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June 27, 2012
NHL Draft Wrap-Up
Northeast Division

by Corey Pronman


These reviews are not meant to be in-depth player profiles; for those you can find my player reports here. I generally spend time during the year gathering info on players I consider top three round talents or those I think will go in the top three rounds, therefore I do not go in-depth into later round picks.

Boston Bruins 
Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank) 
Malcolm Subban		Goaltender		24th (78th)
Matthew Grezelcyk	Defense			85th (87th)
Seth Griffith		Left Wing		131st (64th)
Cody Payne		Right Wing		145th 
Matthew Benning		Defense			175th 
Colton Hargrove		Left Wing		205th 

Day 1: Malcolm Subban is a very good goalie prospect, but I generally don't like taking goalies this high. He's a very athletic goalie who developed very well from last season and dominated the OHL this season. There is just so much evidence as to why picking a goalie this high can be detrimental.

Day 2: Grezelcyk has been a favorite prospect of mine to follow this season. He's such a skilled offensive player who has legitimate high-end tools, but his size is an issue that nullifies his offensive potential to a degree. I had not been hearing a lot of talk about him leading into the draft, so was pleasantly surprised to see Boston reach for the upside. Griffith is a player who I was surprised did not get drafted last year, and all he did was become one of the top OHL scorers this season. You're not getting a dynamic player in Griffith, but he's pretty skilled across the board and the kind of forward that's completely worth the risk despite size issues because if you hit on him you maybe get an above-average player.

Summary: Taking Subban at 24 takes some of the optimism away from me on the guys they got early on Day 2. Boston certainly took talent at the top of this draft, but with too much risk in my opinion, and it's hard to see anyone becoming a regular for several seasons.

Buffalo Sabres
Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank) 
Mikhail Grigorenko	Center			12th (2nd)
Zemgus Girgensons	Center			14th (14th)
Jake McCabe		Defense			44st (67th)
Justin Kea		Center			73rd  
Logan Nelson		Center			133rd  
Linus Ullmark		Goaltender		163rd 
Brady Austin 		Defense			193rd 
Judd Peterson		Center			204th 

Day 1: Grigorenko is an elite prospect and has the kind of rare talent level you simply don't find. I know there are some concerns about him which I've addressed at length here, but I'd take his talent level at 12 any day of the week. Girgensons was a hard player to get a read on this season. Some scouts I talked to called him a legit top-six talent, while some called him a third liner, and one scout I talked to even said he has top-line talent. I like him a fair amount between his great skill level and intangibles.

Day 2: McCabe was really impressive for a freshman in the WCHA. I had him rated lower than Buffalo took him, but I completely see the reasoning for it as there were some nights that McCabe looked like a really good prospect. His offensive touch came a long way since being with the USNTDP last year and if Buffalo really believes in some of the two-way possession skills he showed, he could be fine value at 44.

Summary: Buffalo went from a prospect system for which I had some serious concerns about, and alleviated them quickly by getting talent. Grigorenko is an elite prospect, Girgensons is a very good one, and McCabe a solid option as their third pick. Buffalo's prospect depth I would not say is overly impressive, but they now have several prospects in their system who have significant potential.

Montreal Canadiens
Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank) 
Alexander Galchenyuk	Center			3rd (3rd)
Sebastian Collberg	Right Wing		33rd (11th)
Dalton Thrower		Defense			51st (57th)
Tim Bozon		Left Wing		64th (26th)
Brady Vail		Center			94th (85th)
Charles Hudon		Left Wing		122nd (34th)
Erik Nystrom		Left Wing		154th 

Day 1: As I've written about, Galchenyuk is a significant risk but I also had him at third on my board, where he eventually ended up going. That is because he's one of the three legitimate star-level talents in the draft and a player who can elevate a franchise if Montreal truly hits on him. Going into the draft year before an injury knocked him out for the season, some NHL execs I talked to thought he had a chance to challenge for first overall. He's a very unique case in terms of his circumstances and will be very intriguing to watch his development.

Day 2: In a nutshell, I thought by the end of the draft the Habs had obtained several good prospects outside of Galchenyuk. Collberg looked great in the summer, bland in November, good at the World Juniors, great in February, and I though great in April although not every scout agrees. He's a very skilled player despite zero points in the SEL this year; when playing internationally, he really stood out with his speed, skill, and shot. Thrower is a very competitive, physical defenseman who's a little small and who won't wow you with any particular skill, but his skills are solid across the board. Bozon is a skilled all-around player who is creative, fast, gritty, and can finish. Vail is a high-end intangibles player with solid offensive touch; he's a smart player, but could use some work on his skating, and doesn't really have top-six tools. Hudon is a fun player to watch with legit high-end puck possession skills but he's a little slow and very small; he has produced and stood out in my opinion the last two years and I love taking talent like that where the Habs chose him.

Summary: Going into the draft, I had the Habs with a below-average system that was lacking significant forward prospects, a little thin on depth, and had an average amount of overall prospect talent. They fixed all those issues over the weekend. I could plausibly see this draft turn out several pro players, and a chance for even a couple of pretty good ones. How Galchenyuk pans out will likely determine this draft class though, and the uncertainty on him won't go away until he gets back on the ice for a lengthy period and shows observers he's as good if not better than his 16-year-old season.

Ottawa Senators
Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank) 
Cody Ceci		Defense			15th (13th)
Chris Driedger		Goaltender		76th
Jarrod Maidens		Center			82nd (52th)
Tim Boyle		Defense			106th 
Robbie Baillargeon	Center			136th (106th)
Mikael Vidstrand	Defense			196th 

Day 1: Ceci is a player I know several teams had in the 6-8 range, and based on Bryan Murray's comments after picking him, the Senators were one of them. He's a very smart player who logged huge minutes this year. He's not a standout skill guy, but does a lot of things well. I don't know if Ottawa ranked him that high partially to fill a need after dealing Rundblad and not having a top D prospect in their system, but even if not they still got good value for where they got Ceci.

Day 2: Maidens came into the year with a chance to be a low first round pick, but a concussion certainly was not helpful to his draft stock. He's a player who you don't notice a lot in terms of offensive flash, but he's so smart that he always finds ways to make plays in both ends. Staying healthy and improving his skating will be the next steps. Baillargeon impressed with his production in the USHL this season. He's a high-end thinker, but doesn't really have a noticeable skill aside from his hockey sense.

Summary: While I wasn't blown away by the Sens draft, they added a couple of fine pieces to their organization and were able to fill a system need in terms of a top young defenseman. I don't expect anyone from this draft class to be a star or wildly overperform their draft slot, but I think Ceci has the tools to be a very good pro for many seasons and if Maidens' development goes well, I can conceivably see enough to his skill set to be a decent pro as well.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Player			Position		Selected (HP Rank) 
Morgan Rielly		Defense			5th (7th)
Matt Finn		Defense			35th (19th)
Dominic Toninato	Center			126th 
Connor Brown		Right Wing		156th 
Ryan Rupert		Center			157th 
Viktor Loov		Defense			209th 

Day 1: I'd say that Morgan Rielly has the fifth-highest upside in the draft class and the best amongst defenders. He has premier offensive tools across the board and is a risk because of the injury-shortened season, but he just bleeds upside. His skating, puck skills, and vision are all easily high-end, and it's just his size that keeps from being a truly elite defense prospect.

Day 2: Finn is a player I was thoroughly impressed with this year and aside from slightly below-average size and underwhelming strength, he can do it all on the ice due to skill base and his great hockey sense. He's a player who can impact the transition game, run a power play, and impact puck possession regularly. Rupert is a player I did not rank due to a lack of notes, but was a guy who I had seen a little of, was impressed by him, and was strongly considering ranking and regretted not doing so after seeing him in the Memoiral Cup. He's a skilled, smart, gritty little guy who I think has the makeup to overcome his size even though he does not have dynamic tools.

Summary: Even after dealing Luke Schenn, Toronto's young talent base in terms of defensemen remains quite strong between Jake Gardiner, Jesse Blacker, Stuart Percy, and now Rielly and Finn. Rielly and Finn are clearly the takes from this class, with Rielly being a bit of a gamble who has notably variance in his projection but has the high-end skills to pay off big time if he pans out.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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<< Previous Article
Howe and Why (06/26)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article NHL Draft Wrap-Up (06/29)
Next Column >>
NHL Draft Wrap-Up (06/28)
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NHL Draft Wrap-Up (06/28)

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2012-06-30 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Northwest Division
2012-06-29 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Southeast Division
2012-06-28 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Atlantic Division
2012-06-27 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Northeast Division
2012-06-11 - From Daigle To Datsyuk: Mikhail Grigorenko
2012-06-09 - From Daigle To Datsyuk: Alex Galchenyuk
2012-06-05 - From Daigle To Datsyuk: Justin Schultz

2012-06-30 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Northwest Division
2012-06-29 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Southeast Division
2012-06-28 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Atlantic Division
2012-06-27 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Northeast Division
2011-06-29 - Premium Article NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Pacific Division
2011-06-29 - NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Northwest Division
2011-06-27 - Premium Article NHL Draft Wrap-Up: Southeast Division