The 2012 NHL Draft will begin on Friday, and young hockey players from all over the world are getting ready to hear their name called and start a professional career. Several teams around the league are on the brink of contention, and with some good moves this off-season, they could hoist the Stanley Cup Trophy at the end of next season.
The latest mock from Bleacher Report projects what every team will do in each round. Here is a closer look at those projections as teams prepare for the big weekend ahead.
The are no big changes at the top of the player rankings, and Edmonton is still likely to make Nail Yakupov the top pick later this week. The young Russian is a terrific offensive talent and will give the Oilers another key player in their effort to rebuild and make the playoffs after a long absence.
Carolina is looking for a young winger to take over for Jussi Jokinen, and Teuvo Teravainen is their likely choice. The Hurricanes have the number eight pick in the first round and are in need of some young blood to add to their team. The biggest concern for the youngster is his size; at just 165 pounds, he needs to add some bulk before entering the NHL, so look for Teravainen to play in the lower leagues for at least one year.
The LA Kings have the last pick in the first round, and after winning their first championship this year, they can take some chances with their selections. The latest mock has Los Angeles taking Martin Frk, a top 10 talent, but injuries hurt the youngster's stock this past season, and the winger could fall into a good spot with the Kings.
As with all drafts in sports, there will be winners and losers as some teams just don't get this process correct, but for fans, this time of year gives them hope, and if their favorite team can add the right mix of players this summer, they could cheer on a championship team like they did in LA this past year.