Ten years removed from the 2012 NHL draft, the dust has settled on the trajectory of most players’ careers so we have a pretty good idea of how it's come to work. Let’s take a quick look and redraft the top 10.
2012 NHL draft: The original top 10
- Nail Yakupov, Edmonton
- Ryan Murray, Columbus
- Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal
- Griffin Reinhart, NY Islanders
- Morgan Rielly, Toronto
- Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim
- Mathew Dumba, Minnesota
- Derrick Pouliot, Pittsburgh
- Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg
- Slater Koekkoek, Tampa Bay
2012 NHL draft: top ten redraft
1. Andrej Vasilevskiy (drafted 19th)
This spot was an easy decision as this guy is a beast. His resume has it all, Stanley cups, Conn Smythe, one-time Vezina winner and multiple-time finalists. Perhaps most impressively is his playoff record of 63 wins in 98 starts, including a run to three straight Stanley cup finals from 2019-2022. If we redid this draft right now he would be the no-brainer first overall pick, and honestly, I bet you GMs are looking back and kicking themselves for letting him go as low as he did. Stop and think for a moment, could you name three guys you'd rather have between the pipes than Vasilevskiy? I don't think I could.
Want some visual evidence of his abilities, don’t worry I got you.
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2. Filip Forsberg (drafted 11th)
While some might say I put him a little too high here, and I'm definitely operating on the recency bias, Forsberg has still proved he belongs among the NHL Elite this past season. While he has struggled a little with health, he’s otherwise been a productive offensive player since day one, and sports the tag as only the second player to score a Michigan goal in NHL. Production wise Forsberg has seemingly hit another gear scoring 84 points (42 goals) in only 69 games last season. Overall Forsberg leads all skaters from this draft in NHL points with 469. Remember when the Washington Capitals traded him for the decaying husk of Martin Erat? I bet former Capitals GM George Mcphee does.
For your enjoyment
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3. Jaccob Slavin (drafted 120th)
Another guy I might catch a little flak over, but I’ll argue that I shouldn't. Slavin is a criminally underrated defenseman who is simply one of the best in the league at what he does. He is the reigning Lady Byng winner, a one-time all-star, he has picked up 208 points in 508 games and leads all skaters from his draft with a career plus 112; while only being assessed 70 PIM. Perhaps most importantly he knows how to raise his game in big moments as evidenced by his 27 points in 45 playoff games. Pretty damn good for a guy who went 120th in this draft. Elite-level defensive play is highly sought after; if we did it again, he would go much higher.
4. Conner Hellebuyck (drafted 130th)
While he may struggle with consistency you can’t deny the highs are there for the 2020 Vezina winner. He also was runner-up for the award in 2018, is a two-time all-star and has made one NHL first team, and one NHL second team. Overall Hellebuyck has 201 wins in 381 starts and holds the Jets/Thrashers franchise record for wins.
5. Morgan Rielly (drafted 5th)
Leaf's blueline stalwart and the assistant captain became the first Maple Leafs defenceman to post consecutive 50-point seasons since Thomas Kaberle in 2019. In that season Rielly reached his 50th point in his 49th game making him the fourth fastest Leaf defenseman to reach the mark. Rielly became the first Leafs defenseman to score 20 goals in a season since 1990 and the first to score 70 plus points in the season since 1980. He scored 68 points and 10 goals this past season for his second-highest career points total and signed an eight-year 60 million dollar extension with the Leafs in 2021. Clearly, the Maple Leafs have been quite happy with this pick, which may finally make up for the whole Luke Schenn thing.
6. Frederik Anderson (drafted 87th)
Had trouble placing Anderson who's had an up-and-down career, at the end of the day except for maybe top-line centers nothing is sought after like high-level goaltending. That's the two-time All-Star and two-time Jennings award recipient might be just too hard to pass up in this spot. He's the fastest goalie in NHL history to 50 wins; he now has 261 in 445 career starts. Overall not a bad option to have between the pipes. Fun fact Frederick Anderson was originally drafted 187th by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010 before being unable to come to terms and reapplying for the 2012 NFL draft.
7. Teuvo Teräväinen (Drafted 18th)
Nicknamed Turbo, the creative Finnish speedster is an elite offensive talent and Stanley cup winner. He went off at the 2014 World Juniors, as the captain of the Finnish team, where he led Finland all the way to the finals, and then assisted on all three goals to help Finland win the game 3-2 and to lead the tournament in scoring. Overall he's amassed 369 points in 526 games, good for fourth among skaters from this draft
8. Thomas Hertl (drafted 17th)
Okay, this was a bit of a toss-up between these two creative European offensive talents, Teuvo got the nod for having a slightly higher point per game average and a Stanley Cup. That is not to diminish the high quality of play that Hertl brings to the table, sitting third in points among skaters from this draft. The time all-star has amassed 387 points in 585 games, mostly playing a top-line role for the San Jose Sharks. Fun fact Hertl is the first player born in the Czech Republic after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia to play in the NHL, and has one of my favourite nicknames in the NHL, or at least did; Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl.
9. Jacob Trouba/Matt Dumba (drafted 9th)
Forgive me if I cheated a little bit here, but in all honesty, I had a really hard time with this one. Trouba started off his career a little slowly before signing a fat contract with the Rangers, which he has parlayed into being one of the most responsible and reliable defensemen in the NHL, leading to his being named NY’s captain. Overall Trouba is second amongst defensemen in this draft in points with 257 in 592 games. Dumba is an even more hard-nosed defenseman, who is a bit more of an inconsistent player but arguably has had higher highs. He has more goals despite playing in fewer games and is known to punish opposing players. He is third among the defensemen from this draft in points with 222 in 519 games; Dumba also won a King Clancy Memorial award. For me, it's really about preference between these two players, and I can't decide whom I'd rather have on my team. If you think you have the answer don't be afraid to hit me up, always happy to hear from the readers.
10. Tom Wilson (drafted 16th)
A rare power forward that has at times crossed the line with his on-the-edge play. Yet he is a rare breed in the modern NHL, one that at least by some teams is highly sought after. He sits sixth in points among skaters from this draft, with 273 Wilson is second to Morgan Riley with 643 games played despite suspensions and injuries. Wilson put up at least 40 points and 20 goals in three of the last four seasons, with the one exception being the Covid shortened 2020 season.
- Matt Murray - You would think a player with two Stanley Cup wins as the starting goaltender would be higher on this list but injuries have taken a toll and as the recency bias does not favour him, Murray just missed the cut. A rebound this year with the Leafs however would likely put him back on this list.
- Hampus Lindholm - If I didn't think it would have been excessive I honestly might have put it at the number nine spot with Trouba and Dumba. Lindholm sits second overall in plus-minus and third in points by defenseman from this draft.
- Tanner Pearson - a solid middle 6 winger with a penchant for finding the twine, Pearson has won a Stanley cup, had a few seasons with 20 plus goals and sits fourth from this draft with 132 career markers.
- Chandler Stephenson – At the time an undersized, underscoring forward that seemed very unlikely to become a true contributor at the NHL level. Well we were wrong about that, Stephenson has been coming into his own the last two years culminating in him putting up 64 points this past season good for 2nd on the Vegas Golden Knights
- Nail Yakupov - Didn't seem right to end this exercise without checking in on the original #1 pick of the 2012 draft. The so-called yak attack wasn’t scary, as Nail only registered 62 goals in 136 points in 350 NHL Games before leaving for the KHL. Yakupov is now considered to be one of the biggest NHL draft busts in recent memory. If the Brian Burke story is accurate he also holds the distinction of being the only NHL player I know of who almost fist-fought a scout in his draft interview.
Is it just I or does this draft seem to lack top-end offensive talent, as only four forwards made the top 10 redrafts? Three of the four being in the bottom if it weren’t for Forsberg there would be no forwards in the top six of this draft.
Meanwhile, this was a deep draft for defence, not even counting the plethora of high-quality defensemen we mentioned above. We still have some excellent Defenders left. Guys like Colton Parayko and Shane Gostisbehere were some of the last cuts. While other solid defensemen like Oli Maata, the originally highly drafted Ryan Murray, Cody Ceci and Esa Lindell have made substantial contributions to NHL teams.