The 2012 NHL draft was the 4th for the Anaheim Ducks under GM Bob Murray. I thought it was another successful draft for the Ducks. The team added much needed depth to the prospect pool especially at the defense position.
The Ducks day started before they even got to there first pick by trading Lubomir Visnovsky. I have speculated since last season that Visnovsky would be a top trade candidate since last season. I was not expecting such a small return however as the Ducks only received a 2nd round pick in return. Visnovsky had an amazing season 2 years ago, but had a pretty bad season last year which likely is the reason for the small return. There are a few reasons for the trade though. For one, the Ducks plan on getting bigger next season, and with prospect Sami Vatanen who is also a 5’10” defenseman coming in we would actually be getting smaller. Vatanen will likely start the season in the AHL, but at least 1 or 2 defenseman will miss a few games during the season and Vatanen should be one of the first call ups. Another reason is now Murray can use the $3 million Visnovsky will be getting paid next season and use it to bring another bigger defenseman in and bring him in for longer than the 1 year that Visnovsky had remaining on his contract. Lastly, although it is possible that Visnovsky could have a big bounce back season, there is a bigger chance of him having a 30 point season than a 60 point season, and for a small defenseman like Visnovsky he is there for his offense, which includes the powerplay where he wasn’t nearly as effective last season, and the Ducks powerplay suffered as a result.
On to the draft. I must admit I really wanted Filip Forsberg, and before the draft when I told people that I wanted the Ducks to draft Forsberg most replied with saying there is no way he will still be there at number 6 for the Ducks. Well he was there at number 6, and the Ducks decided to take Hampus Lindholm instead. I was pretty surprised at first, but in all likely hood it was the smart decision. The Ducks had a lot of great prospects coming into this draft, but only 1 was a defenseman, and that was Vatanen. A big mobile defenseman that could log a ton of minutes was something the Ducks needed more than a winger which the Ducks have plenty of in their prospect pool. Of course like all draft prospects, we won’t know until 3-5 years from now if it was a good decision or not, but I am happy with it. It was the smart thing to do, even though I was hoping for the Ducks to take Forsberg. Lindholm is a big defenseman at 6’3″ 195 lbs., and is a great skater especially for his size. He is expected to spend one more season in Sweden, before coming over to the Ducks for the 2013-2014 season.