With the 2012 NHL draft scheduled to begin Friday, June 22 with the first round and Saturday, June 23 for the second through seventh rounds, the entire NHL community is ready to begin the transition into the 2013 mindset.
Redemption starts with the NHL draft.
The talent may be thin this year, but that doesn’t mean the elite players coming out are any less valuable; there are many bona fide NHL stars at the top of this draft.
The international stars that will make the biggest impact will be italicized.
1. Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov, LW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
While there is no question who will go No. 1 this season, the thought that the Edmonton Oilers could get another top-caliber prospect that can step right into the NHL is scary.
With stars like Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall already on the roster, the Oilers would be slowly turning into one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the league; adding Yukupov would put them in an elite class.
Edmonton needs plenty of help defensively and in net, but they have the young core to be a threat for a long time.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Filip Forsberg, LW, Leksands IF (Allsvenkan)
With the likely trade of captain and star forward Rick Nash, the Columbus Blue Jackets must find their perfect star. That’s where Filip Forsberg comes in.
The problem here is that reports have Forsberg staying in Sweden for another season. The Blue Jackets would have to be willing to take that long-term risk here, and there are questions amongst team officials if they can afford to wait.
For as much talent as he has, the time for rebuilding is now and they should pass on Forsberg. However, I believe they will select the talented Swede.
3. Montreal Canadiens: Mikhail Grigorenko, C, Quebec Remparts (QJMHL)
The Montreal Canadiens need to get bigger straight down the middle and Mikhail Grigorenko will walk onto the team and become the starting second-line center.
4. New York Islanders: Ryan Murray, D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
After watching their offensive output get wasted by poor defensive play, the Islanders would be smart to snag a future star like Ryan Murray at No. 4.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Galchenyuk, C, Sarina Sting (OHL)
Despite a history of injuries, there is no doubt that Maple Leafs fans will get excited about the Alex Galchenyuk pick, only to be disappointed when he never fulfills his potential.
6. Anaheim Ducks: Matthew Dumba, D, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
With enough offense to go around, the Ducks need to get back to their defense-first mentality, and that starts by drafting a defender like Matthew Dumba.
7. Minnesota Wild: Jacob Trouba, D, USNDTP (USHL)
The Minnesota Wild play hockey the right way, but they need real defenders to play their role. If developed properly, Jacob Trouba could be a mainstay of the Wild blue line for a long time.
8. Carolina Hurricanes: Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
With Joni Pitkanen’s contract just over two years from expiring, the Carolina Hurricanes will look to Griffin Reinhart to become their new jack-of-all-trades.
9. Winnipeg Jets: Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
The rebirth in Winnipeg hasn’t gone smoothly, so the franchise has to get back to basics. Taking the best defenseman available in Morgan Rielly is the right place to begin.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning: Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Jokerit Helsinki (SM-Liiga)
With Vincent Lecalvier and Martin St. Louis getting older, the need for quality pieces around them is great.
Add in the need to feed the puck to star Steven Stamkos and the Lightning won’t be able to pass on an offensive star with as much potential as Teuvo Teravainen.
Tampa Bay’s addition of the Finnish prospect would be a great move and a sign that the team is planning ahead.
11. Washington Capitals (from Colorado Avalanche): Brendan Gaunce, C, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
With the Washington Capitals in limbo, Brendan Gaunce is a gritty forward with an offensive touch that gives it 100 percent every shift. No matter what system the team runs next year, he will be a good fit.
12. Buffalo Sabres: Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
The Buffalo Sabres need a defender that can play on the powerplay while still being able to defend. Sabres fans must meet Cody Ceci.
13. Dallas Stars: Radek Faksa, C/W, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Since Dallas moved on from Brad Richards, they haven’t had that center that could make a difference. They are hoping that Radek Faksa will be their man.
14. Calgary Flames: Zemgus Girgensons, C, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
For as great as I think Zemgus Girgensons could be, he will be arriving in Calgary in a time when they need to rebuild but continue to refuse to do so. This young star will be buried.
15. Ottawa Senators: Hampus Lindholm, D, Rogle (Allsvenskan)
Ottawa had great success rebuilding their defense over the last three season, so drafting a bit of a risk in Hampus Lindholm will be fine as long as they continue their success with defenders.
16. Washington Capitals: Olli Maatta, D, London Knights (OHL)
Washington’s problems are much deeper than anyone could have imagined, but the hope is that a character defender like Olli Maatta can come in and instill a new mental philosophy.
17. San Jose Sharks: Sebastian Collberg, RW, Vastra Frolunda HC (SEL)
San Jose proved that their scoring inconsistencies would always plague them if they didn’t make a move. The hope is that Sebastian Collberg is the shot in the arm the team needs.
18. Chicago Blackhawks: Pontus Aberg, LW, Djurgardens IF Stockholm (SEL)
With the defense set and a lack of depth at forward, taking a bit of a reach in Pontus Aberg is a risk worth taking for the Blackhawks.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning: Matt Finn, D, Guelph Storm (OHL)
The Tampa Bay offense is dangerous, but the obvious flaws that Matt Finn could hide would be a help right off the bat.
20. Philadelphia Flyers: Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
With Chris Pronger’s future in doubt and free agency creeping on many of the veteran Flyers defenders, adding a prospect that could be in the NHL soon like Slater Koekkoek is a no-brainer.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville Predators): Tom Wilson, RW, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Buffalo needs to start drafting prospects that overperform instead of underperform; Tom Wilson would be a great star.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins: Derrick Pouliot, D, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Pittsburgh’s defensive woes were well documented this postseason, and Derrick Pouliot is the right long-term investment for the Penguins.
23. Florida Panthers: Brady Skjei, D, USNDTP (USHL)
The Florida Panthers showed plenty of tenacity during their run to the postseason, but they need to add depth and youth to their defensive group. Brady Skjei is the perfect prospect.
24. Boston Bruins: Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Boston is a very talented team, but they could always use more depth on defense. Dalton Thrower is a safe pick for the future.
25. St. Louis Blues: Stefan Matteau, C, USNDTP (USHL)
Stefan Matteau is the kind of two-way center that can make an impact on Ken Hitchcock and start the season as a second-line center.
26. Vancouver Canucks: Scott Laughton, C, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Vancouver is in a tough spot this offseason, but they will have an easy choice to make at no. 26 when Oshawa Generals center Scott Laughton falls to them. Great fit and steal here.
27. Phoenix Coyotes: Tim Bozon, LW, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Phoenix is in a constant state of rebuilding and playing for right now, but Tim Bozon is a gritty forward that will contribute at both ends of the ice for as long as he is in the desert.
28. New York Rangers: Andrey Vasilevski, G, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
This pick is an investment, with Andrey Vasilevski expected to need three or four more years of development. It is a risky pick, but one that could pay off huge down the line.
29. New Jersey Devils: Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville (OHL)
Martin Brodeur has more left in the tank, but not much more. Malcolm Subban could be the Devils' long-term solution.
30. Los Angeles Kings: Tomas Hertl, C, HC Slavia Praha (Czech)
There is bound to be some turnover on the Los Angeles roster, but there is no doubt that a third-line center is a major need. Tomas Hertl is a two-way player the team can rely on.
Check back for more on the National Hockey League as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s NHL page to get your fill of all things hockey.