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2012 NHL Draft

NHL.com experts agree Yakupov will go No. 1

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 10:13 AM / 2012 NHL Draft


After Tuesday's NHL Draft Lottery, we know who has the top pick -- the Edmonton Oilers.

Learning who they select, though, won't come until the 2012 NHL Draft is held June 22-23 in Pittsburgh.

However, NHL.com's draft experts don't have that long to wait. So in the wake of the Oilers winning the lottery and earning the right to pick first for the third straight year, Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Steven Hoffner put together their latest mock drafts.

Much like NHL Central Scouting, NHL.com's experts were unanimous in their belief that the Oilers will add to their already impressive offensive arsenal by selecting Sarnia Sting right wing Nail Yakupov.

P.K. Subban happy to see brother atop rankings

Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 3:58 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

"I would love him to be like Carey [Price], that would be great. But I think the important thing for players is they're always going to compare you, and the thing I always like to say to a player is to be your own player. I like to think I'm the best P.K. Subban I can possibly be. He has to be the best Malcolm Subban he can possibly be." -- P.K. Subban

BROSSARD, Que. -- As difficult as it was for him to be talking about his Montreal Canadiens missing the playoffs for the first time in five years, there was a piece of news Monday that put a smile on P.K. Subban's face.

He was speaking to reporters just as NHL Central Scouting released its final ranking list for the 2012 NHL Draft, and P.K.'s younger brother Malcolm Subban of the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, maintained his spot as the top-ranked North American goalie prospect.

"He's worked hard and I'm not surprised," said P.K. "I went to go watch him play in the [OHL] playoffs and I was really impressed by his ability to stop pucks and do it so effortlessly. He hasn't been playing goalie for a long time -- he started at 12 years old -- but it looks like he's been doing it his whole life. He's playing the best hockey of his career right now and he deserves all those things."

Yakupov tops Central Scouting's final rankings

Monday, 04.09.2012 / 10:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Nail Yakupov of the OHL's Sarnia Sting has been tabbed the top North American skater eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting. (Photo: Metcalfe Photography)

It should come as no surprise that right wing Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting has been tabbed the top North American skater eligible for 2012 NHL Draft by NHL Central Scouting.

Yakupov, 18, was the top prospect on Central Scouting's preliminary list of the top 25 skaters from the OHL in November and was regarded as the No. 1 North American skater on January's mid-term report.

Yakupov has done nothing to disappoint the scouts this season.

"His first step and ability to control bouncing pucks, knock them down and make a play are the best of any of the guys in the draft," said Central Scouting's Chris Edwards. "He really gets up to top speed very quickly and his hands are outstanding. Like Pavel Bure, Yakupov is dangerous every shift. He may not have been dominant on every shift like Bure was, but he created something every shift … you have to be aware where he is on the ice all the time."

Ex-Sarnia star Stamkos watching current stars

Lightning sniper remembers his roots

Monday, 04.09.2012 / 10:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos thrived for the Sarnia Sting before being selected first overall at the 2008 NHL Draft. (Photo: Getty Images)

It wasn't too long ago that Steven Stamkos was establishing franchise records with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. Though he's now an NHL star in his fourth season with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Stamkos never has forgotten the people or teams that helped get him there.

He recently told NHL.com that he still keeps tabs on the team and its players. Stamkos took particular interest in two 2012 NHL Draft-eligible Russian players starring for the Sting this season -- right wing Nail Yakupov and center Alex Galchenyuk.

Both players were regarded highly by NHL Central Scouting at its final meetings earlier this month. Yakupov was the unanimous choice as the No. 1-ranked North American skater. Galchenyuk, who didn't play a game until March due to October knee surgery, is No. 4 on the list.

Stamkos is well aware of what Yakupov and Galchenyuk are going through -- after all, he went through the same thing as the No. 1-ranked North American skater for the 2008 draft.

Whitney found the balance needed to succeed

Monday, 04.09.2012 / 10:00 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Justin Goldman - NHL.com Correspondent

"I think being prepared every night and not getting lost in games mentally. But being focused for every single game was a must for me." -- Brandon Whitney

Ask a midget or high school goaltender to define the term balance, and he'll probably say it's a skill that allows them to stay in control of their body when making a save.

Ask a junior goalie that has just completed his first season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League the same question and he might reply with a much different answer.

For soft-spoken Victoriaville Tigres goalie Brandon Whitney, the true essence of balance was discovered in the blink of an eye. When the preseason ended and the games started to count, he realized it wasn't just a technical skill, but an important life skill, as well.

Top prospect Pokka leads Finnish U-18 tourney team

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 11:09 PM / 2012 NHL Draft


Three players ranked in the top 10 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top European skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft will be part of Finland's team for the IIHF 2012 World Under-18 Championship.

The tournament will be played April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.

Leading the Finnish entry will be defenseman Ville Pokka, who had three points in 35 regular-season games with the Karpat in the Finnish Elite League. He added three assists in nine playoff games, and also had a goal and three assists in seven games for Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Matteau ruled ineligible for U.S. U-18 tournament team

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 2:41 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The International Ice Hockey Federation ruled Thursday that Chicago native Stefan Matteau is ineligible to participate for U.S. at the upcoming World Men's Under-18 Championship.

Matteau, who is regarded as one of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, is the son of former NHL player Stephane Matteau. According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, the ruling is based on the fact Matteau hasn't played two consecutive seasons in the U.S. after the age of 10.

Allen explains that although Matteau spent his first nine years in the U.S., he was living in Canada when he joined the U.S. program in March 2010. However, he didn't play a game for the team until September in that year.

Central Scouting to release final rankings Monday

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 11:36 AM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

So which Russian-born skater would you choose with the top pick of the 2012 NHL Draft -- Nail Yakupov of the Sarnia Sting or Mikhail Grigorenko of the Quebec Remparts?

Maybe solidifying the defensive zone is much more important. If so, which high-end defenseman is capable of manning your blue line for the next 15-plus years?

After all, there are several available in this draft class.

NHL Central Scouting will shed some light on the subject Monday with the release of its final rankings of the top 210 skaters and 30 goaltenders in North America as well as the top 150 skaters and 10 goaltenders from Europe. The final list, full analysis and coverage will be available on NHL.com and announced on NHL Live and the NHL Network.

Canada names team for World U-18 championships

Wednesday, 04.04.2012 / 8:34 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Red Deer defenseman Mathew Dumba and Belleville center Brendan Gaunce, two players expected to hear their names called early at the 2012 NHL Draft, were among the 20 players named Wednesday to Canada's team for the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, to be held April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.

Dumba is No. 7 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top North American skaters eligible for this year's draft. He was second among all Western Hockey League defensemen with 20 goals and sixth with 57 points this season for Red Deer.

Gaunce, No. 11 in Central Scouting's midterm rankings, led Belleville with 28 goals and 68 points.

Trouba, Kerdiles return as U.S. seeks 4th straight gold

Monday, 04.02.2012 / 2:27 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Three members of last year's team will return to help the U.S. go for a fourth straight gold medal at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

The tournament will be held April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.

Forward Nicolas Kerdiles and defensemen Jacob Trouba, two highly-regarded players eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, again will be part of the team, as will defenseman Seth Jones, already considered a top selection for the 2013 draft.

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2012 NHL Draft