Hey, this is my first blog and I would appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism. I have always enjoyed the draft and the speculation and trades it brings. And the opportunity for all us fans to play NHL GMs for a day (or months before). I have only watched 3 of these guys live and only 2 of them several times for consistency so I am not pretending to be an expert on these guys. This is based on what I think would benefit the team selecting the most.
1) Nail Yakupov-RW
The consensus number 1 of this years draft is a pure goal scorer. Having the privilege of watching him live 15 or so times over the last two years and the best word to describe him is dynamic. He is super skilled, explosive, high hockey IQ and willing to do whatever it takes. He has actually bulked up quite a bit over the last year so he is no longer small, but not big either. I know Edm would benefit greatly by picking Murray but they just can't pass up a talent like this, as I feel he will become more productive then either Hall or RNH
2) Alex Galchenyuk-C
Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus needs everything and I considered putting Ryan Murray here but I feel Galchenyuk is a better piece to build a team around. Being able to watch him in his rookie year where he put up 83 pts in the 'O' as a 16/17 yr old, this kid is really amazing to watch. Its a shame he went down with a fluke injury, tearing his ACL and missing basically the whole season, as he and Yakupov would have really lit it up together. His extreme skills, tremendous work ethic, 2-way play and decent size has 1st line centre written all over him and could have the highest ceiling out of the entire draft. CLB having him, Johanson, and Boone Jenner up the middle in the future sets them up for having one of the strongest middles in the league.
Montreal has expressed their desire to get bigger up front and Forsberg addresses that need. Ironically, though no relation to fellow Swede Peter Forsberg, Filip plays alot like him, using his size and skill to dominate competition his own age. He hasn't been dominant in Sweden's top league, but showed scouts at the U18s and WJC why he warrants top 5 status. While the Habs will be hoping for him to develop into a power 1st line center, I feel he may end up playing the wing as a power forward in a top 6 role. Tempted to put Grigorenko here as he may have a better chance at becoming Montreal's 1C but questions about his work ethic may have scared people off.
4) Ryan Murray-D
New York Islanders
The Islanders would be thrilled if Murray was available at number 4 as he is exactly what this team needs. Having already built up a lot of offensive talent like Tavares, Moulson, Strome, and Nino, someone who is very solid defensively and is a strong puck mover like Murray helps this team next season and many after that. I see Murray becoming a very solid and intelligent defensemen while putting up 35 pts a year. A top pairing of Murray and De Haan down the road would be pretty outstanding having a nice blend of offense and defense.
Toronto Maple Leafs
I am hoping Burke is willing to draft a Russian with a high pick as Grigorenko could be the answer to the Leafs prayers. Extremely skilled and big, Grigorenko could fill the Leafs biggest need as a first line centre. There have been questions about his work ethic, but some of those questions could be from him being diagnosed with Mono for the latter part of the season. Unlike most super skilled russians, he already has a decent 2 way game in place, and defense can always be taught in the future. As a Leaf fan, I am hoping Galchenyuk's injury scares off team and the Leafs are able to snatch him at number 5 but I doubt that is the case. Grigorenko is a pretty solid consolation prize.
Was tempted to take one of the many talented D in this draft, however, I think Anahiem's need for secondary scoring, especially with Selanne and Koivu almost gone, takes priority. What better way to replace the Finnish Flash by adding another Fin? I am not going to lie, Teravainen is the player I probably know the least about, except that he has elite skill. Although on the small side, Anahiem already has a fairly large top six (including future prospects) so I think they would be comfortable taking Teravainen. From what I have heard, he is still quite raw, but could end up being a offensive demon in a couple years.
Rielly is without question the top offensive defenseman of this draft, giving Minnesota some octane from the backend, which was lacking since the Burns trade. Rielly is a tremendous talent, with great puck moving and skating skills. He isn't big, but is actually quite strong for his size, which he showed at the draft combine. He still won't be laying people out in the corners, but is not as fragile as some other pure offensive defensemen. He relies more on positional defense and his strong stick work then taking the body. He really gives the wild the offense form the backend that was missing this year.
Faska has size, skill, strong 2 way play and a good work ethic, but I don't think he has it in him to become a true 1st line center. He is more likely to become a physical 2 way 2nd line center who can put up points. With Carolina having a hole between Staal and Sutter down the middle, adding Faska would give them a stong option for that second line centre. This would give them a very strong middle in the coming years.
9) Griffin Reinhart-D
Although already possessing a strong d, there are not really any forwards who the Jets will want to use the 9th on, and they get a player with tremendous upside. Reinhart has all the tools to become a Shea Weber like defenseman as he has the size, smarts and skill to become a top pairing defenseman in the NHL. I think he has to work a bit on his footwork and agility like all big defensmen at this point in their career but he does have a lot of potential. I kind of want to rate him higher but I don't really know where to put him.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay showed this past season that their goaltending and defense were really lacking. With the 19th pick in this draft, they could add a top goaltending prospect with that while addressing their defense with this pick. Trouba is exactly what the Lightning need, as he is a smooth skating defenseman who can move the puck and play a hard physical shutdown game. He is basically a defensive dman who can skate and handle the puck making him a valuable asset to any team, especially one lacking in defense like Tampa.
Well, that is sort of how I think the top ten could fall, but I am sure GMs have other ideas. Let me know what you think.