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2012 NHL Entry Draftee Results Will Be A Waiting Game

by Bill Placzek on Jun. 25, 2012

Two players, Nail Yakupov and Ryan Murray, will be given a chance to play from the get-go.

Regardless of how physically ready their bodies are, Mikhail Grigorenko, Radek Faksa, and the rest probably don't get rushed into NHL service. 

There may be some drafted players given parts of the ten-game grace period (before they have to be counted as NHL rostered guys), but a lot of on-ice progress has to come bursting out to ensure that they stay on it.

Grigorenko has seen a long season filled with additional tourneys and playoffs. His numbers dropped, and his play faltered and brought him down out of top three draft status abruptly.  His on-ice commitment to a three-zone game never transpired.  What would make anything different by training camp?

It's easy to connect the dots and think the Riberio departure in Dallas cries out for Faksa to be replacement at center. It's easy to listen to the Faksa story of the youngster living alone, playing with men, and not think an adjustment to NHL might be even easier.  The biggest negative may be whether quick advancement hampers an 18-year old's long term attitude and development. For every jump directly from juniors like Philadelphia's Sean Couturier's instant promotion, there are examples of players like Logan Couture being brought along slower through the AHL so that the player truly is a sum of the parts. 

Needless to say, by 2013 training camp, you probably will be hearing more about the "boys of 2012", but in general I think most of this draft class plays later than usual.  A cancellation of a large part of the 2012-13 NHL season (due to ownwership & labor not having an agreement in place) might alter my thinking on Faska and Grigorenko, who, if signed would be unaffected by the work stoppage and probably be able to clock big minutes in their respective team's pro farm clubs. Maybe it would even be time well spent if they played overseas, assuming it works as a plus to become NHLers and not act as deterent. 

The one thing all NHL executives have learned is that it is better to bring talent along slowly and carefully. With the TLC of excellent farm team coaching, these young players reap richer long term rewards than earlier failures. Casting youngsters into full time roles that they are unprepared for in terms of "hockey mentality" and readiness, just sends them stepping backwards and losing confidence. Being an 18-year old who is physically ready doesn't mean they are ready to think the pro game.

So many of the kids drafted in this 2012 draft need much more time to add parts and put the pieces together before they are even considered for regular NHL duty, and not just look-sees. For the most part, the 2013 drafted kids will probably be making their push for NHL auditions as equal competitors with the 2012 kids by the start of NHL 2014-15.  The earlier class needs more repetition for mastery and there is no shame in taking the time for them to be truly ready.