The 2011 Subway Super Series concluded with the CHL and the Russian juniors splitting the series at three games each. Lots of good pre- and post-draft prospects were on display, so let's go it
Mikhail Grigorenko, Center, 2012-eligible (Quebec Remparts-QMJHL)
The mainstream and those who enjoy writing narratives tend to jump the gun early on in a draft season. At the start of the 2011 draft season, it was who was going to be able to grab Couturier or Larsson at the one or two spots, in 2010 it was the Taylor Hall sweepstakes, and in 2009 it was the same for John Tavares. The latter two players did end up going first overall. However, it was quite a close debate during both of those years. I understand Nail Yakupov led the OHL in his pre-draft year (albeit as a late birthdate) and I do believe that he's a better prospect than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall at the time of them being drafted, but I'd advise everybody closely following the draft to not jump the gun at this point and anoint him the undisputed number one pick, because over the course of a draft season other 17-year-olds tend to rise up, and one of those players is Mikhail Grigorenko.
Grigorenko looked exceptional during his one performance in the series, as good if not better than the dominant performance he had last year at the Under-18's as an underage player. His puck skills and especially his vision and overall hockey sense are plus-plus tools and he can truly control the possession game in every zone at a high-end level. He still needs to work on a few thingsspecifically his consistencybut aside from nitpicking holes in his game, I don't have any problem proclaiming that as of right now, Grigorenko is my number one ranked prospect for the 2012 draft. However, it is so close with Yakupov that it could regularly change, as I've already flipped them quite a few times this season. As of this writing:
Yakupov this year (age 18, second CHL season) 0.67 1.91
Yakupov last year (age 17, first CHL season) 0.75 1.55
Grigorenko this year (age 17, first CHL season) 0.71 1.54