Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff thinks the 2012 NHL draft could be even more unpredictable than most. As such, he hasn’t ruled out trading his club’s ninth overall pick and moving up, or down, in the selection process.
“I think that this year’s draft, it’s going to be really tough to predict,” Cheveldayoff told the Winnipeg Free Press. “You’ve got a lot of guys who have had injuries throughout the year and missed a good portion of the year.
“You’ve got a lot of team dynamics, different teams that may want to draft more for position than player. I think you’ll see a lot of players ranked very differently on each and every team.”
Russian forward Nail Yakupov is the consensus pick to go first overall June 22 in Pittsburgh, but he’s hardly the universal choice.
“I wouldn’t say that [Yakupov is the true No. 1],” Edmonton’s head scout, Stu MacGregor, told NHL.com. “I think he’s one of the players you have to consider for that spot, but I think there are a few players you have to consider.”
And what about fellow Russian Mikhail Grigorenko? Back in November, International Scouting Services had Grigorenko and Yakupov ranked one-two, respectively. By April, Grigorenko had fallen to third on ISS’s list, and has since fallen even further in some rankings due to a disappointing playoff performance with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.
Then again, he did have mononucleosis.
“They’ve been asking what happened in the playoffs,” Grigorenko told the National Post. “I don’t think I had a bad playoff because the first round was good. The first round I had seven points in four games. But after I got mono, I didn’t have lots of energy.”
Still, there were concerns about Grigorenko prior to the playoffs, including whether he’d bolt for the KHL.
For Cheveldayoff, all the uncertainty places a premium on preparation as the draft approaches.
“You try to get the feel for the different things that might or might not happen (ahead),” he said. “You just don’t know. All of a sudden there could be a trade. You just have to be prepared and have your own thoughts and lists in place.”