Is the 2012 edition of the NHL Draft the weakest class in recent memory? It is according to one Eastern Conference executive that asked to remain anonymous in a recent article from the Toronto Sun. The topic, one that is pretty controversial, opens up plenty of questions about the upcoming NHL Draft set to begin on June 22nd, 2012.
The same executive was quoted as saying that this year's draft lacks definitive star talent. While there are plenty of players on the list that could indeed turn into the future stars of the NHL, the 2012 Draft lacks the "slam-dunk guarantees", in the opinion of the anonymous executive.
Let the speculation begin as to which Eastern Conference executive uttered these remarks. While there are no clues identifying the rather sour individual, the source does point out some rather telling factors surrounding the draft.
First, the 2012 Draft lacks certainty. This may create excitement and suspense for fans following the draft but it leads to headaches and confusion for the teams participating. Contrary to past years, you may very well find 30 teams with completely unique top-10 lists heading into the event. This year's installment lacks the clarity that we have seen in previous years. There isn't a Sidney Crosby. There are no easy selections.
Second, there are clearly points of concern involving some of the highest ranked players on the board. Nail Yakupov is expected to be a star but he, and the others ranked in the top-10, all have had their share of rough patches as noted by most NHL analysts. The anonymous executive notes that there will be a lot more guessing this year than there has been in previous years. Even the prospects ranked the highest by most experts have plenty of question marks surrounding their play.
Third, there's the topic that never ceases to be a talking point - Russian prospects. NHL writers and analysts love to talk about the Russian factor, or, the uncertainty that follows when drafting a Russian player. From issues surrounding conditioning and motivation to the main issue being whether or not a top prospect will leave the KHL for the NHL, Russian prospects carry plenty of risk. As always, this is a point that NHL GMs will have to carefully consider when ranking their top targets.
Finally, there's the question of depth. It seems like every year we talk about the NHL Draft having limited depth. There's never enough depth. However, this year there really does seem to be drop in talent outside of the top few players. Even at the top you could make a strong argument that the top group in 2012 pales in comparison to the group from 2011.
As with any year's draft we'll just have to wait and see what happens. As always, there will be gems in the 2012 draft hidden deep within the rankings. The 2012 installment may contain more uncertainty and lack guarantees but that's what makes the whole process fascinating to watch.
In this writer's opinion, the anonymous executive should focus more on the draft itself rather than complaining about what is or isn't on the table. Each year is going to be different. In my opinion, it's lazy to expect a draft that's neatly placed in front of you with obvious selections. Perhaps the anonymous executive needs to be reminded that this is his/her job and that they should spend more time preparing and planning instead of making premature excuses in case draft day doesn't go to plan.
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