The 2012 NHL draft kicks off tonight, with the first round beginning at 7pm ET from Pittsburgh.
Being drafted in the first round is a great honor, but with that great honor also comes great expectations.
Most of the prospects selected in the first round of this NHL Entry Draft will be expected to step in and make substantial contributions for the team that drafts them either this year, or in subsequent seasons.
If the players cannot make these contributions or find ways to fall below expectations of fans, coaches and their respective general managers, these players will be listed under the infamous "draft pick bust" list for their respective teams.
It takes a few years to end up on such a list, but once a player is on the list, it takes a monumental effort to get off the list.
There have been many such players who have been drafted who are labeled as "busts," and there will be a few more "busts" tonight in the first round.
Here are the five players who could find themselves on that list in a few years' time.
Morgan Rielly is ranked fifth in the final North American skater rankings.
But perhaps he shouldn't be.
After averaging a point per game this season, Rielly tore his ACL and was out for five months, coming back for limited playoff action with Moose Jaw.
Rielly has really only played those 18 games and the five playoff games this season.
Most teams (aside from Buffalo, Tampa Bay or Washington) only get one first-round selection.
Would you take a chance on Rielly in the hopes that some day he is able to be that top-tier defenseman that he has shown himself to be in limited playing time in junior hockey?
Most GMs should think twice, as these rankings are not a representation of Rielly's entire season.
At such a high ranking, being selected in the top 10 would put incredible expectations on Rielly's first NHL season (although he will could go back to Moose Jaw next season).
Aside from injuries, Rielly loves to lead the rush as a defenseman. While this is fine in theory, leading the rush too often as a defenseman will lead to the other team turning the play around into an odd-man rush with a stretch pass in the other direction.
As you can see on the highlight tape, Rielly loves to get down into the slot and dangle. He will have to be accountable to his defensive partner and not wander too far into the offensive zone if he is to succeed at the NHL level.
What's not to love about a guy who ties for the team lead in scoring on his World Junior team while leading his team to a gold medal victory?
Meet Sebastian Collberg, the third-highest ranked "European skater" on the NHL's draft page.
Collberg's size works against him. At just 5'11" and 176 pounds, Collberg will need to fight for virtually every inch of NHL ice that he gets.
Big deal—so he's not the biggest guy in the world.
Collberg played with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. In his time with their junior team, Collberg had 44 points in 35 games in 2010-11 but just 17 points in 21 games this season.
To make matters worse, when Collberg was called up to play limited minutes for the actual Frolunda team this year, he played in 41 games and had zero (count them) points.
Although he will likely go in the first round, the fact of the matter is, if Collberg cannot score in a top league in Sweden, what makes it more likely that he will start scoring (or be a prolific scorer, for that matter) in the NHL?
I talked about how Morgan Rielly has been judged on a limited number of games this season in slide one.
Alex Galchenyuk (fourth-ranked North American skater) is being drafted on an even smaller number of games played this season
In 2010-11, Galchenyuk finished with 31 goals and 83 points in 68 games.
Unfortunately, this season likely didn't go as planned; Galchenyuk was injured pretty badly earlier this season (warning, semi-graphic injury) and played just two regular season games and six playoff games as his Sarnia Sting lost to Saginaw in the playoffs.
Galchenyuk wasn't even ranked in the midterm rankings on NHL.com's draft page, but somehow managed to creep up to No. 4 in the North American skaters list at the final rankings.
Galchenyuk has great offensive talents, and he showcased them very well in the 2010-11 season. But how will Galchenyuk react if he is drafted by team that wants to play him next season and he hasn't even played a whole season of minor hockey in two years?
As the No. 1 North American goalie prospect according to NHL.com in this year's draft, a lot will be expected of Malcolm Subban by the team that drafts him.
His older brother P.K. plays for Montreal, and in general, having a brother who plays in the NHL can raise expectations for the younger brother.
Subban likely wouldn't go until the middle or late first round as it stands right now, but for teams looking for a goalie, he would be appear to be the obvious selection.
Subban's numbers were pretty good for junior hockey: 25-14 with a 2.50 GAA and a 92.3 save percentage.
But goaltenders often get lit up in their earlier years as they try to adjust to the NHL.
If a team tries to get Malcolm Subban to be their starter early on, he could struggle and be labeled as a bust.
Any time a player is listed as a potential No. 1 overall pick, people are going to pay attention and expect great things from said player.
In the past two seasons, Nail Yakupov has 80 goals and 170 points in 107 games with the Sarnia Sting.
Obviously, NHL goalies are a lot better than OHL goalies, and Yakupov will have to adjust.
Putting Yakupov in the NHL next season is a no-brainer, but gauging his performance versus the expectations that will be set out for him will be difficult.
Obviously, if Yakupov does go first, the Edmonton Oilers would be his team and they have built a fairly impressive set of young forwards there who will help Yakupov along.
Being the first pick in the draft means that you are the best player. Along with being the best player come the expectations that you will be better than everyone else selected that year.
There are always players who slip through the first round undetected, but there are other players that are selected in the first round on the advice of scouts and simply cannot make the transition.
Which players will these turn out to be?
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