No. 1 uncertainty, trade talk, other rumors
While teams are understandably secretive about their draft plans, there is always plenty of speculation among scouts regarding what other teams are trying to do with their picks. Good fits, red flags -- those are the sort of things that buzz around the rink between periods while scouting prospects. And it was no different when I was in the Czech Republic for the IIHF U-18 tournament. Here's what I found to be the most interesting buzz coming from talent evaluators during the tourney.
No. 1 in flux
For pretty much the past year and a half, the consensus pick at the top of the 2012 NHL draft has been skilled Russian forward and Sarnia Sting winger Nail Yakupov. That could now be changing for a number of reasons.
Start with the owners of the No. 1 overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers. For the past several seasons, the Oilers have stocked up on talented forwards, so now their most pressing need is on the blue line. In fact, pretty much the entire NHL presence at the U-18s believed Edmonton will take a defenseman. A few potential prospects could attract the eye of Edmonton's evaluators, but the men's world championship -- now under way in Sweden and Finland -- might provide a hint about their preference.
Everett Silvertips D Ryan Murray has been eliminated from the WHL playoffs for some time now, but Oilers president Kevin Lowe -- part of the Team Canada selection committee for the IIHF men's world championship -- brought Murray into the mix with the men's team as it prepares for the tourney in Sweden and Finland. Much of the talk at the U-18s centered on how the Oilers were going to get an extra-long look at the 6-foot-½-inch defenseman. Could Murray go No. 1?
To read the full blog, plus get access to all of ESPN Insider's NHL content, sign up today and become an Insider.