TSN draft guru Bob McKenzie has released his pre-season top 10 prospects for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and a pair of Russians with World Junior A Challenge experience made the cut.
Nail Yakupov, who helped Russia take bronze at the 2009 tournament in Summerside, P.E.I., was top top-rated player on McKenzie’s list, which came from a poll of 10 NHL scouts, while Mikhail Grigorenko, who was named to the tournament all-star team as a 16-year-old in 2010, took the No. 6 spot.
“He’s a dynamic goal-scorer but who isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty to score goals and make plays,” McKenzie said of Yakupov, who recorded three points in four games in Summerside, including a goal in the bronze medal game victory over Canada East.
Kyle Turris, MVP of the first-ever World Junior A Challenge in 2006, is currently the highest-drafted alumnus of the tournament, taken third overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007. Overall, 13 World Junior A Challenge alumni have been first-round selections, including three in the top 10 – Turris, Nikita Filatov (2008, 6th overall by Columbus) and Alexander Burmistrov (2010, 8th overall by Atlanta).