In about five months, 30 NHL teams will have to make their choices at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
NHL.com, however, has decided to make its choices a bit sooner.
NHL.com's draft experts -- Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Steven Hoffner -- have taken their best
2012 NHL DRAFT
Faksa showing game translates easily
Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer
wasn't sure what he would be able to accomplish in his first season in North America, but the Kitchener Rangers center has emerged as a top prospect for the 2012 NHL Draft. READ MORE ›
guesses at what the teams will do in the first round of this year's draft.
Is Russian-born Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov
, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater, the pick to go No. 1? Or will his countryman, Mikhail Grigorenko
, a center with the Quebec Remparts ranked second by Central Scouting, be the choice?
And what about the tremendous group of defensemen that are the talk of this year's draft class? How many of them could go in the first round?
Could a goalie be taken in the first round after none being taken in the first 30 picks last year?
And in a year with injuries to some of the best players, how will that affect the draft rankings of those players, like Sarnia center Alex Galchenyuk
and Moose Jaw Warriors defenseman Morgan Rielly
, both of whom have torn knee ligaments, or Peterborough Petes defenseman Slater Koekkoek
, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
You'll have to check out the mock drafts to learn the answers to those questions.
NHL.com's experts put these mock drafts together using their network of scouting resources and the standings at the All-Star break. The only team currently without a first-round pick is the Colorado Avalanche
, which sent their pick to Washington over the summer as part of the Semyon Varlamov
As well, the New Jersey Devils
have the option of forfeiting this year's pick as part of their penalty for circumventing the salary cap in signing Ilya Kovalchuk
in 2010; the Devils have to surrender their top pick in either the 2012, 2013 or 2014 draft.