Stock updates on top 10 NHL prospects
As with the growing list of shelved NHL stars, injuries have dominated the discussion about the league's blue-chip draft prospects during the first half of the 2011-12 season. No fewer than five projected first-round picks have been sidelined for extended periods.
The biggest names on the IR are Sarnia's Alex Galchenyuk and Moose Jaw's Morgan Rielly, both of whom are expected to miss the rest of the campaign with ACL injuries. Peterborough's Slater Koekkoek is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Halifax forward Martin Frk recently made his debut following a concussion suffered in preseason, and Everett defenseman Ryan Murray returned from a high-ankle sprain just in time to become the youngest player taken by Team Canada for this month's World Junior Championship.
How has all the time in the trainer's room affected those players' respective draft stocks? Thankfully, not too much. Murray, Galchenyuk and Rielly are still considered Top-10 picks and Koekkoek and Fryk are still expected to be late first round or early second rounders.
Of course, the majority of up-and-comers haven't been hurt at all. Here's a midseason update on 10 of the biggest names eligible for the 2012 draft.
Nail Yakupov, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
The Russian remains the consensus first overall pick, and for good reason. After netting 49 goals in his maiden season in North America, the Sting sniper is now averaging two points per game. And while some scouts are wary of drafting players from Yakupov's homeland after a couple of well-publicized flameouts, this guy is simply too good to pass up.
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