HockeyProspect.com has a new number one ranked player in our 2012 overall NHL Draft Rankings. Sarnia Sting Centre Alex Galchenyuk as our new #1 ranked player.
HockeyProspect.com’s Mark Edwards spoke about the change at the top, “In December I said to a few of our staff that if Galchenyuk came back this year and proved to be healthy he had a good chance of being our top ranked player. Two short years ago I liked Seguin over Hall and we ranked him #1. I don’t regret that ranking and I feel very confident that Galchenyuk will live up to our #1 billing in 2012. Ryan (Ryan Yessie HP Ontario scout) spoke as far back as last June about this season’s number one. We were high on Alex being our pre-season number one until I saw Galchenyuk in Rochester in July. He looked like he put on a few pounds and we figured we would go with Yakupovto start the season.” Grigorenko was the other part of the puzzle heading into the season, but he has underwhelmed all three of HP’s QMJHL scouts too often this season. “Grigorenko is fine player but he’s not in the mix at the top as far as we are concerned.” Edwards explained. As far as the top two players are concerned HockeyProspect.com scouts have seen the Sarnia twosome play live over 150 times during the past two seasons.
Alex is an extremely skilled player, who missed nearly six months of action with a knee injury. “Alex was right there in our pre-season discussions about who might be the #1 prospect for this year’s draft”, says HockeyProspect.com scout Ryan Yessie. Ryan lives in Sarnia, and had over 40 live viewings of Alex before his injury. “We felt Alex had everything needed to be that #1 prospect. It was very disappointing to see him go down with this injury, and we feel that although he only played a few games, he proved what we believe to have the most upside at the NHL level of any prospect.”
Alex has elite vision on the ice, and uses it to both set up his teammates and score goals. He has an excellent shot, but equally as strong ability to thread difficult, accurate passes seemingly at will. His positioning is very strong, and makes him a threat offensively even when he does not have the puck. Back in September we identified areas for possible improvement for all the top level prospects in this draft. One of those areas for Alex was physical play. Alex played a strong Saginaw team in the playoffs, and we were really impressed with the addition of a physical edge to his game. His willingness to throw solid hits with his big frame has added an element to his game. While Alex still could use improvement on his first step or two, once he gets going he’s as fast as any prospect you’ll find in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He combines his speed, and uses his frame to protect the puck well. He applies himself defensively, and while there is certainly room for improvement, it’s not quite as big a concern for us as it was a year ago.
Nail Yakupov who has held the #1 spot all season, will hold down the #2 spot, giving the Sarnia Sting an unprecedented #1 and #2 prospect ranking for this year’s draft. “Nail has dropped off in his intensity and production. He has had a rough go at it this season suffering 3 injuries, and playing more hockey than he ever has in an intense World Junior Championship, as well as helping Sarnia make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. He appeared to benefit more from playing with Alex, than Alex did playing with Nail. With this said, Yakupov is still an extremely talented prospect, and will be second to his teammate Alex in terms of his projection as a key NHL prospect for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.”