The 2012 NHL Draft is still a few weeks off, but a familiar franchise is making the top pick as Edmonton won the lottery last week and will have the top choice for the third straight season.
The Oilers have some terrific young talent and again will have some options with the top pick, but Nail Yakupov is the top prospect and is likely the choice when the Oilers take the clock this summer.
Defense is a strength in this year's draft as five of the top ten prospects play the back-line, but a number of quality offensive players available and teams that missed the playoffs this year will have some good options to choose from.
Montreal is another team that needs some young offensive talent, and the Canadiens are expected to take center Alex Galchenyuk with the third overall choice. At 6'2" and 185 pounds, his presence on the ice is surprising for such a tall player, but he sees the ice very well and is the type of player that makes everyone around him better, something Montreal needs as they look to rebuild for the future.
Winnipeg started the season like a team that was going somewhere, but the Jets faltered on the road and it cost them a shot this post-season. With the ninth overall choice in the upcoming NHL Draft, look for the front office to concentrate on defensive talent and the latest projection has the team selecting defensive stalwart Jacob Trouba. The youngster has a good frame at 6'1", but adding some muscle is a key for his future success.
Several teams are looking to rebuild quickly, and using the free agent market is a short-term solution, but the draft is key for long-term success, and teams that make it their priority will eventually make it into the top echelon of the hockey world.