2012 NHL Draft Ranking Part 2
In part 2 of 5, we examine the best players available in the 11-20 spot for the 2012 NHL draft.
The top 10 is available here.
11. Griffin Reinhart – D – Edmonton (WHL) – 6’4 – 202lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 24, 1994
Griffin Reinhart comes from a strong hockey background as his father, Paul, had a lengthy NHL career and both his older and younger brothers play for the Kootenay Ice. Reinhart’s two-way game makes him an attractive option early but his lack of a true game-breaking ability has caused him to fall under the radar in comparison to some of his talented defensive peers in this draft. Reinhart moves well for a man of his stature. His defensive game is solid and his reverse mobility makes him a sound defensive defenseman. He does use his size to his advantage in most situations but his killer instinct is often used at the wrong time, putting him into spots where he can pinch and get himself out of position. His hockey sense is sound and he’ll often make the safe play first. Again, his style of play makes him fall under the radar but like most defensemen of his ilk the less you see him the more effective he is. Reinhart’s offensive game has some room for improvement, but he did an admirable job as a puck distributor as the general of the Oil Kings power-play. Reinhart does not typically use his mobility to move the puck up ice but his aforementioned hockey sense leads him to make careful and patient decisions with the puck. While Reinhart might be missing the “it” factor that many of his peers have, the team that drafts this young defenseman will certainly be getting a talent that can make an impact on the blueline.
2011-12 Statistics: 58GP – 12G – 24A – 36PTS – 38PIM – +23
12. Jacob Trouba – D – USNTDP – 6’2 – 193lbs – Shoots R – Feb. 26, 1994
Jacob Trouba’s patient yet physical approach to the game makes him an excellent prospect for any team that is in need of toughness and responsibility on the blueline. Trouba is not an explosive skater but he moves effortlessly for a youngster with such a big frame. Trouba is extremely adept in his own zone and protects the front of the net with a high level of effectiveness. Trouba’s game is predicated on protecting the high percentage areas in his own zone and his board work is an interesting dichotomy in the sense that he’s willing to both deliver and accept hits in order to make a play. Trouba has a great first pass, solid vision and awareness in his own zone, and he has some underrated offensive abilities that he’d be well served to showcase a bit more. Trouba’s shot is also a boomer from the point although his attention to detail on the defensive end of the ice and his penchant for leaning that way don’t allow him to utilize his tools on the offensive point enough. Overall, Trouba is a great selection for a team looking to bolster its defensive posture with a little bit of toughness and reliability on the back end.
2011-12 Statistics: 22GP – 4G – 14A – 18PTS – 35PIM – +8
13. Radek Faksa – C – Kitchener (OHL) – 6’3 – 202lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 9, 1994
Radek Faksa is a young center that we’ve generally considered to be a riser throughout the year. Well renowned for his offensive ability, Faksa’s defensive work and faceoff prowess go a bit under the radar. An elite skater with great speed, Faksa has an impeccable work ethic and is the type of player that will come at the defense in waves. A lot has been said about his physical game needing some fine-tuning but we personally believe that his board work and physical game have already come a long way. Faksa has great vision and a high hockey IQ, his passing and shooting abilities are above average, but it’s his willingness to battle and get to the dirty areas that will score goals. Faksa has a solid puck distribution ability and he’s patient with his shot. Faksa saw a time in the WJC as a penalty killer and because of his attitude and his defensive prowess that is a role he should continue to play as he develops. While his overall offensive ceiling is in question, his two-way play makes him a viable option for any team that is looking for a multi-talented center.
2011-12 Statistics: 62GP – 29G – 38A – 67PTS – 47PIM – +19
14. Sebastian Collberg – RW – Frolunda (SWE) – 5’11 – 176lbs – Shoots R – Feb. 23, 1994
Sebastian Collberg might be one of the most dynamic forwards in this draft class, but his lack of playing time in Frolunda coupled with his size and strength issues raise some red flags. Collberg put on a show in international play this year, showcasing that his lightning release and his top end speed make him a deadly forward. Collberg’s shot has a high pedigree. His release is quick and effortless, his accuracy and velocity are already NHL capable, and his head position is always up when shooting. He hits the net with regularity and can muscle his shot through traffic. His first step is top flight and his highest gear makes him able to break away from the play and get clean looks at the net. Collberg has some growing to do, however, and the team that drafts him might require a little patience as he continues to grow and fill out. Collberg’s defensive game needs work and he needs to prove that he can handle the rigors of playing against grown men with regularity. Overall, if a team is willing to work with this youngster, they will be getting a plethora of offensive talent and a shot that is only matched by some of the top players in this draft class.
2011-12 U20 Statistics: 14GP – 8G – 9A – 17PTS – 6PIM
15. Brendan Guance – C – Belleville (OHL) – 6’2 – 215lbs – Shoots L – March 25, 1994
Brendan Gaunce is a heart and soul center that plays a solid two-way game and uses his size to maneuver himself into strong scoring positions. Gaunce can play at any tempo and seems to understand what needs to be done of him on each specific shift given the layout of any game. He has a strong hockey sense, a solid shot, and a good knack for putting the puck on the stick of a teammate. Gaunce has the character of a guy that screams captain or assistant captain at the NHL level. Issues with Gaunce lie in his first step, general mobility, and ability to handle the puck at a high rate of speed. Gaunce has a penchant for slowing the game down and evaluating all his options with the puck on his stick. His two-way play and his general understanding of the game make him a viable asset at center. However, because of his skating, a bit of patience might be required in his development.
2011-12 Statistics: 68GP – 28G – 40A – 68PTS – 68PIM – +4
16. Zemgus Girgensons – C – Dubuque (USHL) – 6’1 – 198lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 5, 1994
Zemgus Girgensons is an extremely physical center that uses his size to bully opponents and handle the puck extremely well in traffic and along the boards. The first qualm that always comes up about players like this is skating, and while Girgensons isn’t a poor skater, he could be better served to improve his first step, especially considering he spends a good amount of time taking care of his own zone. Girgensons plays the game as if he has ownership of the puck. He loves to get gritty down low, but his wrister and slap shot away from the play make him a deadly threat both in front of the net and in between the circles. His distribution ability isn’t bad, but he might be better served to pass the puck in certain situations moreso than he is willing to now. Girgensons still needs to bulk up to fill out his frame and the shocking thing is that he will continue to develop in the physicality department as he grows larger. There is some concern about the level of talent he played against this year. He also had a generally forgettable showing for a poor Latvia team at the WJC. Girgensons has already been drafted by a KHL team and a CHL team. The team that drafts this young player will be getting a true power forward that will continue to improve as he bulks up and improves his first step.
2011-12 Statistics: 49GP – 24G – 31A – 55PTS – 69PIM – +17
17. Dalton Thrower – D – Saskatoon (WHL) – 6’0 – 189lbs – Shoots R – December 20, 1993
Dalton Thrower is a bit of an intriguing prospect that could be taken anywhere on day one and might fall out of the first round altogether. Thrower is an extremely physical defenseman that takes control of the game and will protect his net and teammates vehemently. A highly competitive defenseman, Thrower is a good two-way option as well. His skating is average but effective, his shot is powerful and violent, and his physicality is what makes him so effective in his own zone. Thrower plays the game larger than his size. Thrower stepped up to Tom Wilson, a prospect we’ll talk about later, and fought him in the prospect game with no helmet. As almost a microcosm of his entire year, Thrower was giving up size, but fought without fear and handled Wilson towards the end of the fight very well. Thrower plays the game at the same gear all the time. He never takes a shift off and is extremely adept in his own zone. As his skating improves and his size increases, we think you’ll see him enter the league as a very physical defenseman that can handle the puck and contribute with high quality shots from the point. A full three years in the CHL give this prospect a lot of experience, but you’d almost like to see a bit more from him on some nights given said experience.
2011-12 Statistics: 66GP – 18G – 36A – 54PTS – 103PIM – -4
18. Derrick Pouliot – D – Portland (WHL) – 6’0 – 181lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 16, 1994
If you spent a lot of time watching Joe Morrow this year, you couldn’t have missed Derrick Pouliot. This young puck moving and distrubting defenseman opened eyes across the CHL this year with his fantastic outlets and crisp skating. Pouliot has a very heads up style of play that allows him to survey the scene and place strong, accurate passes on the stick of his teammates. His shot is ever improving and he is able to get the puck on net with regularity. He will occasionally tone down his shot to sacrifice power for accuracy. The downside to Pouliot is consistency and defensive presence. As he matures, he continues to get better in his own end, but lapses do occur and he always isn’t engaged in what’s going on down below the goal line. Pouliot’s development will be interesting to track. As he continues to improve, we should see jumps in his poise, character, and two-way play. For now, the team that drafts Pouliot will be getting a young, puck moving defenseman with an impeccable sense for moving the puck north.
2011-12 Statistics: 72GP – 11G – 48A – 59PTS – 79PIM – +15
19. Matt Finn – D – Guelph (OHL) – 6’0 – 195lbs – Shoots L – Feb. 24, 1994
Matt Finn is one of the biggest risers in this draft class. Finn entered into the CHL as a 16 year old and questions were immediately raised about his physicality and conditioning, but he solidified himself as one of the smartest defenseman in this draft class as this year progressed. Finn is a smart, competent defenseman with excellent gap control and a cerebral defensive game. His skating is the largest black eye on his game, along with some slight concerns about consistency and over-thinking the game. To elaborate on the over-thinking part, Finn’s game is about smart plays in the boards and man on man. Finn has a tendency to get himself out of position by mis-reading a play or over-anticipating where the puck is going to go. As he matures, these issues should subside. Finn plays the game tough and is not afraid to take the body. His offensive game is ever improving but is slightly hampered by his lack of top end speed. His skating issues seem to be based on technique, so with some coaching and conditioning those could work themselves out. Overall, Finn projects as a solid guy that can take assignments against star players and shut them down before they even get the chance to get the play going offensively.
2011-12 Statistics: 61GP – 10G – 38A – 48PTS – 58PIM – -18
20. Hampus Lindholm – D – Rogle Jr. (SWE) – 6’2 – 196lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 20, 1994
If you cherish a good skating defenseman, Hampus Lindholm is your guy. Lindholm solidied himself as one of the top dogs in terms of puck movement and skating in this draft class of high quality defenseman and his stock continues to rise as we move forward towards the first round. Lindholm has an impressive first step, fantastic lateral mobility, and a flawless reverse pivot. His ability to come down the wings might remind you more of a winger than a defenseman. His puck management skills are solid and his shot and passing ability are all above average. Lindholm needs to develop consistency in the physicality department and his awareness in his own zone is a cause for concern. It will be interesting to see how his game relates to the North American rink. Lindholm’s defensive presence is inconsistent, but if he can continue to improve in that department the team that drafts him will get an explosive skater with great puck management and a set of wheels that make him very dangerous.
2011-12 Statistics: 20GP – 1G -3A – 4PTS – 12PIM – -1
Coming next: FF’s official endorsement list for the Penguins and positions 21-30.