NHL Draft 2012: Post-Draft Report for Every Team

Carol SchramFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2012

NHL Draft 2012: Post-Draft Report for Every Team

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    The 2012 NHL Draft is in the books.

    It will be several years before we can truly assess the success of most of the 211 young men who have been chosen. A few will make an immediate impact in the NHL next season, and some sleeper picks will buoy their franchises years down the road.

    With draft weekend trades and other player movement factored in, here's a look at which teams' stock rose this weekend, which ones' fell, and who's in a holding pattern.

    Teams are listed alphabetically.

Stock Is Rising

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    Buffalo Sabres

    The Sabres did what they needed, getting much bigger up front with the acquisition of centers Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons. Both show great promise and fill a need.

    Carolina Hurricanes

    Carolina surrendered its first-round pick to Pittsburgh on Friday, but the Hurricanes did it to acquire Jordan Staal.

    At just 23, Staal already has a Selke trophy and a Stanley Cup on his resume, and has not yet reached his full potential.

    Yes, he has only one year left before becoming an unrestricted free agent, but the feeling is that Jordan will be happy to stay in Carolina now that he has been reunited with older brother Eric.

    With the addition of Jordan Staal, the Hurricanes improve immediately.

    Edmonton Oilers

    It's hard not to improve when your team is granted the top draft choice for the third consecutive year. Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are blossoming into top-level NHLers, but Nail Yakupov may eclipse them both.

    Yakupov has special talent and dazzling skills. He has the potential to lift fans in Rexall Place out of their seats for many years to come.

    Los Angeles Kings

    The Kings pulled a slick move with the last pick in the first round, grabbing Tanner Pearson. A late bloomer, Pearson will be 20 by the start of next season. Some speculate that he could step right into the NHL.

    During this year's playoffs, Los Angeles showed us what a great job they've done choosing and developing prospects like Dwight King and Jordan Nolan. They don't need help right away, so this year's class will also be allowed to take its time to develop.

    Montreal Canadiens

    Montreal needs to give its fans something to cheer for as it enters a new phase. Marc Bergevin appears to have passed his first major test with flying colours, grabbing size and skill at the draft with Alex Galchenyuk and Sebastian Collberg. Galchenyuk, in particular, will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact.

    New York Islanders

    The Islanders have been lacking in defensive depth, but they shored up in a big way this weekend when they acquired Lubomir Visnovsky by trade from Anaheim and drafted big Griffin Reinhart with the fourth pick.

    Visnovsky is a solid offensive defenseman, and Reinhart has the skill set that may allow him to bring help to the Islanders' back end as early as next year.

    Ottawa Senators

    Draft day is a good day for the Senators. After a few missteps early in their franchise history, they've gone on to become one of the best teams in the NHL at scouting and developing their prospects. Erik Karlsson's Norris trophy at age 22 is testament to that, especially for a 15th overall pick.

    The Sens drafted 15th again this year and took a local player in Cody Ceci. Born and raised in Ottawa, he's playing junior with the Ottawa 67s and is thrilled to be a part of the Senators organization. Ottawa fans treat their players like gold and will welcome Ceci with open arms.

    Philadelphia Flyers

    The Flyers didn't do much of note in the actual draft, but their deal on Saturday to acquire Luke Schenn does two things. It immediately shores up an aging defense corps, and it opens up a spot at forward for the Flyers to try to go after local boy Bobby Ryan.

    The Flyers hit the jackpot in last year's draft with Sean Couturier. It's unlikely Scott Laughton will step right in, but Philadelphia remains poised to make big changes in the coming weeks.

    Pittsburgh Penguins

    The hosts made the biggest splash of the first round when they traded Jordan Staal to Carolina on Friday.

    For one year of Staal's rights, they picked up promising young leader Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the eighth pick, which they used on defenseman Derrick Pouliot. The Pens grabbed another blue-line prospect, Olli Maatta, with their 22nd pick.

    Pittsburgh also shipped Zbynek Michalek to Phoenix for prospects. Shedding his salary and Staal's should help the Pens to re-sign Sidney Crosby, and also leaves room for them to be active in the free agent market next week.

    Toronto Maple Leafs

    Toronto is already rich with defensive prospects, and the Maple Leafs drafted two more this weekend in Morgan Rielly and Matthew Finn.

    Those picks allowed Brian Burke to finally pull the trigger on the long-rumored Luke Schenn trade, sending him to Philadelphia in exchange for power forward James van Riemsdyk.

    If he can stay healthy, JVR has the potential to add a solid new dimension to the Leafs' offense and power play with his size and skill.

    Washington Capitals

    Washington entered the draft on Friday with a league-high 11 picks. They traded one to Dallas along with Cody Eakin for center Mike Ribeiro. They also grabbed two highly touted prospects in the first round—Swedish scoring sensation Filip Forsberg and monster right winger Tom Wilson.

    The Capitals are at a bit of a franchise crossroads. On draft day, they improved their team for next year as well as for the future.

    Winnipeg Jets

    The Jets had a good weekend in Pittsburgh. They used their first two selections to pick the kind of guys that Winnipeg fans could come to love, Jacob Trouba and Lukas Sutter. They also acquired Jonas Gustavsson to give themselves some insurance in net while they negotiate with Ondrej Pavelec.

    Baby steps, but still steps forward. 

Stock Is Holding

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    Boston Bruins

    The Bruins have a complete roster that's ready to go next season. They're also bumping up against the salary cap ceiling, so they don't have a lot of flexibility.

    This draft was all about the future for Boston. They provided good entertainment value by choosing goaltender Malcolm Subban in the first round and have done a solid job of restocking their pool of prospects through the rest of the draft.

    Chicago Blackhawks

    The Hawks were lucky to be able to grab skilled Finn Teuvo Teravainen with the 18th pick, but he's undersized and likely won't bring immediate help.

    Chicago still needs to address its goaltending and tinker with the chemistry that has caused its first-round playoff exits for the last two years.

    Columbus Blue Jackets

    Columbus has a brutal track record with its draft picks, so "holding" is not a bad place for it to be.

    Ryan Murray should turn out to be a solid choice. Right until the last minute on Friday, there was speculation that he might go first overall. Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk also looks like a good second-round pick who could address a positional weakness.

    Until the Rick Nash deal is complete, it's hard to say that Columbus is moving forward. Scott Howson hasn't budged from his high asking price on Nash, and the future of the franchise will depend on the quality of assets that he receives in the deal.

    Detroit Red Wings

    Detroit's first-round pick this year ended up in Tampa Bay as part of the Kyle Quincey deal at the trade deadline. But the Red Wings have proven again and again that they don't need to draft early to draft effectively.

    Martin Frk was a highly touted prospect who dropped to No. 49 before he was grabbed by the Red Wings. The Czech winger is exactly the type of player who could eventually make people wonder how he ever dropped so far.

    For now, Detroit holds tight. For them, ''holding'' means continuing to develop obscure prospects better than almost any other team.

    Florida Panthers

    Florida had only five picks in this year's draft. First-rounder Mike Matheson will need some time to develop, so this weekend won't have any immediate impact on the Panthers' prospects for next season.

    Florida has some roster spots to fill, especially on the blue line. With tons of cap space, they may be active in free agency. They may also once again be a fit for a team that's looking to shed a good player with a larger contract.

    Minnesota Wild

    After the bold moves at last year's draft didn't result in improved team fortunes, the Wild have laid low so far this year. 

    Matthew Dumba looks like a dynamic defenseman but likely won't be ready for at least a year. Still, Minnesota's fortunes should improve next season if it can just stay healthier than it did last year.

    Nashville Predators

    Considering Nashville's strong organizational emphasis on developing their own draft choices, it shouldn't be surprising that they were somehow able to use two second-round picks to grab prospects who'd had first-round potential, Pontus Aberg and Colton Sissons. 

    Nashville has some roster holes that will need to be addressed. Their summer begins when the Ryan Suter situation resolves itself after July 1.

    New Jersey Devils

    The Devils are still hoping they'll be able to re-sign Zach Parise, and the coveted winger has indicated that he'd like to return if finances allow.

    Until Parise stays or goes, New Jersey is caught in a sort of limbo. As such, they did a good job of re-stocking their prospects with this year's draft choices. They also caused a little grief for their fans when they used their first-round pick to chose Stefan Matteau, son of former Ranger and long-time enemy Stephane Matteau.

    New York Rangers

    The Rangers have been quiet so far, but it's assumed that discussions continue with Columbus on the Rick Nash front. He's the player they covet for next season.

    New York had just four choices in this year's draft. With their first-rounder, they picked up solid defensive prospect Brady Skjei.

    Phoenix Coyotes

    Phoenix's first-round choice, Henrik Samuelsson, saw his stock rise significantly after a standout performance during the Memorial Cup tournament. He has great bloodlines, good size and good hands. He'll turn out to be a solid prospect.

    The Coyotes also shored up their defensive core by re-acquiring Zbynek Michalek from Pittsburgh. Michalek spent five productive seasons with the Coyotes before signing as a free agent with the Penguins in 2010 and will be happy to get back to the desert.

    Beyond that, Phoenix will have to wait until their ownership situation is clarified before it can make further moves to try to improve upon its best season in franchise history. 

    St. Louis Blues

    St. Louis made huge strides last year, moving from a non-playoff team all the way to contending for the Presidents' Trophy. They have a good young core group in place, and most of the team is expected to return next year.

    The Blues have done well at the draft table in recent years, so it would not be surprising to see good things from some of the eight young men they selected at this year's draft.

    Tampa Bay Lightning

    Tampa Bay made a move earlier in the week, acquiring young goaltender Anders Lindback.

    Steve Yzerman made good on his word to start developing goalies within their system when he took standout Russian Andrey Vasilevskiy in the first round, along with big defenseman Slater Koekkook.

    Neither is likely to provide immediate help, but it looks like Yzerman learned a thing or two during his time in Detroit about making sure the prospect bank was always well-stocked.

Stock Is Falling

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    Anaheim Ducks

    After moving Lubomir Visnovsky, the Ducks look a little weaker today than they did coming into the draft, There are also question marks surrounding first-rounder Hampus Lindholm, who was chosen by the Ducks much higher than most pundits projected.

    Then there's the Bobby Ryan controversy. Ryan told the Courier Post about his frustration that his name is constantly mentioned in the Ducks' trade rumors. It's too early to say if there's fire this time, but if Ryan really wants to go to Philly, James Van Riemsdyk's roster spot just opened up. Can the Ducks get a quality package back in return?

    The one bright spot on Anaheim's horizon is the prospect that ageless wonder Teemu Selanne may return for one more year.

    Calgary Flames

    You could hear the audible gasp in Consol Energy Center on Friday when Calgary took Mark Jankowski with its first-round pick.

    The Flames were so certain that Jankowski wasn't on any other team's radar that they traded down with Buffalo and took him 21st instead of their original 12th pick.

    Jankowski has good bloodlines but has been a late bloomer. He won't be helping the Flames anytime soon. Their other choices also look like long-term development projects, so this draft isn't going to get Calgary back into the playoff picture in the next year or two.

    Colorado Avalanche

    The Avs gave up their first-round choice in this year's draft in the Semyon Varlamov trade with Washington, so their later-round picks this year will require some development.

    At this point, the only thing that will make next year's Colorado team better will be another year of improvement for Calder Trophy winner Gabriel Landeskog.

    Dallas Stars

    Dallas has made a decision to get younger under new owner Tom Gaglardi. With future star Jamie Benn as the centerpiece going forward, Dallas moved forward Mike Ribeiro to Washington on draft day, while choosing Radek Faksa with their first-round pick.

    Faksa is a big center with upside, but will likely be a year or two away from stepping into Ribeiro's spot. Without more changes, Dallas will need some Band-Aids to stay near playoff contention next season.

    San Jose Sharks

    San Jose is another team that normally makes a big splash around the time of the draft and free agency.

    This year, they've been quiet so far, with barely a ripple of a rumor out of the bay. Their first pick, Tomas Hertl, is already playing in the Czech men's league at age 18, but he's under contract to that club for two more years, so he won't be replacing Joe Thornton in San Jose anytime soon.

    The Sharks were devastated by their step backward this year. Don't expect them to remain idle for the whole summer.

    Vancouver Canucks

    The Canucks left this year's draft with two problems.

    First, they still have two No. 1 goalies. Cory Schneider will become a restricted free agent next week. Things could get complicated if he's not signed by then.

    Second, first-round pick Brendan Gaunce looks like exactly the kind of bruising center the Canucks need—if he could step into the lineup right away. Gaunce just turned 18 in March, so he'll need at least one more year of development before he could be considered for Vancouver's third-line role. He certainly won't help fill the void left by Ryan Kesler's recovery from his shoulder surgery.

    After their embarrassing first-round exit in this year's playoffs, the Canucks need to be smart when making their next moves. Until those moves are made, Vancouver is sliding backward.