2012 NHL Draft Grades: Final Grades for Playoff Contenders

Evan Budrovich@@evanbudCorrespondent IJune 27, 2012

2012 NHL Draft Grades: Final Grades for Playoff Contenders

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    What teams took the next step forward in the 2012 First-Year Entry Draft? Playoff contenders looked to sharpen their roster while teams on the bubble were looking for that one superstar to put their team over the hump next season. 

    How did the teams who made the postseason fare in this years draft and which teams who did not make the playoffs in 2012, had solid enough drafts to boost their teams to the postseason in 2013?

    Here are final grades for some of the postseason teams who were on the bubble last season and for the two best teams not in the postseason who could make a run at the postseason this year. 

Ottawa Senators

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    The Senators had few picks but did not miss with the No. 15 overall selection. First-round pick Cody Ceci is an NHL-ready defensemen with good size and strength.

    Ceci is the main product of this draft for the Senators, a man who knows the city well, and should fit in right away with Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. 

    The Senators did not have a second-round pick in this years draft so they struggled to add real depth to the roster which is something that will hurt them for next season.

    Grade: B  

San Jose Sharks

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    GM Doug Wilson did not have many picks to work with, only six, but made the most out of his first choice. 

    The best of the bunch was first-round pick Thomas Hertl, a 6'2" center from the Czech Republic. Hertl has some deficiencies as a skater but shows excellent skill and prowess with the puck.

    The one questionable pick from this draft for the Sharks was second-round selection Chris Tierney. Tierney who scored 11 goals and added 23 assist for the London Knights, was valued as the 118th best player in American hockey. This is quite a high pick at 55 for a player of this value. 

    The Sharks did not get another pick until the fourth round, but picked relatively strong for the remaineder of the draft. This draft, however, for the present, rests on the shoulders of Thomas Hertl as to what type of impact he can make in the NHL. 

    Grade: B-

Washington Capitals

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    The Capitals boosted their second line by drafting Filip Forsberg with the No. 11 pick. After this great steal from the Dallas Stars, the Capitals selected much needed toughness in Tomas Wilson at No. 16 overall.

    Both these picks will receive major ice time at the next level and can fill major holes in the Capitals present roster. These picks highlight the ten total picks the Capitals had during the draft and they spent no time wasting the opportunity to improve their roster for the present.

    The Capitals went after positions of need by drafting six forwards out of their first seven picks and addressed their need for toughness with the selection of Tomas Wilson. 

    Grade: A 

Chicago Blackhawks

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    The Chicago Blackhawks struck gold with the selection of Teuvo Teravainen with the No. 18 overall selection. Teravainen is a top offensive talent with major goal scoring ability who will fit in quite well with the Blackhawks strong forward squad. 

    As the draft continued, Chicago took a good balance of players to fill multiple needs across all positions on this roster adding some strong depth. In the second round, the Blackhawks selected defensemen Dillon Fournier who had a breakout year last season. To finish off the draft in the seventh round, the Blackhawks selected two solid goaltenders: Brandon Whitney and Matt Tomkins. 

    Grade: A-

New Jersey

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    The New Jersey Devils only had four picks in this year's draft but found guys who fit the New Jersey mold, something that will help them succeed for years to come.

    With their first-round pick the Devils selected forward Stefan Matteau, who comes with a sense of Irony for Devils fans. Matteau is a hard nosed forward who is a good two-way player. 

    In the second round, the Devils selected a hard nosed defensemen in Damon Severson. Severson will help this defensive unit and is part of an overall tough and physical Devils draft class. 

    This was a small draft for New Jersey but luckily, coming off a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, this team is strong and must now shift their main priority towards resigning Zach Parise. 

    Grade: B-

Los Angeles Kings

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    Coming off their first Stanley Cup in team history, the Los Angeles Kings were looking for value at the No. 30 overall pick and Tanner Pearson is quite the talent. 

    Pearson will give the Kings scoring from the left wing immediately and will be a great presence for an offense that struggled to light the lamp during the regular season. Pearson scored 97 points for the Barrie Colts last season and with his defensive strengths could make an impact next season for the Kings.

    The Kings only selected six prospects in this year's draft but did an excellent job with their late-round picks, Nikolai Prokhorkin and Tomas Hyka. These prospects may not make a splash next season but the Kings were able to re-sign Colin Fraser and Jarret Stoll this week, solidifying their championship roster from a season ago. 

    Grade: B+

Florida Panthers

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    The Florida Panthers only had five selections in this year's draft and took developmental players who will not make an impact immediately. First-round pick Michael Matheson is a decent selection, but like the rest of his new teammates, he will need time to develop and hone his skills. Expect the Panthers to develop these prospects and use free-agency as a way to improve their roster this offseason. 

    Grade: C-

Detroit Red Wings

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    The Detroit Red Wings had no first-round selection this year but proved once again that their franchise does a tremendous job of finding talent. 

    In the second round, the Red Wings selected a strong winger in Martin Frk. Frk, who has some question marks due to his previous concussion, has NHL skills and if healthy, should be a nice piece for the Red Wings. This pick alone makes the Detroit draft special, but the Red Wings continued upon that success with their fourth-round selection.

    Andreas Athanasiou is super talented and incredibly quick for a forward who, with proper teaching and development from the Red Wings system, should make an impact in the next few years.

    The major piece that will affect this team for the present came in a trade. The Red Wings traded their first overall pick to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defensemen Kyle Quincy.  

    Grade: B+  

Tampa Bay Lightning

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    The Tampa Bay Lighting came in 11th place last year in the Eastern Conference and used a solid draft to possibly bump up their standings next season. 

    The Lighting had a solid draft from top to bottom, led by their two first-round picks, Slater Koekkoek and Andrey Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy is by far the best goaltender in the draft who has a great combination of athletic ability and size for a goaltender. 

    As the draft continued, the Lighting addressed needs on both the offensive and defensive end. The Lighting through this draft have a great foundation to make a run next season at the playoffs.

    Grade: A- 

Dallas Stars

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    The Dallas Stars did an excellent job of solidifying every position in their organization with this draft. In the first round, the Stars selected Radek Faksa who will be a great addition to this roster.

    Faska can possibly play in the NHL next season and is one of the smartest players in the draft. The pick with the greatest potential for Dallas was fourth-round pick Gemel Smith who looked great last season with the Owen Sound.

    The Stars did a great job in the draft adding nine quality prospects and should be in the running for the postseason next year, especially after the addition of Faksa. 

    Grade: A