The 2012 NHL Draft has come and gone and now what all of us fantasy junkies are trying to sort out is what type of impact these draft picks will have from a fantasy perspective... so below we offer you our 2012 Fantasy Draft Rankings. This is our top 10 draft-eligible players based on their long-term fantasy potential. Consider this a quick cheatsheet for your prospect draft or use this as a guide to grab some future stars in your regular fantasy league draft.
A few things to note:
We're assuming that you're willing to take risks... the NHL Draft is such a bloody crapshoot, so you might as well swing for the fences... damn right you're gonna strikeout a bunch but considering only a few of these guys are going to become big time fantasy hockey contributors, its no time to play it safe.
Don't be discouraged by where a player is picked... guys like Brad Richards (64th overall), Zach Parise (17th), Claude Giroux (22nd), Jordan Eberle (22nd), etc., were all underestimated by scouts due to their size or thought to be one dimensional or something stupid like that but their numbers leading up to the draft indicated that they had a lot of fantasy hockey potential.
On the flipside, don't overrate players based on what the real scouts say... often scouts fall in love with guys because of their size or two-way ability or because they beat up on weak competition... a few names like Manny Malhotra (7th), Nikita Alexeev (8th), Benoit Pouliot (4th) and Jack Skille (7th) come to mind as guys who the scouts were wetting their pants over but we could have told you wouldn't be fantasy worthy based on their numbers.
Here's our top 10 as we ranked them heading into the draft... our top 100 will be available in our Fantasy Prospect Rankings DB:
#1 Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia (OHL), 42 GP 31+38=69
Plus: Electric skating and sublime skills, reminds of Pavel Bure, scored 49 goals in his rookie OHL season and was on a loco pace last year until the injuries slowed him down.
Minus: Slightly undersized (5'10.5" & 189) and was knocked out of the lineup for two stretches last season due to a knee injury & a concussion.
ETA: Expected to step into the Oilers lineup immediately.
#2 Alex Galchenyuk, C, Sarnia (OHL), 2 GP 0+0=0
Plus: As a rookie in the OHL (2010/11) he had 31+52=83 in 68 games, which was 2nd only to Yakupov amongst CHL rookies.
Minus: His 2011/12 season was essential a write-off due to a knee injury, so everyone is flying a little blind here without many viewings during his draft year.
ETA: After missing an entire season it seems like the prudent thing would be to return him to the OHL... so expect the Habs to keep him in the OHL all season.
#3 Mathew Dumba, D, Red Deer (WHL), 69 GP 20+37=57
Plus: Love the combo of offensive ability and physicality that should make Dumba a fantasy stud for years to come. Led the entire U-18 tournament in scoring with 5+7=12 in seven games.
Minus: The only real question is will he be able to keep playing a physically intimidating game in the NHL given his size (5'11.75" & 173)?
ETA: Has a chance to step directly into the Wild lineup this coming year but they'll already need nametags for all the new faces in Minnesota, so it's probably for the best to return him to Red Deer for one more season.
#4 Tomas Hertl, C, Slavia Praha (Cze), 38 GP 12+13=25
Plus: If you thought I had all my marbles, you might think I've lost them now but this kid really impressed me (and the Sharks) as one of his team's top scorers in the Czech Extraliga and with a standout performance at the WJCs (6GP 3+2=5) as an underager.
Minus: The Czech's haven't produced a lot of top-end players over the past few years and the competition in the Extraliga isn't what it once was.
ETA: He's physically mature compared to a lot of kid's in the draft and has a leg up due to his experience playing against men but will play in his homeland for one more season before crossing the pond.
#5 Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa (OHL), 64 GP 17+43=60
Plus: 17 goals and nearly a point-per-game for this big-bodied dman who owns some impressive offensive skills.
Minus: If Hertl wasn't our first reach then this could be as while Ceci has put up some nice numbers he is a late '93 birthdate and therefore this was his 3rd season in the OHL. He also doesn't play a rough game so you're looking at a fairly one-dimensional dman here.
ETA: He has a frame that is close to NHL-ready but expect the Sens to be patient and send him back for one more season, with the hope that he'll develop some nastiness.
#6 Teuvo Teravainen, LW, Jokerit (Fin), 40 GP 11+7=18
Plus: Double T was the SM-Liiga Rookie of the Year as he managed to put up some decent numbers, especially for a 17-year-old. He lands in a great situation with the Blackhawks, who were thrilled that he fell to them at #18 as there was talk that he could go in the top five.
Minus: Size & skating ability are the questions here but it was the same thing with Mikael Granlund and his stock has skyrocketed since being drafted.
ETA: Is headed back to Jokerit for at least another season, likely more.
#7 Filip Forsberg, RW, Leksand (Swe-2), 43 GP 8+9=17
Plus: Shows some serious finishing ability, was the top forward at the 2012 U-18s and has regularly been playing at a level above his peers.
Minus: Hasn't seen SEL competition yet as Leksand plays in the Allsvenskan. Not sure what the issues were that made him fall all the way to #11 after some mocks had him going in the top three.
ETA: He'll return to Leksand for another season before likely attempting to crack the Caps roster in 2013.
#8 Mikhail Grigorenko, C, Quebec (QMJHL), 59 GP 40+45=85
Plus: Lots to like here as he has size, impressive skills, produces wherever he goes, came to NA to play Jr. and has already signed a contract with Buffalo.
Minus: I expected a little more production from him and I suspect his numbers may have been helped by a strong offensive team. I'll also admit that the whispers about his lack of work ethic have soured me a tad.
ETA: Could be ready for big-league duty this fall... it's either that or the KHL as I doubt he's interested in another season in the Q.
#9 Morgan Rielly, D, Moose Jaw (WHL), 18 GP 3+15=18
Plus: A fantastic skater and toolsy dman, he likely would have put up some huge numbers if he had played the full season. Brian Burke thinks he was the best player in the draft (umm... actually, this is probably a minus).
Minus: Missed most of the season due to a knee injury and he goes to a team that hasn't been the best at developing their prospects over the years.
ETA: Much like Galchenyuk, it would make sense for the Leafs to send this guy back to Jr. for another season and I have to believe that is the plan.
#10 Sebastian Collberg, RW, Frolunda (Swe), 41 GP 0+0=0
Plus: Displays some finishing ability as he had a great showing at both the WJCs (4+3=7 in six games) and the U-18s (4+5=9 in six games)
Minus: That is not a typo, Seb put up a big donut in the SEL last season, not the end of the world but not what you really want to see either.
ETA: As a smallish 2nd round pick (Montreal), you likely won't see him in the NHL for the next 2-3 years.
If you want to evaluate how we did last year, you can check out our 2011 Top 10 list here.