So for the fourth year in a row, the Pensblog
has given us folks at Faceoff-Facto
r the courtesy of doing a little guest post on the draft. If you aren’t familiar with our work, we are NHL Draft nerds.
This draft year is like the 1998 Red Wings.
Essentially, assuming Yakupov goes first overall, anything can happen after that.
Just for a little taste of how wild this thing is gonna be, look at how skewed the rankings are for just a few of the following players.
Mikhail Grigorenko, probably the most polarizing player in this draft, he’s ranked 7 th by us, 4th by the Hockey Writers, 3rd by Central Scouting, and 20th by Craig Button.
Brendan Gaunce, solid two-way center, he’s ranked 15th by us, 11th in the ISS, 38th by Craig Button, and 18th by Mckeen’s.
Alex Galchenyuk, potential superstar center that was sidelined with an ACL tear last year. He’s ranked 4th by us, 2nd by Mckeens, 14th by ISS, and 6th by the Hockey Writers.
So basically, the 2012 NHL draft is basically going to be a Best Player Available festival and I think you’re going to see some chaos on the draft floor. Teams might be prone to reaching for a guy early just
because of the uncertainty that exists around these young players.
So, with that being said, it’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend. Here are just a few guys that might be available when the Penguins step to the podium with the 22nd overall pick, barring any unforseen trades, of course.
Slater Koekkoek – D- Peterborough (OHL) – 6’2 – 186lbs – Shoots L
Before you stab your eyes out at the thought of the Penguins taking another defenseman, let’s remember that Ray Shero seems to have an uncanny ability to turn stud defensemen into really good NHL wingers. Koekkoek (pronounced Kook-Kook) had a torn labrum this year that sidelined him for the majority of the season, but we know enough to know that he can skate, he’s got great vision, and he loves to move the puck North. Sound like Penguins material?
Absolutely. If worse comes to worse and the first 21 picks take all the good stuff at forward, Koekkoek would be a great option at #22. Besides,
it’d be awesome to get to say Koekkoek all the time. Try it, it just feels right.
Tim Bozon – LW – Kamloops (WHL) – 6’0 – 183lbs – Shoots L
This is probably a stretch as Bozon did not meet with the Penguins this year, but we’re really driving the Tim Bozon bandwagon. Last year was Boone Jenner-fest, and we’ve only slightly moved on from that to latch onto Bozon. Think of an NHL forward that is really sneaky and has a shot that he can rip off quickly and accurately. That’s basically what you get with Bozon. He’s elusive, he’s also kind of a jerk. He gets knocked out of the top 30 for most people because he’s a bit undersized for his height and sometimes he wanders on defense. But if you’re looking for a good shooter with solid wheels and a forward that most defensemen would describe as elusive, look no further. Again, probably a pipe dream and a bit of a reach, but we love this kid.
Nicolas Kerdiles – LW – USNTDP – 6’1 – 201lbs – Shoots L
Kerdiles is a US prospect at wing that brings a lot of talent with a big frame to back it up. He’ll be heading to the University of Wisconsin after this year, so the wait time on Kerdiles might be a little longer than some of his CHL draft peers. Kerdiles takes heat for being inconsistent, and a lot of people wonder what his ceiling is. Worst case scenario? Kerdiles is a 3rd line player that can score 15-20 goals a year. Skating could use some improvement, but he’s willing to take and give punishment for the better of his team. If he continues to improve his footwork and keep the right attitude, he might develop into a nice power-forward that can crash the net and fill into your top 6.
And our best case scenario?
Tom Wilson – RW – Plymouth Whalers – 6’3 – 203lbs – Shoots R
This is a tough and potentially risky pick, but the bottom line here is that Wilson is hands down the baddest dude in this draft class, and it ain’t even close. Wilson loves to fight, is eager to fight, and loves to inflict all kinds of punishment. His skating isn’t bad, but he’s a little choppy with his stride and his agility isn’t exactly that of a top teir skater. Wilson’s regular season was primarily spent in the penaltybox, in front of the net, crashing the boards, and far, far away from the scoresheet. However, when the heat turned up in the playoffs, Wilson nearly matched his entire point total from the 49 regular season games he played in his 13 playoff games. Worst case scenario? Tom Wilson is Chris Neil with better offensive prowess.
Best case scenario? He’s Milan Lucic. Not bad, right? You can’t teach size, and Wilson has it, along with a willingness to use it, which a lot of guys in this draft class aren’t willing to do.
Quick public service announcement, we’ll finalize our draft ranking tonight by ranking players 31-50. We’ll also have a PDF file of our ranking available on the site tomorrow so if you’re actually attending the draft, you can carry that with you as a little cheat sheet. As per usual, I’ll be live tweeting the entire draft via @jmarshhh
– feel free to join in the fun. Also, we’ll repeat a bit of what we talked about here by giving our endorsement list for the Penguins pick come draft day.
Thanks again to Derek, Adam, and Rick for letting us loiter on your website for a day.