NHL Draft 2012: 3 Biggest Winners and Losers from Day 2
Blue paint, blue lines and blue uniforms headlined the concluding phases of the 2012 NHL entry draft Saturday morning.
Two of the top four picking teams followed up admirably on their Friday night selection by stocking up prospects in positions that needed it most in their long-term system. Virtually the exact opposite could be said about another long-suffering franchise as it mostly kept up its habit of focusing solely on offensive prospects.
A few recent playoff entrants also drew attention to their newest batch of prospects, for better or worse. Interestingly enough, for one morning anyway, two parts of the four-headed monster that is the Central Division actually looked mediocre in their execution compared to their misfit divisional cohabitants from Columbus.
Now that that not-so-subtle hint is in view, here are alternating glances at the three teams who made the best choices Saturday morning and those three who should have taken another direction.
Winner: Columbus Blue Jackets
One day after they traded for Flyers’ backup Sergei Bobrovsky, the Jackets continued to stock up on goaltenders with each of their first two Saturday-morning selections. They nabbed Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo with the 31st and 62nd overall picks, respectively.
Are they overdoing it? Perhaps. But it’s only a real problem if it proves to be getting in the way of addressing their needs in other positions.
Judging by their 95th overall choice, the Jackets do not appear to be neglecting anything. They finally chose a forward in London Knights winger Josh Anderson with the 95th overall pick.
It’s usually hard to claim someone has gone wrong when they go with a Knight, and despite a fairly uneventful OHL rookie campaign, Anderson has time to bloom.
Based on his age and position on the draft board, he should have a fair opportunity to step up his game and accelerate his development next year as several of his OHL champion teammates graduate.
Loser: Edmonton Oilers
What could be said about the Blue Jackets cannot be said about their perennial cohabitants in the Western Conference basement.
After taking Nail Yakupov first overall when a selection from the buffet of defenseman would have made more sense on Friday, the Oilers spent Saturday taking one or two more forwards than necessary, only two defenders and no goaltenders.
Nikolai Khabibulin has most likely seen his best days go by. Established crease colleague Devyn Dubnyk is a dark horse for the future, as is rising professional sophomore Olivier Roy.
But even if Dubnyk and either Roy or another current prospect prove a suitable tandem at the top, it still won’t be long before Edmonton needs a newer and better stock of goaltenders throughout the system.
That project should have started on Saturday, but club president Kevin Lowe and company defaulted.
Winner: New York Islanders
The International Scouting Service had Adam Pelech going late in the first round, or at the very least, early in the second round. As it happened, his draft value was probably hurt by the fact that he played for a wretched Erie Otters team this past season, his second campaign in the Ontario League.
But that didn’t faze the Islanders, who chose him 65th overall in the third round. Nor should it have, for in all seriousness, if he were to join the Isles in the relatively near future, the situation of building from the bottom up will hardly be foreign to him. In fact, the losing/learning experience could arm him with hard-earned knowledge of how to win.
Another worthwhile OHL blueliner who might have been off most other radars fell into New York’s hands in the sixth round. In a 2011-12 campaign that saw his team reach the league playoff finals, Jesse Graham was eclipsed only by the world-class Dougie Hamilton among Niagara Ice Dogs defensive scorers.
But if Hamilton makes the jump to the Boston Bruins next season, the door will be wide open for Graham to elevate his two-way game and make an even more radiant impression on the Long Island front office.
No guarantees on that front, but the Isles ought to take any promising possibility they can.
Loser: St. Louis Blues
The Blues’ second- and third-round picks, Sam Kurker and Mackenzie MacEachern, are each slated to not enroll in college until 2013. They are followed by an Alaska-Fairbanks-bound Colton Parayko and an Everett Silvertip in Nicholas Walters, who has done little beyond piling on penalties in two major junior seasons.
Everyone picked within the final three rounds, per the general nature of those rounds, are dark horses at best.
In other words, no real splash in the St. Louis system from what the front office picked up in this pool.
Winner: Washington Capitals
The Caps, who had 10 picks altogether this year, spent the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds loading up on internationally seasoned skaters.
Defenseman Connor Carrick and forwards Thomas Di Pauli, Austin Wuthrich and Riley Barber have all played for the U.S. National Team Development Program and have already or figure to move on to the college ranks.
Loser: Chicago Blackhawks
The good news is the Hawks picked up two new goaltending prospects. The kicker is that neither one was collected until the seventh and final round of the draft.
How soon one or both of them will be ready to make an impact, if ever, is an uncomfortable question mark.