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NHL draft prospect Ryan Murray (Associated Press)
NHL draft prospect Ryan Murray (Associated Press)

Profiling the NHL's 2012 draft class: The Top 10 Add to ...

As with many years at the NHL draft, there’s a fairly clear No. 1 this year: Almost everyone has Nail Yakupov at the very top of their lists.

Beyond that, the 2012 draft class will likely come with plenty of surprises when the first round is held on Friday night in Pittsburgh. There’s little consensus among scouting staffs just who deserves to be the second pick and beyond, with Alex Galchenyuk, Filip Forsberg, Mathew Dumba and Ryan Murray all in the running.

To go deeper into this year’s draft class and preview the entire first round, Globe hockey writer Sean Gordon consulted an anonymous scout who has seen the majority of the top players this season and offers his thoughts. We have also compiled reports from McKeen’s Hockey’s Draft Guide on all the players likely to go in the first round.

Over the next few days, we will release that information in a 41-player list that is an average of the prospect rankings from three sources: McKeen’s Hockey scout David Burstyn, TSN analyst Craig Button and Hockey Prospectus writer Corey Pronman.

Every player that made the top 30 in their three rankings will be included in our list.

We kick things off on Monday with the top 10 of the draft, led by two members of the Sarnia Sting:

     

Rankings

#

Player

Pos.

Team

Scouting report

McK

TSN

HP

1

Nail Yakupov

RW

Sarnia (OHL)

 

1

1

1

Yakupov scouting report: As close to a consensus No. 1 pick as there is this year, Yakupov had 101 points as a rookie in 2010-11 but struggled through injury to just 69 this past season. A recent concussion stands out as one red flag, but our scout says the Pavel Bure comparisons aren’t an exaggeration and that Yakupov is one of only a few players from this class ready to make the jump given his late birthday. Even so, he may be “too individualistic” to be a difference-making franchise player. McKeen’s: “Yakupov is the most dangerous offensive player in the draft since he can slow the game down to his pace and beat the opposition in a multitude of ways... could play on a top line and power play unit in the NHL.”

 

2

Alex Galchenyuk

C

Sarnia (OHL)

 

2

4

3

Galchenyuk scouting report: Yakupov’s Sting teammate was on track to potentially challenge him for top spot heading into the season but tore his ACL and played just two games at the end of the year. Our scout says he has NHL size, shooting ability and speed even though the knee injury means he’s likely a year or two away from the NHL. Sure fire top three pick. McKeen’s: “He’s highly cerebral and processes the game at a high pace with the puck... His ability to manufacture offence coupled with his hockey sense and character are all traits that will serve an NHL team well.”

 

3

Filip Forsberg

C/RW

Leksands (Swe2)

 

3

7

4

Forsberg scouting report: Played pro in the Swedish second division at just 17 years old, putting up 17 points in 43 games competing against men while still rail thin. Our scout calls him a safe choice who will have a long NHL career but maybe not as a first-line player. Needs more time in Sweden before he’s ready as he’s one of the youngest players at the top of the draft. McKeen’s: “A brilliant power forward whose skating and shot are already elite by NHL standards.”

 

4

Mathew Dumba

D

Red Deer (WHL)

 

6

2

6

Dumba scouting report: Not overly big at 6-foot, 180 pounds, Dumba blossomed into a big point producer this season in the WHL with 20 goals and 57 points and was captain of Canada’s under-18 team. Our scout likes his character but says he could be anything from a steal to a bust. McKeen’s: “Dumba’s riverboat gambler type of play is complemented by his superior offensive skill set and booming slap shot.”

 

5

Teuvo Teravainen

C/W

Jokerit (Fin)

 

5

5

5

Teravainen scouting report: Tiny Finn is listed at just 165 pounds, which may see him fall beyond where his considerable playmaking talent should land him. Played this past season as a 17-year-old with Jokerit in Finland’s top league, where he had 11 goals and 18 points in 40 games. Our scout says he’s two or more years away from the NHL but has top-line potential. McKeen’s: “When the physical temperature of the game increases... [he] tends to play a perimeter game... Given his unique offensive ability in a relatively weak draft (in terms of high end skill), Teravainen’s shortcomings may be overlooked but can’t be ignored.”

 

6

Morgan Rielly

D

Moose Jaw (WHL)

 

8

3

7

Rielly scouting report: Like Galchenyuk, he missed most of the season with a torn ACL, playing just 18 games before returning late in the playoffs. Like Dumba, he’s not overly big but is a good skater with offensive ability. Our scout calls him the potential steal of the draft – “the best defence prospect since Drew Doughty” – given his stickhandling and playmaking skills. McKeen’s: Rielly “possesses similar attributes” to Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson “as the two play an almost identical skating and puck possession game.”

 

7

Ryan Murray

D

Everett (WHL)

 

4

13

8

Murray scouting report: Missed 26 games due to a high-ankle sprain but otherwise had a terrific third WHL season with 31 points in 46 games and appearances at the world juniors and world championships. Could go anywhere from first overall to deeper in the top 10. Our scout says his reputation exceeds his upside and has him ranked as only the fourth best defenceman in the draft. He is NHL ready, however. McKeen’s: “Murray may not be a high-end point producer at the next level, but his puck skills are refined and he can find the open man... Character, maturity and hockey sense make him a safe pick to step into the NHL immediately and have a lengthy pro career.”

 

8

Griffin Reinhart

D

Edmonton (WHL)

 

7

6

15

Reinhart scouting report: The son of former NHLer Paul Reinhart is the biggest of all the defencemen at the top end of the draft, as at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds he has NHL-ready size despite turning 18 only in late January. Our scout calls him a natural leader who will be a top four blueliner in the NHL. McKeen’s: “His unmatched combination of size, offensive awareness, defensive zone coverage and healthy bloodlines make him one of the safer picks among defencemen available in this year’s draft.”

 

9

Mikhail Grigorenko

C/RW

Quebec (QMJHL)

 

9

20

2

Grigorenko scouting report: Where oh where will Grigorenko go? One of the real wild cards in this draft, he has been ranked as high as second behind Yakupov and fallen sharply on many other lists. Incredibly skilled but criticized late this season for his work ethic, he had 40 goals and 85 points in 59 games in his first season in North America. Our scout calls him the biggest enigma of the draft as he makes some hockey people nervous with his Kovalev-ian lapses. McKeen’s: “A big player with underrated strength and can be difficult to move once he gets a head of steam... His one-on-one moves and imagination with the puck are NHL-calibre already.”

 

10

Jacob Trouba

D

USA U-18

 

10

12

12

Trouba scouting report: Big blueliner has been an anchor for the United States’ under-18 teams the last two years and has a ticket to the University of Michigan for next season. Our scout wonders whether he can be an offensive contributor but calls him a safe top 10 pick. McKeen’s: “Trouba is a physical specimen whose athleticism, size and skating ability are all in concert with each other. The opposition has a hard time handling him once he is in motion.”

Next up: The mid-first rounders

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