Saturday, May 12, 2012

REVS 2012 Prospects List (May 12/12)

REVS 2012 Prospects List (May 12/12)

1.Nail Yakupov (was ranked #1)
Nail finishes in my final list as still the reigning champ ranked #1. Nail has done nothing to change my opinion or almost anyone's opinion any different. Only argument that can be found against Yakupov is his point totals 'post injuries' slowed down his PPG pace and some negative talk about his shorter frame or the 'Russian Factor' has concerns among fans mostly.

 In no way is any player even close to Nail in this draft in regards to pure skill and intensity. He will be picked #1 overall and will be the cream of this years draft in 5 years time as well.

2.Mikhail Grigorenko (was ranked #2)
I know, I am becoming one of the few who still have Grigorenko ranked this high. Unlike some who fall for the 'lazy Russian' and 'poor work ethic' rumours, I truly believe Grigorenko is a player who fits perfectly into a number 2 centermen role. In a 1st line role there would be more pressures and chances are he would struggle with that, but the 2 spot is a great fit for the big Grigorenko. 

The way he protects the puck, the speed at which he passes the puck so crisply and his love for the game and incredible hockey sense are second to none. It is true , Patrick Roy has worked on Grigorenko's defensive 2-way game this past year and Mikhail has grown plenty. Like other top players, he is still growing. Unlike Yakupov, Mikhail has just been in North America a year but he wants to excel in the best league in the world as well. With me keeping him as my #2 ranked player either I get to be the one who said 'I told you so' OR I get to be the one who everyone else Say's 'I told you so'. Either way, he is my man at #2.

 3.Alex Galchenyuk (was ranked #4)
Alex put up insane numbers before heading to the OHL and put up 80+ points as a 16 year old is not bad either as a good two way center. Alex's small showing in the playoffs in his limited ice time are what moved him up in my rankings. The question mark on Alex for me was erased seeing his leg hold up and still put up points on a bad team. 

It really is too bad Galchenyuk was hurt this year cause it could have been a killer year for him IMO. This guy comes back for the playoffs after missing a entire year and still while getting up to speed on ice gets a ppg in the playoffs. He may be a wildcard only because the uncertainty of his recovery. Some are concerned the time off may have stunted his growth. I don't see it, if anything because this guy is a high intensity and highly competitive player he will slot perfectly onto a team as a top 2nd line centermen in the NHL. Most likely he will still need 1 more year in the OHL to work out some things on his game, with missing a entire year off.

4.Ryan Murray (was ranked #3)
It's not that I thought Ryan fell a ranking as much as someone showed well, who should have been ranked higher (Galchenyuk). Chances are high that Murray will jump straight to the NHL this year and there is no doubt in my mind, he will be a top 4 defencemen one day. 

I see him as a perfect 3rd guy on defence who can fill in the second role when injury occurs but not sustaining that level of hockey over long periods. Ryan is what I would call, that perfect calm on defence. He doesn't wow you or anger you with his play. He makes the smart play and is dependable at all times in the game. A good defencemen that deserves the ranking he has. Remember very few defencemen get ranked this high and drafted this high, so it should be a honour his name is even sitting in the top 5

5.Morgan Rielly (was ranked #5)
Rielly was able to come back in the 3rd round of the WHL playoffs and show some flashes of those high end skills of his. Fortunately I was able to catch 2 games live of his in Edmonton and 1 on the screen. He had poise, Quick skating ability and excellent puck movement with incredible control. His leg looks to have healed well and is showing great promise to be drafted in 'Top 8' at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

6.Griffin Reinhart (was ranked #8)
Reinhart has done nothing more then just be himself. A big man who is stable and strong on defence are very valuable assets to have. As the playoffs in the WHL continue for his Oil Kings team, Griffin continues to up his physical game and is starting to become much more of a factor. 

Having been able to catch a half dozen games of him live and a dozen on Shaw has been a eye opener. There is not much flash there, but should there be? After all, this is his game. He's a defensive defencemen who has a hard shot from the point, can move decent for a big man and can punish the forwards if need be. Because Griffin has risen his compete level as the playoffs went deeper, I have moved Griffin up in the rankings cause I definitely see a higher end potential in him then in past conversations.

7.Mathew Dumba (was ranked #6)
Dumba is a machine out there on the ice. A riverboat gambler but if he makes the right decision, your team is putting up points on the score clock because of him. While at the WHL level he is a beast, not sure it translates well into the NHL level of hockey where everyone is bigger and stronger. 

His ranking was only changed due to Reinhart picking up steam, otherwise Dumba is still a very strong option for a team who wants a defencemen who is a game changer and has speed to burn. It's very possible a team like the Islanders consider Dumba for their defence.

8.Filip Forsberg (was ranked #9)
As with Dumba, Forsberg only drops due to Reinhart moving up the draft rankings, it is no slight of Filip or his play on the ice. As I have mentioned before, unlike some draft rankings, I find it very difficult to rank Filip higher due to his lack of offensive production while playing in a Swedish league ranked below the SEL.

 While he is a power forward and good defensively , I would have expected to see greater growth in his draft year. Paajarvi played in the SEL and scored more points and yet was not drafted til later himself. Filip also mostly plays the wing not center as some are quoting on various sites so that does make it more difficult for a higher draft ranking.

9. Olli Maatta (was ranked #12)
Maatta was a solid defensive player all year in London and always reliable during those crunch time moments to produce when needed. His skating is top notch and his lateral moment is incredible. His hockey sense is what I really like about this player. He is a quiet type of player but a difference maker on the ice. These playoffs are what have really shown me his true potential as the London Knights would not be where they are without Olli.

Producing over a point a game in the OHL playoffs for a defencemen is no small feat, but it's the subtle way he keeps racking up the points and shutting down the other team's best players that impress me. 

10.Radek Faksa (was ranked #15)
A player who works hard, plays a good two way game at center and has great hockey sense. Faksa was not even on my radar til later in the 1st round to start the year, but kept impressing as the season went on. Being a big player who seems to keep growing with each and every game will make Radek a easy pick for almost any team in the NHL.

11.Jacob Trouba (was ranked #14)
Another defencemen who seldom gets noticed as much by the casual fan as he doesn't play in the CHL. Rest assured Trouba while now ranked by me at #11, some scouts and GM's have him ranked in the Top 7. He is that good. Very mobile defencemen who likes to play it tough but most of all positionally plays the angles well.

12.Cody Ceci (was ranked #10)
While Ceci did nothing wrong to drop him in the rankings, it was the play of others that pushed him back. Ceci almost a consistent ppg player on defence for Ottawa of the OHL, has many attributes NHL team's desire. His only knock seems to be his lack of physical play for a big man. High end potential is probably a 4 d-man with most likely a bottom pairing guy but PP specialist.

13.Derrick Pouliot (was ranked #7)
This is a huge drop for Pouliot on my draft rankings. Most of it is more about other players rising their level of play as the season wrapped up and then into the playoff battles. Derrick is a great talent (I have got to see him play about 6 times this year) but with a slighter frame and being surrounded by so many other good defencemen and forwards, I fear his stats may be somewhat misleading. He seems to make the right choices with the puck but seems to shy away from contact and does not always make the easy play, which can end up costly when it's all said and done.

14.Zemgus Girgensons (was ranked #13)
Zemgus only moved back one draft spot ranking due to so many others performing well as the playoffs progressed. He still could be a awesome catch for a team like Calgary who needs that Centermen. A great dynamic player who can make quick acceleration east/west and before you know it, is driving straight to the net.

15.Brendan Gaunce (was ranked #11)
Brendan is the only player other then Derrick who I did drop slightly in my draft rankings. I started the year without him in my Top 15, but as the season went on, I started to become a believer. As the season started closing out, it seemed to me his game intensity dropped and he looked fatigued. 

While I don't fault him for that, we are talking about the BEST 15 players in the world who are 17 years old approx. It's less of a knock against him then it is a compliment to the few others who have surpassed him on my list. A big strong centermen who many teams will seriously consider, I can see him being drafted between 12-25 overall in the 1st round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

For those of you who been following my prospects ranking from October/11, you will notice some changes again. Unfortunately as I mentioned before with so many injuries in the 2012 Prospect Draft class it has been much more difficult to read each players development in comparison to each other. Some players did make a return at season's end in the playoffs which was able to give some small indicators of their recover progress. (i.e.: Galchenyuk/Rielly) This list is not a mock ranking as to where they will be selected but my personal ranking in terms of talent that is available at that ranking and where I see them in 5 years time.
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