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  • 2012 HPT Mock Draft Print
    Features
    Written by HPT Staff   
    Friday, 22 June 2012 01:37

    With the draft just around the corner, three of Hockey Primetime's experts sat down and compiled the picks that they would make if they were general managers.

    The Hockey Operations departments of 30 NHL franchises have congregated at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center to chart the courses of their futures. There will be no lack of drama as questions are answered. Will the Oilers take Nail Yakupov first overall? Will Rick Nash finally be traded?

    1) Edmonton Oilers

    Andrew Knoll Nail Yakupov, RW Sarnia (OHL)  At No. 1 overall, take the player with the greatest star potential and Yakupov fits that label. Yakupov is a natural finisher, a strong playmaker and a potential game-breaker and Yakupov fits all his talent into a formidable frame to boot. 
    Blake Benzel Ryan Murray, D  Everett (WHL)  While I expect the Oilers to try and trade down to take Murray later, the fact is that the Oilers have a handful of young offensive talent, but they don't have a defensive cornerstone. Murray could be just that for them and I don't see them passing that up, regardless of how tempting taking Yakupov might be. 
    Steve Wozniak  Nail Yakupov, RW  Sarnia (OHL)  If general manager Steve Tambellini had five years to truly build a winner in Alberta, he'd take Ryan Murray, a can't miss blueliner and Canadian junior hero. But being on the hot seat, he'll just go with the best player available. 


    2) Columbus Blue Jackets

    Andrew Knoll Ryan Murray, D  Everett (WHL)  The Jackets may have a tougher time identifying an area of strength than an area of need at this point. While defense may be the position where they appear the strongest, over the long haul, a bankable, NHL-ready rearguard like Murray makes the most sense for a team that has been burned plenty with high picks gone awry.
    Blake Benzel  Nail Yakupov, RW  Sarnia (OHL)  Yakupov is the player that the Jackets desperately need to get their fan base to rally around the team, especially if the team is going to move Rick Nash during the offseason. A strong playmaker and a true game-breaker, don't be surprised to see a flip-flop of picks between Edmonton and Columbus, but either way, Yakupov will find himself in red, white and blue next season. 
    Steve Wozniak  Mikhail Grigorenko, RW  Quebec (QMJHL)  The Blue Jackets need a bit of everything, but Grigorenko is one of the few players in this year's pool who can add immediate impact. Then again, an orange road cone could add immediate impact for Columbus. 


    3) Montreal Canadiens

    Andrew Knoll  Mikhail Grigorenko, RW  Quebec (QMJHL)  Grigorenko is the second-most skilled prospect in the draft and at 6-foot-3 has size to spare. The Canadiens are woefully light on bulk up front and need a potential No. 1 center. Grigorenko saw health problems hamper his performance on prominent stages like the World Juniors and QMJHL playoffs, but that should not detract from his long-term star potential. 
    Blake Benzel  Filip Forsberg, C  Leksand (SWE)  The Canadiens need size and a player with a nose for the net up front and Forsberg will give them that. He might not have the explosive upside of some of the players that could be available, but he also doesn't have the risk involved. He might not be the flashy pick, but he is the safe pick. 
    Steve Wozniak  Radek Faksa, C  Kitchener, (OHL)  Faksa, a Czech who spent just last season in North America, led all OHL rookies with 29 goals, 37 assists and 66 points. He also claims on the NHL.com bio that his favorite team is the Oilers and his favorite actor, Channing Tatum ... so there are questions about his decision making. 


    4) New York Islanders

    Andrew Knoll Alex Galchenyuk, C Sarnia (OHL)  The Islanders might go with Filip Forsberg here as a winger who could step in and complement John Tavares but the imaginative and skillful Galchenyuk should be too intriguing to pass up here. An ACL injury robbed the hockey world of a better look at Galchenyuk this season, but he still offers the Isles a tempting 1-2 punch with Tavares in the near future. 
    Blake Benzel  Cody Ceci, D  Ottawa (OHL)  The common thought is that the Isles will try to trade up to take Murray, but with Ceci steadily moving up the ranks, they may not need to. Ceci was second in defensemen in points this season in the OHL and is solid in all three zones. Besides, whenever you hear comparisons to Keith Yandle and Brent Seabrook, it's usually a good idea to take notice.
    Steve Wozniak  Ryan Murray, D  Everett (WHL)  The Islanders are loaded enough up front with a ton of young talent, but severely lacking on the back end. They might as well take the one blueliner who could make a team out of training camp. 


    5) Toronto Maple Leafs

    Andrew Knoll Filip Forsberg, C  Leksand (SWE)  Forsberg will not slip past the Leafs, who are sure to love his playmaking ability, defensive acumen and pedigree. Having put in a season of work as a Swedish pro and packed on enough weight to his projectable frame to protect well in the NHL, the versatile two-way winger could make an impact in Toronto immediately. 
    Blake Benzel  Alex Galchenyuk, C  Sarnia (OHL)  Galchenyuk could be the most NHL-ready player in the draft and even Yakupov admits that Galchenyuk can do things that he can't. The reason his stock has fallen is because of his knee injury, not his talent.  The Leafs could pick up a gem here at No. 5 with this unbelievably skilled, future No. 1 center.
    Steve Wozniak  Griffin Reinhart, D  Edmonton (WHL)  There's a decent chance this will be Vancouver picking Reinhart with the pick that comes their way in a Roberto Luongo deal. The North Vancouver native's father, Paul Reinhart, suited up for the Canucks years ago. And the trigger-happy point man on the blueline would add nicely to Toronto's roster should they keep the pick. 


    6) Anaheim Ducks

    Andrew Knoll  Matthew Dumba, D  Red Deer (WHL)  While there are more shutdown-oriented defensemen available, the Ducks are looking for a home-run pick here that projects as a No. 1 guy. They will seek a productive player offensively that can also bring a physical edge to his game, and Dumba best fits that bill. 
    Blake Benzel  Radek Faksa, C  Kitchener (OHL)  If the Ducks have a mold that they like their forwards to fit, it's big, tough and skilled. That's exactly what Faksa is. He excelled in his first season in America and he has the skills to play both a power game and a skilled game. 
    Steve Wozniak  Alex Galchenyuk, C  Sarnia (OHL)  Galchenyuk would have, and should have, likely gone in the top three, but an ACL surgery that kept him shelved for most of last season will give pause to some general managers. If he comes back unfazed, Anaheim will have a steal at this spot. 


    7) Minnesota Wild

    Andrew Knoll  Morgan Rielly, D  Moose Jaw (WHL)  Rielly offers the Wild a smooth skater capable of quarterbacking the power play and ascending to a No. 1 role. Injuries lowered his profile this season but with the Wild seeking a non-project who can assume plenty of responsibility, they might put their chips onto Rielly's number. In any case, he should not fall below Tampa Bay at No. 10, which as scouted rielly and may roll the dice on him the way it did with Brett Connolly two years ago. 
    Blake Benzel  Mikhail Grigorenko, RW  Quebec (QMJHL) If Grigorenko falls this far, the offense-starved Wild can't afford to pass on him. There are questions about his commitment, but his upside far outweights those. His size and ability to create space for himself is something that the Wild lacks up front, as well, and the idea of him flanking incoming rookie Mikael Granlund would be tantalizing for the Wild.
    Steve Wozniak  Jacob Trouba, D  USNTDP (USHL)  One of the rarities in this draft, Trouba is a blueliner who plays a sound, positional stay-at-home style. That's just the type of player Mike Yeo will appreciate. He'll likely develop at the University of Michigan for a couple years before jumping to the pros. 


    8) Carolina Hurricanes

    Andrew Knoll  Radek Faksa, C/W  Kitchener (OHL)  Faksa is another heady, imaginative forward with loads of size at 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds. Like Jeff Skinner, he could step off the Rangers' roster and onto the 'Canes, who are certainly in the market for an impact player up front via draft selection or trade. There are plenty of solid defensemen available here, but the 'Canes tend to take forwards this high in the draft. 
    Blake Benzel  Griffin Reinhart, D  Edmonton (WHL)  Reinhart is a big, physical defenseman with some offensive upside. He's got a little bit of everything in his game and he's one of the more well-rounded defensemen in the draft, which bodes well for the 'Canes.
    Steve Wozniak  Filip Forsberg, C  Leksand (SWE)  The highest-ranked European player could be the best two-way player in the draft. He's speedy, gritty and not afraid to block shots of put the body on opponents. 


    9) Winnipeg Jets

    Andrew Knoll  Olli Maatta, D  London (OHL)  Maatta's stock appears on teh rise and, while the Jets may be looking hard at skilled forwards like Teuvo Teravainen and Faksa, the plethora of strong defensive prospects may be too strong to resist. Maatta's comprehensive game make him the sort of two-way defenseman that could fit into any system; an attractive quality to a team on the verge of competitiveness while still forming its identity. 
    Blake Benzel  Morgan Rielly, D  Moose Jaw (WHL)  Rielly missed more than five months after tearing his ACL early in the season and, had he not gotten injured, he might be in the same conversation as Ryan Murray. He has terrific speed and vision, as well as amazing hockey sense. He'll likely drop, because of his injury, but the Jets should get a gem here. 
    Steve Wozniak  Mirgan Rielly, D  Moose Jaw (WHL)  Like Galchenyuk, Rielly would go higher if questions about his recent ACL surgery didn't stick. Rielly could have the highest hockey IQ of any first-rounder. The Jets' power play will benefit from his vision and passing at the point. 


    10) Tampa Bay Lightning

    Andrew Knoll  Griffin Reinhart, D  Edmonton (WHL)  Stout defensive players mannign the rear have been make-or-break for Tampa's 1-3-1 system. In Reinhart, the Lightning get a player who can beef up their blue line and has the physical maturity to accelerate his ETA. Once Reinhard improves his lateral movement, he will be a fierce defensive blueliner. 
    Blake Benzel  Jacob Trouba, D  USNTDP (USHL)  Trouba has the offensive talent to jump up into the play and contribute on that end of the ice, teh speed to get back on defense when he does pinch in and the defensive ability to shutdown opposing teams' best players. For a team that struggled defensively, last seas, Trouba will be a dream come true. 
    Steve Wozniak  Mathew Dumba, D  Red Deer (WHL)  The Lightning have always had a fondness for high-energy players. Enter Dumba, who reminds some of P.K. Subban with his reckless, take-no-prisoners attitude on the ice. If Guy Boucher can control Dumba's emotional fireworks, they have a star for the future. 


    11) Washington Capitals (from Colorado Avalanche)

    Andrew Knoll  Jacob Trouba, D  USNTDP (USHL)  The Capitals likely covet Reinhart but if he is gone they will go for another two-way defenseman, the highest-ranked American-born rear guard in the draft, in Trouba. Some have speculated Cody Ceci may be their move, but it seems more likely they pursue a defenseman who has established himself more firmly in his own end. Trouba has a high level of maturity and plays a simple, effective game that he will likely take to the University of Michigan next season. 
    Blake Benzel  Mathew Dumba, D  Red Deer (WHL)  The Caps have an NHL-high 11 picks in this draft so it stands to reason that with one of their picks in the first round, they may go with a high-risk, high-reward type pick, which is what Dumba could be. He's physical, which the Caps seem to be looking for almost perennially now, and highly skilled in the offensive end. He also has the flash and flamboyance to his game that seems to fit in well in Washington.
    Steve Wozniak  Sebastian Collberg, RW  Frolunda (SWE)  The lack of a coach and team identity make any Capitals' pick a wild card this year. The speedy sniper could fit in with Washongton's old-school run-and-gun game. 


    12) Buffalo Sabres

    Andrew Knoll  Cody Ceci, D  Ottawa (OHL)  The Sabres have invested somewhat heavily in their defensive corps but lack a clear-cut power play quarterback who can also make an impact at even strength. They would acquire that in Ceci and snag an elite defensive talent just before the supply of blue chips runs dry. 
    Blake Benzel  Derrick Pouliot, D  Portland (WHL)  With two picks in the first round, the Sabres have the opportunity to address multiple needs. Given that the top of the draft board is pretty heavily populated by defensemen, don't be surprised to see them go that route with this pick. Pouliot's offensive skills would provide a terrific complement to Tyler Myers, and he is certainly a terrific skater with plenty of motivation. 
    Steve Wozniak  Olli Maatta, D  London (OHL)  Goalie Ryan Miller functions best with a defensive corps that can clear bodies in front of him. That's right in the Finland native's wheelhouse. 


    13) Dallas Stars

    Andrew Knoll  Teuvo Teravainen, LW Jokerit (FIN)  Teravainen will need time to develop physically but his skillset will make him well worth the wait. The Stars are in need of imaginative playmakers with hands and Teravainen may fit that bill closer than any other player in the draft. A surefire asset on the power play, Teravainen would arrive in an organization that has success with Finns like Jere Lehtinen and Kari Lehtonen. 
    Blake Benzel  Brendan Gaunce, C  Bellville (OHL) Don't be surprised to see the Stars try to move up or down from this spot, but the team has a desperate need at center in their organization and Gaunce would certainly fit that bill. He's a big, physical player who thrives around the net, which is the type of player who would complement their current stars quite well. 
    Steve Wozniak  Derrick Pouliot, D  Portland (WHL)  The Stars liked Alex Goligoski enough to give him a big contract extension. So picking up a younger model of their puck-moving blueliner just makes sense. 


    14) Calgary Flames

    Andrew Knoll  Derrick Pouliot, D  Portland (WHL)  The Flames' prospect cupboard may not be as bare as it once was, but it could still use plenty of re-stocking. The puck-moving Pouliot could accelerate their tempo and boos their power-play prowess. While his physique and defensive instincts need development, he can skate very well in addition to being a feisty competitor with no shortage of drive. 
    Blake Benzel  Olli Maatta, D  London (OHL)  One of Calgary's largest organizational holes is an offensive defenseman, and Maatta could easily fill that hole. He's unique among the North American skaters in the draft in that he's played pro hockey over in Finland, and it shows. He's responsible with the puck and his poise will serve him well in the NHL. 
    Steve Wozniak  Teuvo Teravainen, LW  Jokerit (FIN)  Teravainen shot up the draft boards late in the season after showing he was capable of putting up a point-per-game pace and starring at the World Juniors. 


    15) Ottawa Senators

    Andrew Knoll  Zemgus Girgensons, C  Dubuque (USHL)  The Senators would love to see a pair of foreign-born stud forwards to bolster their firepower and confuse broadcasters all over Canada with their unusual names (Mika Zibenejad was last year's first-rounder). Girgensons' emergence in his second USHL season was forceful and comprehensive. A strong, two-way player with toughness and leadership ability, he may be a spectacular fit as a No. 2 center. 
    Blake Benzel  Teuvo Teravainen, LW  Jokerit (FIN)  The Senators will be licking their chops if Teravainen is available. He fills a need, as Ottawa could use more offensively-skilled prospects. Despite his size, he's got great vision on the ice, is terrific on the puck and has all the tools to be a productive NHLer. 
    Steve Wozniak  Thomas Wilson, RW  Plymouth (OHL)  OHL coaches named him Best Body Checker and runner-up for Hardest Worker. The 6-foot-4 giant can control play in the crease and pick up loose pucks. That's a fan favorite in the making. 


    16) Washington Capitals

    Andrew Knoll  Brendan Gaunce, C  Belleville (OHL)  Gaunce offers the Caps both depth at center and grit up front, two things they lack and covet at the moment. He may even go to the Caps with the 11th pick, but they will likely take the best remaining D there and the top forward available at No. 16. He can be a short-term plug and a long-term cornerstone, high ability and high character. 
    Blake Benzel Sebastian Collberg, RW  Frolunda (SWE)  With their second first-round pick, expect the Caps to look for the best player available, and that player could be Collberg. The young Swede was a big part of Sweden's World Junior team and has the speed and skill - especially with his shot - to make up for his lack of size. 
    Steve Wozniak  Cody Ceci, D  Ottawa (OHL)  The highly skilled skater and puck-handler looks like a younger Kris Letang. So the Caps get Mike Green, without the soft play. 


    17) San Jose Sharks

    Andrew Knoll  Stefan Matteau, C  USNTDP (USHL)  The Sharks have often ignored slight deficiencies in speed when players have size, skill and pedigree to spare. Matteau fits that mold as a big, second-generation NHLer who has developed nicely in terms of coordination, hockey sense and his skill set. 
    Blake Benzel  Stefan Matteau, C  USNTDP (USHL)  The Sharks need some grit and size up front and Matteau has that. He can score (15 goals and 32 points in 46 games) and he's got a nasty streak (166 PIM), two characteristics that the Sharks could use. 
    Steve Wozniak  Stefan Matteau, C  USNTDP (USHL)  The Sharks get a big, physical center with a scoring touch to be the pivot for a checking line. And yes, if the name is familiar, his dad is former NHLer Stephane Matteau. 


    18) Chicago Blackhawks

    Andrew Knoll  Matt Finn, D  Guelph (OHL)  The Blackhawks could take a home-run swing here in the hopes of snagging a rising talent or an underachiever, but more likely they will make the safe pick with Finn. A solid, two-way defenseman, Finn has already shown defensive ability beyond his years, as well as untapped offensive potential. 
    Blake Benzel  Malcom Subban, G  Belleville (OHL)  The 'Hawks have never taken a goaltender this early in the draft and it's starting to show when you look at their organization. Subban has the speed and positioning to be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL, and that's exactly what the Blackhawks will be looking for here. 
    Steve Wozniak  Brendan Gaunce, C  Belleville (OHL)  Gaunce is a great playmaker and a big, physical specimine at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. 


    19) Tampa Bay Lightning (from Detroit Red Wings)

    Andrew Knoll  Sebastian Collberg, W  Frolunda (SWE)  The Bolts would be elated to find a natural finisher with rising stock in Collberg all the way at No. 19. Perhaps the most variable player in a first round with no shortage of wild cards, Collberg performed well against his peers, enjoyed a growth spurt and demonstrated a quick release on an accurate wrist shot this past year. He oculd go anywhere between 12 and 22, but would be a lock for Tampa here after selecting an impact defenseman earlier. 
    Blake Benzel  Zemgus Girgensons, C  Dubuque (USHL)  With the careers of two of their big three winding down, look for the Lightning to try and bolster their forward corps with one of their two picks. Girgensons plays a physical, aggressive game and he has the intangible that coaches love. Throw in the fact that he's got a great set of hands and can put the puck in the net, and the Bolts will be thrilled to get him here. 
    Steve Wozniak  Matt Finn, D  Guelph (OHL)  To complement the feisty defenseman taken with their first pick, the Bolts will pick up a puck-mover with a cannon shot and good eyes from the point on the power play. 


    20) Philadelphia Flyers

    Andrew Knoll  Tom Wilson, RW  Plymouth (OHL)  Wilson has also been shooting up draft boards. The power forward gets to the greasy areas of the ice and plays with a strong physical edge. He could be an excellent complement to Brayden Schenn in the not-too-distant future. 
    Blake Benzel  Andrei Vasilevski, G  Ufa 2 (RUS)  The playoffs may have exposed the Flyers' shortcomings in goal, so expect them to try to address that need long-term with this pick. Vasilevski is consedered by many to be the best goalie in the draft. He's been spectacular for Ufa 2 the last two seasons and he was dazzling for Russia in the World Juniros. With both Sergei Bobrovsky and Ilya Bryzgalov in front of him, the Flyers can also afford to let Vasilevski come over to the U.S. in his own time. 
    Steve Wozniak  Hampus Lindholm, D  Rogle Jr. (SWE)  The best European blueliner in this draft, Lindholm will fit in perfectly with Philly's physical style on the back end. 


    21) Buffalo Sabres (from Nashville Predators)

    Andrew Knoll  Tomas Hertl, C  Praha (CZE)  While he may not have blazing speed or a laser of a shot, Hertl has all the other offensive tools. A strong playmaker that elevates the game of his linemates, Hertl has excellent Balance and vision. He has shown both ability and willingness to protect the puck, needing only to work on his defensive positioning and filling out his frame. 
    Blake Benzel  Tom Wilson, RW  Plymouth (OHL)  With the trade of Zach Kassian, look for the SAbres to use this pick to upgrade to the 2012 model. Wilson might slip or slide a little, but he put up solid stats in 49 games for Plymouth this seaosn and had a terrific postseason, averaging a point per game. He's big, strong and likes to hit, which will make him a quick fan favorite wherever he lands. 
    Steve Wozniak  Colton Sissons, C  Kelowna (WHL)  This is the point where impact players are gone off the board. So Buffalo can go with a power-play specialist to build its foundation of prospects. 


    22) Pittsburgh Penguins

    Andrew Knoll  Brady Skjei, D  USNTDP
    (USHL)
     
    Skjei will go the NCAA route and take time to develop, but the Pens may well reap the rewards for their patience. He has NHL size but does not play a combative game, relying on his position and smooth skating. His mobility and smarts also serve him on the offensive end, where he could easily fill out the Penguins' balanced pairings down the line. 
    Blake Benzel  Brady Skjei, D  USNTDP (USHL) The Penguins' blue line struggled this season, and the pick of Skjei will certainly address that. He's solid in all three zones, has great instincts and possesses NHL size. 
    Steve Wozniak  Brady Skjei, D  USNTDP (USHL)  Going against the whole puck-possession, puck-moving style of coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins go with a responsible stay-at-home blueliner. Skjei will spend some time with the Minnesota Golden Gophers before going pro.


    23) Florida Panthers

    Andrew Knoll  Malcom Subban, G  Belleville (OHL)  If the Blackhawks and Lightning don't get to him first, expect the Panthers to pounce on Subban. A competitor from what's now an established hockey family, Subban combines competitiveness, power and quickness into a solid pro frame. He has patterned his game after Henrik Lundqvist and has been compared to Care Price, which puts him in decent company. 
    Blake Benzel  Matt Finn, D  Guelph (OHL)  The Panthers could use some depth on their blue line, so expect them to take the best defenseman available. Finn provides them with great explosiveness and is reliable enough in the defensive zone to not be considered a liability. 
    Steve Wozniak  Malcom Subban, G  Belleville (OHL)  The younger brother of P.K. is the best goalie available in the draft. It will just take this long to reach a team in desperate need of one for the future. 


    24) Boston Bruins

    Andrew Knoll  Slater Koekkoek, D  Peterborough (OHL)  Koekkoek has shown excellent mobility, passing skills and physical endurance at the CHL level. The Bruins could use a puck-moving defenseman and may also be selecting the most talented player available at No. 24. 
    Blake Benzel  Colton Sissons, C  Kelowna (WHL)  Sissons brings a strong, two-way game and leadership to the table, as well as the ability to put the puck in the net. These three components could be appealing to the Bruins. 
    Steve Wozniak  Zemgus Girgensons, C  Dubuque (USHL)  Girgensons is headed to Vermont to play NCAA hockey. That's a great opportunity to develop into a star before the Bruins bring him on board. 


    25) St. Louis Blues

    Andrew Knoll  Dalton Thrower, D  Saskatoon (WHL)  An average-sized defenseman who plays a big game, Thrower's relentlessness, competitiveness and completeness will certainly be attractive to the Blues. Thrower plays in all situations and offers more dynamism than five of the six current Blues defensemen. 
    Blake Benzel  Tomas Hertl, C  Slavia (CZE)  The Blues have the defense and goaltending down. What they could use now is some help putting the puck in the net. Hertl may not be the quickest guy on the ice, but his hands and his scoring ability make up for that. 
    Steve Wozniak  Tomas Hertl, C  Slavia (CZE)  The Czech sniper averaged nearly two goals a game with the Slavia U-18 team two seasons ago. 


    26) Vancouver Canucks

    Andrew Knoll  Martin Frk, RW  Halifax (QMJHL)  Frk remains another wild card in terms of draft position, but also remains a solid bet to go in the first round. The Canucks have liked European forwards with hands and speed in positions like these, such as Michael Grabner and Jannik Hansen. Frk's soft mitts and quick release put him in that category. 
    Blake Benzel  Martin Frk, RW  Halifax (QMJHL)  Frk has the ability to be a game changer, but his commitment has been questioned at times. If he can get past that, the Canucks could have a tremendous goal-scorer on their hands. 
    Steve Wozniak  Pontus Aberg, LW  Djugarden (SWE)  We're just going to say Vancouver has a pretty good record of drafting Swedes. 


    27) Phoenix Coyotes

    Andrew Knoll  Hampus Lindholm, D  Rogle (SWE)  Quick, big, fluid, smart and well-conditioned, Lindholm could be yet another Swedish force on a blue line that already boasts emerging star Oliver Ekman-Larsson and standout David Rundblad. Lindholm is still adjusting to his body, but has gained coordination and confidence in a short period of time. He could be a steal for a Coyotes team which will soon be making major transitions. 
    Blake Benzel  Tanner Pearson, LW  Barrie (OHL)  Pearson is considered by some to be the purest goal scorer in the draft, and that would help the Coyotes. He could also be one of the most well-rounded forwards on the board - someone who doesn't necessarily do any one thing great, but does everything well. 
    Steve Wozniak  Philip DiGuiseppe, LW  Univ. of Michigan (NCAA)  Michigan coach Red Berenson does an outstanding job of developing prospects in Ann Arbor, so DiGuiseppe, who tallied 11 goals in 40 games for the Wolverines last season, should follow in the path of Max Pacioretty, Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso 


    28) New York Rangers

    Andrew Knoll  Andrei Vasilevski, G  Ufa 2 (RUS)  A long-term project, the Rangers can afford to wait while Vezina winner, "King" Henrik Lundqvist's reign continues in net. Vasilevski has shown flashes of being a complete netminder. While h is capable of making improbable stops with his athletic ability, he has also not put himself in that position too often, thanks to solid positioning. A battler whose mental toughness has drawn the praise of scouts, hew ould be ideal for a club looking to replace an elite goalie well down the line. 
    Blake Benzel  Mike Winther, C  Prince Albert (OHL)  Winther is gritty and strong, and has the ability to put the puck in the net. The combination of those abilities could be something special for the Rangers. He's a late bloomer, so there is some risk involved, but there could also be a high reward involved. 
    Steve Wozniak  Martin Frk, RW Halifax (QMJHL)  What he lacks in vowels, he makes up for with points and penalty minutes. Frk can be a top scorer, or a gritty agitator. Either way, New York will love him. 


    29) New Jersey Devils

    Andrew Knoll  Jordan Schmaltz, D  Green Bay (USHL)  The Devils could get ambitious with a high-ceiling/low-floor goalscoreer, but it seems unlikely. Instead, the may grab Schmaltz, an emerging two-way defenseman. With a fluid stride and confidence handling the puck, he could be an asset to the Devils' rush and power play, both of which saw somewhat limited contributions from the back in their conference-winning campaign. Tall and gangly, Schmaltz could fill out to have formidable size in time. 
    Blake Benzel  Oscar Dansk, G  Brynas Jr. (SWE)  There's only one reason why the Devils wouldn't choose to forfeit their first-round pick this season, and that's to choose a goalie. Dansk is not only the best available at this spot, but also could turn out to be the best of the draft, period. His style is similar to Henrik Lundqvist and he has already spent some time in the U.S., playing for Shattuck St. Mary's in Minnesota in 2007-08.
    Steve Wozniak  Slater Koekkoek, D  Peterborough (OHL)  When he's NHL-ready in a year or two, Koekkoek can showcase his offensive prowess for a team that's been lacking that from the blueline. 


    30) Los Angeles Kings

    Andrew Knoll  Scott Laughton, C  Oshawa (OHL)  Laughton gives the Kings the character and grit they have coveted, as well as the depth they need at center. While they had seven natural pivots on their roster last season, their third-line center spot is a bit murky going forward. Laughton could fill that role before long and offer them a player capable of moving up in the lineup as well. 
    Blake Benzel Hampus Lindholm, D  Rogle Jr. (SWE)  Lindholm is a smart, two-way defenseman that you'll never notice - a good positional characteristic. He's not flashy but he makes the safe play and will be a good addition to an already strong blueline. 
    Steve Wozniak  Ville Pokka, D  Karpat (FIN)  This past season, the team had some finish. Now they can get some Finnish to go with it. 

    Photos by Getty Images

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    Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 15:40