Like many of you, I’ll have to follow the 2012 NHL Entry Draft from home tonight, which will allow for a bit more of a running commentary. I’ll be sharing a lot of thoughts on Twitter, but will also be periodically updating the blog for the entire first round and potentially parts of Day 2.
Also, feel free to participate with questions and comments of your own in the comments section or on Twitter. I’ll also likely be popping in on the live chat over at “Tonight’s Healthy Scratches” periodically.
The first round begins on NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. EDT.
Also as a reminder, here’s a look at my Top 30 Overall Rankings as well as my Top 15 Americans for the NHL Draft Part I (1-8) and Part II (9-15 + Honorable Mention).
Hope you’ll stop by for a bit tonight. Enjoy the Draft, everyone!
Editor’s Note: Most recent posts will appear first.
9:40 a.m. CDT — Picks coming too fast and furious to really do much of a live blog. Follow on Twitter for commentary. Will have a recap up Monday.
9:14 a.m. CDT — Nicolas Kerdiles at No. 36 was the first American off the board on Day 2. The California kid goes to a California team in the Anaheim Ducks. Kerdiles has a really strong two-way game and should get some added strength at the University of Wisconsin. He also has a good nose for the net and should be able to be a productive player at the next level.
The first pick of the second round was Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk, who spent time at the vaunted Shattuck-St. Mary’s Program in Faribault, Minn. He expressed to NHL Network he plans to play in North America next year somewhere in the CHL.
Also, Phil DiGiuseppe at No. 38 to Carolina is the first current college hockey player to go in the draft. The Ontario native had an outstanding freshman season at Michigan last year. Could be a nice value pick for the Canes.
9:04 a.m. CDT — The second-round is about to get underway on NHL Network and is streaming live on NHL.com. Some Americans to watch early: Nic Kerdiles, Patrick Sieloff and Brian Hart.
9:53 p.m. CDT — There was a run on Americans toward the end of the first round. The Phoenix Coyotes went with the kid raised in Scottsdale with their pick at No. 27. Henrik Samuelsson, the son of longtime NHLer Ulf, plays a lot like dad with his nastiness. He has been all over the place this year literally, but found his stride late in the year with the Edmonton Oil Kings. With the next pick, the New York Rangers picked up slick-skating Minnesota-commit Brady Skjei. The big defenseman was listed by many as the best skater in the draft and gives the Rangers great value at No. 28.
Then the most entertaining pick of the draft happened at No. 29. After the Rangers passed on the chance to draft the son of a famous former player, the team most infamously linked on the wrong end of the name “Matteau” called that very name out from the podium. The New Jersey Devils selected Stefan Matteau, son of Stephane. The younger Matteau projects as a potential skilled power forward that will get under the skin of opponents. Considering the family connection, this is the stuff bloggers’ dreams are made of.
9:20 p.m. CDT — Jordan Schmaltz of the Green Bay Gamblers goes to the St. Louis Blues at No. 25. He’s got some high-end offensive tools, but he needs to work on his decision-making and strength. He has plenty of time to develop and will have Brad Berry as his position coach at the University of North Dakota. I didn’t expect him to go in the first round, but as this draft has proven, who expects anything any more? He should be a good long-term prospect. The Blues picked Jaden Schwartz a couple years ago out of the USHL and he’s probably one of their best prospects. Clearly the Blues are comfortable with that league’s talent.
9:12 p.m. CDT — Another college-bound prospect goes in the first round as Michael Matheson of the Dubuque Fighting Saints was picked by Florida at No. 23. Matheson has some terrific offensive tools and upside. His D needs a little work, but he’s headed to Boston College which has developed some really terrific defenders over the years, most recently Brian Dumoulin. I don’t think there’s any chance he bails on BC, despite the fact that Moncton holds his rights in the QMJHL. He can take his time developmentally and BC will get him bigger and stronger.
8:56 p.m. CDT — Mark Jankowski went to the Calgary Flames at No. 21. He is committed to Providence College, having already signed a National Letter of Intent. His rights are held by the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL, for those wondering. Jankowski came out of nowhere this year at Stanstead College in the Quebec prep ranks. Jankowski has said he might choose to go to the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints for a year before college, but being a first-round pick might change those plans. I’m not sure what Calgary will want to do with him, but Providence is a good enough spot for him to develop under Nate Leaman. There should be no rush on the late-blooming Jankowski. If he ends up in Providence, he’ll be one of the marquee recruits in all of college hockey.
8:54 p.m. CDT — As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I’m pretty excited about the fact that Teuvu Teravainen fell to the Hawks at 18. He’s an elite offensive talent with his puck skills. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but the skills allude to tremendous upside. You can build strength, attaining skills like his is much harder.
8:07 p.m. CDT — The USHL’s Zemgus Girgensons of the Dubuque Fighting Saints was selected by the Buffalo Sabres with the 14th overall pick. He’s an exciting talent. Girgensons plays with pace, he hits, he can score and he’s got some really nice puck skills. His on-ice work ethic is relentless. Girgensons is fun to watch. He is committed to the University of Vermont, but there are some people that believe he is potentially AHL ready, as Bob McKenzie mentioned. I don’t know if he’d get a ton better going to the WHL, where he will be a bigger stronger guy and could be physical force there, but Buffalo might want to get him under their watchful eye. I think he’d be fine if he went to Vermont and continued developing, but don’t rule out the possibility of him signing a contract sooner than later. Really interesting development there.
7:57 p.m. CDT — Can’t believe Grigorenko and Forsberg lasted as long as they did, but the Sabres and Capitals got great prospects in their system. I got to see both in the U18 Worlds over the last two years and both were standouts even as under-agers in 2011. Forsberg is a great puck possessor, which is a premium skill at the next level. He knows what to do when he finds open space and is a gifted goal scorer. He’ll fit right in in Washington. Grigorenko is a super-skilled centerman who can score and distribute. He has elite hockey sense and makes his teammates better. He shouldn’t be far off from the NHL and could be a really exciting talent going forward. The Sabres will be glad he fell as far as he did.
7:28 p.m. CDT — Jacob Trouba was selected ninth overall by the Winnipeg Jets. It’s somewhat funny that Trouba was selected by Winnipeg in that he was once booed every time he touched the puck in a sold out MTS Center when he was 16 years old. After running the Canadian goaltender the previous game, the boo birds rained down on the young defender. I have a feeling their tune will change when he’s wearing the Jets blue jerseys. The NTDP defenseman has affirmed his commitment to Michigan multiple times and has made it known to NHL teams he has no plans to go elsewhere. Don’t expect him switching commitments. At No. 9, Winnipeg gets a great defender who might not be terribly far away from a physical standpoint.
7:10 p.m. CDT — The huge trade just announced by the commissioner that sent Jordan Staal to Carolina included Boston College defenseman Brian Dumoulin. The All-American is a great two-way defender who was one of the best blueliners in all of college hockey over the last two years. Getting Brandon Sutter, the No. 8 overall pick (Derrick Pouliot) AND Dumoulin is a heck of a haul for the Penguins. Wrote this about Dumoulin when he signed with Carolina:
Brian Dumoulin*# — Boston College — Dumoulin, a two-time All-American, was easily one of the best defensemen in college hockey this year. With his size and strength, Dumoulin vastly improved his defensive game. His point-production dipped as a result, but he can still get the job done offensively with 28 points, including a career-best seven goals. At 6-3, 200, it’s not a stretch to expect the two-time national champ and Carolina second-rounder in the Hurricanes’ lineup on the opening night of the 2012-13 NHL season.
6:50 p.m. CDT — America’s GM Brian Burke goes out on a bit of limb by selecting Morgan Rielly, an offensive defenseman. Sounds like Leafs fans wanted a forward and there were three real good ones available with Grigorenko, Teravainen and Forsberg. Will Burke’s risky pick pay off?
6:33 p.m. CDT — Alex Galchenyuk was selected third overall by the Montreal Canadiens. He becomes the highest American selected since Zach Bogosian was picked third overall in 2008 by Atlanta. The Habs have taken Americans in the first round in four out of the last six Drafts. Galchenyuk’s injury clearly didn’t scare the Habs away, which is probably a good thing. Of all the players available, Galchenyuk might have the most potential. He’ll be an exciting talent for many years to come. Here’s more on Galchenyuk.
6:15 p.m. CDT — The Oilers do the right thing by taking the best player available in the Draft. With the young forwards Edmonton already has, Nail Yakupov adds another weapon to their arsenal. He’s an impressive goal-scoring talent and should put up some big numbers for a lot of years in the NHL. Yakupov at No. 1 was really the only option.
5:55 p.m. CDT — The NHL Entry Draft is about to begin. I’ll be posting some thoughts periodically throughout the night. More and more indicators pointing to the Oilers selecting Ryan Murray and not consensus No. 1 guy Nail Yakupov. Clearly the Oil has plenty of top forwards, having had the No. 1 pick the last two years, but it’s hard to find players with Yakupov’s natural goal-scoring talent every year. Murray will be under immense pressure if Edmonton picks him No. 1. We’ll see if the Oilers go through with this.
So what are the odds that Montreal tries to bring Galchenyuk in right away? It doesn’t seem like the best idea to me but I can’t help but believe the fans will be calling for it and the organization might be overly anxious to please after such a disappointing season.
I think Montreal will take a wait and see approach. They can bring him in to the prospect camp and probably get him in the big camp if they choose. Galchenyuk has been hopeful he goes straight to the NHL, but patience may be a good thing. I don’t think Marc Bergevin will rush him.