The 2012 NHL Draft is over, and the biggest headlines of the day — which were of trades — are still ongoing. So what happened in the draft; and which teams made out best?
Carolina is undoubtedly the team that came out with the biggest smile on Friday, and it had little to do with what happened in the draft. After trading center Brandon Sutter, defense prospect Brian Dumoulin, and eighth overall pick in the draft for Jordan Staal, the Hurricanes are going to be a tough team to beat. With either Jordan or Eric Staal being on the ice for two-thirds of all of Carolina’s games, they’ve now got the depth to reenergize this team and maybe even make them look once again like the 2006 Hurricanes that won the Cup. At that time, Eric Staal led his team in points during the entire playoffs.
It wasn’t only Carolina that made out nicely in the Staal deal; Pittsburgh did pretty well themselves. Not only did they get Brandon Sutter, who had more defensive skill than Staal, but they also recruited Derrick Pouliot with their 8th pick in the draft. Pouliot can move the puck with incredible speed and although he’s admitted that he needs to be more physical on the ice, but that draft pick also makes room for Zach Parise or Ryan Suter — two players the Penguins have expressed interest in once free agency begins on July 1.
The first team on the list who’s actually improved their team on draft day, through an actual draft! The Oilers ignored the “Russian Factor,” and the fact that they need more defense than they do offense when they drafted Nail Yakupov number-one overall. There’s still so much Edmonton has to celebrate though. This player will be ready to don a jersey and play with his fellow teammates as early as this coming season, as he is exceptionally quick and had stats better than those of Tavares and Stamkos when they played in the same OHL that Yakupov is coming from. This is an all-around elite player, and one people will be talking about for years to come.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs needed help, and they needed it desperately. It arrived on Draft Day in the form of Morgan Rielly. Rielly could easily have been a number-one pick with his keen sense of how to play the game aggressively while skating with tremendous speed. Coming from the Moose Jaw Warriors, it was that WHL team that had Rielly leading their power play when he was just a rookie at 16-years-old. The only reason he didn’t go number one overall was due to an ACL injury that kept him out most of the season last year; a factor that doesn’t seem to scare the Leafs.
New York Islanders
Griffin Reinhart, who the Islanders took on draft day, comes from a long line of hockey players. His father is Paul Reinhart who played defense in the NHL; and his brother, Sam Reinhart, is already being eyed at the number one pick in the 2014 draft. That talent runs through Griffin’s veins and it shows when he’s on the ice, especially when he’s on the power play or killing one off. Griffin’s biggest challenge was his skating, but after picking up a great amount of speed, he’s ready to go pro.