2012 NHL Draft Grades: Teams That Passed with Flying Colors
The New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings all come away from the 2012 NHL draft with excellent grades.
All three of these teams made important and smart picks that will really benefit their team moving into the future, and that is the best way to go about grading a draft.
It's all about the future, but if you can make an impact on the present, even better.
Here's a breakdown on why these teams received high grades in my opinion:
New York Islanders
The Islanders weren't good defensively last season—ranking 27th in goals against with 3.1 and 22nd in penalty kill percentage at 80.5—so their draft strategy was absolutely flawless. They had one pick in each round, and with every pick they decided to take a defender, which I cannot blame them for doing.
Had they just gotten seven defenders, I would have given them an A for addressing their needs, but where they really get high marks is with their No. 4 overall pick, Griffin Reinhart.
Reinhart is a huge defender at 6'3'', 206, but he can also contribute offensively. He scored 12 goals and notched 24 assists for the Edmonton in the WHL in 2011.
He should be able to make a defensive impact soon enough for a team that desperately needs it.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets were not good at all last season, but they especially struggled defensively. They're in a division that features Chicago, Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis, so if they want to find success, defense is going to have to be a focus.
Obviously getting a defenseman like Ryan Murray with the second overall pick was huge. He's a defenseman that can put up points, 104 in three seasons for Everett, and he'll undoubtedly be a key piece for them on the blue line very soon.
It's easy to pick great players with high picks though, so where the Blue Jackets really impressed me was in rounds two and three. They drafted not one, but two goalies in Oscar Dansk—0.910 save percentage in 2011—and Joonas Korpisalo, who posted a 0.920 save percentage in 2011-12.
This showed me that they're committed towards gearing up to compete in a very tough Central Division, and that they arent content with their goalie situation. In this division, they're going to need to find a star to play in between the pipes now and in the future.
Overall, I really liked the strategy displayed by the Blue Jackets.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are the now the defending Stanley Cup Champions, so at this point there is very little they can do wrong. They will be spending the summer hanging out with the cup.
Who Had The Better Draft Out Of These Three?
This already dominant team got a whole lot better in the first round of this draft though.
With the last pick of the first round, 30th overall, the Kings drafted left winger Tanner Pearson from Barrie in the OHL. Pearson is a lefty with good size at 6'0'', 198 pounds and he has knack for finding the back of the net. In two years in the OHL, Pearson notched 52 goals 81 assists.
Considering the Stanley Cup champions were able to steal him late in the first round, that alone is worth an A grade in my book.
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