Consider this your live home page for information for the 2012 NHL entry draft. Bookmark and check back often as it will be constantly updated leading up to hockey’s version of Christmas. THW’s 2012 NHL Entry Draft Guide – The Next Ones is your quintessential draft resource featuring:
- Detailed unique prospect profiles in The Next Ones format
- Mock Drafts
- Exclusive rankings
- Fantasy based rankings
- Team Previews
- Looking ahead to the 2013 draft and beyond
Is it ever too early to think about the NHL’s next entry draft?
Many blistering shots will be taken. Many tantalizing saves will be made. Many devastating hits will be dished out. Many vigorous battles for loose pucks will be fought. Many pinpoint accurate passes will be delivered. Many savvy puck moves will be executed. Many coach tirades will fall on deaf ears.
All before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft takes place on June 22nd-23rd in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. For prior year’s detailed draft previews:
Notes Up Front:
- Draft rankings are based on the BPA (Best Player Available). This is not an attempt at predicting who will be drafted at a certain position. Mock drafts are constructed by various THW writers.
- Check back to this article often. A series of prospect profiles, in The Next Ones format, will be released regularly, leading up to the June 22nd and 23rd NHL entry draft in Pittsburgh.
- The rankings will be updated below simultaneously as the prospect profiles are released, with links to the respective profile. .
- I am not a big fan of drafting a goalie in the first round unless the talent and potential are simply undeniable. In 2008, for instance, given the astronomical odds of actually being a NHL GM, I would have considered selecting Jacob Markstrom. In 2009, I would not have selected a netminder at all in the first round. In 2010, Jack Campbell is one of those rare exceptions worthy of a 1st round pick. In 2011, I would again not have selected a goalie in the first round.
- “THW Close-Up” heading is meant to be a synopsis of each prospect.
- Scout’s Honour highlights what the hockey scouting world (and occasionally coaches) have to say about the prospect.
- “NHL Player Comparisons” are simply intended to give the reader a feel for the player’s style and ultimately likely equal the player’s ceiling potential being reached. It is often an exercise in futility, but does offer up some value. If you see the suffix “-lite” or “Jr.” after a NHL player comparison, it simply refers to the fact the prospect likely has no chance to reach that high a potential, but rather resembles or plays a style reminiscent of the respective NHLer.
- “Scouting Combine Performance”: included where available to give the reader some insight on the prospects fitness levels. This is definitely not a sole basis for drafting a prospect, but might be a deciding factor when considering too closely rated players. It is also a good resource when a prospect is coming back from an injury as guidance to what his health level is.
- “Risk/Reward Analysis”: Both “Risk” and “Reward” rated out of “5”. For the risk rating, the higher the rating out of five, the higher the risk of the prospect not turning out as projected. For the reward rating, also out of five, the higher the rating, the higher the potential the prospect has. For the latter, of course, the prospect has to still reach that potential.
- “Fantasy Hockey Potential”: Offensive and defensive ratings out of 10 are given for forwards and defenseman based on perceived potential in each area. Offensive potential is obviously the key factor in most fantasy hockey leagues, but defensive potential should prove useful for those armchair hockey simulator GMs.
- Legend: ETA = Estimated Time of Arrival to NHL
- 2012 NHL Draft: The Next Ones Final Rankings (Top 150)
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft Fantasy-Based Top 100 Prospect Rankings
- 2012 NHL Draft Rankings: The Next Ones Top 120 (Chris Ralph)
- Final Top 60 NHL Prospect Rankings for 2012 Draft
- Top 60 Prospect Midseason Rankings (Shawn Reznik)
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft: Ranking the OHL Draft Class
2011 Flashback: to get an idea of what to expect for 2012 draft coverage:
- THW 2011 NHL Draft Final Rankings – Top 210 (released June 14, 2011)
- 2011 NHL Draft – Top 100 – March Madness Edition
- The Next Ones website: E-Mac’s NHL 2011 Draft Top 120 (clever and unique spin on prospect analysis)
- 2011 NHL Entry Draft Fantasy-Based Top 100 Rankings (June 20/11)
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft: The Next Ones – 2 Rounds (Chris)
- THW 2012 Mock Draft- Round 1
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft Madness (Brendan)
- A June 2012 NHL Mock Draft (David)
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft: Memorial Cup Edition – 2 Rounds (Chris)
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft: March Madness Edition (Picks 1-15) (Chris)
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft: March Madness Edition (Picks 16-30)
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft: 2nd Round March Madness Edition
- NHL 2012 Mock Draft: Fail for Nail or Mikhail (Jan. ’12)
- 2012 NHL Mock Draft Database (DC Pro Sports Report)
- NHL Draft Database: Yakupov Clear Projected First Pick (DC Pro Sports Report)
The Next Ones: Prospect Profiles:
(click on name/link for detailed prospect profiles) (*THW Ranking in brackets – from May 2012 Top 120 Rankings)
Hockey legend Igor Larionov, who just happens to be Yakupov’s agent, was amiable enough to provide me this quote in discussing Alex and Nail: “Both Alex and Nail are what one would call raw talent. Both possess a great deal of rare skill sets. With their passion and love for the game, their work ethic on and off the ice, they will be the kind of players that bring the game of hockey to the next level.” The feisty, dynamic, explosive right-winger who possesses a heat-seeking one-timer (1:00 mark of video) is simply electrifying with the ability to cause a jaw-dropping reaction to all those watching his super array of skills. He is destined to become one of the true must-see players around the league. Fans in hockey cities everywhere will be circling the dates when Yakupov comes to town when he is inevitably donning NHL battle colours.
The X-Factor. The It Factor. The Oomph Factor. Select few players have that certain special quality that is difficult to define. Select fewer players effortlessly exude the passion for the game on and off the ice that take those who follow the game to a whole new stratosphere in terms of enjoying the game. Mathew Dumba is one of those players – one of those players who is a rare breed when it comes to talent, production, and passion. But it cannot be defined simply as passion. Dumba’s love for the game and the pleasure he takes from playing the game is evident when you’re at the rink where he’s playing and whenever you see and hear him talking hockey. It’s simply not something easily captured by words. If there was a University of Hockey, then Mathew Dumba would soon be embarking on a PhD in hockey physics. The kid uses angles, momentum, positioning, powerful skating and timing to unleash highlight reel, but legal hits. He also possesses unbelievable spatial awareness and his anticipation is off the charts.
While his father was a primarily offensive-minded player, the Edmonton Oil Kings defender is much more balanced. Strangely, the same qualities that have made him a great WHL player are also what may put him “under-the-radar” as far as high-end prospects are concerned. Reinhart is a coach’s ideal of a two-way defender – he’s big (6-foot-4 and 200 pounds), surprisingly mobile for his size and positionally-strong. He’s also blessed with a good eye, something that has come in handy while quarterbacking the Oil Kings power-play (5 of his 12 goals this season have been scored with the extra man). That said, Reinhart is not one to steal the puck and go end-to-end on a rush. He’s not Paul Coffey. He’s also not prone to going for big crushing hits and taking himself out of position. He’s not Dion Phaneuf. But he’s a strong two-way defender and can help anchor a team’s back-end. The theme of this draft is “The Year of the Defenseman,” and Griffin isn’t getting quite the attention of the Ryan Murrays and Matt Dumbas of the world. That said, he could be just as crucial to his team’s success over the long-run. There’s also the question of intangibles.
In every game Radek Faksa suits up in and on every shift Faksa skates the Czech pivot leaves a positive impression and it has reflected in his climb up the monthly draft rankings. Radek Faksa has propelled himself up to fourth among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term ranking. Driven by a strong work ethic, Faksa is a player that competes with passion and a win-at-all cost approach. The offensive upside of Radek Faska is still relatively unknown but he does possess the skills to put up points at the next level. Faksa owns a hard accurate shot with good velocity and with soft playmaking hands and above-average puck protection skills he’s a difficult player to compete against. Radek’s best asset remains his overall balanced game and while he does not excel in one particular skill or area he offers a well-rounded package. The average spectator will notice that Faksa lacks a “wow” factor but his hockey sense is extremely underrated and it’s an area that has many people thinking he is capable of reaching another offensive level.
THW Overtime – Draft Feature Articles:
THW Prospect Features:
- NHL Draft Preview: Top Goalies, Darkhorses and Teams That Could Use the Help
- 2012 NHL Draft Family Ties
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft Order Trivia
- Top 5 Potential Draft Day Risers
- NHL Draft 2012: Videos of the Top 10 Prospects
- Mikhail Grigorenko Represents the Canadiens’ Best Bet
- Matt Dumba: The Complete Scouting Report
- Dirty or Not: Evaluating Michael Halmo’s Hit on Nail Yakupov
- Yakupov ❿ vs. Ovechkin ❽ – Unjust Comparison?
- Ryan Murray: The Next Scott Niedermayer?
- Griffin Reinhart: There’s No Need To Rush Him
- Nic Kerdiles – California Dreamin’
- Nick Ebert: America’s Top NHL Draft Prospect
- Future Watch: Cristoval Nieves
- Henrik Samuelsson: The Plus Side
- Welcome To Subban Land
- World Juniors Team Latvia Preview: Zemgus Girgensons And Beyond
- World Juniors Player Spotlight: Teodors Blugers Interview and Profile
- Matia Marcantuoni: The Usain Bolt Of Hockey
- Charles Inglis: The Plus Side
- The Plus Side: TJ Foster
- (Jaroslav) Pavelka Proving Puckstopping Prowess
- World Juniors Player Spotlight: Nikita Gusev – The Undrafted Artist
If, as I previously claimed, Kuznetsov is a hockey surgeon, then hidden gem forward Nikita Gusev is a hockey artist. If Gusev were a painter then the Saddledome was his masterpiece completed on December 29th, 2011. Lost in the shadow of line-mate Evgeny Kuznetsov’s near record-breaking 9 point performance, was Gusev’s equally impressive 7 point (2G, 5A) outburst. He sits tied atop the WJHC scoring leaderboard along with Kuznetsov with 9 points apiece. Gusev is an absolute artist with the puck, making those around him all the better. Kuznetsov is more of an individual dynamo, although the 6 assists in that same game may be grounds for debate. I’ve coined Gusev “Picasso“. I know choosing a Russian painter for his nickname seems more appropriate, but Valentin Serov (who was considered to be the greatest portraitist of his time) doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Other 2012 Draft Feature Articles:
2012 Memorial Cup:
International Tournaments Prospects Coverage:
- World Juniors: Top 10 2012 NHL Draft Eligible Prospect Performances Part 1
- World Juniors: Top 10 2012 NHL Draft Eligible Prospect Performances Part 2: Overagers
Fantasy-Based Draft Coverage:
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft Fantasy-Based Top 100 Prospect Rankings
- Top Ten Fantasy Value Draft Eligible Players
Team Specific Prospect Articles:
- Anaheim Ducks:
- Boston Bruins:
- 2012 NHL Draft: Grading the Boston Bruins
- 2012 NHL Draft: Boston Bruins Make a Splash with Selection of Malcolm Subban
- Boston Bruins 2012 NHL Draft: The B’s Big-Board Rankings
- Boston Bruins 2012 NHL Draft: 4 Best-Case Scenarios
- Boston Bruins 2012 NHL Draft: B’s Should Trade out of Pick 24
- Boston Bruins NHL Draft Tendencies: Matt Finn a Fit?
- Buffalo Sabres:
- The Buffalo Sabres’ 2012 NHL Draft, Part 1
- Buffalo Sabres Draft Strategy Part 2
- Top 10 Buffalo Sabres Draft Picks
- Calgary Flames
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Carolina Hurricanes may deal first round pick
- Draft prospects for the Carolina Hurricanes
- Hurricanes may draft Kitchener Ranger prospect for third straight year
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Blackhawks Most Likely Draft Prospects Part 1: Goalies
- Chicago Blackhawks Most Likely Draft Prospects Part 2: Forwards
- Chicago Blackhawks Most Likely Draft Prospects Part 3: Defensemen
- 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Would Chicago Still Pick Patrick Kane 1st overall?
- Dallas Stars
- Draft Rewind: Grading Dallas’ Picks in 2011
- When Prospects Lose Their Luster – Tyler Beskorowany
- Looking Ahead: Top 10 Dallas Stars Prospects
- Detroit Red Wings:
- Edmonton Oilers:
- At the Draft Table: Edmonton Oilers
- Oilers Can’t Afford to Pass on Nail Yakupov
- Rumors Swirling around the Oilers Draft Pick
- Edmonton Oilers Top 10 Prospects Not Named Nugent-Hopkins
- Who should the Oilers draft?
- Nail Yakupov wants to play in Edmonton
- Minnesota Wild:
- Montreal Canadiens
- Montreal Canadiens 2012 Draft Picks Review: Grade A
- Alex Galchenyuk Brings Excitement To Habs Nation
- Montreal Canadiens 2012 1st Round Draft Preview
- Mikhail Grigorenko Represents the Canadiens’ Best Bet
- New Jersey Devils:
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft: Putting the cherry on New Jersey’s Draft?
- Meet the Newest Devils Prospect: Stefan Matteau
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft: What Does New Jersey Need?
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft: New Jersey Devils’ Options
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft: Track Record Of New Jersey?
- New York Islanders:
- New York Rangers:
- Ottawa Senators:
- Philadelphia Flyers:
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Tampa Bay Lightning:
- Toronto Maple Leafs:
- Recap: Brian Burke & the Toronto Maple Leafs 2012 NHL Draft
- Maple Leafs Panel: 2012 NHL Entry Draft Preview
- Toronto Maple Leafs Shouldn’t Draft Based on Current Needs
- What Have You Done For Me Lately? Five Toronto Maple Leafs Prospects
- At the Draft Table: Toronto Maple Leafs
- Who The Toronto Maple Leafs Should Target At The Draft
- Draft Schmaft: The Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL Entry Draft First Round (I)
- Draft Schmaft – The Maple Leafs First Round Draft 1968-70: Part II Selwood and Sittler
- Vancouver Canucks:
- Vancouver Canucks NHL Draft Picks 2012: The Owners Manual
- How Well Did the Vancouver Canucks do at the NHL Draft?
- Vancouver Canucks Draft Preview: Who Will They Pick?
- Vancouver Canucks 2012 Draft Analysis- In The System
- Winnipeg Jets:
- 2012 NHL Draft: Grading Round One (Part 1)
- 2012 NHL Draft: Grading Round One (Part 2)
- 2012 NHL Entry Draft 1st Round TweetCap
- Left Behind: Notable Players That Went Undrafted in 2012
The Next, Next Ones – Beyond the 2012 Draft:
- 2012 OHL Priority Selection Draft Results
- WHL 2012 Bantam Draft Top 30
- Seattle Thunderbirds Make Mathew Barzal Top Pick in WHL Bantam Draft
- International Spotlight: Villehart Kuusamo
- Kujawinski a Keeper in Kingston
- A Look Ahead: 2013/14 NHL Draft Rankings
- Tie Domi’s Son Max Turning Heads In Future Watch
- Nathan MacKinnon’s A Future NHL Superstar
- Aaron Ekblad: Barrie’s “Exceptional” Talent
- Book Review: The Art of Scouting by Shane Malloy
- Essential Hockey Read: Behind The Moves
- Late Round Larceny: THW’s Shawn Reznik looks at the dubious task of drafting goalies.
- Draft Day: The Curse of the Sixth Pick
- NHL Draft: The History of the 5th Overall Pick
- The Age Old Question: CHL vs. NCAA?
- The Russian Non-Factor – NHL Theory May Become Obsolete
- What’s the best round to draft a goalie? by Ryan Pike
- The Best Late Round Gems Of The NHL Entry Draft Since 2000 (Part I – ’00-’02 Drafts)
- The magical fourth year: 10 players you want to draft for next season! by Fred Poulin
- Translating AHL Success To The NHL
- 2007 NHL Entry Draft: Was it the Gift or the Curse?
- NHL Draft: Top-10 All-Time Best Selections with 5th Overall Pick
In the era of in-depth analysis, sabermetrics and advanced statistics, more and more fantasy experts are talking about the magical fourth season for NHL players.
Most of you would ask, “What is exactly the magical fourth season?” Well, roughly speaking, offensive players make big jumps in their production in years two through six. In the fourth year, 24 percent of players see an increase in the offensive numbers by around 25 percent.
In 2011-12, several players saw their offensive numbers jumped considerably compared to the previous season. The most notable were James Neal, Blake Wheeler, Max Pacioretty, Wayne Simmonds and Jamie McGinn.
- The Next Undrafted Gem? Alexandre Mallet
- Designer Prospect: Taylor Vause
- The Next Undrafted Gem? Cameron Critchlow
- Danny DeKeyser: The Top NCAA Free Agent Available
The U.S. college free agent signing season for the National Hockey League has officially begun. The playoffs have commenced in some of the conferences in the NCAA, but the signing frenzy is just getting started. On March 6th, the party began when the Philadelphia Flyers agreed to a two-year contract with Ohio State University goaltender Cal Heeter. However, the real prize player available this year is Western Michigan University defenseman Danny DeKeyser. At nearly all of Western Michigan’s home games this season, NHL scouts have been swarming to Lawson Ice Arena, just so they can see DeKeyser play. He’s a 6’3”, 186 pound sophomore that most teams would love to have patrolling their blueline in the very near future. Being arguably the most coveted free agent available has certainly put a lot of pressure on DeKeyser, but he adjusted accordingly as the season went on. One of DeKeyser’s best known skills is his skating, and it’s made it really difficult for opponents to get around him this year.
- The Next Ones website is your online hockey prospect eNewspaper featuring the greatest prospect resources on the web. If there’s a website covering hockey prospects worth following, it should be linked on The Next Ones (TN1), from the files of The Hockey Spy.
Special thanks to fellow THW writers and integral contributors:
- Brendan Ross
- Ross Bonander
- Fred Poulin
- Ryan Pike
- Anatoliy Metter
- Margann Laurissa
- David O’Connor
- Carl Maloney
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com