The Five Top-Ranked Players Left At The 2012 NHL Draft

The first round of this year’s draft saw some surprising selections. At the very top, Nail Yakupov went first overall as the Oilers opted for the consensus best player, but there were reaches and slides sprinkled throughout. Filip Forsberg, ranked 2nd on the consensus list, fell to 11; Teuvo Teravainen was pegged as a top-10 talent and he slid to 18th.

Based on the consensus list, who are the five best players available in Round 2?

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The consensus list at NHLNumbers is based on eight different lists compiled from various sources, with those lists weighted to reflect the accuracy of those sources in previous years. According to the consensus list, five players are left who could have been first-round selections.

13. F – Sebastian Collberg

Pros: Was a dominant presence for Sweden internationally at both the U-18 and World Juniors. Has exceptional offensive abilities – he’s a high-end passer and puck-handler, and a good shooter too. Plays an aggressive game.

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Cons: Has decent height (variously listed at 5’11” or 6’) but is slight of build. Skating draws middling reviews – some see it as a positive, while others as only a neutral (for instance, Corey Pronman says Collberg is “great from a standstill” and has “first step quickness” while Red Line Report says that he “lacks first step explosion”). Mostly, the big question mark is a 41-game stint in the Swedish Elite League that produced zero points and a minus-8 rating.

Projection: Scoring winger.

18. F – Pontus Aberg

Pros: Put up solid numbers in the Swedish Elite League this year – 15 points in 47 games, totals that compare well to recent top-10 picks like Mika Zibanejad and Magnus Paajarvi. Excellent skater and shooter with a solid build who doesn’t mind contact and will drive the net. Strong work ethic.

Cons: Injuries cost him an opportunity to play in the World Juniors, and he just barely meets the age cut-off for this year’s draft. He’s still raw and his passing game and hockey sense get differing reviews; some scouts like them, others think that he’s only average in those areas.

Projection: Scoring winger.

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18. D – Matt Finn

Pros: Hockey sense gets strong reviews across the board – Finn makes the right plays with the puck under pressure, and he doesn’t waste a lot of time doing it. He’s also a solid positional defender. He’s regarded as a character player and a leader. Above-average skater. Conditioning was a problem last year, but Finn worked hard to address the problem and was much improved this year.

Cons: Finn will play a physical game and is solidly built but at 6’ tall lacks ideal NHL size for the defensive position. Lacks high-end offense. He’s a good but not great skater.

Projection: Two-way defenseman.

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26. D – Ludvig Bystrom

Pros: A solid puck-mover with good vision and passing skills. Solid in his own end. A good skater both on the attack and on defense. Typically very reliable under pressure, both with and without the puck.

Cons: Put up big numbers in junior but not in the Swedish Elite League; some wonder how high his ceiling is offensively. He has okay size but lacks strength and the instinct to play a punishing physical game.

Projection: Two-way defenseman.

18. F – Nicolas Kerdiles

Pros: Boasts a great combination of size and speed, as well as the aggressive play of a power forward. He wins puck battles. Capable of taking over a game offensively.

Cons: If there’s a scouting report that doesn’t mention some variant of “inconsistent” I haven’t seen it; multiple scouts say that it’s hard to tell which player will show up on a nightly basis. Perceived as less than the sum of his parts.

Projection: Top-nine forward with size.