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MONTREAL, QC. — With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft just days away, two members of our draft / prospects team, Robert and James, have collaborated to bring you a mock draft of the first round presented in three segments. So to countdown picks thirty to twenty-one, we present the All Habs Hockey Magazine Mock Draft:
► With the 30th overall pick, the Los Angeles Kings select..
C Henrik Samuelsson, Edmonton Oil Kings,
Weight: 195 pounds
After Los Angeles’ successful cup run the Kings are looking for some support down middle and Henrik Samuelsson fits the bill. Samuelsson is a strong two-way forward that plays with a constant axe to grind. With a chippy style of play Samuelsson drives to the net and causes absolute havoc for the other team. He distributes painstaking checks that force the crowd into a lull of amazement. Samuelsson also plays a solid two-way game that any NHL team would love to have, and with a stacked offensive core on LA’s roster his defensive style would be a welcome addition. Henrik, son of Ulf Samuelsson, lacks the offensive punch to make him a future top six fixture however he looks to be a fantastic checking line forward with defensive upside in the future.
Best Projection: Third line checking forward
► With the 29th overall pick, the New Jersey Devils select..
G Oscar Dansk, Brynas J20
Weight: 185 pounds
New Jersey is about five years late to be preparing Martin Brodeur’s heir, but Dansk offers them a chance to at least catch up. Dansk is an upcoming hybrid-style goaltender, using the combination of stand-up and butterfly in nets to play a style that allows for maximum coverage. Dansk has good size and balance, allowing for smooth movement that lets him play a very good covering style. Dansk has good skating, which aides his movement and lets him move post to post effectively. Dansk is rated to be arguably the best stick-handling goalie in the entire draft. Dansk is very sharp with his blocker and average with his glove. Issues arise that he is sometimes lacking aggression when challenging a shooter and prefers to stay down in the butterfly too long rather than reset his stance. Given his youth, it is nothing that cannot be overcome considering all his positives.
Best Projection: NHL starting goaltender
► With the 28th overall pick, the New York Rangers select..
LW Stefan Matteau, US National Development Team
Height: 6’1 ½”
Weight: 210 pounds
New York likes the family connection and profile of Matteau. Their need for scoring in these past playoffs makes this an easy choice as well. Matteau is a power forward and doesn’t hide it. He will finish his checks, drop the gloves and drives hard to the net for his scoring opportunities. Matteau possesses a good skating stride for a bigger player that should translate well to the next level, albeit he will need to work on his first step. Possesses a good hard shot and is very quick to release it as well. Not a strong playmaker, but is developing in that area. Shows knowledge of how to use his size and is very good at winning the board battles. Matteau’s drawback at present is his temperment, while a power forward is expected to be aggressive, Matteau has made dangerous plays that has seen him suspended multiple times in the past year. If Matteau can not control his temper, he will become a notable liability to his team.
Best Projection: 2nd-line Power Forward
► With the 27th overall pick, the Phoenix Coyotes select..
C Scott Laughton, Oshawa Generals
Weight: 178 pounds
With Phoenix in need of some serious depth at center, they are happy to select Laughton as he brings a solid mixture of size, speed, and skill. Laughton will likely play a leadership role at one point in his career as he is a character player with excellent work ethic and a lead by example mentality. He possesses strong two-way ability and excels on the penalty kill. With some grit to his game Laughton is a dynamic player that will need to fill out his frame a bit more to truly be an effective player. When all is said and done Laughton projects to be a solid second or third line two-way player that specializes in killing penalties.
Best Projection: Second or third-line two-way forward
► With the 26th overall pick, the Vancouver Canucks select..
RW Colton Sissons, Kelowna Rockets
Weight: 195 pounds
Vancouver picks up the power forward out of Kelowna, which helps address their power issue on the wings. Sissons brings some very attractive qualities to the table. He was named captain of the Rockets at 17, which assures any team selecting him he is a character player. He does not offer as much offensive punch in his game as other power forwards in the draft, but compliments it with solid two-way play. A fierce body-checker, he is highly effective along the boards and strong on the cycle play, which allows him to generate good offensive chances, or work in his own zone. He doesn’t give up on a play and his vision, intelligence allow him to be much more effective with such a commitment. He is very good at protecting the puck, which he can also fire like a rocket with his slap-shot. Skating is a notable weakness at present and will have to get better for the next level.
Best Projection: Top-6 two-way winger
► With the 25th overall pick, the St.Louis Blues select..
D Olli Maatta, London Knights
Weight: 200 pounds
With St.Louis selecting Maatta they reinforce their blue line; the combination of Pietrangelo, Shattenkirk and Maatta will be a serious force to be reckoned with for years to come. Olli Maatta brings a very cerebral approach to the game; he is extremely strong positionally and can flex his offensive muscle to create scoring chances. Maatta has a crisp accurate pass, and he is the type of defender that every team wishes they had. Olli plays a two-way game that is accompanied by a level of poise that envelops his play, making his high hockey IQ that much more dangerous. Maatta will likely turn out to be a number three defender but has an outside chance to develop into a number two.
Best Projection: Top-4 two-way defencemen
► With the 24th overall pick, the Boston Bruins select..
RW Tom Wilson, Plymouth Whalers
Weight: 210 pounds
Tom Wilson is a wildcard in the draft, but he is a very Boston-type prospect who will bet his offensive side grows, liking his intense physical game. Wilson can easily be described as a wrecking ball. Wilson is out to deliver punishment with his hits and is very willing to drop the gloves, taking on heavyweights in his league and accounting well for himself in the process. Wilson’s size and strength allow him to control play along the boards or plant himself in front of the net as an immovable object. He displays good defensive acumen in his play and will back-check as needed. Good skater for his size, but he will need further work, especially on his agility. Issues arise from a limited offensive creativity and weaker puck skills than that would otherwise make him a more highly rated prospect.
Best Projection: Top-9 power forward
► With the 23rd overall pick, the Florida Panthers select..
G Andrei Vasilevski, Tolpar Ufa
Weight: 205 pounds
With Jacob Markstrom graduating from the Panthers prospect pool Vasilevski would not only add solid goaltending depth to their system, but if he commits to North America he would likely challenge for the number one position. Andrei Vasilevski plays a butterfly style, and has great athleticism in his game. Vasilevski possesses game breaking talent, able to stun the crowd with dazzling saves, and frustrate opposition by stealing games. What most teams love about Vasilevski’s game is his ability to read and anticipate plays; he displayed this skill at the World Junior Championships, where he read plays extremely well and stole games single-handedly. Andrei has much to work on, as his blocker side needs some improvement, and if he truly wishes to play in the NHL he will likely have to commit to North America sooner rather than later. Vasilevski projects to be a number one goalie with game breaking ability, and he is likely to go in the first two rounds of the NHL Entry Draft.
Best Projection: Number one netminder with game breaking ability
► With the 22nd overall pick, the Pittsburgh Penguins select..
LW Pontus Aberg, Djurgarden
Weight: 195 pounds
Aberg is one of the better offensive players at this stage of the draft and Pittsburgh gladly scoops up the solid winger. While he doesn’t possess the frame of the power forwards in this draft, Aberg plays with enough muscle in his game to surprise some who make an issue of a player being under 6’. He is a quick skater with good agility and balance to his movements. He possesses a very good and accurate shot, which he uses as often as he can. He displays a solid work ethic in the defensive zone and is a very responsible player, even at the pro level he played at this year. Displays a good awareness around the net with good hands to allow him to make plays. Durability will be a concern with his being twice injured, raising the issue of if he can effectively try to use his power at the NHL level.
Best Projection: Top-6 scoring winger
► With the 21st overall pick, the Buffalo Sabres select..
C/W Tomas Hertl, HC Slava Praha
Weight: 195 pounds
With Kassian off to Vancouver, and Gaustad traded to Nashville, Buffalo looks to add some much needed size, skill and grit to their system with Tomas Hertl. Hertl is strong powerforward that will make opponents cringe when they hear his skates touch the ice. Hertl has excellent offensive instincts; his arsenal consists of a solid shot, sharp vision, and silky smooth hands that could tame a speeding bullet. A cause for concern for Hertl is that his skating isn’t where it needs to be, as a tall forward he has an awkward style of skating that isn’t very efficient, and he will need to improve it if he plans on being a top six forward in the NHL someday. Hertl is a talented powerforward, with much to improve on but if he can work on his skating he could develop into an established top six forward in the NHL.
Best Projection: Top-6 power forward