No consensus on who No. 1 pick could be
The order is set for the first round of 2012 NHL Draft. How the teams will fill those slots, though, remains a big question.
Eight days before the opening round of the draft is held June 22 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, NHL.com's draft experts -- Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Steven Hoffner -- will attempt to answer that question with their latest round of mock drafts.
The drama starts right at the top, as the Edmonton Oilers likely are deciding between a number of options with the first selection.
If they want to add to their growing crop of explosive offensive players, they could go with Sarnia teammates Nail Yakupov -- NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater -- or Alex Galchenyuk. Or there's big Quebec center Mikhail Grigorenko, or Leksand center Filip Forsberg.
There's also a deep crop of talented blueliners to choose from, among them Everett's Ryan Murray, Moose Jaw's Morgan Rielly, Edmonton's Griffin Reinhart and Jacob Trouba of the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Much like the teams themselves, there's no consensus among NHL.com's draft experts. Kimelman and Hoffner believe the Oilers will choose Yakupov, while Morreale believes the first name called will be Murray.
There's more disagreement between our experts, and you can check each draft to see who they believe will go where.
Three teams don't have picks in the first round -- Colorado, which traded its pick to Washington in the Semyon Varlamov deal; Nashville, which sent its pick to Buffalo in exchange for Paul Gaustad; and Detroit, which sent its pick to Tampa Bay as part of the Kyle Quincey trade.
The Capitals, Sabres and Lightning currently are the only teams with multiple first-round picks. The Blue Jackets could add to that number if they opt to take Los Angeles' pick from the Jeff Carter trade. The Blue Jackets, who will pick second, have until two picks before the Kings' selection at No. 30 to decide if they're going to take the Kings' pick this year or next year. They also can trade the option at any time.