NHL 2012 Draft: Who Each Lottery Team Should Select with Their Pick

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IApril 11, 2012

NHL 2012 Draft: Who Each Lottery Team Should Select with Their Pick

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    The NHL Entry Draft is right around the corner.

    On June 22, the Pittsburgh Penguins will host the draft at the beautiful, new Consol Energy Center.

    Last night, the draft lottery was drawn. Edmonton won the lottery and as a result will be drafting first-overall for a third consecutive year.

    The draft order will be: Edmonton, Columbus, Montreal, New York Islanders and Toronto.

    The following is a look at what each team should do with their draft pick, and what they are most likely to do.

Edmonton Oilers

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    What Edmonton Should Do: Trade The First-Overall Pick

    The Oilers have the top pick for a third straight year, which should raise questions as to whether or not the NHL's entry draft is built on a faulty system, but that is another conversation for another day.

    Drafting Nail Yakupov would be the sexy pick for Edmonton. Putting Yakupov in the top six with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, and Taylor Hall would pay dividends down the road, but if Edmonton goes this route, they will find themselves with another to- five draft choice in 2013, and possibly a fourth-straight first-overall pick.

    The value of a first-overall pick is absolutely tremendous, and it would be unwise for Edmonton not to listen to offers that could garner a king's ransom.

    That's all well and good for Edmonton, because what they do not need is another winger at this point.

    The word "starved" is an understatement when I say that Edmonton is starved for defense and goaltending.

    Edmonton's best defenseman, Ryan Whitney, is having annual health issues, they traded away Tom Gilbert, and Nikolai Khabibulin is inching towards retirement with no true number-one heir to the net.

    What Edmonton is Likely to Do: Draft Nail Yakupov and dangle him as trade bait, or pick Mikhail Grigorenko and install him as the number-two center.

Columbus Blue Jackets

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    What Columbus Should Do: Draft whoever is left between Yakupov and Grigorenko

    The hockey gods have answered my prayers and have taken the sure bet to draft Nail Yakupov right out of Columbus' clutches.

    The Blue Jackets are an enigma when it comes to drafting and developing talent. Columbus' track record for picking players in the first round is, to put it lightly, unspectacular.

    The Blue Jackets need talent at forward, and fortunately with the second-overall pick, they will get Edmonton's leftovers—still a very good consolation prize.

    GM Scott Howson's only success this season was picking up more defense in the form of Jack Johnson. The Jackets are far from set on defense, but they are slowly getting better there. However, goaltender is a much bigger concern.

    Steve Mason is not an NHL goalie, despite winning the Calder Trophy his rookie season. Trading the second-overall pick for a package including a goalie shouldn't be considered because there should be some decent talent on the market. Signing Tomas Vokoun or offer-sheeting Tuukka Rask are two good options.

    What Columbus is Likely to Do: Draft whoever is left between Yakupov and Grigorenko

Montreal Canadiens

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    What Montreal Should Do: Flip a coin and take Filip Forsberg (heads) or Ryan Murray (tails)

    Montreal's collapse this season was of epic proportion. After taking the Boston Bruins to the brink in last year's playoffs and making the Eastern Conference Finals the year before, Montreal took ten steps backwards.

    Habs fans are eagerly awaiting news of who will be the new general manager and coach for next season, and for good reason; the staff this year was ghastly.

    Montreal has been a small team who intimidates no one for years now. After trading super-sniper Mike Cammalleri for super-thug Rene Bourque, the Habs addressed at least one of their size issues, even if the player they got back doesn't match up skill-wise.

    Ex-GM Pierre Gauthier questionably signed top-defenseman Andrei Markov to a three-year deal, which he has been struggling through with injury. Markov is still relatively young, but he will either retire due to injury or play a dozen games, get hurt, and collect a paycheck for the next two years.

    Montreal has needs everywhere except goalie. Speaking of which: Carey Price is ready to cash in on a desperate team!

    For this reason, they should make an unbiased decision by flipping a coin and seeing if fate deals them Forsberg or Murray, either of which would be an incredible addition to Montreal.

    What Montreal is Likely to Do: Draft Ryan Murray or Matt Dumba

New York Islanders

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    What New York Should Do: Take the best defenseman available, or trade the pick packaged with DiPietro and pray someone bites

    According to ISS's Top Ten scouting report, Ryan Murray, Jacob Trouba, Matt Dumba, Morgan Reily, Cody Ceci and Griffin Reinhart are all worthy of being named top-ten prospects.

    The 2012 draft is full of blue-chip prospects and especially heavy on defense.

    The Islanders are desperate for defense, but are fortunate enough to already have the pieces in place on offense that could be successful in the right coaching system.

    Captain and top Isles' defenseman Mark Streit is not getting any younger and is not that defensively sound. Young Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald are the only Islanders currently on the roster that seem to be fixed into the Islanders' defense for years to come.

    With Rick DiPietro and Alexei Yashin still on the payroll, Isles fans shouldn't get their hopes up too much if they find themselves back in the same position next year, but at least they will have a top prospect in their pool.

    What New York is Likely to Do: Draft Filip Forsberg

Toronto Maple Leafs

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    What Toronto Should Do: Draft Brendan Gaunce or Alex Galchenyuk

    After missing out on the opportunity to draft Tyler Seguin, Brian Burke must correct the mistakes of the past and draft a number one center.

    After giving a ridiculous contract to Mikhail Grabovski and being on the hook for one more year with oft-injured Tim Connolly, the Leafs must draft their top-line center of the future now.

    All signs point to Nazem Kadri being moved out of Toronto. After he was drafted years back in the top ten, Burke has fallen out of favor with Kadri, who consistently finds himself being pushed back into the AHL.

    Nobody expects Grigorenko to be waiting in the crowd when the Maple Leafs step up to the podium with the number five pick. Their best bets are highly touted center Brendan Gaunce, who's brother plays with the Colorado Avalanche, or Nail Yakupov's personal set up man; Alex Galchenyuk.

    Gaunce is the safer pick and Galchenyuk may be available in the late part of the first round due to recently-suffered injuries.

    What Toronto is Likely to Do: Draft Brendan Gaunce