NHL Mock Draft: First Round Expectations (Picks 1-15)

Andi Perelman@@AndiPerelmanContributor IJune 17, 2012

NHL Mock Draft: First Round Expectations (Picks 1-15)

0 of 15

    Brace yourselves, NHL fans. Although the hockey season has ended, there is still a lot happening in the league. The NHL Awards are on the horizon, the CBA needs to be renewed, all eyes are on the Parise/Suter/Nash potential trades, and the 2012 NHL Draft will begin next Friday, June 22.

    Until then, all we can do is speculate. Click through to check out who I think will be picked in the first 15 picks of the first round.

1st Pick, Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov

1 of 15

    Name: Nail Yakupov

    Age: 18

    Position: Right Wing

    Country of Origin: Russia

    Why he will be picked by Edmonton: Simply, Yakupov is the best prospect and the Oilers have the No. 1 pick. This is the third year in a row that the Oilers snagged the No. 1 draft choice. Previously, Edmonton picked up young stars Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who is nominated this year for the Calder Trophy). Edmonton is quickly becoming a powerhouse of young offensive stars. Although they might want to pick up a defenseman, it is not wise to waste the opportunity to draft Yakupov.

    Other: Canadians, beware of Yakupov's intense Russian pride. Although he talks about his desire to play in the NHL/in North America, it is hard to argue against his Russian roots. See the above video for more details. "We win. Russia win. Russia better Canada. So, see you next time." Ouch.

2nd Pick, Columbus Blue Jackets: Filip Forsberg

2 of 15

    Name: Filip Forsberg

    Age: 17

    Position: Forward

    Country of Origin: Sweden

    Why he will be picked by Columbus: With Columbus captain and RW Rick Nash demanding a trade, the Blue Jackets need to start rebuilding. Forsberg could be a great replacement for Nash in the next couple years. Columbus fans are in strong support of their team and just hosted a great All Star Weekend. With Forsberg dressed as a Blue Jacket, this is the chance Columbus needs to get some young and talented blood in the mix (and no, he is not related to Peter Forsberg).

3rd Pick, Montreal Canadiens: Mikhail Grigorenko

3 of 15

    Name: Mikhail Grigorenko

    Age: 18

    Position: Center

    Country of Origin: Russia 

    Why he will be picked by Montreal: Grigorenko is a big guy who has unmatched vision on the ice. He will fit in with a Montreal team that is taking on new coaches and staff. Montreal has been waiting for a power center like Grigorenko, and with Gomez turning 33 this year, it is good for the Canadiens to have someone like Grigorenko in their bag of tricks.

4th Pick, New York Islanders: Ryan Murray

4 of 15

    Name: Ryan Murray

    Age: 18

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Canada

    Why he will be picked by New York: Ryan Murray is the best defenseman in this year's draft class. He is a perfect fit for the Islanders who have an aging defense (three starters over the age of 34), and a lot of great players and prospects set for their offense. Murray is a dependable player whose defensive skills will no doubt translate into the NHL.

5th Pick, Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Galchenyuk

5 of 15

    Name: Alex Galchenyuk

    Age: 18

    Position: Center

    Country of Origin: United States of America

    Why he will be picked by Toronto: Toronto has recently built a lot of depth into their defense. What they really need is a scorer. Galchenyuk is a playmaker and is used to playing with talent. He has spent the last two seasons playing along side Nail Yakupov for the Sarnia Sting. Although this last season he was plagued by injury, the year before he tied Yakupov in assists at 52 each. He should be a great addition to the Leafs for the long-term.

6th Pick, Anaheim Ducks: Griffin Reinhart

6 of 15

    Name: Griffin Reinhart

    Age: 18

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Canada

    Why he will be picked by Anaheim: The last thing the Ducks need is another forward. Their players are already very dominant with a great combination of young talent and experience. I mean, come on—Getzlaf and Perry playing with Koivu and Selanne. The Ducks do not want to touch that. What they do need is a shutdown defenseman like Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart is big and will be able to help out Hiller on the back end (Hiller had the second most goals against and most losses in the 2011-2012 season). The Ducks don't need an offensive defenseman like Mathew Dumba. They need a solid defender like Reinhart.

7th Pick, Minnesota Wild: Mathew Dumba

7 of 15

    Name: Mathew Dumba

    Age: 17

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Canada

    Why he will be picked by Minnesota: Dumba will be a major steal for the Wild if he is still available at the No. 7 pick. He's passionate, energetic, strong on both ends of the ice, and he has a mean hit (see above video).

8th Pick, Carolina Hurricanes: Teuvo Teravainen

8 of 15

    Name: Teuvo Teravainen

    Age: 17

    Position: Left Wing

    Country of Origin: Finland

    Why he will be picked by Carolina: He is a young player with a lot of promise. Because the Canes already have 3 Finnish players, he will fit in with the team and feel comfortable. Teuvo can assess play quickly and is a great skater. Carolina will look to him as a future linesman for players like Eric Staal. Although Teuvo is a smaller player (about 5'10''), he will be able to improve and get gritty on the boards as he gets older and gets some NHL experience.

9th Pick, Winnipeg Jets: Jacob Trouba

9 of 15

    Name: Jacob Trouba

    Age: 18

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: United States of America

    Why he will be picked by Winnipeg: Trouba is a big player with a hard slap shot and a knack for special teams play. He is a well-rounded, shutdown defenseman who looks to be NHL ready. He needs to work on his offensive vision, but with Winnipeg, he will have the time to do that. Winnipeg already has defensemen who can step up on offense, so Trouba will be a great addition to hang back on D.

10th Pick, Tampa Bay Lightning: Morgan Rielly

10 of 15

    Name: Morgan Rielly

    Age: 18

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Canada

    Why he will be picked by Tampa Bay: Rielly is a solid defenseman with great passing skills and an offensive edge. Due to an ACL injury, Rielly was able to play only 18 games during his last season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. In the season preceding his injury, Rielly was a major factor in the Warriors scoring unit (No. 1 rookie in points) as well as their last line defense. The Lightning need some prospective defensemen. Their offense is already strong and last season the team was plagued by an array of defensive injuries. Hopefully Rielly's injury is under control and he will be able to provide blue line support for Tampa Bay.

11th Pick, Washington Capitals (from Colorado): Radek Faksa

11 of 15

    Name: Radek Faksa

    Age: 18

    Position: Center

    Country of Origin: Czech Republic

    Why he will be picked by Washington: Faksa is a skilled two-way center who isn't afraid to grind it out on the boards. He is a great candidate to play anywhere on the line and the Caps could definitely use a player like him. With rumors surfacing about Semin's desire to leave the Caps (and his impending free agency on July 1), the Caps will need someone to take his place. Ovechkin's last season was a disappointment for Washington fans, and maybe with someone like Faksa, the Caps can ignite the spark they need in order to make it all the way to the Cup this year. 

12th Pick, Buffalo Sabres: Cody Ceci

12 of 15

    Name: Cody Ceci

    Age: 18 

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Canada

    Why he will be picked by Buffalo: Ceci is a tall guy with a quick release and a strong shot from the point. He has only been improving during his last season in the OHL. He will be a major asset for the Sabres on the power play and on breakout offense as a solid two-way player. 

13th Pick, Dallas Stars: Zemgus Girgensons

13 of 15

    Name: Zemgus Girgensons 

    Age: 18 

    Position: Center 

    Country of Origin: Latvia

    Why he will be picked by Dallas: Dallas is in need of a solid center and even with so much defensive talent in the draft, they will need to address their team's needs. Girgensons has good hands, a impressive skating ability, and is a proven leader. Dallas will be lucky to get him, they just have to hope that he is NHL ready as soon as possible (after he finishes out his University of Vermont NCAA years). 

14th Pick, Calgary Flames: Olli Maatta

14 of 15

    Name: Olli Maatta

    Age: 17 

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Finland

    Why he will be picked by Calgary: Calgary could use a strong defensive player like Olli Maatta. He is a perfect fit for the Flames and would be a major steal at the No. 14 pick. He is young, big, talented, and calm out on the ice. He has great vision on the ice and will be able to make smart play-making decisions for Calgary.

15th Pick, Ottawa Senators: Hampus Lindholm

15 of 15

    Name: Hampus Lindholm

    Age: 18  

    Position: Defenseman

    Country of Origin: Sweden

    Why he will be picked by Ottawa: This might be a confusing choice simply because Ottawa has some NHL's best defensemen on their roster. However, Kuba and Carkner are becoming a unrestricted free agents this year and Gonchar is turning 39. Lindholm would be a great fit to play with his fellow Swed, Erik Karlsson, and would add some young flare to the Senators' defense. 

What's your take?Get the B/R app to join the conversation