Photo: Star forward Nail Yakupov is the top pick in Hockey's Future's 2012 NHL Mock Draft. (Leon T. Switzer/Icon SMI)
With the Los Angeles Kings hoisting their first Stanley Cup and every major hockey tournament around the world finally finished, the attention of the hockey world can now focus on the 2012 NHL Draft.
Photo: Griffin Reinhart has asserted himself over the course of the 2011-12 season as one of the top blueliners available in a defense heavy draft. (Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Here's a look at Hockey's Future's top 10 prospects from the Western Hockey League, a group that includes a large batch of elite defensemen.
Photo: The NHL Combine has long been an important event leading up to the Draft. This year it was particularly important as many of the top eligible prospects had their seasons cut short by injury. (Ken McKenna/HF)
Last week, the National Hockey League engaged in its annual ritual of interviewing, testing, and examining the top players eligible for the 2012 Entry Draft. The 105 prospects that attended the Combine were poked, prodded and questioned, as well as given psychological tests. The difference this year is that there were many more second-year eligible prospects in attendance, and maybe more importantly, many draft eligible prospects had endured injury shortened seasons, which resulted in different concerns on the part of the NHL teams.
For the NHL team that is in the market for a puck-rushing, offensive defenseman at the 2012 NHL Draft, Moose Jaw Warriors rearguard Morgan Rielly just might fit the bill.
Photo: The steadying presence of defenseman Jacob Trouba was integral to Team USA winning the gold at the 2012 IIHF World U18 Championship. Trouba is expected to be among the first defensemen picked in the 2012 NHL Draft. (Photo courtesy of Zuma Press/Icon SMI)
Name Pos Birthdate S/C Ht. Wt. Team League
1. Yakupov, Nail, LW 10/6/93 L 5.10.5 189 Sarnia OHL
2. Forsberg, Filip, RW 8/13/94 R 6.01 176 Leksands SweAl
3. Murray, Ryan, LD 9/27/93 L 6.00.5 201 Everett WHL
4. Grigorenko, Mikhail, RW 5/16/94 L 6.03.25 200 Québec QMJHL
5. Trouba, Jacob, RD 2/26/94 R 6.02 196 USA Under-18 NTDP
6. Dumba, Matt, RD 7/25/94 R 5.11.75 183 Red Deer WHL
7. Rielly, Morgan, LD 3/9/94 L 5.11.5 190 Moose Jaw WHL
8. Teravainen, Teuvo, LW, 9/11/94 L 5.11 161 Jokerit FinE
9. Ceci, Cody, RD 12/21/93 R 6.02.5 207 Ottawa OHL
10. Reinhart, Griffin, LD 1/24/94 L 6.03.75 207 Edmonton WHL