The 2012 National Hockey League draft is June 22-23 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The Minnesota Wild currently own the seventh pick in the first round and a total of seven picks in the seven-round draft.
Here is my first mock draft of the first 10 picks in the first round.
No. 1 – Edmonton Oilers, D Ryan Murray. The Oilers have the opportunity to take the best player in the draft for the third consecutive year. There is not a clear-cut No. 1 player in this draft. Murray is one of the top players while filling a hole in the Oilers organization. He is a steady defenseman that does everything asked of him well.
No. 2 – Columbus Blue Jackets, RW Nail Yakupov. The Blue Jackets have holes everywhere, so grabbing the best available player is not just a cliché. Yakupov is a goal-scoring speedster.
No. 3 – Montreal Canadiens, C Mikhail Grigorenko. The Canadiens need impact forwards. Grigorenko has the size and skills to take over a game. According the NHL Central Scouting Service, he plays with the same speed with and without the puck. It doesn’t hurt that he recorded 40 goals and 45 assists in his first season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
No. 4 – New York Islanders, D Griffin Reinhart. The Islanders have offensive skill, but lack a top pairing defenseman. Reinhart will be just that. He is a physical, shutdown defender that has offensive upside. If he develops his offensive skills, he will be a star. If he doesn’t, he will at least provide toughness to the roster. I believe this is a low-risk, high-reward selection.
No. 5 – Toronto Maple Leafs, G Andrei Vasilevski. The Maple Leafs are building a very talented young team, but lack a starting goaltender in the system. Vasilevski is big and athletic with quick, long legs. He led Russia to a silver medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
No. 6 – Anaheim Ducks, C Filip Forsberg. The Ducks have plenty of very good forwards, but rumors have been swirling since early last season that several of them may have been on the trading block. Forsberg is a future power forward with leadership skills. He played for Sweden’s team at the World Junior Championships this year. He has produced in the biggest games. He recorded 11 points in 12 games at the World Under-18 Championships and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in 2011.
No. 7 – Minnesota Wild, D Morgan Rielly. The Wild have lacked defensemen that can move the puck up the ice. Rielly may be the best in this draft. The NHL Central Scouting Service describes him as a guy that will make passes that nobody expects to be completed and thinks one or two moves ahead. A torn ACL will make him available to the Wild. Before the injury, he was likely a top five pick.
No. 8 – Carolina Hurricanes, C Alex Galchenyuk. The Hurricanes have plenty of offensive talent, but Galchenyuk is the best player available. He has good bloodlines, his father played professionally in the United States and Europe. He is of Belarussian decent, but was born in Milwaukee and has chosen to compete internationally for the United States. He missed all but two games of the 2011-12 season with a knee injury suffered during a preseason game. That should not keep him from going in the top 10.
No. 9 – Winnipeg Jets, LW Teuvo Teravainen. The Jets have been dealing with rumors surrounding one of its top young players. Teravainen is very good and will give the Jets some options, should the rumors turn out to be true. Some scouts have said that Teravainen may be the best pure goal scorer in this draft. He has skill and has put up some impressive numbers at the highest level of Finland’s elite league.
No. 10 – Tampa Bay Lightning, D Mathew Dumba. The Lightning have no problem scoring goals, but lack depth on the blue line. This draft has plenty of defensemen at the top of the draft. Dumba is the best available. His offensive production has gone up in each of the last three seasons. He has the potential to be a first pairing offensive defenseman.