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Six top 2012 Draft prospects get taste of Cup Final

by Dave Lozo

NEWARK, N.J. -- Top 2012 NHL Draft prospects Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Mikhail Grigorenko, Alex Galchenyuk, Morgan Rielly and Filip Forsberg got a taste of the NHL life, as they paid a visit to the dressing rooms of the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings on Saturday morning at Prudential Center as the teams prepared for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

It was an especially exciting morning for Yakupov and Grigorenko, who could be the top two picks at the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22. The two Russian-born prospects had a chance to meet Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk.


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"He's funny," Yakupov said. "We just talked about the game. He wants to win the game today. So we'll see what happens."

Kovalchuk nearly signed with the Kings as a free agent two summers ago before opting to stay with New Jersey. Grigorenko offered some more insight about his favorite player's sense of humor.

"It was good. He was talking to us and was really nice. He was funny," Grigorenko said. "I said we were going to L.A., so he said something about L.A."

It was also a big day for Forsberg, who is from Ostervala, Sweden. The Devils have four Swedes on the roster, including defenseman Henrik Tallinder, who hails from the same hometown as Forsberg.

"I met him last summer," Forsberg said. "He was practicing with my team (Leksand). Then, of course, top players like Kovalchuk and [Drew] Doughty and [Mike] Richards. It was a cool time in there."

Murray is a native of Regina, Sask., and the top-ranked defenseman by NHL Central Scouting, so he was most excited to meet Doughty, who he said was a "beauty."

"I wanted to meet Doughty," Murray said. "He's such a great player and he's done a lot in his career already. I heard he was a beauty. He seemed like a great guy. He asked how the Combine went and how everything was going and enjoy New York. I said good luck."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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