2012 NHL Draft Grades: Breaking Down Biggest Winners from Draft Weekend
Even though there weren't as many trades as some experts were expecting, it was another eventful draft weekend for the NHL, as teams selected an upwards of 200 prospects over seven rounds. Some will shine, others will become busts, but for now there's plenty of hope for everyone.
Let's take a look at three teams that should feel terrific about the way things worked out for them. While it's going to take several years before fans can get an accurate read on how the draft turned out, these franchises put themselves in the best positions to succeed.
The Hurricanes were able to make the biggest acquisition of the draft by trading for Jordan Staal to team with his brother Eric. The younger Staal scored 50 points in 62 games last season for the Pittsburgh Penguins and should be entering his prime.
Carolina was able to back up the trade with a strong draft.
The team had a need at left wing and addressed it by selecting Phil Di Giuseppe and Brock McGinn in the second round. The tandem should be ready to contribute within a few seasons.
The class also features a potential sleeper in Jaccob Slavin. The American defenseman is coming off a breakout season for the Chicago Steel of the USHL where he tallied 30 points.
If he can continue to build on that, he will make a much larger impact than most people expect.
Which of these teams had the best draft weekend?
It was no secret that the Sabres needed help up the middle. The team's centers vastly underperformed last season and were the main reason Buffalo failed to make the playoffs, making the position the front office's focus heading into the draft.
The Sabres selected Mikhail Grigorenko with the 12th pick and traded up to select Zemgus Girgensons two spots later. Both players have good size for the center position and should bring an end to the team's center woes pretty quickly.
Buffalo went on to select three more centers during the draft, though a couple of them may get converted to wing eventually.
Another notable selection was Jake McCabe. He is a solid two-way defenseman that should eventually be a key player for the Sabres.
To kick things off, Washington traded for center Mike Ribeiro, who has spent the past six seasons with the Dallas Stars. Ribeiro scored 63 points in 74 games last season and is very underrated. He will fit in nicely with the talented Capitals forwards.
Although the trade was nice, the team had to be thrilled that Filip Forsberg was still on the board at No. 11. He was one of the most highly rated players in the entire class, but a run of defensemen caused him to slide right into Washington's hands.
The Capitals then selected Thomas Wilson with their second pick of the opening round. He's a rugged winger who should eventually become a prototypical power forward.
In all, they added four wingers, three defensemen, two centers and a goalie, for a well-rounded class.
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