NHL draft: First-round ETAs

Four first-rounders can play in the NHL right now, while others need time

Updated: June 27, 2012, 12:25 AM ET
By Grant Sonier | ESPN Insider
Mikhail GrigorenkoRichard Wolowicz/Getty ImagesMikhail Grigorenko has the size and skill to make an immediate impact in Buffalo.

Immediately following the NHL draft, fans are usually clamoring to see these shiny, new prospects in action. But the reality is that most of them aren't yet ready for the NHL and need a season or two or three before they can compete. Of course, there are always a few exceptions to the rule.

The biggest asset for a prospect in terms of being NHL-ready from the moment he walks across the stage at the draft is size. Teams are investing their futures in these players. The last thing they want is for their prized picks to suffer injuries early in their careers. Hockey sense is another huge factor, as some savvy undersized players will understand how to survive, and thrive, at the NHL level.

Current NHL roster makeup also plays a factor, though a lesser one. The truth is if a prospect is talented enough, the team will find room for him on the roster. No GM is going to put anything less than the best team he can on the ice.

With those factors in mind, here are the projected estimated times of arrival for the 2012 first-rounders, starting with those we could see skating on NHL ice this fall.

Can play next season

Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Murray, Columbus Blue Jackets
Mikhail Grigorenko, Buffalo Sabres
Radek Faksa, Dallas Stars


To read the ETAs for all 2012 first-round picks, you must be an ESPN Insider.