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The winners and losers of the 2012 NHL Draft

Sean Leahy
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PITTSBURGH -- It won't be for a couple years until the 2012 NHL Draft can truly be graded. Most of the players taken in Pittsburgh won't reach the NHL for a number of years, while some will never get the opportunity.

But after two days and seven rounds, there are some notable winners and losers to be chosen.

Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins

The host team made the biggest splashes during Round 1 by trading Jordan StaalZbynek Michalek and acquiring Brandon Sutter, three prospects and a 1st round pick (Derrick Pouliot) and 3rd round pick (Oskar Sundqvist). GM Ray Shero's moves also freed up over $6 million in cap space giving the Penguins just under $15 million to spend this summer. Let the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise rumors begin.

Loser: Draft droppers: Filip Forsberg, Mikhail Grigorenko, Teuvo Teravainen,

No one expected eight of the first 10 picks to be defenseman, so when Forsberg, Grigorenko and Teravainen fell to 11, 12 and 18, respectively, those were bonuses for the Capitals, Sabres and Blackhawks. Forsberg and Grigorenko were projected by many as top-5 picks, while Teravainen was slotted inside the top-10.

Winner: Carolina Hurricanes

Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford plans to be aggressive in the free agent market and his first move was in acquiring Staal to join his brother Eric in Carolina. The younger Staal has been stuck behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin since he was drafted in 2006 and will now get his chance to "spread his wings" as Shero said on Friday night to become that top-2 center he didn't get the chance to be on a regular basis in Pittsburgh.

Loser: Subban and Matteau-hating Bruins and Devils fans.

P.K. Subban is no friend of the Boston faithful, so now that the Bruins drafted his brother Malcolm, a goaltender, they'll have to find it in their hearts to root for one Subban. Same for New Jersey Devils fans who've been tortured by the "MATTEAU! MATTEAU! MATTEAU! sound clip since 1994 and watched as Lou Lamoriello welcomed Stephane's son, Stefan, to the organization with their No. 1 pick.

Winner: New York Islanders

After having taken a forward in each of the past four Drafts, the Islanders went for defense taking Griffin Reinhart No. 4 overall. Before GM Garth Snow added youth to the blueline he picked up a veteran presence by trading for Lubomir Visnovsky from the Anaheim Ducks. Aside from being able to play 20 minutes a night, the 36-year old will be a boost to the power play. His $5.6 million cap hit will also help the Islanders as they move toward another season near the cap floor.

Loser: Nick Ebert

Ebert was once tallied as a potential top-5 pick in the 2012 Draft but ended up as this year's Mr. Irrelevant, taken last (No. 211 overall) by the Los Angeles Kings.

Winner: The USHL

The American developmental league had an historic first round with six players selected, surpassing the previous USHL record of four set in 2010.

Loser: Rick Nash.

Still a  Blue Jacket.

Winner: Paul Holmgren's and George McPhee's reactions to the Pittsburgh crowd

One of the highlights of any Draft is the home crowd booing their rival(s) just before they make their selection. This year was no different as the Penguins fans inside CONSOL Energy Center gave warm welcomes to the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals as they were moments from making their pick. Holmgren was grateful for the lovely reception:

McPhee was not impressed:

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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