Re-Drafting the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

Hindsight is great because it allows us to look back at events and determine if the correct decisions were made. 10 years later and it is clear there were some misses in the 2012 NHL Draft including the top four selections. Now that we know how these players turned out, here is a re-draft of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

1st Overall – Edmonton Oilers: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Original Selection: Nail Yakupov

Imagine a team right now of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Andrei Vasilevskiy. In this re-draft, the Oilers select arguably the best goaltender in hockey paving the way for a potential dynasty to be born. Instead, Edmonton selected Nail Yakupov, who never found his footing in the NHL and has been playing in Russia for the last six seasons.

John Tavares Toronto Maple Leafs Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning
John Tavares celebrates a goal as Andrei Vasilevskiy looks on (Photo by Gavin Napier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Oilers have struggled to find a goaltender for years meanwhile Vasilevskiy has won the Vezina Trophy, Conn Smythe Trophy and back-to-back Stanley Cups. He also has 292 wins in 474 regular-season games played along with 65 wins in 110 playoff games. He is the best player selected from this draft and it is not even close.

2nd Overall – Columbus Blue Jackets: Morgan Rielly

Original Selection: Ryan Murray

The Columbus Blue Jackets selected defenceman Ryan Murray with the second overall pick in 2012. While he turned into a decent defenceman who has played over 400 games, the better selection would have been Morgan Rielly. He is the leader amongst all players drafted in games played from the 2012 Draft with 786 and sits third in points with 467.

Looking back at the 2011-12 Blue Jackets, one thing they desperately needed was an offensive defenceman. Their team leader in points on the blue line was Nikita Nikitin who had 32 points in 54 games. In comparison, Rielly has surpassed that total seven times in his 11 seasons. Murray, on the other hand, has never surpassed 30 points in a season. Looking back, the former Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman was the better option.

3rd Overall – Montréal Canadiens: Tomas Hertl

Original Selection: Alex Galchenyuk

The Montréal Canadiens entered the 2012 Draft looking for their next franchise centerman. They decided to go with Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk who only played two regular-season games in 2011-12. Despite limited playing time, he was ranked high thanks to an 83-point rookie season the year prior.

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Galchenyuk had problems with consistency after joining the NHL. That is why the Canadiens should have selected Tomas Hertl. The Vegas Golden Knights center has turned into everything Montréal was looking for while their original pick didn’t put up more than 10 goals after the 2018-19 season.

4th Overall- New York Islander: Filip Forsberg

Original Selection: Griffin Reinhart

This is a pick the Islanders desperately want back. Griffin Reinhart looked like a stud defenceman that was going to take over the NHL. Instead, he played 37 total games and has now announced his retirement. The Islanders at least got something back for him down the line as they traded him to the Oilers for the pick used to draft Mathew Barzal.

Related: Filip Forsberg Trade Revisited

In hindsight, the best option available would have been Filip Forsberg. The Swedish winger has 600 points in 694 games and is coming off an injury-riddled 2022-23 season in which he had 42 points in 50 games. The Islanders are a team desperate for offence and he could have helped shore up that issue if he was selected fourth overall back in 2012.

5th Overall – Toronto Maple Leafs: Jacob Trouba

Original Selection: Morgan Rielly

Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, Rielly is unavailable in the re-draft so instead, their best option would be Jacob Trouba. The now-New York Ranger has become a top defenceman in the NHL with his physical play and strong defensive game. Overall, this is not a bad trade-off as the Leafs have been looking for a rugged, top-pair defenceman the last few seasons.

Jacob Trouba New York Rangers
Jacob Trouba, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Trouba ended up going ninth to the Winnipeg Jets. In his first season, he registered 29 points in 65 games, including 10 goals. While he doesn’t offer the same offensive production as Rielly, he has been a very valuable player for every team he has played on.

6th Overall – Anaheim Ducks: Jaccob Slavin

Original Selection: Hampus Lindholm

There are very few defencemen in the league who are better at shutting down a play like Jaccob Slavin. Originally selected 120th overall, the former Chicago Steel defender finished the 2022-23 season with 103 blocked shots and has 1,103 in 662 regular-season games. What is most impressive is that he doesn’t take penalties as he has only 84 penalty minutes total in his career.

As for Hampus Lindholm, he has had a good career, but not at the same level that Slavin has. He still deserved to be a first-rounder, just not the sixth overall pick. The Carolina Hurricanes defenceman should have gone a lot higher in the draft, which is why he goes sixth in the re-draft.

7th Overall – Minnesota Wild: Damon Severson

Original Selection: Matt Dumba

While the battle between Matt Dumba and Damon Severson is close, the Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman has proved to be the better player. Not only does he have more points, but he has also shown to be a more consistent player overall. As mentioned, the race is very close but the former Kelowna Rocket deserves to jump up from the 60th overall spot all the way to seventh.

Severson is not talked about much but he was the heartbeat of the New Jersey Devils’ blue line and continues to be a big part of the Blue Jackets.

8th Overall – Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Dumba

Original Selection: Derek Pouliot

Matt Dumba did not have to wait long to hear his name called in the re-draft as he drops one spot to eighth overall. The former Red Deer Rebel has developed into a top-pair defenceman who has 247 points in 669 games. He has also been awarded the King Clancy Trophy for his leadership and humanitarian work.

As for Derrick Pouliot, his career has not turned out as he hoped. In 226 games, he has 54 points and has spent the majority of the last four seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL). It is safe to say in hindsight that the Penguins whiffed on this pick.

9th Overall – Winnipeg Jets: Connor Hellebuyck

Original Selection: Jacob Trouba

In the re-draft, Trouba was already selected so instead, the Jets pick Connor Hellebuyck. They originally selected him 130th overall but it is hard to argue that he would not be a top-10 pick in this re-draft. Not only has he won a Vezina Trophy, but he has also won at least 24 games in each of the last eight seasons.

Related: Winnipeg Jets 2021-22 Report Cards: Connor Hellebuyck

Hellebuyck is a workhorse as he averages over 60 games per season. Despite the workload, he has never posted a goals-against average higher than 2.97 in the regular season. He has developed into a top goaltender in the league and a player worthy of being a top-10 pick in the re-draft.

10th Overall – Tampa Bay Lightning: Tom Wilson

Original Selection: Slater Koekkoek

Few in the NHL play a more physical brand than Tom Wilson. The former 16th overall pick jumps up six spots into the waiting arms of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Adding him to a team that already had Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and had drafted Nikita Kucherov the year prior just seems unfair.

Tom Wilson Washington Capitals
Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As for Slater Koekkoek, he had a decent career as a seventh defenceman who could fill in when needed. He played 186 games in the NHL but never played more than 42 games in a season. In the re-draft, he is a player who falls out of the first round.

11th Overall- Washington Capitals: Teuvo Teräväinen

Original Selection: Filip Forsberg

Forsberg is not available in the re-draft so the Capitals select Teuvo Teräväinen instead. The Finnish forward originally went 18th overall so he does see a bump up the list thanks to his stellar play the last few seasons. He is now a key contributor to the Hurricanes and has become one of the top two-way wingers in the league.

The Capitals should not be disappointed losing out on Forsberg as Teräväinen is a strong player. Who knows, maybe they like him so much they don’t trade him down the line for Martin Erat. In the end, Washington cashes in big with the 11th overall pick regardless.

12th Overall- Buffalo Sabres: Frederik Andersen

Original Selection: Mikhail Grigorenko

Ever since the Sabres traded Ryan Miller in the 2013-14 season, they have been in desperate need of a goaltender. Instead of spending years trying out different combinations, they could have had Frederik Andersen to solidify their net. In 494 games, he has 294 wins along with a Jennings Trophy in 2015-16.

As for Mikhail Grigorenko, he has spent six of the past seven seasons in Russia. In 249 NHL games, he only managed 76 points which are fewer than the total amount of points he registered in his rookie year in the Quebec Major Hockey League (QMJHL). Andersen is the better player and moves from 87th overall to 12th in the re-draft.

13th Overall- Dallas Stars: Colton Paryako

Original Selection: Radek Faksa

At 13th overall, the Dallas Stars select Colton Paryako. He has 259 points in 655 games and has only dropped below 25 points once in his career. During the St. Louis Blues’ Stanley Cup win in 2018-19, he averaged 25 minutes in the playoffs and was a major reason why St. Louis was able to capture their first championship. Originally selected 86th overall, it is fair to say he is worthy of a top-15 pick in the re-draft.

As for Faksa, he has turned into a reliable, third-line center, as he can kill penalties and chip in 20-30 points a season. While that is useful in the NHL, the Stars were expecting a lot more when they selected him 13th overall.

14th Overall- Buffalo Sabres: Hampus Lindholm

Original Selection: Zemgus Girgensons

Hampus Lindholm sees a drop from sixth to 14th but still makes the top 15. The Swedish defenceman continues to get better year after year to the point where he is consistently around the 30-point mark. A physical presence, he is a reliable player who can play top-four minutes.

As for Zemgus Girgensons, he has developed into a bottom-six forward for Buffalo. In 684 career games, he has 89 goals and 187 points. While he has become a useful player for the Sabres, it is a long way from the potential they saw when they selected him 14th overall.

15th Overall- Ottawa Senators: Alex Galchenyuk

Original Selection: Cody Ceci

At 15th overall, the Senators add Galchenyuk to fill their third-line center spot behind Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris. He had consistency and legal issues, but he was still a good player who had 354 points in 654 games, which is why he doesn’t fall out of the top 15.

Related: Coyotes 2022 Offseason Player Reviews: Alex Galchenyuk

Cody Ceci, on the other hand, has never really established himself as a high-end defensive defenceman. He can play in the top-four for a team but his production is dependent on who he is partnered with. Overall, he is a stable defenceman but not worthy of a top-15 pick.

16th Overall- Washington Capitals: Tanner Pearson

Original Selection: Tom Wilson

With Wilson no longer available, the Capitals select Tanner Pearson from the Barrie Colts. The Stanley Cup winner has been very consistent throughout his career and has shown he can play in a top-six role. He has also shown he can contribute to the power play as a net-front presence.

Tanner Pearson Vancouver Canucks
Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pearson jumps up from 30th overall into the 16th spot because he understands the game so well. He knows where to be on the ice and understands the importance of a two-way game. This is a player that fits Washington’s style of play and would have thrived in a second-line position.

17th Overall- San Jose Sharks: Shayne Gostisbehere

Original Selection: Thomas Hertl

In the 17th spot, the Sharks go with Shayne Gostisbehere who was originally drafted 78th overall. The defenceman has 361 points in 614 games and has eclipsed 40 points in a season on five occasions. While he isn’t the most consistent player, he is a top-four defenceman who understands how to put up points in the NHL.

Unfortunately for the Sharks, Hertl would not be available, but they should still be happy with Gostisbehere. Bringing in an offensive defenceman like him may have even prevented the Erik Karlsson trade which has led to nothing but problems for the franchise. Although many have criticized his play over the years, the former Flyer is still a worthy top-20 pick.

18th Overall- Chicago Blackhawks: Brady Skjei

Original Selection: Teuvo Teräväinen

With Teräväinen no longer available, the Blackhawks add to their defensive depth with Brady Skjei. Originally selected 28th overall by the Rangers, the 6-foot-3 defenceman has developed into a solid, shut-down defender who is heavily relied upon on the penalty kill. A player that most teams around the league would love to have on their team.

While not known for his offensive game, Skjei can still produce around 25 points a season. He also has mastered getting the puck on the net with a 58 percent shots-through percentage in his career. A valuable player, he jumps up 10 spots in the re-draft.

19th Overall- Tampa Bay Lightning: Ryan Murray

Original Selection: Andrei Vasilevskiy

With Vasilevskiy no longer available, the Lightning focus on defence and select Murray. The shutdown defenceman was originally selected second overall but falls to 19th in the re-draft. His addition to the Tampa Bay lineup makes them an even stronger unit, especially with the addition of Wilson earlier in the draft.

Murray would fit well in Tampa’s system as he can be an anchor to a more offensive defenceman on the roster. He can play the penalty kill well and thrives when playing a third-pairing role. Despite not living up to second-overall expectations, he is still a top-20 player from this draft.

20th Overall- Philadelphia Flyers: Connor Brown

Original Selection: Scott Laughton

Connor Brown is the type of forward every general manager should want on their team. Not only can he produce around 40 points a season, but he is also dangerous on the penalty kill and can make teams pay with his blistering speed. He is a Swiss Army knife that has a lot of value in the NHL.

Connor Brown Edmonton Oilers
Connor Brown Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As for Scott Laughton, things have not worked out in Philadelphia. He has only passed 30 points in a season four times during his career and has developed into a good two-way forward. While he is a decent player, he is not one of the top-20 from this draft class.

21st Overall- Calgary Flames: Alexander Kerfoot

Original Selection: Mark Jankowski

The Calgary Flames get stronger up the middle by selecting Alexander Kerfoot with the 21st overall selection. He was originally drafted 150th by the New Jersey Devils but has shown to be a strong, two-way center who can kill penalties and play a shutdown role. In 519 regular-season games, he has accumulated 262 points, which is 156 points more than Mark Jankowski who was originally drafted in this position.

Related: Maple Leafs Must Trade Latest Playoff Goat

Jankowski never established himself as more than a fourth-line player in the NHL. This past season, he spent more time in the AHL than NHL and is best suited as an injury replacement who can play 20 games a season. A big disappointment for the Flames, as they were very excited about drafting him at the time.

22nd Overall- Pittsburgh Penguins: Olli Määttä

Original Selection: Olli Määttä

10 years later, this pick still makes sense. While Olli Määttä may not have become a top-pairing defenceman, he is a steady top-four defender who can play the penalty kill. He does not provide much offence but is a good anchor partner for a more mobile defender.

One part of Määttä’s game that is underrated is his shot-blocking. Over his 679 regular-season career games, he has registered 1,041 blocked shots. He isn’t afraid to do what it takes to win, which is a great trait to have.

23rd Overall- Florida Panthers: Chris Tierney

Original Selection: Mike Matheson

Chris Tierney is an effective middle-six player who is not talked about enough. He does all the little things needed to win like blocking shots and plays a shutdown role at even strength and on the power play. Overall, he is an effective forward who jumps up from 55th overall into the first round.

As for Matheson, he is still an effective player but will fall a few spots. Overall, Tierney has been a better player over his career which is why he gets the 23rd overall spot. As mentioned though, it won’t be long until the defenceman’s name is called in the re-draft.

24th Overall- Boston Bruins: Matt Murray

Original Selection: Malcolm Subban

Although Matt Murray’s career has seen a decline in the past five seasons, that doesn’t mean he is not worthy of being a first-round pick. The former 83rd overall selection helped the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cups and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2016-17. In 272 regular-season games, he has 146 wins, including 15 shutouts.

As for Malcolm Subban, his career has not gone as planned, as he has only played 86 regular-season games and is now on his fourth organization in the past three seasons. At least he knows how to crush the national anthem.

25th Overall- St. Louis Blues: Mike Matheson

Original Selection: Jordan Schmaltz

Falling two spots, Mike Matheson goes to the Blues in the re-draft. The rugged defenceman has seen his game taper off a bit in recent years but is still one of the better defenders from the 2012 Draft. In 542 games, he has registered 229 points and 481 hits.

Mike Matheson Montreal Canadiens
Mike Matheson, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Blues would love a do-over in this spot as they selected Jordan Schmaltz. In total, he played 42 games registering five points. After years in the AHL, he made his way to Europe where he most recently played in Switzerland’s National League.

26th Overall- Vancouver Canucks: Josh Anderson

Original Selection: Brendan Gaunce

Josh Anderson makes the jump from 95th overall all the way to 26th in the re-draft. At 6-foot-3, 227 pounds, he fills the physical need the Canucks have been searching for these last few seasons. Over his 530-game career so far, he has registered 221 points along with 1,185 hits.

Instead, the Canucks went with Brendan Gaunce. He is a big center who was projected to be an impact player in the NHL. Fast forward to today and he has only managed to play in 172 NHL games and has spent the majority of his career in the AHL. Definitely a missed opportunity for Vancouver.

27th Overall- Arizona Coyotes: Esa Lindell

Original Selection: Henrik Samuelsson

With the 27th pick, the Arizona Coyotes originally selected Henrik Samuelsson. The now-retired forward played a total of three NHL games during his career and spent the majority of his time in the AHL. While he had a lot of success in junior, his game never translated properly to the NHL.

In the re-draft, the Coyotes go with a better selection in defenceman Esa Lindell. Originally drafted 74th overall by Dallas, he has become a strong top-four defender who can play in all situations. He has played 600 games so far in his career and has registered 190 points, 1,093 blocks and 804 hits. Definitely a first-round talent from the 2012 Draft.

28th Overall- New York Rangers: Chandler Stephenson

Original Selection: Brady Skjei

With Skjei already selected 18th overall, the Rangers have to look elsewhere for their selection. The best option in the re-draft would be Chandler Stephenson. The 77th overall pick makes the jump up the draft and into the 28th spot.

Related: Golden Knights’ Stephenson Showing His Value Amidst Team Injuries

Stephenson has become a key contributor in the NHL in the last few seasons. The Stanley Cup winner is coming off a 65-point campaign and has established himself as a bonafide middle-six forward. In 492 regular-season games, he has scored 89 goals and registered 286 points. He is a late bloomer but one that has shown in recent years that he has the talent to have been a first-rounder in 2012.

29th Overall- New Jersey Devils: Erik Gustafsson

Original Selection: Stefan Matteau

Stefan Matteau has had a successful AHL career but unfortunately was never able to translate that to the NHL. In 92 NHL games, he has six goals and 11 points. While he got the odd game or two in the NHL, it is safe to say he did not live up to the hype.

In the re-draft, the Devils instead select defenceman Erik Gustafsson. He was originally selected 93rd overall as he was an over-ager during the draft but that didn’t stop him from becoming an NHL defenceman. In 451 games, he has 221 points proving that sometimes selecting an over-ager is the best decision.

30th Overall- Los Angeles Kings: Jordan Martinook

Original Selection: Tanner Pearson

With Pearson already off the board, the Kings select Jordan Martinook with the final selection of the 2012 re-draft. Originally selected 58th overall, he has had a successful career playing in 637 games and registering 194 points. He is one of the top bottom-six forwards in the league as he understands what it takes to win on a nightly basis.

Jordan Martinook Carolina Hurricanes Vitek Vanecek New Jersey Devils
Jordan Martinook of the Carolina Hurricanes scores on Vitek Vanecek of the New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Martinook is a player that isn’t mentioned a lot but is vital to a team’s success. He currently wears an “A” for Carolina and his play helps set the tone for the rest of the group. While he may not put up more than 25 points a season, he brings value to the team thanks to his willingness to battle to get a win.


The 2012 Draft was stacked with plenty of future NHLers. In total, 34 players have played at least 500 games and eight have scored over 100 goals. While the first few picks may not have lived up to the hype, the rest of the draft delivered with household names and star players.