The Five Top-Ranked Players Left At The 2012 NHL Draft

Jonathan Willis
June 23 2012 07:51AM

The first round of this year’s draft saw some surprising selections. At the very top, Nail Yakupov went first overall as the Oilers opted for the consensus best player, but there were reaches and slides sprinkled throughout. Filip Forsberg, ranked 2nd on the consensus list, fell to 11; Teuvo Teravainen was pegged as a top-10 talent and he slid to 18th.

Based on the consensus list, who are the five best players available in Round 2?

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Brendan Gaunce REAX

Thomas Drance
June 22 2012 11:41PM

I watched a single Belleville Bulls game last season, and frankly, I barely noticed Brendan Gaunce (I was mostly paying attention to Nicklas Jensen). As such, I know next to nothing about him, though I was in his media scrum this evening and he seemed like a bright kid.

Anyone writing about a prospect like Gaunce as if they can tell you the specifics about what he needs to improve in his skating stride to really succeed at the NHL level is being intellectually dishonest. I know next to nothing about Gaunce's game, though I can tell you that the OHL scout I talk to (his name is Victor and we're buddies on Twitter) raves about him.

Luckily, there are people who get paid well to cover prospects, it's there business, and I figured it would be worthwhile to recap what they were saying about Gaunce in the lead up to the draft.

Click past the jump for more.

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Canucks Select Brendan Gaunce at #26

Thomas Drance
June 22 2012 08:45PM

With the 26th pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft, the Canucks selected centre Brendan Guance from the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League. Gaunce fits in with what Laurence Gilman told the Press the team was looking for: "If we were to assess a need we have, it'd be at forward, perhaps centre in particular." Gaunce tips the scales at close to 200 pounds, so he's another in a string of big forwards whom the Canucks have drafted in the past two years, and he plays in the OHL making him the third first round pick that the Canucks have selected from the Ontario Hockey League since Gillis took over as General Manager. 

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Scott Arniel Deal Close, Not Final

Thomas Drance
June 22 2012 05:40PM

Despite reports from reputable sources from Ken Wiebe to Aaron Portzline, former Blue Jackets and Manitoba Moose head coach Scott Arniel has not yet finalized a deal with the Canucks - according to Vancouver's front-office (by way of Iain Macintyre).

The delay is vaguely reminiscent of last summer, when MacTavish's hiring was "confirmed" by Nick Kypreos, and then didn't occur for weeks. So while it's not final, presumably a deal remains close, and certainly Vancouver's head office has a high opinion of Arniel's abilities behind the bench.

Click past the jump for more.

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NHL Draft: Draft Day Preview

Thomas Drance
June 22 2012 11:20AM

The NHL Draft will go tonight in Pittsburgh, and for the Canucks and General Manager Mike Gillis, tonight will be interesting - if nothing else.

Of course it could be more than interesting - it could be earth-shattering. Vancouver's NHL club may not have any high picks (as usual) but they do have an albatross contract that they'd presumably like to move (Ballard), and more importantly a star goaltender on a "toxic deal" whose rumoured trade is causing absurd levels of speculation.

Draft night for the Canucks could also go off with a whimper, but with Cory Schneider in need of a new contract, and Roberto Luongo having publicly admitted he'd waive his no trade clause in late April, massive shock-waves would reverberate from that decision too. If the Canucks move Luongo it will be the biggest deal the team makes on draft day by a country mile (it would be one of the biggest moves in team history, really) and by that same token, if they keep Luongo that logic still holds.

Going into this evening's draft, only one thing is really certain: that whoever the team picks with the 26th selection in the 2012 NHL entry draft will be second page news in Vancouver's sports pages tomorrow morning. That is unless they move up...

Let's summarize the relevant chatter regarding Luongo and Vancouver's first round pick, and do our best to preview a day of uncertainty for the Vancouver Canucks. Click past the jump for more!

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