Predicting When Each NHL Team's Top Draft Pick Will Reach the NHL
Fans want to see new draft picks in the NHL as soon as possible, but it would be foolish to hurt a player's development before he's ready for top competition.
Not many of this year's first-round picks will be in the NHL next year, but the ones that will be are likely to make quite an impact next season.
Let's go alphabetically and look at when each team's top pick will be in the NHL.
Anaheim Ducks: Hampus Lindholm, 2012-13
The Anaheim Ducks wouldn't have drafted Hampus Lindholm at No. 6 if they didn't think he could be ready quickly. With some good coaching, Lindholm could play an important role in Anaheim next year.
Boston Bruins: Malcolm Subban, 2014-15
The Bruins already have two good goaltenders in the NHL and both of them are young. Starters Tuukka Rask and backup Anton Khudobin have promising futures ahead of them. Subban isn't needed at the NHL level for a few years, even if he's ready.
However, this is a problem the Bruins won't mind having.
Buffalo Sabres: Mikhail Grigorenko, 2012-13
Mikhail Grigorenko should be in the NHL next season because the Sabres need some depth at the center position. Grigorenko won't have to dominate as a rookie, just be consistent.
Calgary Flames: Mark Jankowski, 2015-16
Mark Jankowski was a pick for the future and, as a result, the Calgary Flames will take their time with him to ensure he's ready when he comes to the NHL.
Carolina Hurricanes: Philip Di Giuseppe, After University of Michigan
Philip Di Giuseppe is a phenomenal offensive talent that will play a big role in the Carolina Hurricanes' future. He won't come to the NHL until he feels that he's developed his skills enough at the University of Michigan.
Chicago Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen, 2012-13
Teuvo Teravainen is ready to take the next step in his hockey career and be an NHL player. Playing on a veteran team with Stanley Cup champions will only help him.
Colorado Avalanche: Mitchell Heard, 2014-15
Mitchell Heard is a quality center from the Plymouth Whalers, but since the Avalanche have an abundance of young players at forward, there's no need tor rush him to the NHL.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Murray, 2012-13
The Columbus Blue Jackets need to sell tickets and create more interest in the team, especially if they trade Rick Nash, so they will put their best players like Ryan Murray on the ice.
Murray is ready, so he should be in the NHL as soon as possible.
Dallas Stars: Radek Faksa, 2013-14
It's tempting for the Dallas Stars to bring Radek Faksa to the NHL next season, but another year with the Kitchener Rangers would be best for his development.
Detroit Red Wings: Martin Frk, 2014-15
The Detroit Red Wings don't need to rush a forward like Martin Frk to the NHL right now when they don't need to make major changes offensively. The Red Wings' depth issues for next year are on the blue line.
Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov, 2012-13
One of most certain parts of the Oilers' future is that Nail Yakupov will begin his NHL career next season. The fans want to see him and he's ready to be an offensive star.
Florida Panthers: Mike Matheson, 2014-15
Mike Matheson will be a good NHL defenseman, but he's not ready for the pros yet. When some of the veteran blueliners on the Panthers retire or move on from the team, Matheson will be ready to take a roster spot.
Los Angeles Kings: Tanner Pearson, 2013-14
The Kings could use Tanner Pearson next season, but there are other prospects more ready than he is right now. Los Angeles may choose to fill their roster holes through free agency this summer instead of with prospects.
Minnesota Wild: Mathew Dumba, 2012-13
The Minnesota Wild need to make the playoffs next season, and they won't do that without Mathew Dumba strengthening their blue line.
Montreal Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk, 2013-14
Alex Galchenyuk will be a fantastic center for the Canadiens, but he needs another year with the Sarnia Sting after he tore his ACL last season.
Nashville Predators: Pontus Aberg, 2014-15
Pontus Aberg is a good left winger, but he needs another year or two of development before he joins the Nashville Predators roster, even if they need his offensive skills badly.
New Jersey Devils: Stefan Matteau, 2014-15
Stefan Matteau probably didn't think he was going to be drafted by the Devils but they could really use a power forward with developing offensive skills. He will probably need two more years of development, but one more year could be realistic.
New York Islanders: Griffin Reinhart, 2012-13
The New York Islanders need Griffin Reinhart to be a star on the blue line next season, because, with an improved defense, the team could contend for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. They already have the offensive punch needed to contend.
New York Rangers: Brady Skjei, 2014-15
If all the Rangers' young defensemen reach their potential, signing them to long-term deals could be difficult under the salary cap. Brady Skjei will be ready for the NHL in a few years to take any open spots on the blue line.
Ottawa Senators: Cody Ceci, 2013-14
Cody Ceci was one of the better picks in the draft, and he will be with the Senators after one more year playing for the Ottawa 67's.
Philadelphia Flyers: Scott Laughton, 2014-15
The Flyers already have several young forwards who are still developing as NHL players, so there is no need for Philadelphia to rush Scott Laughton to the NHL.
Phoenix Coyotes: Henrik Samuelsson, 2013-14
The Phoenix Coyotes need Henrik Samuelsson on their NHL roster very soon, because many of their aging forwards either won't play at a high level for much longer or won't be with the team going forward.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Derrick Pouliot, 2013-14
The Penguins are going to need Derrick Pouliot to be ready for the NHL in a year, because their defensive depth and talent is pretty weak right now.
If they don't sign Ryan Suter in free agency, Pouliot must be ready after next year.
San Jose Sharks: Tomas Hertl, 2013-14
Tomas Hertl will need to be ready for the 2013-14 season because many of the Sharks' top offensive players are on the downside of their careers.
St. Louis Blues: Jordan Schmaltz, 2014-15
It may take a while for Jordan Schmaltz to reach the St. Louis Blues roster, since the team has several good young defensemen at the NHL level. He will play a big part in the team's future, however.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Slater Koekkoek, 2013-14
Slater Koekkoek should be ready for the NHL by the 2013-14 season, and the Tampa Bay Lightning need him since their depth on defense isn't very good.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly, 2013-14
Toronto would probably like Morgan Rielly to arrive in the NHL for the 2014-15 season, but with another year of development he should be ready for a role in 2013-14.
Even though the team has several good young defensemen in the organization, few of them have superstar potential like Rielly.
Vancouver Canucks: Brendan Gaunce, 2014-15
Brendan Gaunce won't be ready for a few years, which is too bad because the Vancouver Canucks need a power forward like him for next season.
Washington Capitals: Filip Forsberg, 2013-14
Filip Forsberg will likely play in Sweden next year, which is good news for him and the Washington Capitals. He could help the team next year, but Forsberg still needs to polish his offensive skills some more before he comes to the NHL.
Winnipeg Jets: Jacob Trouba, 2014-15
Jacob Trouba needs a few more years to develop before he can thrive at the NHL level. He has superstar potential and cannot be rushed to the NHL.