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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"A Closer look into potential 2012 Oilers Draft picks"

(all joking aside, I do not feel the Oilers should tank this season, but one more elite talent like Nail Yakupov would be pretty sweet)
REVS 2012 Prospects List (Jan 8th/12)

1.Nail Yakupov
- Nail continues to impress as the season goes on. He had a back injury of sort while playing with Sarnia just before the World Jr's, however he was back a few games before the tourney and then ended up with another injury apparently in the OT of the Gold Medal game against Sweden. The guy was amazing in that he played the third line and was a difference maker among 19 year olds with the best in the world. He did play on Russia's top PP but how could you not?

Nail currently has 53 points in 26 games playing for Sarnia and that is without his centremen Galchenyuk. He also finished the world jr tourney with 9 points in 7 games. Yakupov is a game breaker and for those of you who have saw him, he skates so incredibly hard and strong,almost no one or anything could stop him in full flight without taking a penalty. Nail has done nothing other then sustain a couple injuries to show why he should be ranked #1.

2.Mikhail Grigorenko
-Mikhail has been flying all year. No matter what arena he has played in, fans, coaches and scouts leave knowing that this guy is one special player. Grigorenko has been posting the points since the beginning of the year with 58 points in 36 games. He will most likely also be up for Rookie of the year honours for the Q along with Nathan MacKinnon but came over in the import draft therefore making him a older aged player.

 Mikhail truly runs the offence with his team in Quebec and this guy can move quick. His height, weight and speed on the ice is right up there with the best of them and his defensive awareness is very good as well. Some do say, he can appear to take a shift or two off on occasion. Grigorenko finished the world jr tourney with 5 points in his 6 games played but only played healthy without a injury in 2 of those. For those who saw Mikhail play in the tournament, he was playing at maybe 50% of what has been seen this year to date. Some rankings have him as high as #1 but most at #2.

3.Ryan Murray
-the apparent scapegoat for many Canadian fans due to a few pucks bouncing off his body into the net in their eventual loss to the Russians. If you were to look at the rest of his play throughout that game you will have noticed he still played the angles well, played with poise and moved the puck well to the forwards. He covered the point with extreme precision when cycling the puck in the Russian end on most the occasions out there.

Ryan had just returned from a injury prior to the world jr tourney and making that team with the depth that was available on defence speaks volumes on its own. While Ryan is no Scott Neidemeyer, he skates alot like him and could very well make a quicker transition into the NHL then the other defencemen that will be selected in the first round. Considering the few bad moments in that Russia game,Murray was really one of the top defensive players in the tourney and for still being draft eligible, that is a amazing feat. He finished with 3 points in the 6 games he played. With the Everett Silvertips Ryan has 9 points in 14 games played. Should he have been playing and not sustained his injury , it is likely he would be in the top 15 defencemen in scoring for the WHL.

4.Morgan Rielly
-Morgan was flying to start off his year in Moose Jaw with 18 points in 18 games. His injury has definitely put some question marks on his draft rankings but scouts feel pretty confident with what was seen last year and the way he flew out of the gates offensively this year, they have a ok read on where his game can translate. Due to his injury, some rankings have dropped him but this player has too much upside to actually drop for me to place him lower. Had he not started the season the way he did, it would have been a real difficult choice to place him even in the top 7 rankings for the 2012 NHL Draft.

Rielly has really taken on the role as cheerleader and motivator for his team while recovering from injury but according to those on his team has really taken a leadership role despite not playing on ice. From what I have saw of this player, he really does skate and move out on the ice alot like Duncan Keith. Should Morgan fall in the draft , some team could be picking up a top end talent at a position they never thought they would be in.

5.Mathew Dumba
- Known as a open ice hitter, relentless on the puck and a river boat gambler, Dumba is making waves everywhere he plays. His season started slower then expected but he has really been rounding into good form as of late. Some rankings even place Dumba as 2nd or 3rd overall to go in the 2012 NHL Draft. Currently has 25 points in 38 games played but his plus/minus sitting at 4 is a concern for me.

He led and impressed at the U17 for Canada and was at the world jr selection camp but did not make the final cuts. Some believe he was exactly what Canada was missing on the backend in that Russia game. My two concerns with Dumba being drafted higher have to do with his overall height for a defencemen and the fact his style of play may not work against stronger and bigger players in the NHL.

6.Alex Galchenyuk
-Call me partial, but this player could very well be in competition for that #1 ranking had he played this season and not fallen to injury in the pre-season. Alex takes life in stride but his hockey pedigree can not be mistaken. His on ice vision, ability to raise the play of others around him and his leadership should still give him enormous consideration for a top 10 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Alex is working hard on his recovery and should his team make the playoffs into the second round there is a small possibility he could be joining them. I have dropped Galchenyuk in my ranking but only because of some uncertainty at this time with not having had this year to play or will be anytime soon. If it were me and I was the one selecting at the draft, I would place him at #2 or #3 and take the gamble. Some scouts have said there is no real concerns with his development due to this injury and feel he is a world class player. Galchenyuk had decided he would not play for his native land Slovakia but for the U.S as he was born there.

7.Derrick Pouliot
-Another defencemen that has a lot of upside to his game. Currently this year he has 29 points in 41 games playing for Portland and some are saying his offence is just starting to pick up. The biggest concern is his risk taking with the puck, but his natural talent there is no questioning. Derrick would very well have a higher ranking in some other year, but with so much high end talent appearing in this draft year, Derrick is in tough in the top 10.

His calm demeanor is impressive and even though a game may be hanging in the balance, Derrick is able to just go out and perform without
showing any signs of breaking down mentally.

8.Filip Forsberg
- Some scouts have Filip ranked higher and say his low offensive output is due to playing with men in the Swedish elite league. I had early season concerns on his offensive game and now have even further concerns having seen some of his play at the world jr tourney in alberta Canada. He tallied 1 point in the 6 games and was even on his plus/minus. Granted Sweden had a older team but Filip does not look to be as strong a player at this age as even Lander or Paajarvi did in this tourney. His stats back home in the elite league have him at 7 points in 26 games for the big club and not even close to a point a game with the jr clubs.

Unless something changes in his offensive output in the back half of the season Forsberg may even drop from the top 10 rankings or especially at the draft itself. His Plus/minus even at all playing levels back in Sweden are hovering around even mark only. A big strong power forward but needs to start playing like a elite player at all levels of competition.

9.Griffin Reinhart
- A big defencemen who sometimes is actually called out by some for not being physical enough and for not being a nasty player out there on the ice against smaller men in the WHL. What I like so far about his game is more then his size and strength on the puck, it's his positioning and the way he thinks the game. Another player with good family pedigree who shows it in the way he plays and approaches every game. Currently Reinhart just sustained a injury but unsure how long he will be out for. He has 23 points in 34 games.

The fact he has yet to impress by using his size and playing with a nasty streak is exciting for me on his upside. Often a player like Reinhart will excel at the jr level (see Alex Plante) due to his size, playing against smaller and lighter players, but upon entering a league like the AHL or NHL they are not able to adjust to the bigger and stronger players. His game to date has not been about size, so IMO he is seeing his high Draft ranking due to his skill and smarts not because of his size.

10.Cody Ceci
-For those who are not following the OHL very closely, they may see Ceci in a different light then those who are. Cody was at both the Development Camp and the Selection camp for Team Canada as a draft eligible player and did not look out of place. At 6'3, 210 lbs and with 36 points in 39 games, no one should be thinking this is a surprise.

Cody's game has been steadily improving as each month passes and is one of the reason's Ottawa is seeing the success they have. While some may not see Cody as a strong and fast skater, you also won't find many players getting past him anytime soon. He is extremely agile for a player his size and uses his strength to his advantage while playing the opposing players up against the boards or clearing them from in front of the net.

11.Zemgus Girgensons
-Zemgusjrs with 6 games played and he potted a couple goals for Latvia. His country had a weak team and scored little but was good to see he was clearly their best player most games. Zemgus did not look out of place against the other elite talent in the world.

Has been having a awesome season with the Fighting Saints in the USHL scoring 27 points in 24 games. He is slated to play NCAA next year for University of Vermont. Zemgus has always been a point per game player on every team he has played on and this year looks to be no different. A good playoff could go a long ways to being selected even higher in this 2012 NHL Entry draft.

12.Nick Ebert
Ebert has taken a small step backwards in my draft rankings this time around, but not so much because of poor play but more so because of the high end skill and talent that is available. Ebert has not shown as much growth in the game of hockey this season as he has in years past. Some say, he's on cruise control and come seasons end, we will see what Nick can really do at that elite level. Consistency is the key word for Nick.

With 19 points in 42 games, his offence has slowed down this year, when it was expected to go up. Ebert is a very steady and usually reliable defender who could also just be playing for a team that does not have a lot of support to highlight his game.

13.Brendan Gaunce
-Brendan has really been taking the OHL by storm this year. He was looked at already as possible first round pick, but few scouts disagree, that he is a player who continues to grow and flourish as the season has gone on. He currently has 41 points in his 39 games and is seldom a player caught out of position.

Brendan appears to be a real student of the game and continues to hone his craft as he continues to grow and mature into his 6'2 , 212 lb frame.

14.Martin Frk
-Sustaining a pre-season injury has slowed Frk's progress considerably this season. It was a season where he was hoped to be paired with Rookie Phenom Nathan MacKinnon but due to bad luck has only recently started playing again. Coming back from concussions can be a slow progress as fans are seeing but it seems to be more about timing and Frk is really starting to come around to the form that had him ranked in most NHL drafts in the top 10 going into the season.

Frk with 3 points in 9 games will be looking to have a splendid last part of his season should he want to be selected higher in the top 10 in 2012. Playing with Drouin and MacKinnon will only help those offensive numbers. Should he not finish in the point a game department, Frk could even fall further in his ranking due to lack of offence on a offensive team and questions on his recovery from a concussion.

15.Olli Maatta
- Olli has 17 points in his 33 games as a London Knight and continues to grow in his defensive awareness while on the ice. Early on, he was looking to be more of a point producer but as the season has wore on some of his gambles on the blueline have not paid off as well. Olli is young and very teachable and should still look to be a very high drafted player in 2012, but his lack of progress in comparison to other in the Draft may hurt his overall ranking come selection day.
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