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The 2012 NHL draft was absolutely loaded with blue chip defensive prospects.
For much of that year leading up to the draft, there was a lot of chatter that Ryan Murray might be taken 1st overall but as often happens, Murray fell while the Oilers blew a foot off and selected yet another scoring winger who can’t play a 2 way game.
See the photo above and you’ll instantly recognize that 4 of those teenage defensemen were from the 2012 draft and, if not injured I imagine they would have been joined by Murray.
Not pictured is 4th overall pick Griffin Reinhart who has managed only 8 NHL appearances and those came a season later.
The next 6 picks in that draft were all D and all of them have played significant games in the NHL others selected later in the 1st round and even the 2nd and 3rd rounds have become NHL regulars.
Here they are sorted by GP.
Hampus Lindholm 156
Morgan Rielly 154
Jacob Trouba 130
Cody Ceci 130
Olli Maata 98
Mat Dumba 71
Damon Severson 51
Derrick Pouliot 34
Connor Carrick 34
Petteri Lindbolm 23
Jake McCabe 9
Griffin Reinhart 8
Slater Koekkek 3
Shayne Gostisbehere 2
Brett Kulak 1
Obviously, Reinhart has fallen way behind the pack and I’m sure the NYI would have loved a mulligan on their pick and, of course, shipped Reinhart to the Oilers at the draft when the Oilers dangled the 16th and 33rd picks which the Islanders used to take Mat Barzal and, after a small trade. Anthony Beauvillier.
The latter may have been a bit of reach but Bob McKenzie had Barzal ranked 9th and I believe he would have been rated even higher if not for a freak off ice accident that broke his kneecap.
Despite the injury, Barzal scored more than 1PPG in the WHL and projects to be a dynamic potential winger for John Tavares.
While doing my Sunday morning whip around the web I ran into this somewhat contradictory comment from Lowetide: