After many months of 2012 NHL mock drafts, I have chosen my final picks for the teams in the first round.
This draft will be very exciting because there are many teams, including several in the top 10, who could go a number of different ways with their selection.
Let's look at a fresh first-round mock draft.
*Denotes forward with superstar potential
1. Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov*, F, Sarnia
The Oilers pick at No.1 will have a major impact on the long-term future of their club. Expect them to make the safest and most sensible pick by taking Nail Yakupov.
It would be a stunning development if Yakupov turns out to be a bust, and judging by the forwards who have gone No. 1 in recent seasons, the Oilers would be making a smart choice by selecting the Sarnia Sting man.
2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Filip Forsberg*, F, Leksands
The Blue Jackets will draft the most complete player in this class by select selecting Sweden star winger Filip Forsberg.
Columbus needs a player who can dominate games offensively and score goals. It was the fifth-lowest scoring team in the NHL this season and needs to draft a top-line forward with the No. 2 pick.
3. Montreal Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk, F, Sarnia
The Canadiens would probably take Forsberg if he's available at No. 3, but will be glad to take Alex Galchenyuk at No. 3.
4. New York Islanders: Ryan Murray, D, Everett
The Islanders would love for Yakupov, Forsberg or Galchenyuk to fall to them, but they have to draft a top defenseman prospect after using many of their recent first round picks on talented forwards.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Mikhail Grigorenko, F, Quebec
The Maple Leafs would be smart to choose a sure-fire star in Mathew Dumba, but the potential that Mikhail Grigorenko has will ultimately make him the pick in the end.
6. Anaheim Ducks: Mathew Dumba, D, Red Deer
With Bobby Ryan reportedly available on the trade market, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Anaheim could go with a forward at No. 6, but the chances that defenseman Mathew Dumba ends up as a bust are so small.
7. Minnesota Wild: Teuvo Teravainen, F, Jokerit
The Wild could seriously consider taking Morgan Rielly with this pick, but will probably be very intrigued by the top offensive talent of Teuvo Teravainen.
8. Carolina Hurricanes: Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw
The Hurricanes would be smart to draft Morgan Rielly and have him and young defenseman Justin Faulk star on the team's blueline for years.
9. Winnipeg Jets: Jacob Trouba, D, USA U-18
The Jets allowed the fifth-most goals per game this season, so drafting a defenseman of Trouba's caliber makes perfect sense.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning: Sebastian Collberg, F, Frolunda HC
The Lightning offense wasn't as strong last year as it was in 2011 when they went to the Eastern Conference Finals, so look for them to draft a forward in the first round.
11. Washington Capitals (from COL): Radek Faksa*, F, Kitchener
The Capitals could go with a number of different players at No. 11, but Radek Faksa is the certainly the best fit for them.
Since there will likely be some available spots on the Capitals roster next season, Faksa could make his mark on the NHL sooner rather than later. He is a great skater and has elite scoring skills.
12. Buffalo Sabres: Zemgus Girgensons, F ,Dubuque
Since Derek Roy and Brad Boyes' future with the team may not extend past next season, adding some young forwards to the team is the best strategy for Buffalo.
13. Dallas Stars: Olli Maatta, D, London
With the number of quality defensemen set to become free agents on July 1 getting smaller by the day, drafting Olli Maatta makes sense for the Dallas Stars.
14. Calgary Flames: Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa
Since they already have an elite goalie in Miikka Kiprusoff, the next step for the Flames to win more games is to add a blueliner who will make Calgary tougher to play against.
15. Ottawa Senators: Hampus Lindholm, D Rogle
Hampus Lindholm's offensive ability would be a nice fit on the Senators blueline.
16. Washington Capitals: Brendan Gaunce, F, Belleville
Brendan Gaunce's physical style of play would be a good fit on a Capitals team that found new success playing a more heavy style of hockey in the playoffs.
17. San Jose Sharks: Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton
Even after signing free-agent defenseman Brad Stuart to a three-year contract, the Sharks could still use another defenseman for next season.
18. Chicago Blackhawks: Derrick Pouliot, D, Portland
Since it's unlikely that the Chicago Blackhawks will add a top-four defenseman before next season, they will add depth to the blueline through the draft.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning (from DET): Dalton Thrower, D, Saskatoon
Allowing the most goals per game in the NHL last season has created the need for another defenseman on the Lightning roster.
20. Philadelphia Flyers: Tom Wilson, F, Plymouth
The possibility of Jaromir Jagr leaving the team in free agency could create a need in the Flyers organization for another skilled forward.
21. Buffalo Sabres (from NSH): Stefan Matteau, F, USNTDP
The Buffalo Sabres' forward group needs the toughness and physicality that Stefan Matteau can provide.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins: Brady Skjei, D, USA U-18
The Penguins were dominated in their own end during the playoffs, which needs to be addressed in this draft by selecting a defenseman.
23. Florida Panthers: Matt Finn, D, Guelph
The lack of elite defensemen in the Panthers organization would make the selection of Matt Finn an intelligent move by general manager Dave Tallon.
24. Boston Bruins: Slater Koekkoek, D, Peterborough
The Bruins have impressive defensive depth on defense, but they would be foolish to pass on a player with Slater Koekkoek's abilities.
25. St. Louis Blues: Henrik Samuelsson, C, Edmonton
Adding a skilled center who can score like Henrik Samuelsson would be the best choice for the Blues in the first round.
26. Vancouver Canucks: Pontus Aberg, F, Djurgardens
After an impressive season in Sweden, Pontus Aberg proved that he has the potential to be a quality scorer at the NHL level.
27. Phoenix Coyotes: Colton Sissons, F, Kelowna
The hard-hitting forward from Kelowna is a great fit for a Coyotes forward group that needs another power forward to compete in the Western Conference.
28. New York Rangers: Tomas Hertl, F, Slavia
The Rangers had trouble scoring in the playoffs, so they would be wise to draft someone with the offensive talents of Tomas Hertl.
29. New Jersey Devils: Malcolm Subban, G, Belleville
The Devils need a goaltender for the future and will find that player with the selection of Malcolm Subban.
30. Los Angeles Kings: Scott Laughton, F, Oshawa
The Kings need to replenish their offensive depth at the AHL level, so drafting Scott Laughton makes a lot of sense.
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