The 2012 NHL Draft Is Finally Upon US!

Feb 6, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) in action against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Oilers 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Well folks it is that time again. What exactly am I talking about? I‘m talking about the day, that lives of players and franchises change forever. Tomorrow is the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Players from across the globe have the chance to take their talents to America as teams will be picking them in hopes of them possibly being the franchises star player or even just a great role player that will help them compete for a Stanley Cup either now or down the road. No matter what spot taken in the draft, many people’s lives will forever be changed.

This year the first team on the clock is the Edmonton Oilers. Now Edmonton is certainly no stranger when it comes to opening the draft as they held the first pick in both 2010 and 2011. In 2010 they selected a young forward by the name of Taylor Hall. Hall was one of the highest rated prospects that we’ve seen in the draft in a long long time. So far drafting Hall has been a great success as he contributed for a total of 95 points in his first two seasons as a member of the Oilers. The following year, Edmonton selected Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first overall pick. It was definitely going to be hard for Hopkins to live up to the hype right away after Hall had a spectacular rookie campaign. However, statistically speaking, Hopkins had a better first year than Hall did, as he scored 52 points his first season. Hopkins was awarder rookie of the month twice in his first year, in the months of October and November. With the Oilers great scouting department, it is no surprise that their first round picks in the past two years turned out to be a success. It is going to be interesting to see who they decide to go with this year. A lot of people are expecting them to take the Russian forward Nail Yakupov. Yakupov is a highly skilled player and many have him rated as the highest skilled player coming into this year’s draft. The Oilers might also select Ryan Murray. Murray is a great defender with tremendous upside. He is unquestionably the best defender entering this year’s draft. Whoever it is that they take first in this year’s draft, that player is going to be coming in with tons of hype and the expectations to live up to what Hall and Hopkins previously did in their rookie seasons.

Enough about the Oilers, let’s move onto the main topic of this post, the Florida Panthers. The Panthers currently hold the 23rd pick in this year’s draft. A little high for the Panthers as they were able to wash away their decade of troubles this past season, as they went onto win the Southeast Division and make it to the playoffs for the first time in twelve years. Last year the Panthers went out and made moves on draft day, acquiring defender Brian Campbell. This past season, Campbell turned out to be one of the most effective and one of the best defenders in the league. Night in and night out he consistently put in quality minutes while avoiding the penalty box. He also led our team in assist. Last season the Panthers selected Jonathan Huberdeau, a center from the QMJHL. Huberdeau spent this past season with the Saint John Sea Dog’s, where he continues to polish his craft. The Panthers are in no hurry to call him up, the more time he stays with the Sea Dog’s, the more ready he will be for the NHL and at a young 19 years of age, why rush him?

Sep 29, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Florida Panthers rookie center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) skates through the Dallas Stars zone during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

I cannot wait to see what the Panthers do in this year’s draft. Will they go out and try and acquire another piece to a puzzle that is just a few players away from being complete? Who will they draft? Will they continue to have good drafts and help build towards the future? After searching the player database and looking through multiple mock drafts, a lot of people have us selecting offense in the first round. But who will be there that the cats like? Will it be Matia Marcantuoni? Or maybe, Mark Jankovski? Or possibly even Colton Sissons. Whoever it is, I will support the pick. These past few years for the Panthers have been astonishing. They went from a poor drafting team to an above average drafting team, looking to build for the future. They also clearly improved their play on the ice as they finally were able to make it back to the playoffs. Whoever we draft, I am just hoping they turn out to be a good player for our franchise, instead of the draft busts we are used to seeing.

Also, over the past few weeks, writers and directors from Fansided have been working on a mock draft for the first round. Staff members from each NHL site have come together to make a pick for their respective team. Below is a link of the mock draft if you guys would like to check it out.

2012 Fansided NHL Mock Draft

I hope you guys are enjoying the start to your very busy offseason and enjoy the draft tomorrow night J

Thanks For Reading!

Also congratulations to Panther defender Brian Campbell on winning the Lady Byng Trophy last night at the NHL award show.

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Topics: 2012 NHL Draft, Brian Campbell, Colton Sissons, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Jonathan Huberdeau, Mark Jankovski, Matia Marcantuoni, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Hugent-Hopkins, Ryan Murray, Taylor Hall

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