NHL Draft 2012: 7 Players You Will Need to Watch Next Season

Justin HartlingCorrespondent IJune 23, 2012

NHL Draft 2012: 7 Players You Will Need to Watch Next Season

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    With the 2012 NHL draft finished, it is now time to look forward to the 2012-13 season.

    These are the seven players who were drafted that will be players to watch next season—whether that be because of their great offensive potential, their hard work or the inevitable comparisons that will dog them all season long.

Nail Yakupov: Edmonton Oilers

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    Let’s start with the elephant in the room.

    Yakupov will more than likely start the upcoming NHL season on a line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. This unprecedented line of the last three first overall picks will be looked upon to produce big time if the Oilers are expected to go anywhere next season.

    Yakupov will be expected to produce like an offensive beast, but I don’t see that happening. He has all the tools to do it, but at the end of the day, he will be playing on a team with almost no help on the backend and on a line that has a 20-year-old as the senior.

    It will be exciting to see just how well these three will mesh together. I’m sure there will be some rough patches, but when these three players learn how to play with each other, they could easily become one of the most exciting lines to ever play in the NHL, let alone next season.

Alex Galchenyuk: Montreal Canadians

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    The player with the most pressure from day one.

    Galchenyuk has amazing talents as a passer and the consistency the Habs have needed desperately for years. Being able to put the puck in the net has been a weakness for the Canadians, but with Galchenyuk leading the charge on the first line and on the power play, there could be a fast change in Montreal.

    This Wisconsin born Russian is going to have to be one of the best players on the Habs early in his career. We all know how volatile the Canadians fanbase is and they are dying for results now. It has been almost 20 years since the Habs hosted a Stanley Cup final game, and the fans are getting anxious.

    After missing most of last season due to a knee injury, Galchenyuk better be well rested to help carry Les Blue-Blanc-Rouge to a playoff appearance.

Filip Forsberg: Washington Capitals

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    The player who could make 10 teams wonder what could have been.

    Move over Semin, because you have found your replacement. Forsberg has the hockey sense, the creativity and the two-way ability to be an elite player in the NHL. Joining an offense that is not far removed from being one of the best in the NHL and a team that could be a few pieces away from being a constant threat in the playoffs will make Forsberg an instant contributor to a good team.

    Forsberg is going to be fun to watch because he is undoubtedly unhappy with his draft day slide. Some experts had him as high as No. 2 overall and almost none had him outside the top five. After watching team after team pass him over would have frustrated Forsberg, and he will be playing with a huge chip on his shoulder next season. If one player in the draft will make an instant impact, it will be Forsberg.

Teuvo Teräväinen: Chicago Blackhawks

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    The player that we didn’t see coming.

    Teräväinen is an incredibly gifted offensive talent. He is a marvel with the puck and possesses elite potential that could have put him in the top 10 draft picks if the draft wasn’t so top heavy with defensemen. Teräväinen has great vision, and when you include his creativity on the ice, he should become an elite playmaker for the Blackhawks.

    Just his offensive abilities alone will make Teräväinen a fun player to watch this year, but it will be the scrutiny he will face from analysts and fans thoughts on his selection. It was universally accepted that the Chicago brass should have selected a goalie. With Malcolm Subban still on the board as well as every other goalie in the draft, it is questionable that the Blackhawks drafted an elite offensive playmaker.

    Watching Teräväinen play will be fun, but the constant comparisons to other players, that some say should have been selected instead, is going to lead to a lot of fun barroom arguments between Hawks fans.

Matt Finn: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    The superfan that will prove to be the steal of the draft.

    How Finn fell this far is an absolute travesty and miracle for the Leafs. Finn excels in all aspects of the game, which is a rarity. Not only can he shut down offensive players at the blue line, but last season with Guelph, he tallied 47 points in 61 games. He is not a flashy player by any stretch, but Finn is going to provide a consistent and steady defenseman on the backend that has nowhere to go but up.

    Why is he entertaining to watch? Despite all of his amazing strengths, Finn was a minus-13 last season with Guelph while scoring his 47 points. He is going to be that player that will score the game-winning goal one day and the next get beat for a game losing goal. Fans from every team in the league will find Finn fun to watch because you will never know what’s going to happen next.

Lukas Sutter: Winnipeg Jets

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    The future captain of the Jets.

    Lukas Sutter provides everything you could want in a leader on the ice. He is a hard-working grinder who provides consistent effort at both ends of the ice. Sutter has the work ethic that every coach wants from a player, and I can see him setting the tone for the Jets this upcoming season. He will more than likely toil on the third or fourth line, but he will supply a presence of physicality that the Jets brass wants.

    Sutter is the type of player that true hockey fans will love to watch. A player that will hustle from one end to the other and leave everything he has on the ice every night. Sutter will be the next captain of the Winnipeg Jets after Andrew Ladd, I guarantee it.

Oscar Dansk: Columbus Blue Jackets

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    The player who will shock the hockey world and play next season.

    Dansk is the most proven goalie in this NHL draft, playing at the famous Shattuck St. Mary’s Hockey School, J18 Elit and Allsvenskan leagues in Sweden and the Brynas J20 team of the SuperElit league. He is a quicker than fast, butterfly style goalie that does have some room to grow.

    Even though he seems committed to play in the CHL next season it would not surprise me to see him competing for the lead goaltending job for the Blue Jackets. Even though the team traded (way too much) for Sergei Bobrovsky and they already have one-hit wonder Steve Mason, Dansk provides potential and experience Columbus desperately needs in net.

    Watching Dansk fight his way into the starting role as all the other goalies fall around him will lead to a great midseason rise of a steady presence in the Blue Jacket net. It’s going to be a fun rise to the top.

Who Can't You Wait to See Next Season?

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    Which players do you want to see next season?

    Do you think I'm insane?

    Either way, leave a comment and let me know.

    Thanks for reading!