NHL Draft Watch 2012: The Left Wingers

This is part of a series of fanposts that I have been writing/will be writing on possible prospects that we could pick at the next draft. This piece will be focusing on several Left Wings that could be available when the Stars come to draft in the first round. My information comes from looking at several different scouting websites. I am working on the assumption that we will be drafted mid round.

This years draft appears to be devoid of a significant amount of high end talent in the left wing position with barely a handful being expected to be drafted within the first round alone. The players listed below are probably either going to be picked before us or when there are better players available. These however are the top 3 left wingers that are likely to be undrafted by our first round selection. (With the exception of Pontus Åberg.)

Each player’s name is linked to their Elite Prospect page

Pontus Åberg

Age: 18

Height: 5”11

Weight: 187lbs

Shoots: Right

Nationality: Swedish

Current Team: Djurgården

Current League: Elitserien

Current Stats: 29 Games, 7 Goals, 7 Assists, 14 Points, 4PMs, +2

Pontus Åberg is a hard working, fast skating forward who has proven adept at being a sniper. He has good puck handling skills and an above average hockey IQ. So far he has been limited to 29 games in the Eliteserien as he is suffering from an injury. Scouts have varying opinions of his draft stock but most agree he will be drafted within the first round. His offensive potential is high, in the 2010 Ivan Hlinka tournament he scored 5 goals and 8 points in 5 games playing alongside Victor Rask and Mika Zibanejad. His fast and good skating ability gives him the potential to become effective on the defensive end of the ice but he has yet to reach his defensive potential. Nevertheless his overall +2 so far this season suggests that his defensive skills are satisfactory.

Cristoval Nieves

Age: 17

Height: 6”2

Weight: 176lbs

Shoots: Left

Nationality: American

Current Team: Kent Varsity High School

Current League: USHS

Current Stats: Haven’t been able to find them.

2010-2011 Stats: 23 Games, 43 Goals, 18 Assists, 61 Points

Cristoval Nieves has some incredible puck handling and stick work. Combined with this he has good agility and speed. Its not known where he will be drafted but he is considered a first round/early second round player. He is seen by some as a young Joe Nieuwendyk. Despite being drafted in the OHL priority draft (10th round, 182nd Niagara IceDogs) he is committed to the University of Minnesota and will likely take the NCAA route to the pros.

Phil Di Giuseppe

(Plays both Left Wing and Centre)

Age: 18

Height: 6”1

Weight: 201lbs

Shoots: Left

Nationality: Canadian

Current Team: University of Michigan

Current League: NCAA

Current Stats: 21 Games, 8 Goals, 7 Assists, 15 Points, 12PMs, +/- 0

Phil Di Giuseppe considers himself to be a mixture of playmaker and scorer and has been helping the Wolverines to cope with the loss of some of their offensive seniors. He is considered a skilled offensive forward and an excellent speedy skater. He was drafted by the Niagara IceDogs (6th round, 107th) in 2009 and recently had his rights traded to Windsor. However he is expected to stay in the NCAA.

My Thoughts:

Of the three players I have listed above I believe the one we are most likely to draft would be Christoval Nieves. He has good size, but with the need to fill his frame while also having an elite set of skills. Some of the scouting reports I have read on him rave about his incredible puck handling ability and skill. He would almost certainly be a top six forward in the NHL when he leaves the NCAA.

Though Pontus Åberg is certainly an elite player he is likely to be drafted before we have our first round selection, though this early on it is hard to predict. Phil Di Giuseppe is likely to be drafted after our pick and I believe that there simply would be better players available at that point.

This is a user-created FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Defending Big D. FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable hockey and Dallas Stars fans.

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