NHL 2012 Draft: Predictions for the Top 5 Spots

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IJune 13, 2012

NHL 2012 Draft: Predictions for the Top 5 Spots

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    For NHL fans, one of the most exciting parts of the season is right around the corner—the Draft.

    There's a lot of talent in the draft pool, with names like Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Filip Forsberg, Mikhail Grigorenko, Alex Galchenyuk and Mathew Dumba.

    The top five teams in the NHL Draft are coming off disappointing seasons. They will rely on the Draft to add a talented player to their systems in hopes that they will help out in a season or two.

    Here's a look at the way the top five picks might go down.

1. Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov

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    The Edmonton Oilers may need depth on defense, but it would certainly be hard to pass up drafting Nail Yakupov with the first overall pick. The Oilers are probably salivating at the fact they get the privilege of drafting Yakupov.

    In a span of two seasons at right wing in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting, Yakupov posted 80 goals and 90 assists in 107 games. Those are pretty amazing numbers.

    The Oilers would be smart to draft Yakupov; and simply rely on free agency, trades, or a lower draft pick to acquire a defenseman.

2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Mikhail Grigorenko

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    With the Columbus Blue Jackets poised to trade Rick Nash almost certainly, they'll need a new franchise player—and Mikhail Grigorenko could be that player.

    The talented center scored 40 goals and 45 assists in 59 games for the Quebec Remparts.

    Yakupov will most likely not be available after the Oilers are finished making their pick, but Grigorenko isn't a shabby option either.

3. Montreal Canadiens: Filip Forsberg

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    Filip Forsberg would be a nice fit for the Montreal Canadiens, though he might need another season away from the NHL to develop properly.

    Forsberg doesn't share any relations to retired C Peter Forsberg, but he still has great potential.

    The numbers aren't quite there for Forsberg yet, as his best season saw him score 21 goals and 19 assists in 36 games for Leksands in the J20 league. In the HA league with Leksands, he has nine goals and assists each in 53 games.

    Given a few seasons though, the numbers will begin to rise and he'll be a great NHL player.

    The Canadiens, who desperately need a star on offense, need to look no further than Forsberg.

4. New York Islanders: Ryan Murray

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    The Islanders would be wise to pick Ryan Murray fourth overall. They need help on defense; with Mark Streit aging, and the less than stellar play of Milan Jurcina, Mark Eaton and Steve Staios.

    Murray would be a good fit to the Islanders young defensive corps, along with Andrew MacDonald, Travis Hamonic, Calvin de Haan, etc.

    The Islanders have plenty of offensive depth; with players like Ryan Strome, Kirill Kabanov, Kirill Petrov and Brock Nelson waiting in the wings.

    It may be hard to pass up a player like Grigorenko or Forsberg if they make it past the first three selections, but it would do the Isles justice if they picked up Murray.

    Murray provides a decent offensive punch, with 20 goals and 84 assists in 168 WHL games with the Everett Silvertips.

    But he's known for his defense, and is an NHL ready defenseman. He has great positioning and up-ice presence.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Galchenyuk

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    Alex Galchenyuk may fall to five because of a minor knee injury, but the Maple Leafs would love to have him.

    In 70 games with the Sarnia Sting, the winger scored 31 goals and 52 assists.

    The Leafs need a lot of help on their forward corps, and Galchenyuk would be a great winger to insert in the lineup with Phil Kessel.

    Those two could do a lot of damage together for the Leafs, and Galchenyuk could provide the spark the Leafs need to finally get back into the playoffs.