NHL Mock Drafts Revisited: 5 Takeaways from 2012

Hindsight is always helpful, often enlightening, and sometimes humorous too.

In the build-up to my seventh annual NHL mock draft — to be published the morning after the Stanley Cup is handed out in June — I’ve decided to revisit my results over the last six years and provide five takeaways from each of those drafts.

I will highlight my steals and misses, the good and the bad — even the ugly. It should be a fun trip down memory lane for better or worse. There will be humbling reflections and perhaps some boasting too.

For the first three years — 2012, 2013 and 2014 — I was mocking on my own blog site prior to joining THW for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 drafts.

I started by mocking only the first round in 2012, then expanded to two rounds for 2013, before returning to one round in 2014 when I did two versions — one with potential trades and one without.

For THW, I mocked three rounds for 2015 and then attempted all seven rounds for 2016 and 2017, which will be the case again this year as I try to predict all 217 picks while providing at least 100 honourable mentions.

That’s something to look forward to, but let’s go back to where it all began in 2012.

Mock Draft

1) Edmonton Oilers — Nail Yakupov (RW, Russia, Sarnia OHL)

2) Columbus Blue Jackets — Filip Forsberg (C, Sweden, Leksand)

3) Montreal Canadiens — Mikhail Grigorenko (C, Russia, Quebec QMJHL)

4) New York Islanders — Ryan Murray (D, Canada, Everett WHL)

5) Toronto Maple Leafs — Alex Galchenyuk (C, Russia/USA, Sarnia OHL)

6) Anaheim Ducks — Griffin Reinhart (D, Canada, Edmonton WHL)

7) Minnesota Wild — Jacob Trouba (D, USA, NTDP U18)

8) Carolina Hurricanes — Teuvo Teravainen (LW, Finland, Jokerit Jr.)

9) Winnipeg Jets — Mathew Dumba (D, Canada, Red Deer WHL)

10) Tampa Bay Lightning — Morgan Rielly (D, Canada, Moose Jaw WHL)

11) Washington Capitals (from Colorado) — Radek Faksa (C, Czech Republic, Kitchener OHL)

12) Buffalo Sabres — Malcolm Subban (G, Canada, Belleville OHL)

13) Dallas Stars — Cody Ceci (D, Canada, Ottawa OHL)

14) Calgary Flames — Hampus Lindholm (D, Sweden, Rogle Jr.)

15) Ottawa Senators — Sebastian Collberg (RW, Sweden, Frolunda Jr.)

16) Washington Capitals — Olli Maatta (D, Finland, London OHL)

17) San Jose Sharks — Zemgus Girgensons (C, Latvia, Dubuque USHL)

18) Chicago Blackhawks — Andrei Vasilevskiy (G, Russia, Ufa)

19) Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit) — Derrick Pouliot (D, Canada, Portland WHL)

20) Philadelphia Flyers — Brendan Gaunce (C, Canada, Belleville OHL)

21) Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville) — Tomas Hertl (C, Czech Republic, Slavia)

22) Pittsburgh Penguins — Slater Koekkoek (D, Canada, Peterborough OHL)

23) Florida Panthers — Mark Jankowski (C, Canada, Stanstead College)

24) Boston Bruins — Brady Skjei (D, USA, NTDP U18)

25) St. Louis Blues — Matthew Finn (D, Canada, Guelph OHL)

26) Vancouver Canucks — Pontus Aberg (LW, Sweden, Djurgarden)

27) Phoenix Coyotes — Stefan Matteau (C, USA, NTDP U18)

28) New York Rangers — Tom Wilson (RW, Canada, Plymouth OHL)

29) New Jersey Devils — Oscar Dansk (G, Sweden, Brynas Jr.)

30) Los Angeles Kings — Colton Sissons (C, Canada, Kelowna WHL)

NHL Draft

1) Edmonton Oilers — Nail Yakupov

2) Columbus Blue Jackets — Ryan Murray

3) Montreal Canadiens — Alex Galchenyuk

4) New York Islanders — Griffin Reinhart

5) Toronto Maple Leafs — Morgan Rielly

6) Anaheim Ducks — Hampus Lindholm

7) Minnesota Wild — Mathew Dumba

8) Pittsburgh Penguins (from Carolina) — Derrick Pouliot

9) Winnipeg Jets — Jacob Trouba

10) Tampa Bay Lightning — Slater Koekkoek

11) Washington Capitals (from Colorado) — Filip Forsberg

12) Buffalo Sabres — Mikhail Grigorenko

13) Dallas Stars — Radek Faksa

14) Buffalo Sabres (from Calgary) — Zemgus Girgensons

15) Ottawa Senators — Cody Ceci

16) Washington Capitals — Tom Wilson

17) San Jose Sharks — Tomas Hertl

18) Chicago Blackhawks — Teuvo Teravainen

19) Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit) — Andrei Vasilevskiy

20) Philadelphia Flyers — Scott Laughton (C, Canada, Oshawa OHL)

21) Calgary Flames (from Nashville via Buffalo) — Mark Jankowski

22) Pittsburgh Penguins — Olli Maatta

23) Florida Panthers — Mike Matheson (D, Canada, Dubuque USHL)

24) Boston Bruins — Malcolm Subban

25) St. Louis Blues — Jordan Schmaltz (D, USA, Green Bay USHL)

26) Vancouver Canucks — Brendan Gaunce

27) Phoenix Coyotes — Henrik Samuelsson (C, USA/Sweden, Edmonton WHL)

28) New York Rangers — Brady Skjei

29) New Jersey Devils — Stefan Matteau

30) Los Angeles Kings — Tanner Pearson (LW, Canada, Barrie OHL)

Decent Debut

Nail Yakupov
(Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)
Nail Yakupov has been a bust based on the standard set by recent first overall picks, but he was the consensus No. 1 prospect back in 2012. He was also the only prospect that I matched to the right team that year.

For those who don’t want to do the math, I correctly predicted 25 of the 30 prospects selected in the first round. That is an 83 per cent success rate, not too shabby for a first attempt, though it may have been a case of beginner’s luck.

My five misses were Laughton, Matheson, Schmaltz, Samuelsson and Pearson, who replaced Collberg, Finn, Aberg, Dansk and Sissons from my mock.

Six years later, it’s become clear that those NHL scouts earned their keep in picking the right guys, while I was wrong more often than not with that group.

Matheson and Schmaltz, in particular, seemed like reaches to me at the time — both out of the USHL — but they are proving to be the real deal. Well played by them, but I had a solid showing overall.

Rightfully High on Forsberg

Filip Forsberg
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Filip Forsberg has blossomed into a star player for the Nashville Predators and may be on the verge of becoming a superstar with his latest playoff performance.

It’s crazy to think that Forsberg not only fell to 11th but was traded away by Washington prior to making his NHL debut.

I was a big fan of Forsberg that year and you could make a strong case for him to go first overall in a re-draft. It took him a little while to take off, but he’s a full-blown superstar these days.

I had Forsberg going second overall and remember being shocked when he didn’t go in the top five. A lot of scouts have to be kicking themselves for passing on him anywhere in the top 10.

Wrongfully High on Collberg

Sebastian Collberg
(Chris Ralph/THW)
Sebastian Collberg didn’t pan out for Montreal, nor the Islanders.

Collberg was fun to watch in his draft year, a slick forward with all kinds of creativity, but this Swede went bust.

Unlike Forsberg, who is booming before our eyes, Collberg wasn’t cut out for the North American game and has faded from relevance since returning home. He only managed four goals and nine points in 35 SHL games this season after failing to make it to the NHL, struggling to gain any traction over two AHL seasons.

Drafted by Montreal at 33rd overall — just three picks outside the first round — Collberg was traded to the New York Islanders as part of a deadline deal for Thomas Vanek in 2014. That move didn’t work out for either team, but this may be the last you ever read about Collberg.


When it comes to mocks, it’s always intriguing to ponder how different things would be today had the draft played out as predicted.

We all know what happened with Yakupov in Edmonton and Teravainen eventually ended up in Carolina via trade.

Teuvo Teravainen Hurricanes
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
It took until 2016, but Teuvo Teravainen finally landed in Carolina and now he’s coming off a career year with the Hurricanes, recording 23 goals and 64 points in 2017-18.

But just imagine Forsberg in Columbus, Galchenyuk in Toronto and Vasilevskiy in Chicago. Rielly in Tampa and Hertl in Buffalo would be rather strange too.

On the other hand, Trouba in Minnesota and Dumba in Winnipeg is easier to envision since they aren’t all that different.

Who Should Hire/Fire Me?

The Blue Jackets made the safer pick with Murray at No. 2, but they really should have listened to my suggestion of Forsberg.

The Canadiens took Galchenyuk over Grigorenko at No. 3 and no regrets there. Grigorenko dropped all the way to No. 12 and didn’t have the drive to live up to my draft position.

Trouba or Dumba is a bit of a toss-up to this day, but Minnesota might want a mulligan at No. 7.

Jacob Trouba
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Given a second chance, with Jacob Trouba and Matt Dumba both on the board, it would be interesting to see who Minnesota would choose this time around. I would take Trouba now, but it’s still close.

Carolina traded No. 8 to Pittsburgh on the draft floor for Jordan Staal, but I wonder if Teravainen may have been a Hurricane right then and there had that pick not changed hands.

Outside of the top 10, based on the players that were available at those respective picks, I still think Dallas might have fared better with Ceci over Faksa at No. 13, and ditto for Washington with Maatta instead of Wilson. However, those two selections still worked out well for the Stars and Capitals.

Vasilevskiy over Teravainen for Chicago at No. 18 and Skjei over Malcolm Subban for Boston at No. 24 stand out as two other picks working in my favour thus far.