NHL Draft 2012: Predicting When Each Team's First-Round Pick Will Make the NHL

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IJuly 13, 2012

NHL Draft 2012: Predicting When Each Team's First-Round Pick Will Make the NHL

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    The NHL free agency period has slowed down significantly, so right now is a great time to reflect on the first round of the NHL draft. Nail Yakupov was the top pick in the draft, but when will Yakupov and his other brethren make the jump to the NHL level?

    For some, it could be the 2012-13 season, for others it could be the 2013-14 season and for others it could be a few years from now.

    Nonetheless, here are some predictions on when each first-round draft pick will enter the NHL.

Nail Yakupov: Edmonton Oilers

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    NHL Debut: 2012-13

    There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Nail Yakupov won't make an impact for Edmonton next season. The Oilers strategically drafted Yakupov knowing they had a good shot at Justin Schultz. When the Oilers signed Schultz, the Yakupov pick immediately made even more sense for Steve Tambellini.

Ryan Murray: Columbus Blue Jackets

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    NHL Debut: 2012-13

    Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski were brought in by Scott Howson through trades and free agency, but Ryan Murray was a pick that made tons of sense. Murray will have an opportunity to learn in Columbus and play low-expectation hockey.

    Murray could become a very important piece to the future of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Alex Galchenyuk: Montreal Canadiens

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    Alex Galchenyuk was limited by injury during the 2011-12 season, so it would be very beneficial to return to the Sarnia Sting for one more year. Galchenyuk has some solid offensive skills, but Montreal should not rush him and stunt his growth and potential.

Griffin Reinhart: New York Islanders

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    NHL Debut 2013-14

    Griffin Reinhart has been described as the next Shea Weber partially because the defender models his game after Weber.

    Reinhart has a booming shot and tons of skill, but it will be at least another year before he enters the NHL. If the Islanders threw him into the fire next season, it would be a huge mistake.

    Defenseman generally develop at a slower rate opposed to forwards, so giving Reinhart the time to emerge into the player he could be would be the smartest thing to do.

Morgan Rielly: Toronto Maple Leafs

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Morgan Rielly is a solid defensive prospect who is a bit raw in some areas. He is a work in progress and a player who could stand to benefit from some time in Juniors and a year in the AHL. Brian Burke has a history of drafting future players, and Rielly will be no different in that aspect.

Hampus Lindholm: Anaheim Ducks

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    Hampus Lindholm was a surprise pick in the first round of the NHL draft. He wasn't expected to go in the top portion of the draft, and he isn't expected to make the jump to North America right away. Lindholm has some developing to do, but when he does make the jump, his impact on the Anaheim Ducks will be very significant.

Mathew Dumba: Minnesota Wild

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    Mathew Dumba is a solid defensive pick for the Minnesota Wild. There were a few solid forward options available at the time, but no one could foresee the mega moves the Wild would go on to make. Dumba likely will enter the NHL after developing for one more season.

    He will join a talented prospect pool in Minnesota. There is a good chance that the floodgates will open, and these prospects will eventually make their impact.

Derrick Pouliot: Pittsburgh Penguins

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    NHL Debut 2013-14

    The Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Derrick Pouliot's defense partner Joe Morrow in 2011, so completing the Portland Winterhawks pairing was a smart move by Ray Shero.

    The defense pairing will have a solid impact when they hit the NHL level together, and that likely will occur during the 2013-14 season.

Jacob Trouba: Winnipeg Jets

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Jacob Trouba was one of the better defenseman in the 2011-12 draft. He will take some time to develop, but when all is said and done, it will really pay off for the Winnipeg Jets.

    Trouba could become a solid cornerstone piece for the Jets' blue line.

Slater Koekkoek: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Slater Koekkoek is another defenseman who was selected very early in the first round. He has a lot of upside and potential, and Steve Yzerman is willing to let him develop. Koekkoek is a few years away from hitting the NHL level, but Stevie Y was thinking ahead.

Filip Forsberg: Washington Capitals

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Filip Forsberg fell down the draft board in the first round, and he became a real steal for the Washington Capitals. He will likely make his impact known in a season or two when he makes the jump from Europe to North America.

    Forsberg has already stated that he will stay in Europe for one more year, and after that anything could happen.

Mikhail Grigorenko: Buffalo Sabres

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    NHL Debut: 2012-13

    The Buffalo Sabres drafted a pair of centers in the first round, and they then went on to trade Derek Roy. These moves could speak to the Sabres' confidence of Mikhail Grigorenko making an impact off the bat.

    Grigorenko is committed to making an impact in North America, so the Sabres should not fear that he will bolt to the KHL.

Radek Faksa: Dallas Stars

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    Radek Faksa is a very talented and determined player. He left home at a young age to pursue his dream of becoming a professional hockey player, and it really paid off. Faksa has tons of offensive skill, and he will make his impact with the Dallas Stars very soon.

    Had the Stars not made the moves they did this summer, Faksa likely could have stepped in for the traded Mike Ribeiro.

Zemgus Girgensons: Buffalo Sabres

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    This Buffalo draft pick will not make an impact immediately. Girgensons is committed to the NCAA for the upcoming season, and after that he will require at least a year in the AHL.

    Girgensons is a big-bodied forward who will fit in with the new style being implemented by Darcy Regier.

Cody Ceci: Ottawa Senators

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    Cody Ceci was a hometown pick by the Ottawa Senators in the first round. This young budding defenseman is currently a member of the Ottawa 67's. Ceci is an offensive minded defenseman who will fit well into a defense core currently highlighted by Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson.

Thomas Wilson: Washington Capitals

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    The Washington Capitals had already added a skilled forward when they drafted Filip Forsberg 11th overall, but when they used their second pick, it was wise to draft a truculent and well-sized Thomas Wilson.

    He will bring a lot of physicality to the table, but he needs to work on a few things before he makes the big jump to the NHL.

Tomas Hertl: San Jose Sharks

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    NHL Debut: 2015-16

    Tomas Hertl is a young and talented playmaking forward. He is from the Czech Republic and will have to convert to playing a North American style of hockey before he can have a major impact with the Sharks.

    Right now San Jose is in a win-now mode, given the fact that their top stars are not getting any younger. It would be wise to giver Hertl the time he needs so he can make an impact in the right way.

Teuvo Teravainen: Chicago Blackhawks

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    NHL Debut: 2012-13

    Mark it down somewhere special because Teuvo Teravainen will go down in the history books as one of the biggest draft steals in NHL history.

    Teravainen has the speed, skills and shot to make an impact with the Chicago Blackhawks next season. He will be surrounded by a skilled and experienced group of players, and that will ultimately make the transition that much easier for Teravainen.

Andrei Vasilevski: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    NHL Debut: 2016-17

    Steve Yzerman and the Lightning are going to take their sweet time with this top goaltending prospect. Andrei Vasilevski was a standout for his home country during the World Junior Championships.

    Vasilevski has the talent, and in due time he will become Tampa's starting netminder.

Scott Laughton: Philadelphia Flyers

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Scott Laughton is a big-bodied and truculent forward who will fit in with the Broad St. Bullies. Laughton is hard-nosed and will make his impact known in the NHL in little to no time.

Mark Jankowski: Calgary Flames

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    NHL Debut: 2016-17

    This pick shocked everyone because of how the Flames inherited this pick. The Flames ended up trading down the draft board for a player who was never going to be drafted in the first round. Calgary turned heads with this pick, so Jay Feaster is hoping this kid turns out to be a major steal of the draft.

Olli Maata: Pittsburgh Penguins

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    Olli Maata is a solid player who needs one more year developing before he can hit the NHL level. Maata highlights a Penguins' prospect group that is chock full of defenseman. He was a steal at 22nd overall and will really have an impact in Pittsburgh.

Mike Matheson: Florida Panthers

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    NHL Draft 2015-16

    Mike Matheson is a prospect who will develop his talents for the time being. The Panthers are headed in the right direction, so they have the luxury of taking a player of Matheson's caliber. Once the Panthers' top prospects hit the roster, they will have laid the ground work for Matheson to step right in.

Malcolm Subban: Boston Bruins

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    NHL Debut: 2015-16

    Malcolm Subban could become the starting goaltender for the Boston Bruins very soon. Tuukka Rask will adjust to life as the No.1 man in town for the time being, but there are no guarantees on what will happen a few years from now.

    Subban has the skills, so the Bruins will likely be patient during his development.

Jordan Schmaltz: St.Louis Blues

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    NHL Debut: 2015-16

    Jordan Schmaltz was a safe pick for the St.Louis Blues. He has some solid upside and could turn into a real steal by the time he is fully developed.

    The Blues have done a solid job processing prospects as of late, so keep an eye on Schmaltz.

Brendan Gaunce: Vancouver Canucks

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    NHL Debut 2013-14

    Brendan Gaunce is a physical forward with a penchant for offense. He could turn out to be just the combination of grit and skill the Vancouver Canucks need. They traded for Zach Kassian last year in an attempt to fill this void, but in due time, Gaunce could be just what they need.

Henrik Samuelsson: Phoenix Coyotes

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Henrik Samuelsson, son of Ulf Samuelsson, is a grizzled forward who plays a lot like his dad used to. Samuelsson has the physicality down, but he needs some polish in other parts of his game in order to become an effective hockey player.

Bradj Skeji: New York Rangers

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    The New York Rangers have done a great job developing defenseman such as Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Michael Del Zotto up to this point.

    With Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath in the pipeline, Skjei has some stiff competition, but he has the skills needed to be a solid NHL defenseman.

Stefan Matteau: New Jersey Devils

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    NHL Debut: Never

    In the biggest troll of all time, Lou Lamoriello will never let Stefan Matteau play in the NHL as punishment for Stephane Matteau eliminating the Devils in 1994.

Stefan Matteau: New Jersey Devils

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    NHL Debut: 2014-15

    Just kidding!

    Stefan Matteau is a player just like his old man was, but the younger Matteau will require a few years in the minors. One Matteau can master his father's trademark wraparound finisher, he will go on to become a clutch NHL playoff performer.

Tanner Pearson: Los Angeles Kings

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    NHL Debut: 2013-14

    The third time was a charm for Tanner Pearson as he was selected by the L.A. Kings 30th overall after being skipped over in both the 2010 and 2011 NHL drafts.

    Pearson impressed scouts with his improved play as a member of the Barrie Colts and also came up big for Canada during international play. Pearson should be a full-fledged NHL player no later than the start of the 2013-14 regular season.