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MONTREAL, QC. — With the 2012 NHL Entry Draft just over 24 hours away, the clock continues to tick slowly for scouts, GMs and anxious fans. Friday can’t come soon enough. The draft is a little like Christmas — we’ve titled our draft profiles “Christmas in June” — as each team gets the gift of young talent. Our insightful draft experts, Robert and James, have prepared the All Habs Hockey Magazine Mock Draft. Today, in Part 2, we countdown picks twenty to eleven.
► With the 20th overall pick, the Philadelphia Flyers select..
D Slater Koekkoek, Peterborough, OHL
Weight: 190 pounds
Koekkoek is about the best remaining on the board and the Flyers are hurting on defence. They very much welcome Koekkoek to a thin prospect base at the position. Before his injury, Koekkoek was blazing a remarkable trail through the OHL. A solid two-way defencemen when he played in any situation, his defensive play improved notably. Very good mobility and an agile skating stride allow him to skate out of most situations without difficulty. Displays strong vision which mixes well with a strong passing ability. Not afraid to play physically and will use his body effectively down low or along the boards to gain advantage. Issues arise with concerns about his health with having missed two-thirds of the season and he does still have work remaining towards his own-zone game.
Best Projection: Top-4 offensive defencemen.
► With the 19th overall pick, the Tampa Bay Lightning select..
D Matt Finn, Guelph Storm, OHL
Weight: 195 pounds
With a severely depleted blue line Tampa cashes in on Matt Finn with a sigh of relief. Finn will bring stability, offense and a much needed boost on the blue line. Matthew Finn is a bright two-way defender that can be a solid presence on the power play. Gifted with a high hockey IQ, Finn can quarter back a powerplay with authority, creating plays, as well as unloading a solid slapper. While Finn has much to work on, for a defender his size, his skating leaves much to be desired, and if he truly wants to be a force in the NHL it will have to be his main focus of improvement.
Best Projection: Top-4 two-way defensemen with power-play skill
► With the 18th overall pick, the Chicago Blackhawks select..
G Malcolm Subban, Belleville, OHL
Height: 6’ 0.5”
Weight: 185 pounds
The Blackhawks take the most favoured North American goaltender off the board, in a move that notably improves their depth at the position. The first thing to notice about Malcolm Subban is that like his brother P.K. he has quick feet. He moves from post to post with great speed and has very good reverse movement allowing him to challenge a shooter and keep pace with them. His reflexes are arguably the best of any goaltender in the draft and his natural athleticism mixed in makes him very hard to beat when he’s at his best. He has a good blocker arm and a good glove and manages his rebounds very well. He does have issue with tracking pucks through traffic at times. Inconsistency has been a concern as he can rely on his athleticism a bit too much and forget technique, which makes good goaltender coaching for Subban important.
Best Projection: NHL starting goaltender
► With the 17th overall pick, the San Jose Sharks select..
C Brendan Gaunce, Belleville, OHL
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 215 pounds
With some serious lack of depth at center in their prospect pool, San Jose gladly selects Brendan Gaunce who brings a great combination of size, skill and grit. Brendan Gaunce is a big bodied center, that plays a smart two-way game. He excels when using his body to his advantage, and can sometimes be physically intimidating to the opposition. Gaunce has great hockey sense, and possess an array of tools he can use at his disposal to create offense. The knock on Gaunce is he lacks high end skill, and he could really benefit from improving his speed. When all is said and done Gaunce is projected to be a solid second line center that plays a gritty two-way game.
Best Projection: Top-6 forward
► With the 16th overall pick, the Washington Capitals select..
RW Sebastian Collberg, Frolunda (Elitserien)
Weight: 175 pounds
Washington is no stranger to drafting out of Europe in the first round and being amply rewarded, gladly taking Collberg. Collberg possesses two key qualities that a team will look for in any forward especially in the first round, speed and shot. Collberg has solid acceleration and has an exceptional high speed that lets him beat defenders down the wing for a scoring opportunity. His shot is equally remarkable, he can manage a quick release while moving at high speed with solid accuracy. He doesn’t shy from physical play to get the puck or make a play, but he currently lacks the muscle to be very effective. Displays talent as a play-maker with good vision to go along with his skills. Effective defensively and displays a potential two-way ability at the pro level. Issue remains his empty stat column playing in the Swedish Elitserien this season for while he has been somewhat of a junior sensation, his inability to produce even 1 point in 41 Elitserien games is concerning.
Best Projection: Top-6 scoring winger
► With the 15th overall pick, the Ottawa Senators select..
D Derrick Pouliot, Portland, WHL
Weight: 190 pounds
With Karlsson having a very productive season, the Senators waste no time in adding more offensive punch to their blue line with Pouliot. Derrick Pouliot is an offensive defenseman that can change the pace of a period with a single pass. Renowned for his high end passing, Pouliot can captain a powerplay with ease; a commodity that is constantly sought after in the NHL. Pouliot loves to join the rush although he can get caught flat-footed losing the puck which often causes turnovers. While not a diminutive defender, Pouliot needs to improve his strength to truly be an effective offensive defenseman in the NHL. Pouliot will also have to learn patience, and become more consistent with his play as he has the reputation of being a hot and cold player. Derrick Pouliot projects to be a top four defenseman and a staple on the powerplay.
Best Projection: Top-4 offensive defensemen with power-play skill
► With the 14th overall pick, the Calgary Flames select..
D Hampus Lindholm, Rogle (Elitserien)
Weight: 190 pounds
Calgary has depth issues across the board, but Lindholm stands out about the best on the board. A very potent offensive defencemen, Lindholm possesses rare tools that will entice many scouts. He begins his game with his strong skating which is nearly effortless at times and allows him to move very well and push offence as he carries the puck. He possesses a very good passing game, which is very advanced for his age, quick, accurate and fast. Displays very good hockey sense, he is not one to get lost in a play and shows good creativity. Displays the ability to control the temp of a game when the puck is on his stick, a very rare talent for a defender. Problems arise from Lindholm’s own-zone coverage, which can be spotty and his natural desire to play offensively can result in costly turnarounds as he can too often go for low-percentage plays that don’t go anywhere.
Best Projection: Top-4 offensive defensemen
► With the 13th overall pick, the Dallas Stars select..
D Cody Ceci, Ottawa, OHL
Weight: 205 pounds
Dallas finally adds some much needed offensive acumen, with Larsen and Oleksiak waiting in the wings, Ceci will be an excellent addition to what will one day be an intimidating blue line. Cody Ceci has been an absolute force for the Ottawa 67’s, putting up an impressive 17 goals and 43 assists. Dallas hopes that his offensive presence in the OHL transitions onto the NHL surface, as he is mostly known for his defense first mentality. Possessing a big booming shot, and an excellent ability of reading plays; Ceci flexed his offensive muscle, and became a threatening juggernaut on the blue line, whether it was being excellent defensively or chipping a thundering shot from the blue line. For a player of Ceci’s size he needs to take advantage of his body frame more, and could stand to be a bit more aggressive toward oncoming forwards. Cody Ceci projects to be a top four defenseman in the NHL.
Best Projection: Top-4 defensemen
► With the 12th overall pick, the Buffalo Sabres select..
C Zemgus Girgensons, Dubuque, USHL
Weight: 200 pounds
Power bodies are hard to come by, so Buffalo happily scoops up the “Latvian Locomotive” which helps solidify their size issue. Girgensons brings power to his position and any team he plays on. His pursuit of the puck is unrivaled in most games and his willingness to use his size and strength along the boards and through open ice makes him very difficult to move off the puck or keep it away from him. Displays leadership skills and good two-way ability and will always come back with the play to support his teammates. Shows potential scoring talent with good hands. Concerns are his puck distribution skills and overall creativity may not have him as a suitable centre at the professional level, or an over-reliance on his physical abilities to force play when more subtle play is called for.
Best Projection: Top-6 power forward
► With the 11th overall pick, the Washington Capitals select..
C/W Radek Faksa, Kitchener, OHL
Weight: 200 pounds
With Kuznetsov opting to remain in the KHL, Washington takes Radek Faksa with a devilish grin. Radek Faksa was touted as one of the wild cards of the draft, and since September of 2011, he has made a very strong case to be selected in the top fifteen. Faksa possesses high end hockey sense, and has a wealth of talent that some scouts suggest he plays too humble of a game; if he were to truly trust himself and unlock what many believe his true potential might be, Faksa could round out into a top line player. Faksa has a great first pass, excellent speed, and a nose for the net which make him one of the best forwards in the draft. He excels along the boards, and is able to generate a great deal of offense off the rush, which makes many scouts believe that he will be converted to the wing when he turns pro to maximize his efficiency. If Faksa can gain more strength, and develop more confidence in his skill he could become a top line player as he possesses the compete level and work ethic to attain such a goal. Faksa is projected to be one of the safer picks of the draft, and will likely be a top six forward.
Best Projection: Top-6 forward