The NHL draft came and went like a whirlwind. It's a pretty odd feeling to have the 1st round drag on so much on Friday night and have the 2nd day wrapped up before noon on the Saturday. Makes it tough to process all the activity on day two.
Either way, when it was all said and done a total of 32 WHL players had been selected in the 2012 Draft. That number was one fewer than the 33 that were taken in the 2011 NHL Draft.
Things got started off on the right foot, to say the least, for the WHL on day one. The WHL's 'big five' blueliners were all gone off the board in the first 8 picks. That pace wasn't kept up throughout the draft, but in the end I think the league can be pretty proud with the crop from 2012. Below I will list the WHL picks who went in the draft, then provide a breakdown of some thoughts from the two days.
#2. Columbus Blue Jackets - Ryan Murray; White City, SK; Everett Silvertips
#4. New York Islanders - Griffin Reinhart; North Vancouver, BC; Edmonton Oil Kings
#5. Toronto Maple Leafs - Morgan Rielly; Vancouver, BC; Moose Jaw Warriors
#7. Minnesota Wild - Mathew Dumba; Calgary, AB; Red Deer Rebels
#8. Pittsburgh Penguins - Derrick Pouliot; Weyburn, SJ; Portland Winterhawks
#27. Phoenix Coyotes - Henrik Samuelsson; Scottsdale, AZ; Edmonton Oil Kings
#32. Edmonton Oilers - Mitchell Moroz; Calgary, AB; Edmonton Oil Kings
#39. Winnipeg Jets - Lukas Sutter; Lethbridge, AB; Saskatoon Blades
#50. Nashville Predators - Colton Sissons; North Vancouver, BC; Kelowna Rockets
#51. Montreal Canadiens - Dalton Thrower; North Vancouver, BC; Saskatoon Blades
#54. Dallas Stars - Mike Winther; Trochu, AB; Prince Albert Raiders
#58. Phoenix Coyotes - Jordan Martinook; Leduc, AB; Vancouver Giants
#60. New Jersey Devils - Damon Severson; Melville, SK; Kelowna Rockets
#64. Montreal Canadiens - Tim Bozon; Lugano, SUI; Kamloops Blazers
#72. Colorado Avalanche - Troy Bourke; Onoway, AB; Prince George Cougars
#76. Ottawa Senators - Chris Driedger; Winnipeg, MB; Calgary Hitmen
#77. Washington Capitals - Chandler Stephenson; Saskatoon, SK; Regina Pats
#84. Florida Panthers - Steven Hodges; Delta, BC; Victoria Royals
#89. Nashville Predators - Brendan Leipsic; Winnipeg, MB; Portland Winterhawks
#105. Calgary Flames - Brett Kulak; Stony Plain, AB; Vancouver Giants
#116. St. Louis Blues - Nicholas Walters; St. Albert, AB; Everett Silvertips
#117. Philadelphia Flyers - Taylor Leier; Saskatoon, SK; Portland Winterhawks
#133. Buffalo Sabres - Logan Nelson; Rogers, MN; Victoria Royals
#134. Dallas Stars - Branden Troock; Edmonton, AB; Seattle Thunderbirds
#135. New Jersey Devils - Graham Black; Regina, SK; Swift Current Broncos
#149. Chicago Blackhawks - Travis Brown; Winnipeg, MB; Moose Jaw Warriors
#160. Winnipeg Jets - Ryan Olsen; Tsawwassen, BC; Kelowna Rockets
#165. Calgary Flames - Coda Gordon; Cochrane, AB; Swift Current Broncos
#187. Anaheim Ducks - Kenton Helgesen; Fairview, AB; Calgary Hitmen
#192. Colorado Avalanche - Colin Smith; Edmonton, AB; Kamloops Blazers
#197. Washington Capitals - Jaynen Rissling; Edmonton, AB; Calgary Hitmen
#206. St. Louis Blues - Tyrel Seaman; Choiceland, SK; Brandon Wheat Kings
- I wasn't shocked to see Nail Yakupov go first overall to the Oilers. He was simply the best player available. The Oilers couldn't pass on him, regardless of how much they wanted Murray, which was a lot. Feel a bit bad for Murray as he's in a tough spot to step in and be successful. Lots of turmoil with the Jackets, lets just hope his calm demeanor will help that organization going forward.
- I loved to see Reinhart go 4th overall. I've been hard on his bandwagon for months now and his play down the stretch and in the playoffs really elevated his ranking in many people's eyes. Kind of cool as yesterday I found a post I made in January of 2011 saying that the 2012 NHL Draft had three locks for the top five, in my mind. Those three were Yakupov, Murray and Reinhart. Good for him, I knew he had it in him.
- I was very interested to hear Brian Burke say that Morgan Rielly was 1st overall on their entire list. Not Murray, not Yakupov, but Morgan Rielly. He's a fantastic player and Leafs fans will enjoy seeing him on their blueline in a few years. I will also get to see him live a ton next year as he plays in Moose Jaw and I live in Saskatoon.
- Some people were shocked to see Derrick Pouliot go as high as he did. I wasn't one of those people. I've called him the best playmaking D in the draft and that he might end up as the most offensively gifted WHL D of the draft. Obviously Pittsburgh thinks along those lines, too.
- Mitchell Moroz coming off the board at 32 caught everyone by surprise, even myself. I like the kid more than most, or so I thought. He was 17th on my WHL ranking and was the 7th off the board. But we'll see how it shapes up. He could end up as a Scott Hartnell type for the Oilers.
- As far as Blades go, it was very interesting to see Lukas Sutter get picked ahead of Dalton Thrower. The Blades teammates are the best of friends and it was nice to see them both go to Canadian clubs in the 2nd round. I had Thrower to go around 35th and Sutter to go around 52nd, so it's funny that their spots were pretty much reversed.
- I think Colton Sissons going 50th overall was a bit of a steal. His mid-season concussion definitely didn't help his cause as he missed a few months of key game action. Personally, I would have loved to see my Avalanche snap him up at 41st.
- NJ and Montreal got great value grabbing Severson and Bozon at 60th and 64th overall.
- Very happy for Travis Brown of the Moose Jaw Warriors. He was taken 149th by the Chicago Blackhawks. I first saw Brown in the pre-season before this past year and was blown away by his raw ability. He's been on all of my lists since then and it's really nice to see a good kid like him get rewarded.
- The biggest surprise of the WHL-storylines in the draft for me was Coda Gordon falling to the 6th round. I've called him a late 2nd, early 3rd round kind of guy and still think he is. His hands are fantastic and he scored 30 goals as a 17 year old rookie on a bad club this year. The Flames were lucky enough to get him and they won't regret it.
- My Colorado Avalanche grabbed a pair of WHL guys and I like them both. Troy Bourke has been a favorite of mine all year and Colin Smith has an unrelenting motor.
- The Capitals got a great value pick at 197 with Jaynen Rissling. Jaynen was a guy I saw last year as a 16 year old and thought he might be able to sneak into the top 2 rounds in 2012. Didn't turn out that way, but he's a great project to have your hands on.
- I had several guys in my top 30 go undrafted. Guys like Cody Corbett (20th), Carter Rigby (23rd), Logan McVeigh (24th), Dominik Volek (25th), Cain Franson (26th), Andrey Makarov (28th) all deserved a shot, in my opinion. But hey, I'm not an NHL scout, so we'll see how it unfolds.
- Special shoutout to Saskatoon-product Corbin Boes. The Brandon tender had a fantastic end to the year, but unfortunately it wasn't in the cards this time around. I did a feature on him late in the year and gave him some good pub, hopefully he has another good year next year on a rebuilding team.
- The 2013 Draft is going to be flat out amazing, especially for WHL talent.
- To all the guys that went unpicked. Keep your head up and use it as motivation going forward in your hockey career. People are wrong in this business at every minute of every day. Prove that they are wrong.
Thanks for reading everyone and have a great rest of the weekend.