2012 NHL Draft Grades: Washington Capitals and Teams That Aced First Round

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Filip Forsberg, 11th overall pick by the Washington Capitals, speaks to media during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals doubled their pleasure in the first round of the 2012 NHL draft. They scored big, literally and figuratively, by drafting Filip Forsberg and Thomas Wilson.

They took Forsberg at No. 11, and this 17-year-old has a bright future in the NHL. He is as developed offensively as any forward in the draft, and a steal at No. 11.

Wilson is a big, tough kid who has some scoring chops, but he will eventually make his name because of his muscle. He's 6'4" and already near 200 pounds, and he's only 18 years old. When he fills out he'll be a 225- to 230-pound beast.

There were two other teams that helped themselves quite a bit in the first round. Here are the specifics on their fruitful first rounds.


Buffalo Sabres

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22:  Mikhail Grigorenko (L), drafted 12th overall by the Buffalo Sabres, and Zemgus Girgensons (R), drafted 14th overall by the Buffalo Sabres, pose for a portrait during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Sabres also had multiple picks in the first round. After the Capitals took Forsberg, the Sabres took Mikhail Grigorenko. The Russian youngster is 6'3", but he is very skilled.

He was once thought to be the consensus No. 2 pick in the draft, as Kelly Friesen of Yahoo Sports writes. He has also drawn comparisons to Evgeni Malkin.

The Sabres traded up to obtain the No. 14 pick. There they selected Zemgus Girgensons of Latvia. He is the Sabres-equivalent to Wilson—a big and tough kid who will be an effective two-way player.

These two selections make the Sabres' future look pretty bright.


Edmonton Oilers

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22:  Nail Yakupov (C), first overall pick by the Edmonton Oilers, poses onstage with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (L) of the Oilers and Oilers team representatives during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 2
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Oilers had only one pick in the first round, but I am a believer in Nail Yakupov—so much so that I believe he will be the star the Oilers franchise has been missing since Wayne Gretzky left town. I know those are lofty expectations, and no I'm not saying he'll be as good as Gretzky.

But in this era, he will be the face of the Oilers, and he'll help bring legitimacy back to the franchise.

He is one of the most skilled prospects in the last 10 years, and the type of presence that can not only score goals and dish out assists, but can fill an arena.

With this pick alone the Oilers have taken a big step toward climbing out of the Northwest Division basement.


Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay.net for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games.