NHL 2011 Draft

Hockey This Week – Mock Draft

June 27, 2011
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1. Edmonton Oilers – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Center – Red Deer – WHL  

Nugent-Hopkins has been the consensus number 1 and has been for some time. Huberdeau will make GM Tambellini stop and think, but at the end of the day, Nugent-Hopkins is their guy. He is extremely gifted with the puck, an outstanding skater and will slide perfectly onto a line with former 1st rounders Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi.

2. Colorado Avalanche – Adam Larsson – Defense – Skelleftea – SEL 

Larsson is a franchise defender and will be the choice of the Avs here. After choosing Matt Duchene and Joey Hishon the past 2 years, they get the top defenseman in this year’s draft. Larsson has very few weaknesses and should be a top pairing defenseman his first day of training camp. He will pair very nicely with newly acquired Erik Johnson and to boot, Colorado has another selection at 11 to take a scoring winger.

3. Florida Panthers – Jonathan Huberdeau – Center – Saint John – QMJHL Huberdeau’s stock went through the roof the second half of the season. He led Saint John to the Memorial Cup and scored the winning goal in the championship game. Huberdeau puts out 110% every time he hits the ice. He has amazing vision and outstanding hockey IQ. He will be the most sought after player as at least 2 teams are thinking about moving up to take him. I don’t see a scenario where he gets past the 3rd pick. Florida could move this pick and request king’s ransom for it. Ottawa is interested in moving up and has multiple picks to move if they so choose.
4. New Jersey Devils – Sean Couturier – Center – Drummondville – QMJHL 

After a disastrous season which saw themselves  contend for the league’s worst record, then go on an amazing run which almost allowed them to reach the playoffs, the  Devils silver lining was winning the draft lottery and moving up from 8th to 4th. Unless he feels the need to take a defenseman here, I think Lou Lamoriello takes top line center Sean Couturier. Couturier in the opinion of ISS has been over scouted because of his birthday being so late (a la John Tavares). Couturier is a Staal hybrid (offense like Eric and defense like Jordan). He is an extremely gifted play maker and will be a go to guy in all situations. Again, I don’t see a scenario where he falls any farther than 5.

5. New York Islanders – Gabriel Landeskog – Left Wing – Kitchener – OHL 

Landeskog was rated as high as number 2 just a few months ago, but as circumstances dictate and the amazing rise of Huberdeau, Landeskog falls to the Islanders at 5. Landeskog, is a future captain, has a very high hockey IQ and is a tremendous puck handler. He has a lethal shot and will be a deadly scorer as time goes on. He, like players taken before him, will be a player that can be used in all situations. If for some reason Landeskog is not here at 5 and the Islanders are not in love with Couturier (which I highly doubt), Garth Snow could move back and take a player such as Ryan Strome or Mika Zibanejad.

6. Ottawa Senators – Ryan Strome – Center – Niagara – OHL 

Strome is the whole package. Intelligent, tremendous vision and a lightning quick shot. He has the ability to make extremely quick decisions and has the reaction time to make them happen.  The only knock on Strome is his size and strength. He is listed at 6’0 180lbs. but that may be a bit generous. He has top 6 ability and could have a Jeff Skinner type impact on his future team, but there are enough question marks about whether he is a top 3 or top 6 players to keep him out of the top 5. Ottawa, who will be looking to add scoring, will be glad to add Strome and have him play second fiddle to Jason Spezza.

7. Winnipeg – Mika Zibanejad – Center – Djurgarden – SEJL 

Zibanejad is as intense a player as you will find. He has a very focused and determined work ethic and has what ISS describes as “explosive technical skills”. Zibanejad drives to the net extremely well and is a very good checker as he hammers his opponents with his hitting ability. He does need to work on his accepting of passes and his ability to calm down a bouncing puck. New Winnipeg GM Kevin Chevaldayoff will get himself a solid all situations player with this pick.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets – Dougie Hamilton – Defense – Niagara – OHL 

Hamilton is a big, strong skating defenseman who will no doubt be a top pairing guy for many years to come. The question about Hamilton is how much offense he will end up contributing. What you do know is Hamilton is already 6’4, skates extremely well for his size and plays extremely physical. Columbus, who selected top prospect Ryan Johansen last year, will add a huge piece to their puzzle with Dougie Hamilton.

9. Boston Bruins – Ryan Murphy – Defense – Kitchener – OHL 

Boston has been looking for someone to run their power play since Ray Bourque was traded back in the day. They traded their own 1st round pick for Tomas Kaberle at the deadline, but that hasn’t exactly worked out as they have hoped. Murphy is that guy. As Boston is still reaping the benefits of the extremely lopsided Phil Kessel trade, Boston gets probably the most offensively gifted defenseman in the draft. Murphy has dynamic abilities, a tremendous shot and world class puck handling skills. What he doesn’t provide, is much defense. He is, as ISS describes, as “ultra talented” but is also on the smallish side listed generously at 5’10. Murphy will undoubtedly will be a first rate offensive talent, but not a top tier defenseman.

10. Minnesota Wild – Jamie Oleksiak – Defense – North Eastern HS 

Oleksiak frankly is a monster. Listed at 6’7 and 244 lbs., he is flat our intimidating. For a player of his size, he is extremely mobile and has a fantastic outlet pass. He is extremely raw and needs plenty of work on the rest of his game, but the hometown Wild will not be able to pass up his tremendous upside.

11. Colorado Avalanche – Sven Bartschi – Left Wing – Portland – WHL 

Acquired in the trade that sent young stud winger Chris Stewart to St. Louis, the Avalanche are in a enviable position. If they take Larsson at 2 (which is the most likely scenario), they will take a scoring winger here at 11, that player is Bartschi. Bartschi, played this past season with Portland along with top prospects Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Johansen and played extremely well. He has great instincts and vision and will most likely be an excellent secondary scoring option. He does need to get stronger, but another year with Portland will be exactly what he needs.

12. Carolina Hurricanes – Mark McNeill – Center – Prince Albert – WHL McNeill, is ranked 21st overall by ISS but is ranked higher by Central Scouting. He projects to be a very effective power forward as he goes hard to the net, plays strong in the corners and kills penalties extremely well. The knock against him is his skating, though that has been improving. He’s very creative around the net and can play a variety of roles.
13. Calgary Flames – Nathan Beaulieu – Defense – Saint John – QMJHL 

Beaulieu is a bit of a project, but one with high rewards. He is an outstanding skater and has fantastic puck skills. He will be able to run a power play and most likely be a top 3 defenseman. He does need to get much stronger, and most likely will need at least another season with Saint John’s.  He also needs to continue to work on his defensive game, but projects to be a very good defenseman.

14. Dallas Stars – Duncan Siemens – Defense – Saskatoon – WHL 

Siemens is an extremely difficult player to play against. He is a very strong skater and is extremely hard to beat wide. Has a great work ethic and plays extremely tough. He projects to be a shutdown defender who can play big minutes. He has some offensive upside, though it is limited. Siemens can be a force with his combination of toughness and offensive potential.

15. New York Rangers – Zack Phillips – Center – Saint John – QMJHL 

Phillips is ranked 34th by ISS, but personally, that’s way too low. Phillips, playing on a stacked Saint John roster, had a fantastic offensive year. Scored the first goal in the Memorial Cup championship game and finished his season with 95 points in 67 games. He is a pure scorer and has excellent puck skills, but his skating does need some work. With skating improvement, Phillips should be a top 6 scoring forward.

16. Buffalo Sabres – Jonas Brodin – Defense – Farjestad – SEL 

Brodin is described as a very safe and reliable defenseman. His skating is off the charts and is extremely hockey smart. He is extremely poised with the puck and will be a major minutes defenseman. He is not a big or strong defenseman, but the fact that Buffalo has a defender like Tyler Myers, makes this pick so smart. Pairing these 2 together in a few years could be dangerous. Brodin could be a top paring guy when he reaches his ceiling.

17. Montreal Canadiens – Oscar Klefbom – Defense – Farjestad – SEL 

Klefbom could end up being the steal of this draft. He is an outstanding skater, has excellent puck skills and is extremely strong. He also has tremendous vision and has the ability to run a PP. The reason he’s being picked 17, is he has been buried on a very deep team to this point and he hasn’t had the time to actually put up the numbers or play major minutes. He was able to play a major role on the Swedish Under 18 team and flourished but his lack of minutes means he is still a raw player. Klefbom has the ability to be a top paring guy and has all-star potential. Definitely a draft wildcard.

18. Chicago Blackhawks – Rocco Grimaldi – Center – USA Under 18 Development –USHL 

Grimaldi is the top skater in the draft. He is an offensive dynamo and has electrifying type skills. His work ethic is off the charts and is extremely strong. So why is he being picked at 18? He is only 5’6 and 160 lbs. If not for his diminutive stature, you would be talking about Grimaldi along with Nugent-Hopkins and Larsson. He has top line talent and could lead a team in scoring, but it is very hard to ignore his lack of size. Chicago, who has one of the deepest farm systems in the league, can gamble on this high risk but extremely high reward player.

19. Edmonton Oilers – Joseph Morrow – Defense – Portland – WHL 

Edmonton picks for the second time Friday night with the pick acquired in the Dustin Penner trade, with that selection the Oilers take smooth puck moving defenseman Joe Morrow. Again, ISS has Morrow ranked 33rd, but I don’t agree with that assessment.  Morrow, played an important role with Portland this season and played extremely well putting up 49 points in 60 games. He has the ability to adapt his game to whatever you need, a shutdown guy, a tough minded defender, or a guy who can move the puck, Morrow can do it all. He doesn’t have “wow” type skills but is a guy who does everything well and nothing spectacular. He would be a welcome addition on the Edmonton blue line.

20. Phoenix Coyotes – Nicklas Jensen – Right Wing – Oshawa – OHL 

Jensen is a very talented prospect, with a huge upside. He isn’t a flashy or dynamic player, but is a guy who goes out there and gets the job done. He is a very responsible; being able to play an offensive game, but rarely is caught out of position. He has great hands and displays a keen hockey sense, but doesn’t have dynamic quickness. Jensen shows no major weakness in his game and could be a top 6 scoring forward.

21. Ottawa Senators – Mark Scheifele – Center – Barrie – OHL 

With Ottawa’s second selection they take another scoring forward though this one is completely different than their earlier pick. Scheifele is a front of the net type player. He has shown the ability to score from in front, and make plays from the same space. Described as a beast around the net, he has a big frame and should fill out into a power forward type build. He’s a big time hitter and works hard at both ends of the ice. He does need to fill out some, and work on his overall speed but Scheifele should be a top 6 forward and a PP force.

22. Anaheim Ducks – Joel Armia – Right Wing – Assat – FinE Armia is a very exciting prospect and seemingly gets lost with all of the defenseman taken in the middle of the 1st round, but is nonetheless a dynamic prospect. Armia is big and powerful scoring threat. He has a fantastic shot release and is a threat to score from a variety of areas and situations on the ice. He doesn’t always make the best decisions on passes but that isn’t something that is seen to be a knock. Armia should become an elite scoring presence in the Ducks lineup.
23. Pittsburgh Penguins – Matthew Puempel – Left Wing – Peterborough – OHL Puempel is a pure goal scorer, probably the best scorer in the entire draft. He has a sniper mentality and is his best around the circles. He scored 34 goals in just 55 games this season before hip surgery ended his season. He is not an all situations type of player, and needs to work on his compete level, but Puempel is a player who would greatly benefit from playing with talent like Malkin and Crosby.
24. Detroit Red Wings – Ty Rattie – Left Wing – Portland – WHL 

Yet another descendent of the Portland Winterhawks program, Rattie is another super talented player with the puck. He can dominate small spaces and has the ability to stickhandle out of a phone booth. He’s neither the fastest nor the strongest, but man he can shoot the puck. He will need to work on his skating, and his defensive game, but Rattie could become a top 6 forward with scoring prowess.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs – Jonathan Miller – USA Under 18 Development – USHL 

Miller is a different type of player. He isn’t a gifted scorer or a wiz with the puck. Miller is in fact a pain in the rear to play against. He has a tremendous work ethic and has the ability to find open space all over the ice. He is a ferocious hitter and is the very definition of a heart and soul player. He has a very good shot but lacks the speed and finish to be a top goal scorer. Miller should turn into a very effective role player and fan favorite.

26. Washington Capitals – Alexander Khokhlachev – Winger – Windsor – OHL 

Khokhlachev is a lighting fast skater who has the ability and to become a premier offensive player. He has excellent hands and great hockey sense. He has little fear going into the hard areas and despite his lack of size (5’10) he plays with no fear. Khokhlachev does need to learn the word defense and definitely needs to get stronger, but you have a player here that has the ability to be a strong offensive player.

27. San Jose Sharks – Tomas Jurco – Right Wing – Saint John – QMJHL 

Jurco would be the 4th Saint John’s player selected in the first round if selected. Jurco is a goal scorer plain and simple. He has a strong skill set, protects the puck very well and is said to have “magic hands”. He is an extremely dangerous 1 on 1 and has very good speed but his compete level is very inconsistent. He needs to find consistency and a better work ethic, if he does, he could be a very effective top 6 scoring forward.

28. Tampa Bay Lightning – Brandon Saad – Left Wing – Saginaw – OHL 

Saad is your typical high risk high reward type pick you make in the late first round. Saad is an excellent skater has good size and very good hands. His major problem is his compete level. He needs to translate his tremendous skill into a more solid work ethic if he intends to be anything more than a 3rd liner in the NHL. With this boom or bust pick, Steve Yzerman could have himself a talented goal scorer or a fringe NHL player.

29. Toronto Maple Leafs – Vladislav Namestnikov – Center – London – OHL 

Namestnikov is a talented offensive player who lacks that one dynamic ability to make him a top player. He is very good with the puck, has the ability to makes plays at top speed. He doesn’t have outstanding speed but is very shifty. He’s very aggressive on the fore check but doesn’t have a physical side to his game due to his lack of size. Namestnikov should be a strong secondary option and could be a complete player if he adds some strength.

30. Vancouver Canucks – Scott Mayfield – Defense – Youngstown – USHL 

Mayfield, who is coming off a very impressive draft combine, is a big smooth skating defenseman who is extremely strong and poised with the puck. He’s confident, aggressive and is the type of defensive prospect that teams salivate over. He needs to work on his offensive play and his timing, but Mayfield has the ability to a strong 2nd pair defenseman who can play on both the PK or PP.

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