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July 2, 2012
NHL Draft Wrap-Up
Central Division

by Corey Pronman

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These reviews are not meant to be in-depth player profiles, for those you can find my player reports here. I generally spend time during the year gathering info on players I consider top three round talents or those I think will go in the top three rounds, therefore I do not go in-depth into later round picks.

Chicago Blackhawks

Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank)
Teuvo Teravainen	Left Wing		18 (5)
Dillon Fournier		Defense			48 (51)
Chris Calnan		Right Wing		79 (75)
Garret Ross		Left Wing		139
Vince Hinostraza	Center			169 (82)
Brandon Whitney		Goaltender		191
Matt Tomkins		Goaltender		199

Day 1: I have no idea why Teravainen fell to 18. I somewhat know why Filip Forsberg and Mikhail Grigorenko fell but I have no idea on TT though. Every scout I've talked to loved him and most considered him a top-eight if not a top-five talent. He was so impressive for one of the youngest players in his draft class and based on how well he played in the second half, it's possible his prospect stock even has another gear. This was an outstanding pick for the Hawks.

Day 2: Fournier is a player I was really impressed with when I saw him. He's got above-average offensive tools across the board and while he needs to round out his game, he's got a lot to dream on. Calnan is a gritty power forward who skates well and has average offensive skills. Hinostraza is a high-end work ethic type of player with impressive possession skills, but he's very small.

Summary: There were a lot of discussion points that will emerge from this draft for the next few seasons and Teravainen could end up being one of the major ones. Chicago got good talent on Day 2 as well, but being able to get a player with top-line tools in the middle of the first is a rarity and could make this a great draft class for the Hawks.

Columbus Blue Jackets 

Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank)
Ryan Murray		Defense			2 (8)
Oscar Dansk		Goaltender		31
Joonas Korpisalo	Goaltender		61
Josh Anderson		Right Wing		95
Daniel Zaar		Right Wing		152
Gianluca Curcuruto	Defense			182 (117)

Day 1: Murray adds to what's becoming a strong up-and-coming defense core between him, David Savard, and John Moore. I had him eighth, but could have easily had him as sixth as my top D as I felt the top three defensemen were interchangeable. As widely discussed, he's NHL ready and could be a third-pairing guy for Columbus next year. He's the kind of player who the advanced stats guys will love as a guy who will check top players, take a lot of defensive zone starts, and be above-average offensively.

Day 2: Dansk is a player I had just outside my top 125. He's a very gifted and athletic goalie, and the following applies to Korpisalo too because they're both good goalie prospects, but the value of that position is low and Columbus could have found better value at 31 and 61. Anderson has a fine frame, works hard, is an above-average skater, and has a nice physical game but his offensive skills are bottom-six level. Curcuruto had some scouts thinking he may be a first rounder last summer but didn't really impress much this season. He's a very smart player but lacks any significant offensive tool and doesn't play the body in his own end which is concerning for a guy who is a little small.

Summary: In all likelihood Murray will be the take from this draft. Columbus selected several quality goalie prospects, but the uncertainty on even the best of G prospects is very high and Dansk/Korpisalo are likely long-term options if they do pan out. Murray won't be a star, but he has all the looks of a top-pairing defender.

Detroit Red Wings

Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank)
Martin Frk		Right Wing		49 (33)
Jake Paterson		Goaltender		80
Andreas Athanasiou	Left Wing		110 (68)
Mike McKee		Defense			140
James De Haas		Defense			170
Rasmus Bodin		Center			200

Day 1: No pick

Day 2: Frk was highly touted for many seasons coming into 2012 as a for-sure first rounder, but fell after suffering a concussion and inconsistent play. He's an elite finisher with a lot of skill and is a good risk around the range Detroit got him. The same could be said for Athanasiou, who is a tremendous skater with skill but was very inconsistent this season. McKee is a safe low-upside pick as he's a huge, bone crunching defender who may not even have replacement-level skill.

Summary: Detroit took a few shots at some upside picks in this draft class. They have a pretty deep system so I don't mind the risks, but there is a notable possibility this draft class produces zero pros as much as it has chance to produce value.

Nashville Predators

Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank)
Pontus Aberg		Left Wing		37 (9)
Colton Sissons		Right Wing		50 (77)
Jimmy Vesey		Left Wing		66 (55)
Brendan Leipsic		Center			89
Zach Stepan		Center			112
Mikko Vainonen		Defense			118 (93)
Simon Fernholm		Defense			164
Max Gortz		Right Wing		172
Marek Mazanec		Goaltender		179

Day 1: No pick

Day 2: Nashville went to work on Day 2. I'm a big Aberg fan and if he wasn't hurt in the second half I think he would have been taken a lot higher. Sissons is a gritty hard-working forward who I see as a good third-line player. Vesey went undrafted last year, but I really like the puck possession skills he displayed this year in the EJHL. Leipsic was unranked due to a lack of notes, but when I saw him in the WHL playoffs, he showed a good combo of skill and grit and would have him in my top 125 in a re-rank. I never saw Stepan but I've heard good things about him. Vainonen is an effective defensive defender with fine mobility but not much offensive upside.

Summary: Despite no first round pick, Nashville was able to get a fair amount of talent, and Pontus Aberg could end up being a great value pick.

St. Louis Blues

Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank)
Jordan Schmaltz		Defense			25 (46)
Sam Kurker		Right Wing		56
Mackenzie MacEachern	Left Wing		67
Colton Parayko		Defense			86
Nick Walters		Defense			116
Francois Tremblay	Goaltender		146
Petteri Lindbohm	Defense			176
Tyrel Seaman		Center			206

Day 1: Jordan Schmaltz came into the season as a projected first rounder, but slightly underwhelmed this season. His puck-moving skills are very desirable, but his physical game and defense require work and he'll certainly need quite a few years to put it all together. He's got good upside, but this is a bit of a risky pick in the first round.

Day 2: Kurker is a big forward who is an above-average skater with some skill, but he was inconsistent this year and not as effective physically as a man his size could be. I've heard good things about MacEachern's skill level but have few notes on him.

Summary: The Blues took a few gambles in the draft on talent with uncertainty. I could see a situation where several players from this class become NHLers as much as I could see it turn zero pros.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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