The 2012 NHL Draft will be an exciting event with the Rick Nash trade saga making headlines plus the uncertainty over how the top five picks will turn out.
There are several possible options at No. 1 for the Edmonton Oilers, who could easily choose between a forward like Nail Yakupov or a defenseman like Ryan Murray with the top pick. Their choice at No. 1 will shape the entire draft.
Let's look at the safest picks for every NHL team.
1. Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Murray, D, Everett
The Oilers will shock everyone by passing on Nail Yakupov and drafting a future star in defenseman Ryan Murray.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Nail Yakupov, F, Sarnia
The Blue Jackets have had little success drafting Russian players high in the first round, but they won't be foolish enough to pass on Yakupov.
3. Montreal Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk, F, Sarnia
Galchenyuk or Filip Forsberg will be the dilemma for the Montreal Canadiens at No. 3, and honestly, either one would be a fine choice. Since Galchenyuk will probably be in the NHL sooner, he's the pick.
4. New York Islanders: Mathew Dumba, D, Red Deer
The ideal situation for the New York Islanders would be to have Ryan Murray fall to No. 4, but taking Mathew Dumba isn't a bad situation at all.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Filip Forsberg, F, Leksands
The Maple Leafs won't have to trade for Rick Nash after they draft Swedish power forward Filip Forsberg with the fifth overall selection.
6. Anaheim Ducks: Mikhail Grigorenko, F, Quebec
The Ducks would be amazed if Grigorenko fell to No. 6, and certainly wouldn't pas on him considering they need a more balanced offense next season.
7. Minnesota Wild: Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw
The Wild would want Grigorenko to fall to them at No. 7, but defenseman is their biggest need, so drafting Morgan Rielly would be a victory for them.
8. Carolina Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen, F, Jokerit
The Hurricanes will be active in free agency, but they need to be smart in the draft too. Teuvo Teravainen is a reliable pick and will be a quality goalscorer throughout his NHL career.
9. Winnipeg Jets: Radek Faksa, F, Kitchner
Drafting a blueliner would be a wise move for the Jets, but Evander Kane's future with the team might also end up being an issue soon, so drafting a quality forward like Radek Faksa would be the ideal pick for Winnipeg at No. 9.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning: Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton
This is an easy pick for the Lightning, who need more youth on defense after trading for young goaltender Anders Lindback from the Nashville Predators.
11. Washington Capitals (from COL): Jacob Trouba, D, USA U-18
The Capitals would be smart to make Jacob Trouba an important part of the team's future, especially after their success in the playoffs using a more defensive style than they were used to before head coach Dale Hunter took control.
12. Buffalo Sabres: Sebastian Collberg, F, Frolunda HC
Olli Maatta might be an option for the Sabres outside the top 10, but scoring depth is a weakness they must address with this pick.
13. Dallas Stars: Olli Maatta, D, London
Losing veteran defenseman Sheldon Souray wouldn't be a major loss for the Stars, but it would certainly be felt. They can fill his void in the lineup if he leaves with Finnish defenseman Olli Maatta.
14. Calgary Flames: Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa
The Calgary Flames' lack of a strong, physical defenseman must be addressed in this draft. Cody Ceci is the perfect player for the franchise to build around in the coming years.
15. Ottawa Senators: Hampus Lindholm, D Rogle
After losing David Rundblaad in the Kyle Turris trade, and the likely departure of Segei Gonchar in the near future, adding another defenseman to the organization would be a smart move for the Ottawa Senators.
16. Washington Capitals: Zemgus Girgensons, F ,Dubuque
Zemgus Girgensons won't be an impact NHL player next year, but his potential is very high and worth using a first-round pick on. The Capitals have a league-high 11 picks in the draft and can afford to take a few chances.
17. San Jose Sharks: Brendan Gaunce, F, Belleville
Physical power forward Brendan Gaunce would add some needed size and youth to an aging Sharks forward group.
18. Chicago Blackhawks: Derrick Pouliot, D ,Portland
Derrick Pouliot is a reliable defensive player and a smooth skater. He would be a nice fit on the Blackhawks' blueline in the near future.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from DET): Tom Wilson, F, Plymouth
The Lightning need to add some youth and skill to their forward group because Martin St. Louis cannot dominate for much longer and Vincent Lecavalier isn't what he used to be.
20. Philadelphia Flyers: Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon
The Flyers will need a defenseman that can be a quality NHL player as soon as possible because their time to win is now. Dalton Thrower will be able to help them next year or the year after.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from NSH): Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough
The Sabres will need to replace some of their current defensemen when their contracts expire over the next few years, and will need some quality young players in the pipeline to do that.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins: Brady Skjei, D, USA U-18
Pittsburgh will likely add a winger for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in free agency, so they will probably take a defenseman in the first round.
23. Florida Panthers: Matt Finn, D, Guelph
The Panthers need to continue to build their blueline to repeat as Southeast division champions next year.
24. Boston Bruins: Stefan Matteau, F, USNTDP
Stefan Matteau's size and strength at forward would make him the perfect Bruins winger. He just needs to polish his offensive skills a bit before making the jump to the NHL.
25. St. Louis Blues: Pontus Alberg, F, Djurgardens
The Blues will draft Pontus Aberg for his defensive skills, but most importantly, his ability to put the puck in the back of the net.
26. Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Samuelsson, C, Edmonton
After losing Cody Hodgson, the Canucks need to replenish their scoring depth at the center position either in free agency or in this year's draft.
27. Phoenix Coyotes: Scott Laughton, F, Oshawa
Scott Laughton would be a nice addition to a Coyotes team that doesn't have enough talented young forwards.
28. New York Rangers: Tomas Hertl, F, Slavia
The Rangers have enough depth at forward at the NHL level that they can let Tomas Hertl develop and bring him to their roster when he's ready to succeed.
29. New Jersey Devils: Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville
Why did the Devils not forfeit this pick when they have to give up one by 2014? I think they have a feeling that Malcolm Subban will be available as Martin Brodeur's future replacement in goal.
30. Los Angeles Kings: Colton Sissons, F, Kelowna
Colton Sissons' style of play would be a perfect fit with the Los Angeles Kings.
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