2012 NHL Mock Draft: Predicting Each First-Round Pick with Highlight Videos

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIJune 11, 2012

2012 NHL Mock Draft: Predicting Each First-Round Pick with Highlight Videos

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    We are only 12 days until the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh. A day where all 30 NHL teams are looking toward the future hoping to get a prospect good enough to crack the lineup if not next season, then in a few years.

    The top five of the draft are pretty simple to predict and are sure to be gone as soon as the fifth pick is made. After that teams will be looking to fill the pieces in their lineup. That isn't to say the crop is bad after the top five, but no one has near as much potential as they do.

    Some teams will try to fill a specific hole they have while other teams will simply take the best player available even though they might not need that players specific position. No matter what teams do, they hope that their pick doesn't turn out to be a bust as there is usually at least one from the first every year.

    Here is how I see the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft shaping up.

1. Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov

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    Position: Right Wing

    2011-12 Team: Sarnia (OHL)

    Height: 5'11" Weight: 190

    The Edmonton Oilers should be taking Ryan Murray with this pick as they desperately need a defenseman and he can step in right away. Alas, the Oilers are picking first overall and that comes with the expectation of taking Nail Yakupov. Don't get me wrong, he's a great prospect and will only add to the offensive talent that Edmonton has, but Yakupov is not what they need. That being said, unless there is a trade, Yakupov will be an Oiler.

2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Murray

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Everett (WHL)

    Height: 6'1" Weight: 201

    The Columbus Blue Jackets, after failing to win the draft lottery to maintain the first overall pick, take a player who will be in their lineup for many years to come. Ryan Murray might be a safe pick, but that is exactly what the Blue Jackets need right now. With almost all of their draft picks, with the exception of Rick Nash, have turned out to be horrible at worst, disappointing at best. Murray will give a great one-two punch with Jack Johnson now leading Columbus' defense.

3. Montreal Canadians: Mikhail Grigorenko

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Quebec (QMJHL)

    Height: 6'3" Weight: 200

    This one is all about the Quebec connection. While there may be better prospects out there, Mikhail Grigorenko has been playing in Quebec and that means that Hab fans are going to want him. It's not like its a bad idea either, Grigorenko would give them size up the middle, something that they desperately need. With Montreal in a mini-rebuild, if Grigorenko were to have a great training camp, he would be a nice addition to the Canadiens.

4. New York Islanders: Matt Dumba

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Red Deer (WHL)

    Height: 6'0" Weight: 183

    The New York Islanders surprise a lot of people by taking Matt Dumba in the top five. Sure, Alex Galchenyuk and Filip Forsberg are still available, but the Islanders could use some shoring up on the blue line and adding a player like Dumba would a great fit. With their offensive depth chart looking good for now, it's time the Islanders took a top defenseman. Dumba fits in perfectly.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Galchenyuk

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Sarnia (OHL)

    Height: 6'1" Weight: 198

    The Toronto Maple Leafs get lucky with Alex Galchenyuk slipping to No. 5. The top line center that Toronto has needed for so long will actually come from the draft rather than by trade with the drafting of Galchenyuk. With him missing all but two games of the OHL regular season because of an injury, Galchenyuk would most likely spend another year in junior, but as with Grigorenko, a great training camp could put him on the team.

6. Anaheim Ducks: Filip Forsberg

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    Position: Right Wing

    2011-12 Team: Leksand (SEL)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 181

    Another one of the safer picks, the Anaheim Ducks take Filip Forsberg after Matt Dumba is made unavailable. If Teemu Selanne retires this offseason, I will make the prediction that Forsberg will be in the Ducks lineup come October. He doesn't have the offense of Selanne, but then again, not many players do. He can at least replace some of the production that would leave with Selanne's retirement.

7. Minnesota Wild: Morgan Reilly

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Moose Jaw (WHL)

    Height: 6'0" Weight: 190

    When the Minnesota Wild traded Brent Burns to the San Jose Sharks, they lost their best defenseman the team had ever had, and they did not succeed in replacing him last season. Selecting Morgan Reilly with the seventh overall pick would give them a player that plays a lot like Burns and could join the team after another season of development. With the Wild's defense not the best in the league, it's a no-brainer to take Reilly here.

8. Carolina Hurricanes: Radek Faksa

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Kitchener (OHL)

    Height: 6'3" Weight: 203

    For the second straight year, the Carolina Hurricanes spend their first pick on member of the Kitchener Rangers. While he may take a few more years to develop, the power forward Radek Faksa would eventually give them a great No. 2 center behind Eric Staal.

9. Winnipeg Jets: Teuvo Teravainen

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    Position: Left Wing

    2011-12 Team: Jokerit (SM-liiga)

    Height: 5'11" Weight: 161

    After selecting Mark Scheifele with their first pick last year, now comes the task of finding players that are capable of playing with him. Teuvo Teravainen would be one of those players. One of the biggest risers in the rankings this season, Teravainen came out of nowhere and had a pretty good season in Finland. He would be a great addition to Canada's newest team.

10. Tampa Bay Lightning: Jacob Trouba

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: US NTDP

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 196

    Ever since the trade deadline, Tampa Bay has been stockpiling young defenseman. That will continue at the draft and with Jacob Trouba falling to the tenth pick, the Lightning will be glad to pick him up. The Lightning have what they need on offense, now they need to address the blue-line. Taking someone who is probably the second-best all-around defenseman in the draft isn't too shabby.

11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado): Brendan Gaunce

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Belleville (OHL)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 215

    Whatever direction the Washington Capitals go next season, I would be smart for them to take a player like Brendan Gaunce. A center with elite potential usually doesn't fall this far but with the talent available and the strength of the class of defenseman, the Capitals could end up getting one of the steals of the draft with Gaunce. If this comes to fruition, I would not be surprised to see the guys at TSN's Draft coverage talking about Gaunce being taken with a pick that was originally owned by the Colorado Avalanche, the team where his older brother Cameron is in the system.

12. Buffalo Sabres: Sebastien Collberg

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    Position: Right Wing

    2011-12 Team: Frolunda (SEL)

    Height: 5'11" Weight: 174

    The Buffalo Sabres have the tendency of developing players on the shorter side. While Sebastien Collberg is not exactly short, he's not huge either. If they can do the same with Collberg as they have done with Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe, they will give themselves options with some of their older players.

13. Dallas Stars: Zemgus Girgensons

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Dubuque (USHL)

    Height: 6'1" Weight: 201

    Dallas takes a player that projects to be a prototypical third-line center in Zemgus Girgensons. If he advances in the offensive side of the game in his development, he could be a second-liner, but with the way he plays the game it would not be a shame if he didn't. The captain of his team, Girgensons obviously has leadership capabilities and could potentially be a future captain.

14. Calgary Flames: Griffin Reinhart

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Edmonton (WHL)

    Height: 6'4" Weight: 207

    The Calgary Flames add another Reinhart to their collection as they have Griffin's older brother Max in the system. The biggest defenseman slated to go in the first round, Reinhart would give the Flames a force to be reckoned with on the blueline. If he learns to throw his weight around effectively, Calgary could have their hands on another steal.

15. Ottawa Senators: Hampus Lindholm

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Rogle (SEL)

    Height: 6'3" Weight: 196

    Erik Karlsson was the breakout player of the year this season by far, only a couple of seasons into his career. It's no secret that Ottawa knows how to develop Swedish players and this year they will take another. Hampus Lindholm could eventually turn out to be a great defense partner for Karlsson as he is two-way defenseman that would Karlsson to take his risks with the offensive side of the game.

16. Washington Capitals: Cody Ceci

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Ottawa (OHL)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 207

    Cody Ceci falls right into the Washington Capitals lap as they take a chance at not taking him with the eleventh pick. If Mike Greene is ever to be traded, Ceci is a player who could step in and eventually fill those shoes. If the Caps can come out of the first round with Gaunce and Ceci, they will be the biggest winners of the first round by far.

17. San Jose Sharks: Matthew Finn

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Guelph (OHL)

    Height: 6'0" Weight: 195

    The San Jose Sharks don't seem to have the best luck in drafting. The draft picks that eventually play for them are bit players, but when they draft a good player with potential, they end up trading him, Charlie Coyle for example. The Sharks have to take the best player available I believe that is Matthew Finn.

18. Chicago Blackhawks: Derrick Pouliot

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Portland (WHL)

    Height: 5'11" Weight: 186

    Another team taking the best player available, the Chicago Blackhawks make out with one of the more underrated defenseman in the draft. Add him to the defense that Chicago already has and you are going to have one dangerous bunch for quite some time.

19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit): Andrei Vasilevski

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    Position: Goaltender

    2011-12 Team: Ufa Tolpar (Jr.)

    Height: 6'3" Weight: 204

    After taking one of the higher-rated defensemen at No. 10, the Lightning set out to improve their other big need in goaltending. While they are certain to bring in a goaltender in the off-season, selecting a goalie like Andrei Vasilevski gives the Lightning a great goalie for the future.

20. Philadelphia Flyers: Slater Koekkoek

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Peterborough (OHL)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 184

    The Philadelphia Flyers like tough defenseman. Well, as the video shows, Slater Koekkoek is definitely capable of being tough. Playing for a bad team in the Peterborough Petes this year, Koekkoek played well before injuries took him out, allowing him only 26 games played.

21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville): Olli Maata

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: London (OHL)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 202

    Buffalo snaps up another player that falls further than suspected. The Sabres have a good group of defenseman in the pipeline and adding Olli Maata would only further it. He has winning experience with the OHL Champion London Knights and they just fell one game short of winning the Memorial Cup. Maata is a player the Sabres can't pass up.

22. Pittsburgh Penguins: Thomas Wilson

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    Position: Right Wing

    2011-12 Team: Plymouth (OHL)

    Height: 6'4" Weight: 203

    The Pittsburgh Penguins need more offensively gifted wingers. They have been focusing on the center and defense positions so long, it's time to add some more depth on the wing. Thomas Wilson projects to be a power forward and although his offensive game hasn't exactly manifested itself yet, it will in time. His toughness and willingness to get into the dirty areas could help Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, whoever he ends up playing with.

23. Florida Panthers: Brady Skjei

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: US NTDP

    Height: 6'3" Weight: 203

    The most interesting name in the draft, I'm more interested on how Brady Skjei last name is pronounced than anything else. A smooth skating defenseman, Skjei would give the Florida Panthers even more young depth on defense, behind Dimitri Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson.

24. Boston Bruins: Pontus Aberg

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    Position: Left Wing

    2011-12 Team: Djurgarden (SEL)

    Height: 5'11 Weight: 194

    Pontus Aberg is a risky pick because of what team he plays for. A team that heavily relies on it's older players, Aberg was still able to produce 15 points in 47 games. The Boston Bruins will take the risk because they can simply afford to take a player who is a high-risk, high-reward player.

25. St. Louis Blues: Tomas Hertl

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Slavia (Cze.)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 198

    The playmaking Czech Tomas Hertl would be a great addition to the St. Louis Blues. One of the better teams at developing prospects, the Blues selecting a player like Hertl would be dangerous for any team in the Central Division.

26. Vancouver Canucks: Colton Sissons

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    Position: Right Wing

    2011-12 Team: Kelowna (WHL)

    Height: 6'1" Weight: 189

    If this article was done around the beginning of the season, Colton Sissons would be gone long before the 26th pick. A heart-and-soul type player, Sissons would a great pick by his hometown Vancouver Canucks. Playing practically his entire career in British Columbia up unto this point, it would be a nice story of the draft.

27. Phoenix Coyotes: Henrik Samuelsson

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    Position: Center

    2011-12 Team: Edmonton (WHL)

    Height: 6'2" Weight: 195

    While it would not be surprising to see Henrik Samuelsson fall into the second round, Phoenix will take a shot with the son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson. The biggest knock on his game is skating and if he can fix that up, he projects to be a pretty good third-line center.

28. New York Rangers: Stefan Matteau

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    Position: Left Wing

    2011-12 Team: US NTDP

    Height: 6'1" Weight: 210

    This would be another great story of the draft. It would be wrong for Stefan Matteau to go to any other team than the New York Rangers, the team that his father Stephane made a name for himself.

29. New Jersey Devils: Malcolm Subban

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    Position: Goaltender

    2011-12 Team: Belleville (OHL)

    Height: 6'1" Weight: 188

    New Jersey could end up forfeiting this pick as a result of the Ilya Kovalchuk signing but a chance to draft a goaltender like Malcolm Subban. I believe they will keep the pick so that they can shore up a position that will be a problem for them after Martin Brodeur's retirement. Subban arguably has better potential than anyone in New Jersey's system at the moment and it would not be smart for the Devils to give up a pick where they can get a prospect like Subban.

30. Los Angeles Kings: Dalton Thrower

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    Position: Defense

    2011-12 Team: Saskatoon (WHL)

    Height: 5'11" Weight: 189

    If the video is any indication, Dalton Thrower's last name is apropos. A defenseman who is never afraid to drop the gloves, Thrower's game has an offensive side to it while keeping an eye on his own end. The Los Angeles Kings would be smart to add such a defenseman to the fold.

    Columbus does have the option to take this pick, and would have the opportunity to select twice in a row if they do but I suspect they will wait until next year.