Defensemen Rule Draft’s First Day

A record 8 defensemen were taken in the first 10 picks of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.

T he Edmonton Oilers selected right wing Nail Yakupov from the Sarnia Sting with the first pick of the 2012 NHL Draft.

After that, it was a night for defensemen at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center.

Columbus started the trend by selecting Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips with the second pick. Montreal then drafted Yakupov’s teammate, center Alex Galchenyuk, from the Sarnia Sting.

After that, the ball really started rolling when the next 7 picks were all defensemen.

In total, 13 defensemen were taken in the first round, with 8 being selected in the first 10 picks. The 8 defensemen in the first top 10 picks was easily an NHL record.

Selection Team Player Position 2011-12 Team
2 Columbus Ryan Murray D Everett (WHL)
4 Islanders Griffin Reinhart D Edmonton (WHL)
5 Toronto Morgan Rielly D Moose Jaw (WHL)
6 Anaheim Hampus Lindholm D Rogle (Swe)
7 Minnesota Matt Dumba D Red Deer (WHL)
8 Pittsburgh (from Carolina) Derrick Pouliot D Portland (WHL)
9 Winnipeg Jacob Trouba D USNDT (USHL)
10 Tampa Bay Slater Koekkoek D Peterborough (OHL)
15 Ottawa Codi Ceci D Ottawa (OHL)
22 Pittsburgh Olli Maata D London (OHL)
23 Florida Michael Matheson D Dubuque (USHL)
25 St. Louis Jordan Schmaltz D Green Bay (USHL)
28 Rangers Brady Skjei D USNDT (USHL)

The Nashville Predators did not have a pick in the first round, as the draft pick was traded away to Buffalo for center Paul Gaustad at the trade deadline. Nashville general manager David Poile was in a little bit better position to observe instead of plotting a draft selection. While nearly a half of the players chosen in the first round were defensemen, Poile was not remotely surprised by the number.

“This year’s Draft is a really strong one for defensemen,” Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said after the conclusion of the first round. “There were a lot that were really high. It wasn’t a lot different than how we had them rated. There weren’t any picks that we didn’t see coming.”

Indeed, among the defensemen drafted in the first round, only the Minnesota Wild’s draftee Jordan Schmaltz – at 34th – was ranked outside of the top 30 by The Hockey News. The other 12 were inside the top 30.

For comparison’s sake, in 2011, there were 3 defensemen taken in the top 10. In 2010, there were only 7 defensemen taken in the entire first round (2 in the top 10).

The draft resumes Saturday morning at 10:00am Eastern.


A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.