2012 Capitals NHL Draft Preview: The Wingers

[Editor’s note: You are now reading Part Two of Fedor’s series on the draft. If you missed Part One, all about available centers, well then this link right here leaves you with no excuse.]

Despite Caps fans clamoring for another top six center, the Caps could certainly use one or two more wingers in the near future. With Kuznetsov’s delayed arrival and the likely departure of Alexander Semin, there’s a hole in the flanks. With the picks they have, the Caps could select a player who could contribute on the second line– particularly if they switch back to the fast-paced style of play that George McPhee hinted at during a pre-draft meeting with the media.

In their NHL line-up, the Caps currently have Alex Ovechkin, Jason Chimera, and Matt Hendricks on the left wing; and Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward on the right wing. The Caps’ top prospect is Stanislav Galiev at left and Evgeny Kuznetsov, somewhere far away, at right.

So who might be available at the number 11 spot?

Photo credit: Juha Sorri/Lehtikuva

Teuvo Teravainen, Jokerit, SM-Liiga, 5’11”, 165 lbs. Often compared to the Oilers’ Ales Hemsky, Teravainen possesses stickhandling and passing skills unusual for a winger. Though Teravainen mostly plays on the right wing, he can play center as well. He played at the highest level of Finnish club hockey this past season despite being one of the youngest 2012 draft-eligible players. Like many European prospects, strength is a concern for the young Finn.

Rankings: TSN: No. 7, NHL Central Scouting: 2 EU skaters, International Scouting Services: No. 9, The Hockey News: No. 12, Button: No. 5

Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Sebastian Collberg, Frolunda, Elitserien, 5’11”, 176 lbs. Another skilled player from Sweden with slick hands and nice shot. He is a little undersized, but raised his stock during two international tournaments (U-18 and U-20 World Juniors). He wasn’t very efficient on offense in the SEL, but he still peaked into the top-15 of most rankings. Collberg, who plays right wing, needs to improve his physical play and bulk up.

Rankings: TSN: No. 27, NHL Central Scouting: 3 EU skaters, International Scouting Services: No. 13, The Hockey News: No. 14, Button: No. 27

And who might be available at number 16?

Photo credit: Plymouth Whalers

Thomas Wilson, Plymouth Whalers, OHL, 6’4″, 203 lbs. One of the most physically dominant players in the draft, Wilson was maybe the best player of the NHL Combine tests, cracking the top-10 in 17 of 29 events. A right winger, Wilson models his style play off the Bruins’ power forward Milan Lucic, playing a heavy-hitting, hard-nosed hockey without becoming an offensive liability. Though his stats with the Plymouth Whalers were far from fantastic, he stepped it up in the playoffs, becoming a point-per-game player.

Rankings: TSN: No. 18, NHL Central Scouting: 15 NA skaters, International Scouting Services: No. 17, The Hockey News: No. 25, Button: No. 21

Photo credit: Johanna Lundberg/Djurgardens IF

Pontus Aberg, Djurgarden, Elitserien, 5’11”, 194 lbs. A versatile winger, Aberg was more successful than Collberg at the elite pro level of Swedish hockey because of his blazing speed. Aberg works very hard and– despite being less than six feet tall– weighs 194 pounds, which is not bad for an 18-year old. More of a shooter than passer, he’ll need to become a more well-rounded player to get a spot on the NHL roster.

Rankings: TSN: No. 37, NHL Central Scouting: 6 EU skaters, International Scouting Services: No. 20, The Hockey News: No. 22, Button: No. 33

Photo credit: Edmonton Oil Kings

Henrik Samuelsson, Edmonton Oil Kings, 6’2″, 195 lbs. Another right winger, Samuelsson saw his stock rise after he left the Swedish Elite League’s MODO to go play for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League. Pretty big for his age, he’s also shown that he can be productive in the North American style of play during some glimpses late in the regular season and during the Oil Kings’ playoff run. Warning: he’s the son of Ulf Samuelsson.

Rankings: TSN: No. 36, NHL Central Scouting: 75 NA skaters, International Scouting Services: No. 27, The Hockey News: No. 50, Button: No. 29