The 2012 NHL Entry Draft takes place June 22-23 in Pittsburgh, PA. Here are five players to look for in the early rounds of the draft:
Alex Galchenyuk – Sarnia Sting – 6’0.5’’ 198 C – Ranked 4th by NHL Central Scouting
Galchenyuk was limited to just two regular season games and six playoff contests after suffering an injury in preseason. The former first overall OHL pick finished second in rookie scoring last season as a 16-year-old first team All-Star behind teammate Nail Yakupov scoring 31 goals and 52 assists for 83 points in 68 games.
Sting GM and Head Coach Jacques Beaulieu says: “Alex has all of the tools. He can play in both ends of the rink and he has that big body to go with top end skill. He is a perfectionist who is never satisfied and always looking to improve his game.”
Galchenyuk is the second ranked OHL skater behind Yakupov and if chosen in the first round would be the Sting’s highest NHL pick since Steven Stamkos was selected first overall in 2008.
Slater Koekkoek – Peterborough Petes – 6’2’’ 184 D – Ranked 23rd by NHL Central Scouting
Koekkoek played just 26 games in 2011-12 recording 18 points following a rookie campaign where he scored 23 points in 65 games and was named a second team All-Star. The Mountain, ON, native won gold with Canada at last summer’s under-18 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka.
Petes GM Dave Reid says: “Slater is a powerful skater with excellent vision and high end skills that allows him to excel in every aspect of the game. On the ice he played thirty minutes for us until a shoulder injury forced him to undergo surgery which prematurely ended his season. Slater controlled the game from the back end while he was on the ice, after we lost Slater to injury our young team was not able to replace the energy and high skill level which Slater brought on a daily basis. Slater is a natural leader who possesses the ability to make players around him better whether it be in a practice or a game.”
With Koekkoek projected as a top-30 pick, this could mark the fifth straight year where the Petes have produced a first round selection following Matt Puempel last season, Austin Watson in 2010, Zack Kassian in 2009, and defenceman Zach Bogosian chosen third overall in 2008.
Scott Kosmachuk – Guelph Storm – 5’11.5’’ 183 RW – Ranked 24th by NHL Central Scouting
Kosmachuk finished third on the Storm in team scoring with 30 goals and 29 assists for 59 points in 67 games while also recording 110 penalty minutes. The Toronto, ON, native represented Canada and won bronze at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship.
Storm GM Mike Kelly says: “Scott is a tremendous athlete who is blessed with a lot of fast twitch muscle fibre. His ability to execute at high tempo sets him apart from many of his peers. He can beat defensemen with his outside speed or his puck skills. As good as he was as a 17-year-old, we expect Scott to become an even more dominant player as an 18 and 19-year-old.”
Kosmachuk is one of eight Storm players ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. They have never had that many players picked in one season bu did have seven players selected in 1994 led by Jeff O’Neill who was chosen fifth overall. 2009 marks the last time the Storm had a first round pick when Peter Holland was taken at 15 by the Anaheim Ducks.
Scott Laughton – Oshawa Generals – 6’0.25’’ 180 C – Ranked 28th by NHL Central Scouting
Laughton finished fifth in team scoring for the Generals producing 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points in 64 games along with 101 minutes in penalties which ranked third on the club. From Oakville, ON, Laughton also won bronze with Canada’s Under-18 team at the 2012 World Championship setting up the overtime goal in the 5-4 win over Finland.
Generals GM Jeff Twohey says: “Scott is a good combination of skill and grit, he competes hard at both ends of the ice and there are few players that work as hard as Scott, both offensively and defensively. Scott is a quiet leader that other players look to for direction and has a winning pedigree at every level he has played at. Scott will be an integral part of the Generals moving forward.”
Last season the Generals had five players selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft led by Nicklas Jensen chosen at 29, followed by second round picks Boone Jenner and Lucas Lessio. 2011 represented their best season at the draft since 10 players were chosen in 1995.
Trevor Carrick – Mississauga Steelheads – 6’1.5’’ 172 D – Ranked 44th by NHL Central Scouting
Carrick finished third among Mississauga defencemen in scoring in 2011-12 with 19 points in his first OHL season after playing a full season in the OJHL. The Stouffville, ON, product was the only Mississauga player to play all 68 games this season.
Steelheads GM and Head Coach James Boyd says: “Trevor is a rangy defender with a physical edge who moves the puck effectively up the ice. Trevor saw key minutes and played his best hockey in all situations during the stretch drive for the playoffs and Round 1. Trevor is a player who, due to injuries to key defenders on our club, faced a steep learning curve in his first full season. Trevor embraced the challenge and showed steady improvement throughout the season.”
Two of Carrick’s defence partners were selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft including Stuart Percy chosen in the first round by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Dylan DeMelo chosen in the sixth round by the San Jose Sharks.
Stay tuned to www.ontariohockeyleague.com for complete draft coverage including interviews of all selected players from the OHL.