Nick Patterson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: Monday, June 18, 2012, 11:25 a.m.
NHL draft week has arrived!
We've reached the final countdown for the 2012 NHL draft, which takes place Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh. The first round is Friday evening, with rounds two through seven going down Saturday.
And the Everett Silvertips are front and center for this year's draft. Defenseman Ryan Murray is one of the top prospects for the draft. Defenseman Nick Walters is expected to go in the middle rounds. And a pair of players whose rights were acquired by Everett in May -- winger Jujhar Khaira and defenseman Reece Willcox -- are also going to be picked. For Khaira and Willcox, both of whom are committed to NCAA schools for next season, the NHL team that selects them could affect whether they change course and head to the WHL.
Murray, of course, is generating as much speculation as anyone. Everett's captain is still being regarded as a candidate to be taken first overall by the Edmonton Oilers. The consensus is that Russian forward Nail Yakupov is the top player in the draft. However, Edmonton had the first-overall pick in each of the past two drafts, using the picks to select forwards Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. There's a school of thought that the Oilers need to have a young defenseman to partner with those young forwards. The speculation ramped up when Oilers president Kevin Lowe, who's also Hockey Canada's general manager, selected Murray to play for Canada at the Men's World Championships.
But there's plenty of sentiment in Edmonton for not picking Murray, too. Murray is seen as the safe pick, a player who will be a solid NHL player, but who may not be the future star one expects from the top-overall pick. Also, history suggests that selecting a defenseman first overall has far less payoff than selecting a forward first overall.
Because of this, there's been further speculation that Edmonton could trade down a couple spots to pick Murray. However, the Columbus Blue Jackets sit at No. 2, and some reports suggest Columbus covets Murray at No. 2.
So the intrigue is just beginning. It's going to be a wild week.
Story tags » • Silvertips