2012 NHL Draft Consensus Top 100 - February Update

If there's one physical trait or ability that makes scouts and General Managers go all doe-eyed and forces them into bad decisions, it's size. The second, and only slightly less important trait is grit.

The Edmonton Oilers spent half of a decade drafting large forwards in the early rounds and have absolutely nothing to show for it. Names like Winchester, Jacques, Mikhnov and Radunske will forever be associated with the turn of the century Oilers. 10 years later and the idea of gritty bruisers still permeates the draft room at Rexall Place, and the last three drafts have produced Cameron Abney and Travis Ewanyk in the first three rounds. Contrast that with Detroit's strategy of loading up on skill early, late and often.

But Edmonton is not alone in chasing after size and grit before skill -- every year there are a number of checking forwards selected in the early rounds, long before a team like Detroit would consider a look. The run-up to the 2012 NHL Draft is providing a real-time example of the size/grit vs. skill debate and scouting views. Two players, one enormous and gritty, one smaller and highly skilled, are quietly moving up draft boards, and it's the gritty player earning the better reviews.

Tom Wilson, a 6'4" 200 lb wing playing for the Plymouth Whalers has rocketed up the rankings, going from 55th overall to 30th in this update. His primary attributes are his size and one draft scout isn't particularly taken with the rest of his game. I asked Scott Campbell of The Scouting Report about Wilson:

Wilson is an imposing forward who plays with a tremendous amount of girt. He’s a big body and uses his size to his advantage by dishing out punishing body-checks and keeps teams honest with his presence. Offensive upside is a huge concern for Wilson, however. His skill-level and touch are average at best and he’s had trouble finding the back of the net despite playing with some of the top forwards in the OHL in Plymouth. Wilson’s physicality and ability to control the play on the cycle should help him play a bottom 6 role at the NHL level but I feel like there’s some risk taking him in the 1st round as his potential to play a greater role is somewhat limited.

Tim Bozon, a 6'1" 180 lb wing from Switzerland possesses copious amounts of skill. He debuted at 130 on the consensus list and now a month later he sits in 55th. Bozon's skill level might not be elite, but he's certain got his fair share. I spoke with Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus who thinks Bozon has first round potential:

Prototypical do it all type of offensive talent. He's an above-average skater, puck handler, and thinker who can finish with decent size and works hard. No quibbles at all with his game. His one main weakness is no high-end skill/standout ability, but even being above-average across the board makes your a surefire first rounder in my books. I had him 31 in my mid years due to not having enough notes but more I hear on him I think he could certainly push for mid first by June.

The sources for the consensus list are Bob McKenzie, Redline Report, Future Considerations, ISS, Craig Button, Hockey Prospectus, The Scouting Report, and Win Shares via Nick, A.K.A. Mathletic.

# Pos Name HT WT L/R Team Move
1 F Nail Yakupov 5'11 180 L Sarnia Sting 0
2 F Mikhail Grigorenko 6'2 192 L Quebec Remparts 0
3 F Filip Forsberg 6'1 176 R Leksand 1
4 D Ryan Murray 6'0 182 L Everett Silvertips 1
5 D Mathew Dumba 5'11 172 R Red Deer Rebels -2
6 D Morgan Rielly 6'0 190 L Moose Jaw Warriors 1
7 F Alex Galchenyuk 6'0 185 L Sarnia Sting -1
8 D Jacob Trouba 6'1 183 R USA NTDP U18 0
9 D Griffin Reinhart 6'4 202 L Edmonton Oil Kings 1
10 F Zemgus Girgensons 6'1 182 L Dubuque Fighting Saints -1
11 F Sebastian Collberg 6'0 180 R Frölunda 1
12 D Cody Ceci 6'2 203 R Ottawa 67's -1
13 F Pontus Åberg 5'11 183 R Djurgården 6
14 F Brendan Gaunce 6'2 205 L Belleville Bulls 0
15 F Radek Faksa 6'2 183 L Kitchener Rangers 13
16 D Matt Finn 6'0 197 L Guelph Storm 0
17 D Slater Koekkoek 6'2 180 L Peterborough Petes -2
18 D Derrick Pouliot 5'11 192 L Portland Winterhawks -5
19 D Olli Määttä 6'2 198 L London Knights 1
20 F Tomas Hertl 6'2 196 L Slavia Praha 18
21 F Martin Frk 5'11 190 R Halifax Mooseheads -4
22 G Andrei Vasilevski 6'3 200 L Ufa 9
23 L Philip Di Giuseppe 5'11 176 L Michigan 26
24 F Nicolas Kerdiles 6'1 183 L USA NTDP U18 -3
25 D Damon Severson 6'1 188 R Kelowna Rockets 5
26 D Michael Matheson 6'1 175 L Dubuque Fighting Saints 0
27 D Brady Skeji 6'1 183 L USA NTDP U18 8
28 F Jarrod Maidens 6'2 170 R Owen Sound Attack 1
29 D Jordan Schmaltz 6'2 175 R Green Bay Gamblers -6
30 F Tom Wilson 6'4 195 R Plymouth Whalers 4
31 F Tanner Pearson 6'0 192 L Barrie Colts 28
32 D Dalton Thrower 6'0 195 R Saskatoon Blades 11
33 F Daniil Zharkov 6'3 195 L Tri-City Storm 27
34 F Teuvo Teräväinen 5'10 161 L Jokerit 14
35 D Ludvig Bystrom 6'0 176 L Modo 2
36 F Stefan Matteau 6'1 188 L USA NTDP U18 6
37 F Henrik Samuelsson 6'2 192 R Modo -12
38 D Ville Pokka 6'0 187 R Kärpät -5
39 F Andreas Athanasiou 6'0 165 L London Knights -15
40 R Scott Komaschuk 5'11 185 R Guelph Storm 45
41 F Mike Winther 5'11 170 R Prince Albert Raiders 29
42 F Matia Marcantuoni 5'11 185 R Kitchener Rangers -24
43 F Cristoval Nieves 6'2 175 L Kent Prep School -3
44 F Colton Sissons 6'0 173 R Kelowna Rockets -8
45 D Nick Ebert 6'0 195 R Windsor Spitfires -23
46 F Scott Laughton 6'0 174 L Oshawa Generals -14
47 F Raphaël Bussières 6'0 183 L Baie-Comeau Drakkar -1
48 L Anton Slepyshev 6'2 187 R Novokuznetsk 13
49 D Dillon Fournier 6'1 160 L Lewiston MAINEiacs 13
50 D Gianluca Curcuruto 6'1 187 L SSM Greyhounds -23
51 F Charles Hudon 5'8 165 L Chicoutimi Sagueneens 0
52 G Malcolm Subban 6'0 178 L Belleville Bulls -2
53 G Oscar Dansk 6'2 183 L Brynäs -14
54 D Adam Pelech 6'2 200 L Erie Otters 2
55 F Tim Bozon 6'1 178 L Kamloops Blazers 75
56 F Nikolai Prokhorkin 6'2 183 L CSKA Moscow -3
57 D Hamphus Lindholm 6'2 180 L Rogle 17
58 F Brady Vail 6'1 190 L Windsor Spitfires -1
59 L Gemel Smith 5'11 165 L Owen Sound Attack -5
60 D Jake McCabe 6'0 195 L USA NTDP U18 17
61 D Patrick Sieloff 6'0 173 L USA NTDP U18 15
62 F Emil Lundberg 6'3 198 L Södertälje -18
63 F Ryan Olsen 6'2 190 R Saskatoon Blades 4
64 F A.J. Michaelson 6'0 180 L Waterloo Black Hawks -23
65 F Brendan Leipsic 5'9 155 L Portland Winterhawks -2
66 F Mathew Campagna 5'11 170 L Sudbury Wolves -19
67 D Jaynen Rissling 6'3 215 L Calgary Hitmen -22
68 F Nikita Gusev 5'9 163 R CSKA Moscow
69 D Cody Corbett 6'1 209
Edmonton Oil Kings 24
70 F Brian Hart 6'1 190 R Phillips Exeter Academy 75
71 F Chandler Stephenson 5'9 170 L Regina Pats -13
72 F Eric Locke 5'10 171 L Barrie Colts -20
73 F Tomas Hyka 5'11 160 R Gatineau Olympiques
74 F Coda Gordon 6'2 174 R
Swift Current Broncos -8
75 G Jon Gillies 6'5 202 L Indiana Ice 4
76 F Troy Bourke 5'10 150 L Prince George Cougars 6
77 D Valeri Vasiliyev 6'1 183 L Spartak Moscow 24
78 D Jesse Graham 5'11 160 R Niagara IceDogs -23
79 D Marcus McIvor 6'1 204 R Brampton Battalion -1
80 G Brandon Whitney 6'5 193 R Victoriaville
81 F Dominik Volek 6'1 180 L
Regina Pats 11
82 F Andrew Ryan 6'2 193 L Halifax Mooseheads -7
83 C Dane Fox 6'0 185 L London Knights 33
84 G Francois Tremblay 6'2 194 L Val d'Or Foreurs -20
85 G Daniel Altshuller 6'3 195 L Oshawa Generals -4
86 D Alex Gudbranson 6'2 204 R Kingston Frontenacs 2
87 G Andrey Makarov 6'2 165 L Saskatoon Blades 55
88 F Luca Ciampini 5'11 189 L Halifax Mooseheads -23
89 F Patrik Machac 5'9 165 L Brampton Battalion -21
90 F Lukas Sutter 6'0 199 L Saskatoon Blades 24
91 D Brian Cooper 5'9 176 L Fargo Force -7
92 D Dylan Blujus 6'3 184 R Brampton Battalion -19
93 G Matthew Murray 6'4" 162 R
SSM Greyhounds
94 C Devin Shore 6'0 184 L Whitby -14
95 D Dominic Poulin 6'1 185 R Chicoutimi Sagueneens -24
96 F Kalle Torniainen 5'10 172 R Djurgården -24
97 F Gustav Rydahl 6'2 194 L Färjestad -28
98 C Tanner Richard 5'11 182 L Guelph Storm 9
99 F Nathan Walker 5'9 176 L HC Vitkovice 20
100 D Trevor Carrick 6'2 175 L Mississauga St. Mike's Majors

  • The theme for this class thus far has been chalk. 9 of the original consensus top 10 are still in the top 10. Zemgus Girgensons moved from 11 to 10 when Nick Ebert fell out of the top 10. The only significant mover inside of the top 10 is Filip Forsberg. Forsberg started in 8th but, after sitting in 4th for the last four months, is now up to 3rd overall.
  • Speaking of Ebert, his fall continues. He began the season ranked 5th overall and has slipped with each update. 5 --> 10 -->15 -->22 -->42. At some point, he becomes oversold and is being punished far too much.
  • Though the top 10 has been stable, there are clear lines of separation: Yakupov is alone at the top, but Grigorenko has closed the gap and may get closer In March. Forsberg, Murray and Dumba are tightly grouped as are Rielly, Galchenyuk and Trouba. Reinhart is a level below them and it's another similar step down to Girgensons.
  • Alex Galchenyuk is back from his knee injury and has the best chance to improve his final ranking and join the Murray and Dumba combination. I spoke with one Western Conference scout who thinks Galchenyuk is a clear third, right behind Grigorenko.
  • Radek Faksa is riding the momentum built by the scouting community. His ranking has increased for each update after starting at #54 in September.
  • Scott Laughton, the forward from Oshawa is going in the opposite direction. He was ranked 19th in September and now sits 46th.
  • Australia's Nathan Walker cracks the Top 100 for the first time, coming in at 99. Walker's story is a great one and his stock keeps rising.
  • If you're interested, ISS' list mostly closely correlates with the consensus. Our 8 sources, ordered by closest correlation: ISS, Bob McKenzie, Future Considerations, The Scouting Report, Win Shares, Hockey Prospectus, Red Line Report, and finally, Craig Button.
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