2012 NHL Draft: A Quick Look at the Top 10 Draft Picks

Eric SteitzAnalyst IIIJune 23, 2012

2012 NHL Draft: A Quick Look at the Top 10 Draft Picks

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    With the first round of the NHL Entry Draft from Pittsburgh complete, teams can now figure out how to move forward and address any holes they didn't fill with their top picks.

    The 2012 draft saw eight defensemen selected in the first 10 picks. The next "Russian Rocket" went No. 1 overall. Arguably the best name in the NHL went No. 10 to Tampa Bay and trades allowed some of the top teams in the NHL to snag some of the best talent in the draft.

    Here's a quick look at the top 10 picks of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. 

10. Slater Koekkoek (TBL)

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    Probably the coolest name of anyone in the draft, Slater Koekkoek was selected 10th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Koekkoek, a 23-year old defenseman, will look to help the Bolts on the blue line, a place where they struggled mightily down the stretch last season.

    Koekkoek is a product of the Ontario Hockey League (Peterborough).

    He is coming off a season-ending shoulder injury which limited him to just 26 games in 2011-2012.

9. Jacob Trouba (WPG)

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    With the ninth overall selection in 2012, the Winnipeg Jets nabbed 18-year-old Jacob Trouba.

    Trouba played for the USA National Team development program.

    He was also the youngest member of the USA World Junior Championship team. 

    He is committed to the University of Michigan for 2012.

8. Derrick Pouliot (PIT)

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins went with a familiar NHL name with their selection at No. 8 in Derrick Pouliot.

    The Penguins moved up in the draft by sending Jordan Staal to Carolina in exchange for the draft pick and two players.

    Pouliot is an 18-year-old defenseman from Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

    The young defenseman finished 2012 with 59 points in 72 games.

    He will most likely be reassigned to Portland after attending training camp with the Pens this offseason. 

7. Mathew Dumba (MIN)

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    Mathew Dumba already has an impressive resume and he hasn't even joined the NHL ranks...yet.

    Dumba was selected by the Minnesota Wild seventh overall, but the 18-year-old defenseman already has fans talking about his abilities, especially north of the border.

    Dumba was Captain of Team Canada at the U-18 World Junior Championships, had 12 points in seven games, was named best defenseman of the competition and helped Team Canada secure a bronze medal.

    Not bad young one, not bad. 

    The guy has had success on every level of hockey and Minnesota hopes that continues through the ranks.

6. Hampus Lindholm (ANA)

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    With the No. 6 pick, Anaheim q snagged 6'3" defenseman out of Sweden, Hampus Lindholm.

    A talented player on both ends of the ice, has a lot of upside and a lot of room to grow into his frame. Lindholm is currently 195 lbs., but don't be surprised if he breaks two bills by the time of his NHL debut.

    The 18-year-old still has some growing to do and the Ducks should be excited with this pick. The Swedes are typically very dedicated individuals (think Peter Forsberg); a strong work ethic with a lot of potential goes a long way.

5. Morgan Rielly (TOR)

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    Toronto took a calculated risk with their No. 5 pick. The Maple Leafs snagged Morgan Rielly, who played in just 18 games last season due to a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). 

    Apparently the knee injury is a risk the Toronto brass thought was worth the gamble. I can understand why. The kid had 18 points in 18 games before being shelved for the season. That's a point-per-game average, from a defenseman.

    Rielly did return in the Western Hockey League's postseason in 2012. He had three points in five games in the conference finals.

    It's real easy to see why Toronto went with this kid; he's a 6', 190-lb., 18-year-old defenseman, who is smart and produces points.

    Toronto stole this one. He's from Vancouver and would have loved to end up there but I'm sure he will be happy in the blue and white.   

4. Griffin Reinhart (New York Islanders)

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    Griffin Reinhart gets runner-up for coolest name in the top 10. Sorry sir, you can't beat Slater Koekkoek, that's just epic.

    However, Reinhart is no slouch on the ice. The Islanders nabbed the monstrous Canadian defenseman early. Reinhart is 6'4", 207 lbs. and he is only 18 years old. He will grow yet.

    He comes from good stock as well. Reinhart's dad played in over 600 games in the NHL. His older brother, Max, was drafted in 2010 by Calgary and his younger brother, Sam, was the 2012 WHL Rookie of the Year.

    I wonder how that household was to grow up in. No pressure, I'm sure.

    As for Griffin, he had 36 points and 38 penalty minutes in 58 games for Edmonton in the WHL. His presence can be felt on both ends of the ice.

    The Islanders could use a presence somewhere besides the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Their strong drafting the last few seasons should start to show in the next few years.  

3. Alex Galchenyuk (MTL)

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    There were only two forwards selected in the first 10 picks of the draft. Alex Galchenyuk was the second as he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the third overall pick.

    Galchenyuk is a good friend of the top pick in this year's draft, as they were teammates in the Ontario Hockey League, but Galchenyuk didn't have much of a 2012 season.

    Alex suffered a knee injury early and was only able to return for the final two games of the regular season and four games in the opening round of the playoffs.

    However, in 2011, Galchenyuk had 83 points in 68 games with 52 penalty minutes. The guy is a scrappy player with a great skill set. He may be the superstar the Canadiens have been waiting for.

2. Ryan Murray (CBJ)

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    Ryan Murray has been compared to Scott Niedermayer. Anyone who has watched hockey in the last 20 years knows what that means. That's a tall order for Murray, but he has the tools to fill that role well.

    Murray was selected No. 2 overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Jackets drafted well with this pick. One of the most complete players in the draft, the 6' defenseman has some bulk to his frame (201 lbs.) but also has a dominant skill set and a proven record against some of the top competition in the world.

    If Murray can live up to his potential the Jackets may have found their Erik Karlsson, someone they can build their defense around.

    Murray had 31 points in an injury-shortened 2012 campaign. The 19-year-old will be a welcomed addition to the Columbus area.

1. Nail Yakupov (EDM)

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    The Edmonton Oilers didn't want to tip their hand to letting anyone else know about who they would pick with the first selection. While it could be debated who to take No. 1, few were probably surprised when the Oilers selected Russian winger Nail Yakupov to start the 2012 entry draft.

    Yakupov, like many of the other top 10 picks, had an injury-shortened 2012 season but still managed to turn heads with his production. The right winger scored 69 points in 42 games, quite the clip. 

    He helped Russia win the silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships. The Russian had nine assists in the tournament, including a four-assist game against Canada in the semifinals.

    Scouting report says he's Pavel Bure-like. Pavel Bure, you know, the Russian Rocket?

    That's pretty strong company to be compared to. We'll see if he can follow in the footsteps of other recent Oiler draft picks like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.