The 2012 NHL Draft is now in the books, and reaction is pouring in from fans all around the league. As in any draft, there were surprises. Scouts' rankings were all over the board and that made for a very exciting weekend, as we saw players drop and rise. Now, with all 30 teams having made all 211 picks, allow me to list and explain a few teams that won big in the draft, and a few teams that might have a better go next year.
The Sabres had a very good first round, and were also solid in the later rounds. The managed to adress their most pressing organizational need, the center position, effectively. With picks #12 and #14, they selected Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons, both of whom are centers. Grigorenko is a fantastic offensive talent with a very high ceiling and Girgensons projects to be a safe two-way 2nd/3rd line center. Adding Jake McCabe in the 2nd round was good too. Very good draft by the Sabres.
The Habs, led by new GM Marc Bergevin, had a great draft. They made the right call with their #3 pick by drafting Alex Galchenyuk, who might make the team out of training camp. If not, it's likely he'll make the jump after another year of junior. Rounds 2-5 led to numerous quality selections from the Habs. Collberg, Thrower and Bozon were very good picks, and will help the Habs stock their prospects shelves. Charles Hudon was a steal in Round 5. This draft was a home-run for the Habs, which will go a long way to help them bounce back from a bad year.
Selecting Filip Forsberg, a top-5 talent, at #11 was the steal of the draft for Washington. Forsberg, deemed by many scouts and fans to be NHL-ready could help the Washington offense to greener pastures as early as October. Adding power forward Tom Wilson 5 picks later was also a smart call for George McPhee. The Capitals took advantage of all 10 of their picks to improve their depth at every position, both immediately and long-term.
-New York Islanders
-Tampa Bay Lightning
Calgary went off the board after trading down in the first round by picking Mark Jankowski. While his stats are impressive, he was playing with a private college in Quebec where the level of competition is nowhere close to major junior. I think this was a bad move, as they probably could have picked him at #42 and taken Olli Maata at #21. For a team in need of immediate help, they made the wrong call by picking a project player.
No real stangouts among Colorado draft picks. They could have had Filip Forsberg had they retained their first round pick at #11, but instead decided to trade it, along with a 2nd round pick for unproven goalie Semyon Varlamov. The Avalanche lost at this draft because they didn't really improve their team at all over the weekend.
The Panthers were similar to the Avalanche because they both only had 5 picks. Florida's mediocre crop of long-term project players does feature a 1st round pick however, in Micahel Matheson.
-San Jose Sharks
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