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2012 NHL Mock Draft: Defending Big D's First Round, Part 1

Here at Defending Big D we have decided to try and present several different mock drafts. These are our own attempts at trying to predict what could happen on the 22nd of June with the first round of the draft. We will also have a final attempt to predict what will happen in the week leading up to the draft itself. As a note of warning these mock drafts are difficult to write because each different team will have different opinions of players. This is my attempt to predict what could happen in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft. I hope you enjoy

1st Overall: Edmonton Oilers
Their Selection: Nail Yakupov RW Sarnia Sting
The Oilers decide to bolster their already scarily talented forward group by selecting arguably the most talented player in a draft since Sidney Crosby. They pass on Ryan Murray sticking to the strategy of ‘best player available' and hope that they can find some good defensemen later in the draft to fill that need.

2nd Overall: Columbus Blue Jackets
Their Selection: Alex Galchenyuk C Sarnia Sting
After losing out on first overall and their shot at getting Yakupov they decide to pick his teammate at Sarnia Alex Galchenyuk. Despite missing most of the season with a torn ACL he is a smooth skating play maker who could have topped this draft if it wasn't for injuries. He has nearly flawless position with incredible passing and shooting skills. Expect to see him fight for a position with the Blue Jackets at their training camp.

3rd Overall: Montreal Canadians
Their Selection: Mikhail Grigorenko C Quebec Remparts
With Mikhail Grigorenko the Habs select an incredibly talented and smooth skating centre. The Canadians decide to take the risk on a forward who has been consistently challenged over motivation and scare mongering over the ‘russian factor'. If Grigorenko consistently maintains his motivational levels over a long season expect the Habs to have picked up an incredibly talented playmaker with incredible hockey intelligence.

4th Overall: New York Islanders
Their Selection: Ryan Murray D Everett Silvertips
Despite being weak on both wings the New York Islanders were not expecting the top ranked defensive prospect of the draft to fall into their laps at number 4. They take Ryan Murray an incredible two way defenseman who can not only put up incredible numbers but also defend as well. He has astonishing vision, skating and the ability to quarterback a powerplay. Ryan Murray, if he gains a bit of strength over the summer, is highly likely to be in an NHL jersey next year.

5th Overall: Toronto Maple Leafs:
Their Selection: Filip Forsberg C Leksand
After losing out on their chance to select either Galchenyuk or Grigorenko the Toronto Maple Leafs select the highest ranking European player and Swedish centre Filip Forsberg. He might not have the incredible hands and vision of Galchenyuk or Yakupov but he can play in any situation. He might not have the highest offensive ceiling of everyone in the top 15 but he definitely is a very well rounded player.

6th Overall Anaheim Ducks:
Their Selection: Teuvo Teravainen RW Jokerit
The Anaheim Ducks decide to take an incredibly talented playmaking forward and possible new Finnish superstar Teuvo Tervainen. Though he hasn't got the biggest stature in this years draft he will likely become an elite forward at the NHL level if he can avoid being injured. After a year playing for Jokerit of the SM-Liiga against full grown men he has the experience playing against older and larger competition

7th Overall: Minnesota Wild
Their Selection: Jacob Trouba D USNDTP
The Wild decide to pick the best two way defensive prospect on the board, Jacob Trouba. He is a physical defenseman with strong skating and high hockey IQ. He can defend the puck while on the rush and he is a dominant fixture on the powerplay. He is the best player coming out of the USHL.

8th Overall: Carolina Hurricanes
Their Selection: Morgan Rielly D Moose Jaw
The Hurricanes have been picking up large defensemen over the last couple of years so they decide to pick an offensive defenseman in the form of Morgan Reily. Despite missing most of the season after tearing his ACL he was on a point per game pace, without that injury he might have been a top 5 pick this year. His offensive skills are excellent but he has a lot to learn about defensive responsibility in his own end.

9th Overall: Winnipeg Jets
Their Selection: Sebastian Collberg RW Frolunda
The Winnipeg Jets decide to pass over some elite defensive prospects to inject some high level talent into their Right Wing prospect pool. He has been described as being similar in style to Phil Kessel and he is one of the quickest skaters in this draft. He also has an incredible shot. The Jets decide to take a risk considering that Collberg registered no points in 41 games in the Allsvenskan playing against full grown men. Despite this the Jets will hope that his production levels will shoot up as he gets more ice time at Frolunda.

10th Overall: Tampa Bay Lightning
Their Selection: Matt Dumba D Red Deer
Tampa Bay are surprised to find an offensive and physical talent such as Matt Dumba still undrafted at this point and have no hesitation in snapping up high end defenseman. Despite getting 57 points (20 Goals, 37 Assists) in 69 games he can also play well in his own zone and has proven adapt at shadowing high level forwards and limiting their production.

11th Overall: Washington Capitals (From Colorado Avalanche)
Their Selection: Griffin Reinhart D Oil Kings
The Capitals are very happy to take this 6"4 man child of the Edmonton Oil Kings. Despite his size he has improved his skating a lot over the season but it could still need some work. The Capitals need some elite defensemen on the back end and Reinhart provides size, defensive prowess and an abilty to put points up on the board.

12th Overall: Buffalo Sabres
Their Selection: Radek Faksa C Kitchener Rangers
The Buffalo Sabres need size and talent along the middle and therefore pick the 6"3 200lbs Czech forward from the Kitchener Rangers. He has good hockey intelligence but often plays the simple move instead of the flashy moves of Yakupov. He is both an offensive talent and plays with a physical edge.

13th Overall: Dallas Stars
Their Selection: Nicolas Kerdiles C/LW USNTDP
The Stars decide to shock many of those watching by picking Nicolas Kerdiles over several elite defensive prospects. He is a big two way forward who has good offensive skills while also having a physical edge. He is also excellent in his own end and is good at shot blocking and identifying the passing lanes. His 6"2 200lbs frame excels at playing through the dirty areas of the ice and he is an incredibly hard working forward. He is also apparently prone to immature outbursts after bad plays or when his team is down. However only one scout has emphasised this as a potential character problem. The rest only mention his incredible hard work and work ethic. He could potentially be a top 6 two way centre but most likely he will end up being a elite two way second line centre. The Stars hope they can pick up some good/underrated defensive talent in the second round.

14th Overall: Calgary Flames
Their Selection: Cody Ceci D Ottawa 67s
The Calgary Flames decide to bulk up their blue line with the 6"3 210lbs defenseman Cody Ceci. Ceci is a good two way defenseman with a smooth skating style and interesting offensive upside. However scouts question his ability to put points up in the NHL because most of his goals are simplistic and not flashy.

15th Overall: Ottawa Sentators
Their Selection: Zemgus Girgensons C Dubuque Fighting Saints
Though The Ottawa Senators need some more defensive prospects their NHL ranks have several very talented offensive defensemen. Instead they decide to pick up the solid two way centre Zemgus Girgensons. He has good hands and is also very physical with great leadership qualities.

16th Overall: Washington Capitals
Their Selection: Brendan Gaunce C Belleville Bulls
After picking Griffin Reinhart with the 11th pick the Capitals decide to pick 6"2 two way power forward Brendan Gaunce. He is a physically grinding player with good hockey IQ but only decent puck handling skills. He is not a flashy player instead preferring to pass first rather than shoot the puck. Though he's a safe bet to become an NHL player he needs to work on his footwork.

17th Overall: San Jose Sharks
Their Selection: Colton Sisson RW Kelowana Rockets
The Sharks need some more physical players and they definitely get that with power forward Colton Sisson. He is able to play in all suitutions and as captain of the Rockets he has some excellent leadership skills. However his physical style of play can be a cause of concern if it damages his long term potential. He won't put up a tonne of points but he will be a solid two way forward.

18th Overall: Chicago Blackhawks
Their Selection: Derrick Pouliot D Portland Winterhawks
Derrick Pouliot was expected to go higher but the bonanza on forwards has pushed him down to 18th. He is a skilled offensive defenseman with excellent offensive vision and ability. His efforts in his own end however are not very good and will need to be worked on in order to both contribute a lot of points while producing a decent level of defensive work.

19th Overall: Tampa Bay Lightning
Their Selection: Hampus Lindholm D Rogle
Hampus Lindholm is an offensive defenseman that has spent most of the season playing in the Allsvenskan. He has developed extraordinarily well this season after being passed over for the Ivana Heiki tournament he was on the top pairing for the swedes gold medal performs at the WJC. Despite his skill in the offensive end his defensive skills leave a lot to be desired. In order to become an effective NHL player he will need to work on his play in his own zone.

20th Overall: Philadelphia Flyers
Their Selection: Dalton Thrower D Saskatoon Blades
Dalton Thrower is a physical two way defenseman, he can put up the points while also being a physical presense along the blueline. When reading about Dalton Thrower his style of play just screams Flyers hockey. A hard nosed hard hitting defenseman who can score with a terrific slap shot while sticking up for his teammates.

21st Overall: Buffalo Sabres
Their Selection: Oscar Dansk G Brynas J20
The Sabres need some high end goalie talent and decide to pick the Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk. He is an incredibly calm netminder and has got the size of the modern NHL goaltenders. He has previously played in North America but is now back playing in Sweden. One issue that will need to be resolved is getting Oscar Dansk a starting role against higher competition. Currently he is stuck in the Brynas development system because of the quality goaltenders that are currently ahead of him.

22nd Overall: Pittsburgh Penguins
Their Selection: Tomas Hertl C/RW HC Slavia Praha
The Penguins need some quality centre prospects in the system and they decide to pick Czech power forward Tomas Hertl. At 6"2 200lbs he can play a physical game with a gritty edge. He has good hockey sense and can be a playmaker though its clear his talents lie in his finishing skills. The main thing that he needs to improve upon is his skating, he does not jump out of the gate but takes a while to get up to speed. He has been compared to Tomas Holmstrom in his presence in front of the net.

23rd Overall: Florida Panthers
Their Selection: Olli Maatta D London Knights
The Florida Panthers over the years have developed an incredibly good farm system. They are very happy to be able to select Olli Maatta here. Maatta is a good defensive defenseman who during the OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup has started to shine offensively. The Panthers pick Maatta hoping these offensive skills are going to become a permanent feature for the young Finnish defenseman.

24th Overall: Boston Bruins
Their Selection: Tom Wilson RW Halifax Mooseheads
The Boston Bruins decide to pick hulking 6"4 power forward Tom Wilson. Tom Wilson has a mean streak about him and plays an incredibly physical game while also putting up some points. For his size he has pretty good skating but needs to work still on his mobility. His lack of offensive production this season is probably due to not playing on the top two lines for a well balanced Mooseheads team.

25th Overall: St Louis Blues
Their Selection: Pontus Aberg LW Djurgarden
The Blues select a talented forward who has some high long term potential. Though he is only 5"11 he is projected to become a top line offensive winger at the NHL level. It would take some time though because he needs to work on his game more in Sweden. His selection would definitely help the Blues lack of prospect depth on the left wing.

26th Overall: Vancouver Canucks
Their Selection: Slater Koekkoek D Peterbourgh Petes
Slater Koekkoek is a talented smooth skating two way defenseman for the Peterbourgh Petes. He has good hockey vision and physicality but has been out for nearly all of the season with injuries. He was considered a top 10 pick at the beginning of the year and if he lives up to that potential the Vancouver Canucks could have one of the biggest steals of the first round.

27th Overall: Phoenix Coyotes
Their Selection: Danill Zharkov LW Belleville Bulls
The Coyotes decide to pick talented and large Russian forward Daniil Zharkov. He has some good offensive vision and a good a skating style. His biggest weakness however is his work in his own zone and also a bad habit of having his head down. However he could be a top six goalscoring winger for the Coyotes who might have managed a steal this late in the first round.

28th Overall: New York Rangers
Their Selections: Mark Jankowski C Stanstead College
The Rangers decide to wait until the second round to pick up a goaltender and instead pick a big atheletic centre in Mark Jankowski. He needs to work a little on his skating but has some dynamic hands and good vision. He clearly is playing against players that are below his skill level and the true test for him will be when playing for Providence College next season.

29th Overall: New Jersey Devils
Their Selection: N/A
The New Jersey Devils decide that this is the best year to forfeit their first round pick over the Ilya Kovalchuk contract issue.

30th Overall: Los Angeles Kings
Their Selection: Stefan Matteau LW USNTDP
Stefan Matteau is a big strong power forward who plays an extremetely physical and smart game. He compliments his physical game with good offensive skills including a good wrist shot and some playmaking talent. If he manages to maintain his discipline levels he could potentially be a top six forward at the NHL level.

Why Nikolas Kerdiles for the Stars?

I imagine quite a few people will be questioning why I decided that the Stars would pass over defenders like Ceci, Pouliot, Maatta and Lindholm for Nikolas Kerdiles. Though I like the look of Ceci I have a fear that he won't be a quality offensive defenseman, he might score goals but most aren't the kind that will get past an NHL goaltender which means his point production at the NHL level would be significantly lower. Pouliot is smaller than the picks we have been making the last few years which makes me think that we would pass him over. Maatta, despite his playoff offensive spike, is primarily a defensive defenseman. We have a couple of high quality defensive defensemen in Oleksiak and Nemeth so it seems illogical that we would pick another defender of the same kind. Lindholm is an interesting case but I find his very poor defensive work troubling and I wouldn't want to use a high ranking pick for a defender who might put up points but hasn't got a strong grip on the defensive work.

Nikolas Kerdiles on the other hand is an incredibly hard working forward who can perform well in both ends of the ice. He can be used in every situation be it powerplay or on the penalty kill. He has great hands and hockey sense and above average skating style and speed, though it still needs some work. He has an incredible shot, though he needs to work on its accuracy, and he shows good offensive instincts in the opposition zone. He is an all around player. He is unlikely to be a top line player but he could be a very good player on the second line. If it is true that his immature outbursts are a sign of a character problem the Stars have had experience in reclamation projects. However this is only a singular scout saying this, plus it is not completely unexpected for an 18 year old in a heated and physical game to have outbursts.