So for last year's draft, I did a few mock drafts and loved doing it, even posting one here, so I figured I would do one every month or so leading up to the draft in June! Hope you guys enjoy this; as hot as these Islanders are, what with the playoffs now in sight, the draft is always an exciting time and leads to great discussion. So here is the first mock draft for 2012 (based on the inverse standings as of Feb. 13) after the jump.
2012 NHL Mock Draft
1.) Columbus Blue Jackets- Nail Yakupov, LW
- No brainer here, as Blue Jackets land the star of the draft.
2.) Edmonton Oilers- Ryan Murray, D
- Oilers choose steady D-man Murray over strong center Grigorenko.
3.) Anaheim Ducks- Mikhail Grigorenko, C
- Potential candidate for #1 pick, Ducks land potential star at 3.
4.) Carolina Hurricanes- Filip Forsberg, LW
- Forsberg has size and skill, and has shown a knack for clutch scoring.
5.) Tampa Bay Lightning- Mathew Dumba, D
- Riskiest player in the draft, but could be the best when all is said and done. Adds depth to TB blue line
6.) Buffalo Sabres- Alex Galchenyuk, C
- Sabres have #1 center fall into their hands, as season-ending injury has Galchenyuk falling here.
7.) New York Islanders- Cody Ceci, D
- After consensus top 6, draft opens up a bit. Isles land most complete defenseman left, as 6'3'', 210 lb. Ceci is a PPG player in the OHL this season.
8.) Montreal Canadiens- Radek Faksa, C/LW
- Canadiens land fast-rising Faksa, who is reminiscent of Ryan Smyth.
9.) Winnipeg Jets- Jacob Trouba, D
- Fast, exciting defenseman adds depth to Jets blueline.
10.) Minnesota Wild- Zemgus Girgensons, C
- Wild land skilled center instead of defensemen with question marks.
11.) Dallas Stars- Morgan Reilly, D
- Stars take shot with Reilly, who reminds scouts of the good Tomas Kaberle, after season-ending ACL injury. Good complement to last year's first-rounder Oleksiak.
12.) Calgary Flames- Griffin Reinhart, D
- Flames land best player available at this point, as 6'4'' defensemen are always highly valued.
13.) Washington Capitals*- Pontus Aberg, LW
- Caps use Avs' pick on skilled winger Aberg; potential to trade up for Galchenyuk or another top 6 player with two mid-first rounders.
14.) Washington Capitals- Olli Maatta, D
- The Caps add well-rounded blue liner with second first rounder.
15.) Toronto Maple Leafs- Brendan Gaunce, C
- "Burke type of player"; center with size who is a safe pick, as some scouts question ultimate upside.
16.) Phoenix Coyotes- Sebastian Collberg, RW
- Fastest skater in the draft uses wheels to increase offensive creativity.
17.) Ottawa Senators- Slater Koekkoek, D
- Some scouts love this 6'2'' blue liner; some scouts question his upside. BPA at this point.
18.) Florida Panthers- Matt Finn, D
- Fast-rising all around blue liner makes a good fit as second or third pairing guy in Florida.
19.) Chicago Blackhawks- Derrick Pouliot, D
- Portland Winterhawks D-man BPA this far down the board. A little small, with defensive question marks, but an excellent skater and passer.
20.) Los Angeles Kings- Tomas Hertl, LW
- 6'2'' Czech winger reminds some scouts of Martin Hanzal. High upside.
21.) New Jersey Devils- Malcolm Subban, G
- With no obvious pick here, Devils go for their goaltender of the future. Andrei Vasilevski also an option, but Jersey opts with Belleville Bulls net minder who is the younger brother of MTL d-man PK Subban.
22.) San Jose Sharks- Brady Skjei, D
- 6'2'' defenseman wows scouts; bit of a project at this point putting all the tools together.
23.) Philadelphia Flyers- Tom Wilson, RW
- 6'4'' winger not afraid to play tough and drop the gloves.
24.) Pittsburgh Penguins- Martin Frk, RW
- The most infuriating talent in the draft; Frk has top-10 talent but 7th round attitude. This year's Kirill Kabanov?
25.) Boston Bruins- Jarrod Maidens, C
- Bruins add clutch hard worker who will fit in perfectly in Beantown a few years down the line.
26.) Nashville Predators- Jordan Schmaltz, D
- Talented two-way D-man best player available.
27.) St. Louis Blues- Ludvig Bystrom, D
- Swedish D-man in similar boat to Oscar Klefbom; professional experience abroad, tons of potential, but a long-term project for whichever team selects him.
28.) Vancouver Canucks- Matia Marcantuoni, RW
- Marcantuoni has struggled this season, but Canucks look past that and select his talent. Very risky pick, but could pay dividends down the line.
29.) New York Rangers- Andreas Athanasiou, LW
- Underwhelming season has most scouting reports dropping Athanasiou to the second round.
30.) Detroit Red Wings- Nick Ebert, D
- Same as Athanasiou; stock dropping heavily, but Detroit could use some blue line depth and will be sure to not let Ebert fall too far. Once thought of as a top-10 pick now lucky to be drafted first round.