NHL.com experts agree Yakupov will go No. 1
Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 10:13 AM / 2012 NHL Draft
After Tuesday's NHL Draft Lottery, we know who has the top pick -- the Edmonton Oilers.
Learning who they select, though, won't come until the 2012 NHL Draft is held June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.
However, NHL.com's draft experts don't have that long to wait. So in the wake of the Oilers winning the lottery and earning the right to pick first for the third straight year, Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Steven Hoffner put together their latest mock drafts.
Much like NHL Central Scouting, NHL.com's experts were unanimous in their belief that the Oilers will add to their already impressive offensive arsenal by selecting Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov.
After that, however, each NHL.com writer saw the draft breaking out differently.
With the second pick, would the Columbus Blue Jackets go with a high skilled forward, like Quebec's Mikhail Grigorenko or Alex Galchenyuk, Yakupov's Sarnia teammate? Or could the Jackets opt to dip into the rich crop of defenseman available? Everett's Ryan Murray, Red Deer's Mathew Dumba, Edmonton's Griffin Reinhart, Moose Jaw's Morgan Rielly and Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Team Development Program all would be strong selections.
We're not giving away all the information here -- you'll have to check out the drafts yourself to see who the experts believe will go where.
The first 14 picks are based on the results of Tuesday's Draft Lottery, while the remainder of the draft order will be locked in following the Stanley Cup Final. For this exercise, NHL.com used the final standings to order the playoff teams.
Also, three teams don't have picks in the first round -- Colorado, which traded its pick to Washington in the Semyon Varlamov deal; Nashville, which sent its pick to Buffalo in exchange for Paul Gaustad; and Detroit, which sent its pick to Tampa Bay as part of the Kyle Quincey trade.
The Capitals, Sabres and Lightning currently are the only teams with multiple first-round picks. The Blue Jackets could add to that number if they opt to take Los Angeles' pick from the Jeff Carter trade. The Blue Jackets have until two picks before the Kings' selection to decide if they're going to take the Kings' pick this year or next year.
And New Jersey has the option of forfeiting this year's pick as part of their penalty for circumventing the salary cap in signing Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010; the Devils have to surrender their top pick in either the 2012, 2013 or 2014 draft.