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2012 NHL Draft

Top WHL draft prospects coming from the blue line

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:04 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Red Deer Rebels coach Jesse Wallin would need to think back 16 years to recall the caliber of draft-eligible talent available on defense from the Western Hockey League this season.

"The last time we had this many defensemen coming out in the draft was 1996 … my own draft year," Wallin told NHL.com. "But I think this crop is at a much higher caliber than it was in 1996. It's pretty special that we have this many top-end defensemen that are in the league and certainly there will be some fun guys to watch this year."

Eight WHL blueliners were chosen in the first three rounds of the 1996 Entry Draft, including six first-round picks. Wallin, a defenseman for Red Deer, was the final choice in the first round, going 26th to the Detroit Red Wings. Ottawa selected defenseman Chris Phillips of the Prince Albert Raiders with the first pick.

1997 Draft was launching pad for today's stars

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:04 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The 210 prospects that will get picked in the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh are hoping some of the magic of the last draft class to hear their names called in the Steel City rubs off on them.

The 1997 Entry Draft was held at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, and of the 246 players selected through nine rounds, 24 have played at least 500 games, and two have surpassed the 1,000-game mark, with a third rapidly approaching that milestone. Three players have scored at least 300 goals, while three have at least 700 points, topped by one 1,000-point scorer.

That would be Joe Thornton, taken by the Boston Bruins with the No. 1 pick. The lanky 6-foot-4 center was taken after an outstanding two-season junior career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.

Thornton endured a rough start to his career under coach Pat Burns, scoring just 3 goals in 55 games, but soon developed into a franchise stalwart. He's scored 20 goals 11 times in his 13 full seasons with the Bruins and San Jose Sharks, won the Art Ross and Hart trophies in 2006, scored his 1,000th point late last season and played in his 1,000th game Oct. 21 against the New Jersey Devils.

Vibrant amateur hockey scene among Mario's legacies

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:04 PM / 2012 NHL Draft


The Pittsburgh Penguins have had an undeniable impact on amateur hockey in the past quarter century.

For many, that growth began when Mario Lemieux, now the team's owner, arrived in 1984 as a fresh-faced rookie ready to rewrite the NHL record books and turn the Steel City into one of North America's most passionate hockey markets.

The city -- and, as importantly, the region -- immediately embraced the prodigy from the province of Quebec as he became the impetus for Pittsburgh's run from also-rans to hockey powerhouses, a journey culminated by back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships in 1991 and 1992.

Pittsburgh natives played major role in 2011 draft

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:04 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writers

The 2012 NHL Draft will be held in Pittsburgh, but it was the 2011 draft in Minnesota at which the Steel City made it first big impact on the future of the NHL.

Four players with Pittsburgh hockey roots -- forwards J.T. Miller, Brandon Saad and Vincent Trocheck, as well as goaltender John Gibson -- were chosen in the first three rounds of last June's draft.

Much of that success can be credited to the Penguins' three Stanley Cup championships, as well as the roster of current and future Hall of Famers who helped win those Cups.

Top prospect Galchenyuk to undergo ACL surgery

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 2:40 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk, a highly-touted 2012 draft prospect from the Ontario Hockey League, will be sidelined indefinitely after the team announced on Monday he'll undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Galchenyuk, who was second among OHL rookies with 83 points, including 31 goals, in 2010-11, had yet to suit up this season for the Sting after suffering his injury in a preseason game against the Windsor Spitfires on Sept. 16.

The big question now is whether or not Galchenyuk's absence will hurt his draft status in June.

"One element for Galchenyuk is the fact he played last year and, going into this season, he was already recognized as one of the top prospects," Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, told NHL.com. "I think most of the teams are pretty comfortable in knowing the type of player they'll be getting. Obviously, you'd like to see him play during his draft year, but the scouts and general managers are going to be more concerned with how the surgery went, what type of surgery it was and how the recovery process is going along."

There's little doubt Galchenyuk will be in high demand at the NHL Scouting Combine in May.

Nieves named top prep school draft prospect

Friday, 10.21.2011 / 3:42 PM / 2012 NHL Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Cristoval Nieves, a center at the Kent (Conn.) School, ranks as NHL Central Scouting's top-rated U.S. high school player eligible for the 2012 Entry Draft.

NHL Central Scouting on Friday released its list of Players to Watch for Canadian and U.S. junior and midget hockey leagues and U.S. scholastic leagues.

A 6-foot-2 3/4, 184-pound center, Nieves had 43 goals and 18 assists in just 23 games last season, and is the lone player to earn an 'A' ranking on the list, meaning he is a potential first- or second-round pick.
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2012 NHL Draft