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NHL draft prospect Cody Ceci. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
NHL draft prospect Cody Ceci. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Profiling the NHL’s 2012 draft class: The mid-first rounders Add to ...

On Monday, we unveiled a list of the top 10 prospects according to three top scouting lists.

What follows is Part 2 of our draft preview breaking down the second tier of players in this draft: Those expected to go between picks No. 11 to 25. This is a group that will likely be dominated by solid defensive prospects and a few forwards who don’t provide quite the offensive punch as the five that made our top 10.

It’s in this midrange where teams will obviously be more challenged to find impact players, as percentage-wise, players beyond the top 10 become NHL stars only a fraction of the time.

If we look back five years ago, for example, to the 2007 draft, the 11th to 25th picks range from the pretty good (like Ryan McDonagh and Max Pacioretty, both Montreal picks, at 12th and 22nd) to the complete wash outs (Patrick White anyone?).

There are some potential home runs in this group this time around, but determining just who those gems are isn’t always easy.

     

Rankings

 

#

Player

Pos.

Team

 

McK

 

TSN

 

HP

 

11

Cody Ceci

D

Ottawa (OHL)

 

12

 

11

 

13

 

Ceci scouting report: Ceci’s father played in the CFL, and his son’s football player like physique was easy to spot at the NHL combine earlier this month. He had nearly a point-a-game with the 67’s this season but many still feel he needs to work on his defensive game. Our scout calls him a well rounded defenceman who does everything well. McKeen’s: “Ceci possesses all the tools that NHL teams covet in a defenceman, including size, skating ability, offence... it wasn’t uncommon for him to play more than 30 minutes a game.”

 

12

Hampus Lindholm

D

Rogle (Swe2)

 

11

 

10

 

16

 

Lindholm scouting report: A big, two-way defender who played pro hockey at 17 for much of the year, Lindholm was Sweden’s top blueliner at the Under-18 championship and improved as the season went along. McKeen’s: “He has the innate ability to control the tempo of the game and will also push the pace if he feels he needs to pick his team up.”

 

13

Radek Faksa

C/W

Kitchener (OHL)

 

16

 

17

 

10

 

Faksa scouting report: The OHL’s rookie scoring leader had 29 goals and more than a point a game with the Rangers in his first season in North America. A big, strong centre who our scout says loves to compete and has offensive upside. McKeen’s: “His defensive game and ability to play an honest physical game make him a very safe pick... can easily be slotted into either the second or third line of most NHL rosters... has tremendous potential.”

 

14

Zemgus Girgensons

C

Dubuque (USHL)

 

15

 

16

 

14

 

Girgensons scouting report: The Latvian with a mouthful of a name has spent the past two seasons in North America in the U.S. junior system, where he had better than a point a game and was the team captain. A hardnosed centre who plays well at both ends of the ice. Our scout says his stock is rising fast. McKeen’s: “His physical brand of hockey, work ethic and hunger for the puck is unrivalled by any player in the USHL and arguably his draft class... He aggressively charges the net, absorbs hits and competes hard on the boards.”

 

15

Matt Finn

D

Guelph (OHL)

 

20

 

9

 

19

 

Finn scouting report: Average sized defender brings an all-around game and had a breakout season with 48 points in 61 games in the OHL. McKeen’s: “His shot may be one of the best in the draft and he shows poise and creativity with the puck [on the power play]... Finn plays a game that should translate well at the pro level as he brings skill, compete level, maturity and an improving defensive game.”

 

16

Sebastian Collberg

RW

Frolunda (Swe)

 

14

 

27

 

11

 

Collberg scouting report: Smallish winger played in Sweden’s top league, logging limited minutes and going pointless in 41 games on a very good Frolunda team. Where he made a big impact was at the world juniors (winning gold) as one of his country’s top players. Our scout says he could have top line talent, but his size will see him drop in the draft. McKeen’s: “A gutsy performer, he will throw his body into action, but he’s simply not strong enough at this point to attack traffic areas and stay with them to bury his chances.”

 

17

Derrick Pouliot

D

Portland (WHL)

 

17

 

18

 

24

 

Pouliot scouting report: A consensus mid-first rounder, Pouliot is a smallish defender with excellent skating ability who had 59 points in 72 games in the WHL. McKeen’s: “He’s a gifted first passer in his own zone... Slightly undersized for his position, Pouliot’s approach to the defensive game needs to improve.”

 

18

Olli Maatta

D

London (OHL)

 

13

 

28

 

21

 

Maatta scouting report: A sound two-way defenceman who was relied on heavily by the Hunters with the Knights and was a standout during the OHL playoffs this past season. Our scout says a miserable performance at the Memorial Cup shouldn’t hurt him too badly on draft day. McKeen’s: “Maatta made mistakes early in the season, but improved his puck skills in the second half of the year, as he was able to execute a strong first pass and routinely find his outlets.”

 

19

Tomas Hertl

C

Slavia Praha (Cze)

 

27

 

22

 

18

 

Hertl scouting report: Big Czech centre played at the top level in his home country, putting up 53 points in 64 games and having a breakthrough at the world juniors. McKeen’s: “Hertl’s offensive skills set him apart as a prospect. He has good hands... is an excellent down-low player... under contract for another two seasons with” his club team so may not make an impact in North America for a while.

 

20

Pontus Aberg

LW

Djurgardens (Swe)

 

28

 

33

 

9

 

Aberg scouting report: Scouts are split on Aberg. He had 15 points in 47 games playing in Sweden’s Elite League but missed the world juniors with an injury and subsequently battled concussion issues. Short but stocky, he’s quick and hard to knock off the puck and doesn’t mind playing a little rough. McKeen’s: “Aberg displays solid offensive skills, as he has good hands... [his] complete disregard for his body puts im at a disadvantage. He can’t absorb hits and needs to be more selective in his physical approach for his own self preservation.”

 

21

Slater Koekkoek

D

Peterborough (OHL)

 

22

 

34

 

23

 

Koekkoek scouting report: Missed half his OHL season with a shoulder injury, hurting his draft stock given he was one of the league’s top scoring blueliners when he went down. Our scout says in another year he would be rated higher. McKeen’s: “He plays a better game with the puck than without it... struggles defensively and has a difficult time maintaining his gaps... Koekkoek’s game was exposed [due to] playing more than 30 minutes a night for the Petes.”

 

22

Scott Laughton

C/W

Oshawa (OHL)

 

25

 

24

 

30

 

Laughton scouting report: Smallish centre is an all-around player who had to step in and play a big role with the Generals this year at just 17. McKeen’s: “Laughton is a character player who competes hard at both ends of the ice and plays a complete 200-foot game... struggles with his skating... can be trusted in any situation and has shown an affinity to be a consistent scorer.â

 

23

Ludvig Bystrom

D

MoDo (Swe Jr)

 

41

 

19

 

20

 

Bystrom scouting report: An average sized two-way defenceman who played mainly in the Swedish junior leagues but spent some time in the top division pro league. McKeen’s: “He does all the little things well that can set the pace of a game from the back end... a fluid and graceful skater... the ease with which he can make passes catches the opposition by surprise.”

 

24

Brendan Gaunce

C

Belleville (OHL)

 

18

 

38

 

25

 

Gaunce scouting report: Another player who could go anywhere from the mid-first round to closer to the second, Gaunce is a very big, character centre who played at close to 220 pounds with the Bulls despite not turning 18 until late March. Our scout questions whether he has the offensive talent to play a top six role in the NHL. McKeen’s: “Improvements to his skating are a must, as he lacks a separation gear and has limited first-step quickness... His physical conditioning is in the upper echelon of the draft... [has] size, character, hockey sense and the ability to do many little things well.”

 

25

Brady Skjei

D

USA U-18

 

21

 

26

 

37

 

Skjei scouting report: Big American blueliner is overshadowed in a draft high on blueline talent but is yet another solid all-around defenceman who caught scouts’ eyes at the Under-18 tournament this year. Our scout calls him a terrific skater who sees the ice well but needs to play up to his size. Could be a higher pick than people expect but is committed to the NCAA. McKeen’s: “Has a cool and calm demeanour in how he approaches games... rarely showing any panic... His game lack a physical component to it.”


Next up:
The late first rounders and long shots

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