2012 NHL Mock Draft-a-palooza

NHL Draft Pittsburgh

“He’s making a list, And checking it twice; Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town, He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake!” are the lyrics to Christmas music staple Santa Claus is coming to Town.  If I removed the part about Santa Claus I could be talking about NHL scouts, or expert groups with the in-depth research they do on players set to be eligible for the draft of any major professional sport.  The prospects have been put through their paces in workouts, game film has been analyzed, personality tests and interviews have been administered and assessed.  It truly is a crucible of humanity, where any failing or fault; whether it be physical, mental or emotional will likely be exposed and could very well be the difference between hearing your name called on draft day or not at all.  If your name is not called, its not the end of the world.  There are more than a few stories about successful NHL’ers that were never drafted, but its still got to be deflating.  For those players being eligible for their first draft, all of their hopes and dreams are on the line; for that pay off they hope is waiting for them after a lifetime of hard work and struggle.  For the hockey experts, they are likely not as privy to as much of the small details as are NHL scouts but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to get as close as possible.  Rumors about character flaws, or off-ice incidents spread very quickly and in the world of Twitter and Facebook become news almost instantly.  “Diid you hear about (insert prospect here)’s arrest for underage drinking, that was so 24 seconds ago!”  These shockwaves, both big and small can ripple through a draft and suddenly teams find players available they never thought would be possible are suddenly a possibility and now they have tough decisions to make.  Do they take the player with the character issue who may be more talented, whose athletic potential may be higher or do they take the player with a great character, but not as high of an (the most overused word used at the draft) ‘upside’ whatever the heck that is.  This is where the mock draft comes into play.  Teams practice for these situations multiple times in the days before the draft so they make the best selections they can with a level of comfort that they feel they can go back to the organization with.  I’d love to sit in on these discussions and last year during an episode of Becoming Wild we got to see the parts of that between the team’s management and scouts.  The conversations can get heated and while they do their best not to make it personal the discussions can argue some of the smallest issues with a prospect as they make their lists.  Its a serious operation, for one of the most important parts of building a team.  With this kind of intellectually challenging task in mind, many people make mock drafts of their own.       

Mock Draft 

Where do these guys get selected?

Does it really mean anything?  Nope.  So why do fans put together mock drafts like this?  Perhaps the ego boost of seeing the selections unfold as they predicted, much the same way people boast about their NCAA Men’s Basketball bracket minus the financial wager.  Maybe its the thought that they are as smart if not smarter than their favorite team’s General Manager or scouts.  It is with some irony that former Wild Assistant General Manager Tommy Thompson wrote an article for the Hockey News where he answered the most basic question.  “How do you get into the scouting business?”  While I have little reason to doubt the sincerity of Thompson’s article, I am sure there are Wild fans who will get a kick out of his point about gaining a reputation among your peers for having ‘a keen eye for talent.’  Really, how about that pick of A.J Thelen, Colton Gillies or James Sheppard?  I am sure many of you are like me when I say, keen eye my a$$!  Yet, all Tommy Thompson jeers aside, most of us fans do not even come remotely close to the amount of time and research that NHL scouts do.  We do not board planes for tournaments overseas or climb into the car to drive all over Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta going to junior games to evaluate players.  The distances travel and time spent demands a hefty sacrifice for time from their families but its necessary to be able to make the correct selections.  So this brings me to the focus of this article.  Its all about mock drafts, and what I have tried to do is amass a huge variety of different mock drafts to gain as many different perspectives as possible.  I will also include a mock draft from myself and a few other Wild fans I trust and respect.  So how will their mock draft compare to yours?  I doubt Mikhail Grigorenko, Ryan Murray, Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk are losing any sleep over where we think they’ll go in this year’s draft which is just about 2 weeks away!  So who do the experts believe the Wild will select?

Click on “Read More” for the rest of the article…

Morgan Reilly  Jacob Trouba

Most experts seem to indicate the Wild will either select Moose Jaw’s Morgan Reilly or U.S. National Development Program team member Jacob Trouba.  But there are still lots and lots of opinions out there.  Here is a modest listing of some of them that are to be had via the web. 

Draftsite.com Mock Draft
MyNHLDraft.com’s Mock Draft
TSN’s Craig Button’s Mock Draft – the First 14
McKeen’s Rick Springhetti’s Mock Draft – Picks 1-15
McKeen’s Rick Springhetti’s Mock Draft – Picks 16-30
Islanders’s Point Blank.com’s Mock Draft
CalgaryFlames.com Jason Johnson’s Mock Draft
CalgaryFlames.com Avery Buye’s Mock Draft
CalgaryFlames.com Torie Peterson’s Mock Draft
CalgaryFlames.com Adam Onysyk’s Mock Draft
Bleacher Report’s TJ Zeilman’s 2012 NHL Mock Draft
Defending Big D’s Mock Draft
HockeyBuzz Adam French’s Mock Draft
The Cannon (Blue Jackets) Mock Draft
NHL.com’s Mike Morreale’s Mock Draft IV
NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman’s Mock Draft IV
NHL.com’s Steven Hoffner’s Mock Draft IV
NHLMockDraft.org’s Bob Mand’s Mock Draft
The Hockey News’ Mock Draft Video Picks 7-9
The Bleacher Report Mock Draft – All 7 rounds!
TSN’s Mock Draft with notes from Craig Button and Pierre McGuire

Now for our main feature, 3 mock drafts from Wild fans.  The first mock draft will be my own.  The second comes from somewhat regular State of Hockey News contributor KISSArmyMan from the wild.com forums.  He used Microsoft Excel and compiled 8 different mock drafts that he found and then let the document go to work on what the consensus was, a very Bowl Championship Series type of solution I must say.  My other two sources are regulars on Hockey’s Future message boards named ‘Minnesota’ and Nate Wells (GopherState) respectively.  Nate Wells is one of the minds behind First Round Bust (www.firstroundbust.com), which covers the Minnesota Wild and its prospects. He also co-authored the Minnesota Wild Prospect Handbook (http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/11…ldFull.doc.pdf) and covers college hockey and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for SB Nation and SB Nation Minnesota. 

My Mock Draft

1. Edmonton – (D) Ryan Murray ~ Everett (WHL) – The Oilers avoid the pressure to add another elite offensive weapon but now start to build up their defense with one the safest and most well-rounded defenseman in the draft. 

2. Columbus – (RW) Nail Yakupov ~ Sarnia (OHL) – Columbus is ecstatic to pick up an elite scoring talent, and even though they’ve been burnt twice on drafting Russians the 3rd time is going to be a charm for the Blue Jackets as the nab the best pure talent in the draft. 

3. Montreal – (RW) Filip Forsberg ~ Leksand (Swe Jr.) – Montreal takes the opportunity to add a big-bodied two-way forward who will be a franchise cornerstone for years.  Forsberg can score, set up teammates and defend, everything that the Habs need.

4. NY Islanders – (C) Mikhail Grigorenko ~ Quebec (QMJHL) – The Islanders who seem to pick around this point in the draft every year select a very talented but moody Russian forward.  Grigorenko has high end skills in a good sized frame, but will he play with fire on the Island or will he be another enigmatic Russian that leaves you wanting so much more?

5. Toronto – (C/RW) Alex Galchenyuk ~ Sarnia (OHL) – The Maple Leafs are in need of some high end offensive talent to go along with Phil Kessel and Galchenyuk provides a supreme level of skill, great speed and dynamic play that will bring Toronto fans out of their seats. 

6. Anaheim – (D) Mathew Dumba ~ Red Deer (WHL) – Anaheim adds a high energy defenseman who joins an already impressive young group in Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa who not only can score but loves to dish out big hits too. 

7. MINNESOTA – (D) Cody Ceci ~ Ottawa (OHL) – The Wild defy the pressure to select the smaller power play quarterback in Morgan Reilly to draft Cody Ceci.  Ceci is also quite gifted offensively and Minnesota fans will have flashbacks of Brent Burns with the way he plays the game. 

8. Carolina – (D) Griffin Reinhart ~ Edmonton (WHL) – The Carolina Hurricanes are steadily building a young and versatile blueline as they add Reinhart to a young core that includes Jamie McBain, Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy.  Reinhart gives them the big defenseman that their current group lacks.

9. Winnipeg – (LW) Teuvo Teravainen ~ Jokerit (FIN) – Winnipeg had some great success drafting Finns (Teppo Numminen, Teemu Selanne) and so they will roll the dice on this offensively gifted winger.  Tervainen’s stock rose late but he seems to only be getting better and the Jets hope he can be another phenom. 

10. Tampa Bay – (D) Morgan Reilly ~ Moose Jaw (WHL) – Steve Yzerman and the Lightning are ecstatic that Reilly’s fall is to their gain as they take the best power play quarterback available in the draft. 

11. Washington – (D) Jacob Trouba ~ U.S. U-18 (USHL) – The Capitals will like Trouba’s steady play in his own zone, and his willingness to dish out hits will bolster a somewhat soft blueline. 

12. Buffalo – (D) Olli Maatta ~ London (OHL)  Maatta is a two-way defenseman who can both shut opponents down and provide offense when needed.  He could be a great defensive partner to Tyler Myers someday. 

13. Dallas – (C) Brendan Gaunce ~ Belleville (OHL) – Gaunce is part of the rebuilding process for the Stars’ forwards.  His rugged power forward style will compliment Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson well. 

14. Calgary – (RW) Sebastian Collberg ~ Frolunda (Swe) – The Flames realize they need to revitalize their aging forward core, so they add a skilled scoring winger in Collberg to go along with speedy prospect Sven Baertschi

15. Ottawa – (D) Derrick Pouliot ~ Portland (WHL) – The Senators will continue to build on their young defensive core that already includes phenom Erik Karlsson and big Jared Cowen.  Pouliot has offensive skill who would be a nice secondary option on the power play and a little edge to a blueline that could use it. 

16. Washington – (C / W) Radek Faksa ~ Kitchener (OHL) – The Capitals, still waiting for Evgeni Kuznetsov to come to North America will assert ‘plan B’ by signing the skilled Czech forward who can play either center or on the wing. 

17. San Jose – (C) Zemgus Girgensons ~ Dubuque (USHL) – Girgensons is skilled, big bodied centerman who has strong leadership qualities.  The Sharks need to start rebuilding their depleted prospect pool and Girgensons is a good start. 

18. Chicago – (LW) Pontus Aberg ~ Djurgarden (Swe) – Aberg is a skilled winger who has good offensive potential.  The Blackhawks need to develop more weapons to work with Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews

19. Tampa Bay – (C) Nicolas Kerdiles ~ U.S. U-18 (USHL) – After having gotten a highly skilled defenseman the Lightning take a budding power forward with their second pick.  Kerdiles is committed to Wisconsin and Tampa Bay will give him time to hone his game. 

20. Philadelphia – (D) Dalton Thrower ~ Saskatoon (WHL) – The experience of the Stanley Cup playoffs will reveal to Flyers GM Paul Holmgren that his team needs to be a little nastier and tougher to play against along its blueline so they will select Saskatoon’s feisty defenseman Dalton Thrower.  Thrower is not the biggest defenseman but he very physical and is not afraid of anyone, and has some good offensive skills to boot. 

21. Buffalo – (D) Martin Frk ~ Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) – The Sabres will decide to take a chance on this Czech-born sniper.  Frk has struggled to stay healthy, but he has a wicked one-timer and the Sabres hope he can be lighting the lamp for them in the next few years. 

22. Pittsburgh – (C) Tomas Hertl ~ Slavia (Czech) – While the Penguins signed Sidney Crosby to a big contract extension it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have some plans if he continues to struggle with concussions and the slick Czech playmaker is a step in that direction. 

23. Florida – (D) Matthew Finn ~ Guelph (OHL) – The Panthers’ strength came from its blueline and with a talented crop of forwards moving on up in their system they select a solid two-way defenseman in Finn.  Finn does just about everything well and the Panthers will be very pleased to get him. 

24. Boston – (D) Hampus Lindholm ~ Rogle (Swe) – Zdeno Chara is not getting any younger and its time for the Bruins to start thinking about how they’re going to re-tool their blueline before it gets to a critical situation.  The Bruins will be quite pleased about the opportunity to draft a promising, big bodied blueliner like Lindholm at this point in the draft. 

25. St. Louis – (C) Scott Laughton ~ Oshawa (OHL) – Laughton is an intriguing prospect in that he is a proven defensive forward who has some offensive ability too.  The Blues’ enjoy being a pain to play against and Laughton will make them that much more frustrating.  

26. Vancouver – (G) Oscar Dansk ~ Brynas (Swe Jr.) – The Canucks are likely to have some shifting going on in its crease and whether its Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo leaving they will need a replacement and Dansk is a great way to start. 

27. NY Rangers – (C) Stefan Matteau ~ U.S. U-18 (USHL) – New York Rangers fans will remember Matteau’s father and his famous goal, but his son is a budding power forward who battles hard.  After their experience of losing in the Eastern Conference Finals they will focus their draft on selecting players who are noted for their competitive drive and physical play. 

28. Phoenix – (D) Ludvig Bystrom ~ MoDo (Swe) – The Coyotes continue to build a very competent and young defense; with Brandon Gormley and Oliver Ekman-Larsson already in the organization.  Bystrom adds another good sized defenseman with mobility, with strong defensive instincts. 

29. New Jersey – (G) Malcolm Subban ~ Belleville (OHL) – Its time for the Devils start taking bold steps towards replacing future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.  Subban is an athletic goaltender much like Brodeur and has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come which is precisely what New Jersey needs. 

30. Los Angeles – (RW) Scott Kosmachuk ~ Guelph (OHL) – The Kings are probably a little distracted after winning a Stanley Cup and so they will go off the board a bit by selecting Guelph’s Kosmachuk.  Kosmachuk is a hard working player who has offensive ability but can be a real pain when on the forecheck.  He still needs time to fill out his frame but the Kings have the time to wait for that to happen. 

KISSArmyMan’s Mock Draft

1.  Edmonton – (RW) Nail Yakupov ~ Sarnia (OHL)

2.  Columbus – (D) Ryan Murray ~ Everett (WHL)

3.  Montreal – (RW) Filip Forsberg ~ Leksand (Swe Jr.)

4.  NY Islanders – (D) Griffin Reinhart ~ Edmonton (WHL)

5.  Toronto – (C / W) Alex Galchenyuk ~ Sarnia (OHL)

6.  Anaheim – (D) Mathew Dumba ~ Red Deer (WHL)

7.  MINNESOTA – (D) Morgan Reilly ~ Moose Jaw (WHL)

8.  Carolina – (C) Mikhail Grigorenko ~ Quebec (QMJHL)

9.  Winnipeg – (D) Cody Ceci ~ Ottawa (OHL)

10. Tampa Bay – (D) Jacob Trouba ~ U.S. U-18 (USHL)

11.  Washington – (LW) Teuvo Teravainen ~ Jokerit (Fin)

12.  Buffalo – (C / W) Radek Faksa ~ Kitchener (OHL)

13.  Dallas – (C) Zemgus Girgensons ~ Dubuque (USHL)

14.  Calgary – (D) Derrick Pouliot ~ Portland (WHL)

15.  Ottawa – (D) Hampus Lindholm ~ Rogle (Swe.)

16.  Washington – (RW) Sebastian Collberg ~ Frolunda (Swe.)

17.  San Jose – (D) Matt Finn ~ Guelph (OHL)

18.  Chicago – (D) Brendan Gaunce ~ Belleville (OHL)

19.  Tampa Bay – (D) Olli Maatta ~ London (OHL)

20.  Philadelphia – (D) Slater Koekkoek ~ Peterborough (OHL)

21.  Buffalo – (C) Tomas Hertl ~ Slavia (Czech.)

22.  Pittsburgh – (LW) Pontus Alberg ~ Djurgarden (Swe.)

23.  Florida – (D) Brady Skjei ~ U.S. U-18 (USHL)

24.  Boston – (D) Dalton Thrower ~ Saskatoon (WHL)

25.  St. Louis – (C) Scott Laughton ~ Oshawa (OHL)

26.  Vancouver – (RW) Henrik Samuelsson ~ Edmonton (WHL)

27.  Phoenix – (C) Stefan Matteau ~ U.S. U-18 (USHL)

28.  New York – (G) Andrei Vasilevski ~ Ufa Tolpar (Rus. Jr.)

29.  New Jersey – (G) Malcolm Subban ~ Belleville (OHL)

30.  Los Angeles – (C) Colton Sissons ~ Kelowna (WHL)

Minnesota’s Mock Draft

1. Edmonton - (RW) Nail Yakupov ~ Sarnia (OHL) – Edmonton can’t possibly pass up this future Russian star forward. Almost serendipitously, Yakupov completes the Oiler’s future first line with Taylor Hall, centered by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Some will argue that Edmonton desperately needs to draft with defense in mind. The fact is, you don’t pass up the consensus #1 pick for immediate franchise needs. Edmonton will have plenty of options to bolster their defense through free-agency in the upcoming years when they are easily outscoring opposing teams.

2. Columbus - (C) Alex Galchenyuk ~ Sarnia (OHL) – Seeking a future superstar to possibly replace the dissatisfied Rick Nash, the Columbus Blue Jackets will go all-in by picking Alex Glanchenyuk with the #2 pick. Columbus needs a highly skilled, dynamic player to re-energize the waning franchise. Young Galchenyuk oozes skill, and holds the potential to be the best player coming out of 2012′s draft.

3. Montreal - (RW) Mikhail Grigorenko ~ Quebec (QMJHL) – Continuing the quest to find a future #1 center, I believe Mikhail Grigorenko will be selected with the #3 pick. Despite the recent doubts about his work ethic and the supposed “Russian factor,” Grigorenko has shown the potential to become a first line center in the NHL.

4. NY Islanders – (D) Ryan Murray ~ Everett (WHL) – I see many teams shying away from drafting a defenseman in favor of potential high-end offensive players. Originally predicted to go as high as #2 in the 2012 draft, , at #5, the New York Islanders are practically obligated to select this highly touted defenseman. Murray will be expected to immediately impact the Islander’s lacking defense.

5. Toronto – (RW) Filip Forsberg ~ Leksands (SWE) – Filip Forsberg, the skilled Swedish power forward will make the Toronto Maple Leafs very happy come draft day. Despite having mediocre numbers this past season playing for Allsvenskan’s Leksand, young Forsberg shows a certain creativity and drive that has caught the eye of many NHL scouts.

6. Anaheim – (D) Matt Dumba ~ Red Deer (WHL) – Seeking to replace unsigned Anaheim D prospect Justin Schultz, the Ducks will select Matt Dumba as a consolation prize. This skilled, hard-hitting defenseman will also serve to re-stock, and re-energize Anaheim’s aging defensive corps – and will likely be the future replacement of either Toni Lydman or Lubomir Visnovsky.

7. MINNESOTA – (D) Morgan Rielly ~ Moose Jaw (WHL) – Desperately seeking offense from the blue line, Minnesota will size the opportunity to draft Morgan Rielly. This young offensive defenseman will aid in re-stocking the Wild’s somewhat lacking defensive prospect pool. Personally, Rielly’s injuries remind me of Tyler Cuma – hopefully this high-scoring defenseman doesn’t follow the same injury-riddled path.

8. Carolina – (RW) Teuvo Teräväinen ~ (Jokerit, FIN) – Showing an affinity for Finns and undersized forwards, Teräväinen to the Hurricanes seems like a match made in heaven. Teräväinen will feel right at home with veteran countrymen Jussi Jokinen, Tuomo Ruutu, and Joni Pitkanen. Choosing Jeff Skinner with the 7th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Carolina also proved that they won’t shy away from small, skilled forwards.

9. Winnipeg – (C) Radek Faksa ~ Kitchener (OHL) – Drafting Faksa fills a couple needs for the Winnipeg Jets: first, he adds some size to their future forward corps; second, Faksa will challenge 2011 draft selection Mark Scheifele for the Jets’ future #1 center position.

10. Tampa Bay – (D) Jacob Trouba ~ USA U-18 (USHL) – With the #10 pick, I see Tampa Bay snatching up one of the few remaining highly ranked defensemen. Favoring large, mobile defensemen, the Lightening currently have excellent young defensive depth, which will allow Trouba plenty of time to develop his skills at the University of Michigan.

11. Washington – (D) Griffin Reinhart ~ Edmonton (WHL) – Great size, skating, and puck-handling all give Reinhart all the tools to become a top-two NHL defenseman. His only weaknesses seem to be a certain lack of physicality, and drive.

12. Buffalo Sabres – (RW) Sebastian Collberg ~ Frolunda (SWE) – Collberg possesses elite offensive potential – something which Buffalo severely lacks up front. On top of it all, the young Swede is excellent one-on-one, and can create top-notch plays with ease. Playing a similar game to Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, size at the NHL level is a concern, as well as his commitment to defense.

13. Dallas – (C) Zemgus Girgensons ~ Dubuque (USHL) – Committed to the University of Vermont, Zemgus Girgensons is a smart, well-rounded centerman with size, skill, and skating. There are very few things that contract from Girgensons’ game. This young player possesses the drive, competitiveness, and intangibles to become a top-two centerman in the NHL.

14. Calgary – (D) Cody Ceci ~ Ottawa (OHL) – At #14, Cody Ceci will be a steal for the Calgary Flames. Ceci is a smart, two-way defender whose hockey sense has been lauded by scouts. Ceci is nearly NHL ready, and should become a minute-eater on Calgary’s blue line for years to come.

15. Ottawa – (D) Olli Määttä ~ London (OHL) – A solid puck-moving defenseman with Finnish roots, Määttä exerts excellent hockey sense and leadership skills. Improvements on skating, and offensive skill would elevate Määttä’s game into the mold of a top-four defenseman.

16. Washington – (D) Slater Koekkoek ~ Peterborough (OHL) – Sidelined with a season-ending shoulder injury, Koekkoek’s skills were largely unknown. Despite the injury, Koekkoek has previously shown high-end potential, which when coupled with leadership qualities and strong work ethic can produce a very special player.

17. San Jose – (D) Hampus Lindholm ~ Rögle (SWE) – This late-rising defenseman possesses outstanding skating, creativity, and plays a very well-rounded game. While he needs to work on his defensive zone coverage, he has all the tools to improve upon the deficiencies in his game.

18. Chicago – (G) Andrei Vasilevski ~ Tolpar Ufa (Rus Jr) – Vasilevski has been on scout’s radar since he was 15 years old. The young goaltender has size, poise, skill, excellent positioning, and athleticism to become a future starter in the NHL.

19. Tampa Bay – (C) Brendan Gaunce ~ Belleville (OHL) – Gaunce is a gritty playmaker, whose unselfish style of play have scouts projecting him as a guaranteed NHL grinder. With plenty of intangibles, Gaunce could prove to be very valuable to the Lightening.

20. Philadelphia – (D) Derrick Pouliot ~ Portland (WHL) – Pouliot is a puck-rushing defenseman who loves creating offense – something that Philadelphia has been missing since the loss of Chris Pronger. While Pouliot neither possesses the size or physicality of Pronger, he does give Philadelphia some future firepower from the blue line.

21. Buffalo – (LW) Pontus Aberg ~ Djurgardens (SWE) – Injured early in the season, Aberg has shown flashes of brilliance playing against men in the Swedish Elite League. This two-way player is a very creative natural goal scorer. His only downside is size, which I don’t see Buffalo worrying about too much.

22. Pittsburgh – (RW) Henrik Samuelsson ~ Edmonton (WHL) – This seasoned young winger has played in multiple multiple leagues in Europe and North America. Samuelsson is big, strong, and possesses a mean streak on the ice. He’s no enforcer, though – Samuelsson is a unique player with size and skill. He does have noticeable flaws in his game, including skating and discipline.

23. Florida – (LW) Tanner Pearson ~ Barrie (OHL) – A crafty winger with a wicked shot, above average hockey smarts, and vision. Pearson needs to work on his defense and skating, but still has a high potential ceiling. He will be a great supporting winger for Florida’s amazing prospect pool.

24. Boston – (C) Phil Di Giuseppe ~ Michigan (NCAA) – Sometimes categorized as a “pure scorer,” but is also an adept playmaker. Di Giuseppe has tremendous hockey instincts, and has a knack for cycling the puck down low.

25. St. Louis – (LW) Nicolas Kerdiles ~ USA U-18 (USHL) – Kerdiles plays a strong two-way, puck-protection game similar to Jonathan Toews. A very versatile player who plays all forward positions, Kerdiles lacks any standout skills, and needs to work on speed in order to elevate his game to the next level.

26. Vancouver – (D) Dalton Thrower ~ Saskatoon (WHL) – A tough, two-way defenseman who plays an effective physical game. Thrower plays a sound all-round game, all while leading by example.

27. Phoenix – (RW) Colton Sissions ~ Kelowna (WHL) – Hard-nosed, with strong character, Sissions will help fill in Phoenix’s grinding lines. The only concern is his size, which may keep him from playing an effective third or fourth line role.

28. New Jersey – (RW) Martin Frk ~ Halifax (QMJHL) – Sidelined with a head injury, Frk plays with an edge to his game. Quick hands and a nose for the net makes Frk perfect for an effective supporting scoring role. Hopefully his head injuries will remain in his past.

29. New York – (G) Malcom Subban ~ Belleville (OHL) – Malcom Subban, a highly touted prospect who is extremely athletic, competitive, and also possesses a quick glove. Concerns about his consistency and health may lower his draft day stock. The Rangers lack a leading candidate for their leading #1 goalie – and with Henrik Lundquist, Subban has plenty of time to develop.

30. Los Angeles – (C) Mark Jankowski ~ Stanstead (QC-HS) – A prototypical long-term project with high potential, a sudden 6-inch growth spurt has put him on many scouts radar. A very creative, well-rounded player projects as a prospect with great potential.

Nate Wells’ Mock Draft

1. Edmonton – (RW) Nail Yakupov ~ Sarnia (OHL) – I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers trade this pick between now and Friday but assuming there are no trades in this mock, Edmonton takes the consensus #1 player in the Draft.

2. Columbus – (C) Alex Galchenyuk ~ Sarnia (OHL) – The Sarnia duo go 1-2 as the Blue Jackets take a chance on the Milwaukee-born Galchenyuk’s dynamic upside.

3. Montreal – (D) Ryan Murray ~ Everett (WHL) – The Marc Bergevin Era in Montreal begins with the top draft-eligible defenseman.

4. New York Islanders – (D) Matt Dumba ~ Red Deer (WHL) – New York goes with upside in picking one of the younger players in the Draft.

5. Toronto – (D) Morgan Rielly ~ Moose Jaw (WHL) – Despite tearing his ACL in November, Rielly has appeared to have made a full recovery.

6. Anaheim – (RW) Filip Forsberg ~ Leksand (SWE-2) – The Ducks take one of most complete forwards in the Swedish Forsberg.

7. MINNESOTA – (D) Jacob Trouba ~ USNTDP (USHL) -  Minnesota adds a physical defenseman who is unlike anyone in their system yet possesses attributes the team desire.

8. Carolina – (LW) Teuvo Teravainen ~ Jokerit (FIN) – Jim Rutherford basks at the fact that the only team who likes Finns more than the Hurricanes passed on Teravainen.

9. Winnipeg – (C) Mikhail Grigorenko ~ Quebec (QMJHL) – Whether it is the Russian factor, work ethic concerns or something else Winnipeg doesn’t care Grigorenko fell to 9. The 6’3″ center solves many problems in the Jets organization and will snap him up in a heartbeat.

10. Tampa Bay – (D) Griffin Reinhart ~ Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) – Reinhart has the size, skill and vision to be a top-ten pick.

11. Washington (from Colorado) – (RW) Sebastian Collberg ~ Frolunda (SWE) – Led Sweden’s U-20 league in scoring as a 16 year-old but spent most of his SEL time in a defensive role. Capitals will take both.

12. Buffalo – (C) Radek Faksa ~ Kitchener (OHL) – The Sabres have a need for centers and Faksa is the best available.

13. Dallas – (D) Cody Ceci ~ Ottawa (OHL) – What’s one more big-bodied defenseman for Dallas?

14. Calgary – (D) Hampus Lindholm ~ Rogle-Jr (SWE-JR) – What’s one more big-bodied defenseman for Calgary?

15. Ottawa – (D) Slater Koekkoek ~ Peterborough (OHL) – One of the more forgotten draft-eligible players after suffering a shoulder injury. However, Koekkoek (pronounced “coo coo”) has the potential to be a #1 D.

16. Washington – (D) Olli Maatta ~ London (OHL) – Hard to ignore Maatta’s playoff production this season and the Capitals don’t.

17. San Jose – (RW) Tom Wilson ~ Plymouth (OHL) – A big (6’4″) power forward who is underrated due to his role and knows how to use his size against CHL competition. Sounds familiar and Wilson will be great trade bait when the Sharks end up needing to acquire the next piece that gets them over the hump.

18. Chicago – (C) Brendan Gaunce ~ Belleville (OHL) – Gaunce took a giant leap this year going from 11 to 28 goals.

19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit) – (D) Jake McCabe ~ University of Wisconsin (WCHA) – Overshadowed by Justin Schultz at Wisconsin this year, McCabe is the next big Badger defenseman and tough to pass up.

20. Philadelphia – (C) Zemgus Girgensons ~ Dubuque (USHL) – With McCabe off the board, Paul Holmgren takes the best player available. This time it is Girgensons, a big, speedy forward from the USHL.

21. Buffalo (from Nashville) – (C) Nicolas Kerdiles ~ USNTDP (USHL) – Yes, the Sabres take two centers. No, they shouldn’t be laughed at. Kerdiles is a blue-collar player with white-collar skills.

22. Pittsburgh – (C) Thomas Hertl ~ Slavia (CZE) – While other names on the board sound more familiar to Penguins fans, it is hard to pass up a physical scorer of Hertl’s caliber.

23. Florida – (D) Derrick Pouliot ~ Portland (WHL) – Florida has the best prospect pool in all of hockey but if they have any issues it’s on the blue line. Thankfully Pouliot fell into their arms.

24. Boston – (D) Brady Skjei ~ USNTDP (USHL) – After not having a single Minnesotan drafted in the first round at home in 2011, the future Gopher bucks the trend.

25. St. Louis – (LW) Pontus Aberg ~ Djurgarden (SWE) – It’s hard to get skilled forwards late in the first round yet St. Louis manages just fine.

26. Vancouver – (D) Dalton Thrower ~ Saskatoon (WHL) – Nothing has to piss off Mike Gillis more than seeing a Swedish left winger taken the pick before. Luckily the Canucks take the next best thing in a WHL Defenseman with a cannon of a shot.

27. Phoenix – (RW) Henrik Samuelsson ~ Edmonton (WHL) – Many reasons for the Coyotes to take Samuelsson like having a player who is not afraid to get dirty.

28. New York Rangers – (D) Matt Finn ~ Guelph (OHL) – Few have raised their stock this year as much as Finn, who has gone from a late pick to a late first round pick.

29. New Jersey Devils – (LW) Phillip Di Giuseppe ~ University of Michigan (CCHA) – Devils GM Lou Lamoriello kept the 29th pick despite having to give up a first round pick before 2014 and there has to be a reason why. Drafting Di Gieuseppe, who only got better as his freshman season went on, may not be the reason although it doesn’t hurt.

30. Los Angeles* – (RW) Martin Frk ~ Halifax (QMJHL) – A concussion kept Frk out for a solid portion of this season but came back strong. This is under the assumption Columbus decide to defer their choice of the Kings’ first (given in the Jeff Carter-Jack Johnson trade) until 2013 But…

….if the Blue Jackets take the pick for some reason they’ll be the ones to take a goalie in the first round with (G) Malcolm Subban ~ Belleville (OHL)

Well that wraps up my 2012 Mock Draft-a-palooza and if that’s not enough mock drafts then I am not sure what else I could really include.  Wait a sec, maybe I do.  Would you like to share your own Mock Draft?  Please do so in the comment section below.  What mock drafts do you feel ‘got it’ and which ones are leaving you scratching your head?  I’d like to take the time to thank ‘Minnesota’, KissArmyMan and Nate Wells for contributing and I hope we all get what we want at this year’s draft! 

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette 

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally time time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!