can rush the puck up ice with consistency.

28. Stefan Matteau, C (USNTDP, USHL)

Born: Feb. 23, 1994 | 6’1.5″ — 210
Stats: 18 GP – 6 G – 4 A – 10 P
Rankings: No. 17 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 48 Red Line Report, No. 26 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: The son of former NHLer Stephane Matteau, Stefan plays similarly to his dad. He’s an honest, hard-working player that doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, but will do all the little, thankless things to help lead his team to victory. Matteau will join his father, an assistant coach with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, in the QMJHL next season.

29. Scott Laughton, C (Oshawa, OHL)

Born: May 30, 1994 | 6’0.25″ — 180
Stats: 64 GP – 21 G – 32 A – 53 P
Rankings: No. 28 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 23 ISS, No. 17 Red Line Report, No. 25 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Laughton is a character player with a solid work-ethic and honest approach to the game. He plays well at both ends of the rink and is versatile enough to switch to the wing. His offensive game is still improving and he could be ready for a breakout as early as next season. Laughton projects nicely as a two-way, third line forward.

30. Colton Sissons, RW (Kelowna, WHL)

Born: Nov. 5, 1993 | 6’0.5″ — 187
Stats: 58 GP – 26 G – 15 A – 41 P
Rankings: No. 14 by NHL’s Central Scouting, No. 25 ISS, No. 39 Red Line Report, No. 29 McKeen’s Hockey
Analysis: Sissons is a win-at-all-costs, physical player who will leave it all on the ice every shift. He plays a gritty game and is responsible enough defensively that he can project well in the bottom six of any future lineup. He would likely be ranked higher if not for his average size.

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