2012 NHL Draft: Round 1 live analysis
June, 22, 2012
By Grant Sonier and Alvin Chang | ESPN.com
PITTSBURGH -- With the entirety of the NHL gathered in Pittsburgh for the past several days, you would have thought there would have been more clarity at the top of the 2012 draft order. You would be wrong. The No. 1 pick remains a mystery, and as a result, there is no shortage of possibilities for how Round 1 will proceed.
Regardless of which ways teams turn at the top of Round 1, we'll have you covered with instant analysis from our NHL draft specialists.
While the league's teams drape sweaters on their newest additions, former NHL scout Grant Sonier provides ESPN Insiders with on-the-spot analysis from the draft floor, while metrics maven Alvin Chang puts each pick in perspective from a statistical point of view. Refresh this page frequently to get in-depth info on every first-round selection. And follow us on Twitter (@NHLDraftBlog) for additional insights from Sonier throughout the night.
Get prepared with our final mock draft, top 50 prospect rankings and entry on the big questions entering draft weekend.
No. 1 Edmonton OilersNail Yakupov
RW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Blog Projection: No. 3 -- Montreal
Sonier's Top 50 Ranking: No. 1
Grant Sonier's Breakdown
We had Yakupov No. 1 in our prospect rankings all year, so you can't argue against this pick. In our final mock draft, we thought D Ryan Murray made sense given his connection to Kevin Lowe during the World Championships and his NHL-ready game. But this is the right pick. Simply put, he's the best player available. His skill set and NHL upside are too great to pass on. And he's an elite character player. There's no give-up in him. He'll be contagious in that young group.
Edmonton now has another weapon up front, and if the Oilers answer their needs on the back end, they could instantly become a Western Conference contender. I think we'll see Yakupov in the NHL next season, too.
Alvin Chang's By the Numbers
• Expected career production for slot: 11.6 GVT/season, 0.44 points per game (defensemen), 0.91 points per game (forwards). (Note: GVT combines a number of statistical measurements to assess a player's overall value. For a more detailed definition of GVT, click here.)
• Three consecutive No. 1 overall picks should mean the Oilers will soon be a playoff team, even if one of those picks doesn't work out perfectly. And really, scoring on "can't miss" top picks is the only way the Oilers could have turned things around. Their draft track record has been poor, averaging minus-0.36 GVT/season per pick, which is among the worst in the league. Of course, defense is a concern right now, and the best one they've drafted in the past 10 years is Matt Greene -- and they won't find an elite D-man in free agency. That said, the draft is a huge throw-of-the-dice as it is, and drafting for need is a risky proposition.
• Oilers need elite D-man
• Debate on Klefbom's ETA
• Sonier: Oilers' thoughts at No. 1
• Why Oilers should draft Yakupov
• Yakupov answers questions at combine
• Yakupov's backstory