Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Preds get bounced, intro to the 2012 draft

The Nashville Predators got bounced from the playoffs in the second round last night. They dropped their series to Phoenix four games to one.

The Buffalo Sabres have their own pick (#12) and the Preds first round pick this year in the 2012 draft thanks to GM Darcy Regier sending Paul Gaustad and a 4th-rounder to Nashville. Right now it looks as if they'll get a pick that lands somewhere in the #21 area.

Two things we know about the draft right now:
  • The top picks at forward are dominated by Russians--RW Nail Yakupov, C Alex Galchenyuk, and C Mikhail Grigorenko.
  • Defenseman are once again prevalent as International Scouting Services place four d-men in their top-seven--Ryan Murray, Jacob Trouba, Matt Dumba, and Morgan Rielly.
Presumably that takes up seven of the first 10 picks.

Fast-rising C Filip Forsberg, who some have going top-three, and LW Teuvo Teravainen are locks for the top-10.

The talent-level drop-off point in this year's draft seems to be right around the #6/7 area, well ahead of where the Sabres will start the draft.

But, there seems to be some question marks in the draft, not necessarily the talent-level of the top picks, but whether or not Edmonton, who has the #1-overall pick, and Columbus with the #2 will trade down.

For Edmonton, this will be the third year in a row that they have the #1 overall pick. In 2010 they took Taylor Hall and in 2011 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. In the three drafts prior they took three forwards--Sam Ganger (#6-overall, 2007,) Jordan Eberle (#22, 2008,) and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (#10, 2009).

With, arguably four of the top-five picks in this draft being forwards, it's not the ideal situation for a team that would love to add a blue chip d-prospect to their organization.

Columbus is also a question mark with the #2 pick.

The Blue Jackets need help everywhere, and may be looking for a top-line RW as franchise cornerstone Rick Nash, may be on the move.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?

With the #2 pick they take either Galyenchuk or Grigorenko as their highly skilled, top-line center.

But, remember Nikita Filatov? Drafted in 2006 as somewhat of a gamble with the NHL and the KHL in a tug of war for Russian talent, the extremely gifted Russian winger taken #6 overall got off to a slow start, went into (then) coach Ken Hitchcock's doghouse, and was eventually traded for a third-round pick in 2011.

Would the team be willing to take a gamble (although less of one now) to take another Russian?

Would they move Nash for a bounty and settle upon Forsberg as their new, top-line RW?

Would they draft down to gather more picks (*cough, cough...Buffalo?)


As for the Sabres, all we know is that they have two first-rounders and two second-rounders and some strong prospects who could make for an intriguing package to move up in the draft.

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