TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 14: 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Joe Nieuwendyk is interviewed by the media during a photo opportunity at the Hockey Hall Of Fame on November 14, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A breakdown of how the first 12 picks in the NHL Draft could go and who could be available for the Stars at No. 13.
Who the Stars choose in the first round will depend on the choices of the 12 teams ahead of them in the draft:
1) Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov (age 18) 5'11"/~190 lbs - RW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Edmonton desperately needs defense but Yakupov is far and away the best player in this draft. As much as Edmonton would like to take Ryan Murray, it would just be too large of a loss in value. It would be a shock if this doesn't happen. The Oilers young explosive offense gets even more dangerous (and fun to watch) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should be doing backflips (but carefully).
If they want to shake things up, they can trade down two or three spots for defensive help and then pick either Murray if he's still there or the best offensive player still available.
2) Columbus Blue Jackets: Filip Forsberg (age 17) 6'1"/~190 lbs - Winger, Leksands (Sweden)
I feel like this pick hinges on how ready Columbus is to move Rick Nash. The game's hottest trade commodity for the past three seasons is still up for grabs if any team is willing to pony up. If Columbus really truly believes they can keep Nash on the team and happy, Ryan Murray is the pick. However, it looks increasingly likely that he's moved this summer, so offense is the choice.
They have a few players to choose from and I have Forsberg going here. Alex Galchenyuk and Mikhail Grigorenko are slightly better prospects, but they have more question marks on them. Forsberg is relatively safe, the best European skater in this year's draft and his skills are nearly as good.
3) Montreal Canadiens -- Alex Galchenyuk (age 18) 6'1"/~185 lbs - Center, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
There are some big question marks on Galchenyuk as he's returning from a torn ACL this past season and played only two games. A healthy season might have seen him battling his teammate Yakupov for that top pick though and he could be the best center in this draft (it's either him or Grigorenko). He should be ready by the time the season starts and he's young so that explosive skating should still be there. The Habs need offense and a center badly.
4) New York Islanders -- Ryan Murray (age 18) 6'0"/~190 lbs - Defenseman, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
The best defenseman in the draft should be nice grab here for the Islanders. The goaltender situation is a rotating wheel of disaster and the defense does them no favors. They have a nice offensive core set in NYI so picking Murray here starts to build their blue liners. He should be their day one top pair starter.
5) Toronto Maple Leafs -- Mikhail Grigorenko (age 18) 6'2"/~200 lbs - Center, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Grigorenko would be a steal for the Leafs here. There are questions all over the place about the young Russian, but his skill is evident. If he had a good playoff run, he would've been talked about as a possible number one pick but his effort has been severely questioned. Grigorenko becomes the Leafs best center and should make an immediate impact.
It would be hilarious though if they made this pick and Grigorenko decided to go play in Russia.
Pretty simple here. The Ducks need defense and it's just a question of which guy to pick. Dumba is a dynamic player with a big shot from the point and makes up for their loss of Justin Schultz.
7) Minnesota Wild -- Morgan Rielly (age 18) 6'0"/~170 lbs - Defenseman, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
One of the best offensive defenseman prospects in the draft helps a team that has a major lack of production from the blue liners. The Wild are a heavy defensive team so a little burst of offense helps. He could also become the quarterback of their powerplay. Jacob Trouba is also a strong possibility here and they might take a long look at talented winger Teuvo Teravainen.
8) Carolina Hurricanes -- Teuvo Teravainen (age 17) 5'11"/~160 lbs - Winger, Jokerit (Finland)
If the young Finnish winger drops here, this pick looks more and more likely. Teravainen has the makings of a high scoring winger and it would be nice to see him paired with Eric Staal.
9) Winnipeg Jets -- Jacob Trouba (age 18) 6'2"/~195 lbs - Defenseman, (USA U-18, University of Michigan)
The young American has played his entire hockey career for the national junior team and has made a big impression there. He's now one of the best defensive prospects in this draft. Winnipeg gets some good production from their blue liners but really need that strong anchor on the defense. Trouba or Griffin Reinhart would be a good pick here.
Reinhart is one of the biggest bodies in the draft and has all of the skills to go with that size. Strong on defense and solid enough on offense and that'll only get better. Tampa needs a lot of help on defense and someone like Reinhart is too perfect to pass up.
11) Washington Capitals (from Colorado) -- Zemgus Girgensons (age 18) 6'2"/~ 200 lbs - Center, University of Vermont
One of the best two-way forwards goes to the Washington Capitals. Everyone saw during the playoffs how good of a defensive team the Capitals could be and a guy like Girgensons fits in perfectly with their system. They have the dynamic players already in Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and one of those solid players that you can count on night in and night out would work well. Having their lines centered by Backstrom, Brooks Laich and Girgensons would be an excellent group. Radek Faksa is also a strong possibility here but a center looks likely no matter who it is.
An underperforming Derek Roy, a massive disappointment in Ville Leino and a talented but untested prospect in Cody Hodgson. That's what Buffalo has at center on their team. Roy is a prime trade candidate and Faksa would be an excellent replacement for him. He would be their biggest center and has a lot of skill to go with that size. They have some good players on defense so I don't think they go there.
With all those players off the board, the Stars pick comes up at this point. I feel like they hope either Faksa or Girgensons is on the board as they really need some center depth in the organization but with those two gone (at least from what I think) Dallas needs to open up their choices a bit. Here are some possible choices at this point.
Cody Ceci (age 18) 6'2"/~205 lbs - Defenseman, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
There are a couple of defenseman that are strong possibilities here. The first is Cody Ceci, the better offensive prospect of the two. He's very polished on the offensive end of the ice and could easily quarterback the Stars power play. He works hard on defense and is a smart player with a lot of room to grow. There are no real big weaknesses in his game and pairing him with a strong defenseman can be the makings of a great dynamic defense. I certainly wouldn't complain if he goes here.
A full scouting report on Ceci.
Olli Maatta (age 17) 6'2"/~200 lbs - Defenseman, London Knights (OHL)
Maatta is the other defenseman that could go to the Stars. He's purely defensive defenseman that plays a smart game and uses his size well. He could be a staple on the penalty kill and pairing him with Jamie Oleksiak would be a shutdown pairing and a huge boost in front of Kari Lehtonen or Jack Campbell. He can be a calming influence on the blue line. Don't expect too much though on the offensive side of the ice, though he has shown signs that of improvement there. I consider him the less likely to go of the two though as the Stars have a good system full of the defensive type of blue liners (Oleksiak, Nemeth and Troy Vance)
Brendan Gaunce (age 18) 6'2"/~210 lbs - Center, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
Gaunce is one of those do everything type of centers and a solid two-way forward. He's shown great offensive skills and he works really hard on defense. He'll use his body well when fighting for pucks and can play physical when needed. Dallas really needs centers though and he'd immediately become the Stars best center prospect and could be fast tracked to the NHL, though he'll need a bit of seasoning. I would love to see Dallas take Gaunce if he's available though.
A full scouting report on Gaunce.
Colton Sissons (age 18) 6'1"/~195 lbs - Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Sissons is an excellent defensive forward, one of the best if not the best in the draft. 13 might be a little bit high for him though as he's pretty limited offensively. He would be a good player to work on the penalty kill and to help anchor a defense from the forward position. He could probably learn a bunch from someone like Vernon Fiddler though. I doubt Dallas would take Sissons though, he's just not dynamic enough on offense and the Stars need playmaking ability from their centers.
A full scouting report on Sissons.
A couple other names around this point but I don't think the Stars would go for them: Derrick Pouliot, Hampus Lindholm and Dalton Thrower (all defensemen).
Management for the Stars have recently said that a center is the number one priority on the list for the offseason so I would find it hard for them not to take a center with their first pick in the draft. They have two second round picks as well but they can find some value with defense in the second round. If Girgensons or Faksa fall to 13, I think Dallas would jump on them. Gaunce looks to be a solid prospect that comes undervalued into this draft and I think Dallas takes a long look at him.
With all that said though, Cody Ceci would just be too tough to pass up if he falls to 13. He's got everything that the Stars need in a defensemen and everything that, so far, Alex Goligoski has not delivered. If the draft falls in this way, I think the Stars would take Ceci and bolster their strong defensive prospect core. He would be the best offensive defenseman prospect in the organization and could get the NHL quickly.
The rest of my mock of the 1st round can be found here.