2011 NHL Entry Draft: Ryan Pike’s Mock Draft (June 10)

With the 2011 edition of the National Hockey League entry draft just two weeks away, speculation runs amok among hockey fans regarding which highly-touted prospects will be chosen by which team. What follows is merely my two cents on which players will be chosen in the first round, ignoring (of course) the possibility of teams trading their first-round choices.

First off, a handful of quick predictions. [1] No goalies will be chosen in the first round. [2] The first round will be overwhelmingly North American and generally full of forwards. [3] General managers will be more swayed by NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings than by the ISS rankings. [4] Members of the Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs have their draft standing significantly enhanced.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is currently the top rated North American skater by the ISS. (thescoutingreport.org)

#1: The Edmonton Oilers select C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Nugent-Hopkins was far-and-away the best draft eligible player in the Western Hockey League during the past season. While his play dipped a bit during the playoffs, leading the Red Deer Rebels to a relatively early exit, Nugent-Hopkins will add nicely to a youthful Oilers core. [1st among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 1st by the ISS, 1st by Hockey News; Recent Oilers picks: LW Taylor Hall (2010), C Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (2009), C Jordan Eberle (2008)]

#2: The Colorado Avalanche select C Jonathan Huberdeau
For the Avalanche, the choice is between Huberdeau and Adam Larsson. Huberdeau had a great playoff run for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, leading them to a Memorial Cup victory. After seeing how big of a difference-maker he was in the playoffs, it’ll be difficult for the Avs to resist. [3rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 3rd by ISS, 5th by Hockey News; Recent Avalanche picks: C Joey Hishon (2010), C Matt Duchene (2009), D Kevin Shattenkirk (2007)]

#3: The Florida Panthers select LW Gabriel Landeskog
Having chosen a blueliner last year, the Panthers pass on Adam Larsson and grab Kitchener’s Gabriel Landeskog. [2nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 5th by ISS, 3rd by Hockey News; Recent Panthers picks: D Erik Gudbranson (2010), C Nick Bjugstad (2010), LW Quinton Howden (2010)]

#4: The New Jersey Devils select D Adam Larsson
A product of the impressive Swedish junior system, which has produced a series of strong defensive prospects, Adam Larsson falls to the Devils. [1st among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 2nd by ISS, 2nd by Hockey News; Recent Devils picks: C Jacob Josefson (2009), RW Mattias Tedenby (2008), D Matt Corrente (2006)

#5: The New York Islanders select C Sean Couturier
The Islanders head to the board with their first pick and grab skilled centre Sean Couturier from the Drummondville Voyageurs of the Q. [6th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 4th by ISS, 4th by Hockey News; Recent Islanders picks: LW Nino Niederreiter (2010), F Brock Nelson (2010), D Calvin de Haan (2009)]

#6: The Ottawa Senators select D Nathan Beaulieu
Another member of the Saint John championship team, blueliner Nathan Beaulieu impressed enough to be grabbed by the Senators, who are desperate to assemble reliable skilled players as they begin their re-build in earnest. [5th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 14th by ISS, 18th by Hockey News; Recent Senators picks: D Jared Cowen (2009), D Erik Karlsson (2008), C Jim O'Brien (2007)]

#7: The Winnipeg NHL Team selects C Mika Zibenejad
The nameless Winnipeg team, which should be named prior to the draft, snags skilled Swede Mika Zibenejad at 7. [2nd among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 7th by ISS, 11th by Hockey News; Recent Thrashers picks: C Alexander Burmistrov (2010), C Evander Kane (2009), C Daultan Leveille (2008)]

#8: The Columbus Blue Jackets select D Douglas Hamilton
With most of the “can’t-miss” guys off the board, the Jackets play it safe by grabbing Douglas Hamilton of the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs. [4th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 6th by ISS, 10th by Hockey News; Recent Jackets picks: C Ryan Johansen (2010), D John Moore (2009), LW Nikita Filatov (2008)]

#9: The Boston Bruins select LW Sven Bartschi
The Bruins grab Sven Bartschi of the Portland Winterhawks with their first pick. Barschi was a key component of a stacked Portland team that went to the WHL Finals, operating as a key offensive contributor and a great agitator. [7th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 11th by ISS, 8th by Hockey News; Recent Bruins picks: C Tyler Seguin (2010), RW Jordan Caron (2009), C Joe Colborne (2008)]

#10: The Minnesota Wild select C Ryan Strome
The second Niagara Ice Dog of the round is chosen by the Minnesota Wild, who snag Ryan Strome. [8th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 9th by ISS, 6th by Hockey News; Recent Wild picks: F Mikael Granlund (2010), D Nick Leddy (2009), D Tyler Cuma (2008)]

#11: The Colorado Avalanche select D Ryan Murphy
After selecting a forward with their first pick of the round, the Avalanche grab highly-regarded blueliner Ryan Murphy with the second pick. [9th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 8th by ISS, 7th by Hockey News]

#12: The Carolina Hurricanes select C Zack Phillips
A big beneficiary of Saint John’s Memorial Cup win, Phillips goes higher than his year-end ranking. Carolina gets a skilled play-maker here. [15th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 31st by ISS, 9th by Hockey News; Recent Hurricanes picks: C Jeff Skinner (2010), C Phillipe Paradis (2009), C Zack Boychuk (2008)]

#13: The Calgary Flames select D Duncan Siemens
The Flames, having lost a skilled blueliner when Tim Erixon didn’t sign and was instead traded to the Rangers, snag WHLer Duncan Siemens. Siemens immediately becomes the team’s top blueline prospect. [10th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 12th by ISS, 12th by Hockey News; Recent Flames picks: D Tim Erixon (2009), C Greg Nemisz (2008), C Mikael Backlund (2007)]

#14: The Dallas Stars select D Joseph Morrow
The Stars grab a defender with their first round choice, grabbing Portland Winterhawks rear-guard Joseph Morrow. [12th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 41st by ISS, 34th by Hockey News; Recent Stars picks: G Jack Campbell (2010), RW Scott Glennie (2009), D Ivan Vishnevskiy (2006)]

#15: The New York Rangers select C Mark McNeill
The Rangers choose a big centreman, grabbing Prince Albert’s Mark McNeill. [14th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 21st by ISS, 16th by Hockey News; Recent Rangers picks: D Dylan McIlrath (2010), C Chris Kreider (2009), D Michael del Zotto (2008)]

#16: The Buffalo Sabres select D Oscar Klefbom
The Sabres go the European route, seemingly the rare route this season, grabbing Swedish blueliner Oscar Klefbom. [6th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 10th by ISS, 37th by Hockey News; Recent Bruins picks: D Mark Pysyk (2010), RW Zack Kassian (2009), LW Tyler Ennis (2008)]

#17: The Montreal Canadiens select C Vladislav Namestnikov
The Habs grab London’s Vladislav Namestnikov with the 17th pick. [11th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 35th by ISS, 36th by Hockey News; Recent Canadiens picks: D Jarred Tinordi (2010), C Louis Leblanc (2009), LW Max Pacioretty (2007)]

#18: The Chicago Blackhawks select D Jamie Oleksiak
The Hawks go big and go American, grabbing Jameson Oleksiak from the US National Development Team. [13th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 16th by ISS, 17th by Hockey News; Recent Blackhawks picks: RW Kevin Hayes (2010), D Dylan Olsen (2009), C Kyle Beach (2008)]

#19: The Edmonton Oilers select RW Joel Armia
With their second pick of the round, the Oilers pick skilled Finnish winger Joel Armia. [4th among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 13th by ISS, 15th by Hockey News]

#20: The Phoenix Coyotes select C Mark Scheifele
The Coyotes grab centre Mark Scheifele with their choice. [16th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 18th by ISS, 41st by Hockey News; Recent Coyotes picks: D Brandon Gormley (2010), G Mark Visentin (2010), D Oliver Ekman-Larsson (2009)]

#21: The Ottawa Senators select RW Ty Rattie
With their second pick of the round, the rebuilding Sens grab agitating winger Ty Rattie from the Portland Winterhawks. [17th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 28th by ISS, 33rd by Hockey News]

#22: The Anaheim Ducks select C Boone Jenner
With their first round selection, the Ducks grab a centreman with a great hockey name, Boone Jenner. [18th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 55th by ISS, 40th by Hockey News; Recent Ducks picks: D Cam Fowler (2010), F Emerson Etem (2010), F Kyle Palmieri (2009)]

#23: The Pittsburgh Penguins select C Rocci Grimaldi
Thought to be one of the more high-profile big-risk, big-reward players in the draft, the Penguins roll the dice on American centre Rocci Grimaldi. [32nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 15th by ISS, 32nd by Hockey News; Recent Penguins picks: F Beau Bennett (2010), D Simon Despres (2009), C Angelo Esposito (2007)]

#24: The Detroit Red Wings select LW Jonathan Miller
The Wings go American, grabbing winger Jonathan Miller from the US National Development Team. [23rd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 17th by ISS, 59th by Hockey News; Recent Wings picks: F Ryley Sheahan (2010), G Thomas McCollum (2008), D Brendan Smith (2007)]

#25: The Toronto Maple Leafs select LW Brandon Saad
Blessed with two picks among the last six in the round, the Leafs spend their first on Saginaw Spirit winger Brandon Saad. [19th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 24th by ISS, 14th by Hockey News; Recent Leafs picks: C Nazem Kadri (2009), D Luke Schenn (2008), LW Jiri Tlusty (2006)]

#26: The Washington Capitals select D Connor Murphy
Looking to shore up their back end, the Capitals use their pick to grab the US National Development Team’s Connor Murphy. [25th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 19th by ISS, 55th by Hockey News; Recent Capitals picks: F Evgeny Kuznetsov (2010), C Marcus Johansson (2009), D John Carlson (2008)]

#27: The Tampa Bay Lightning select RW Tomas Jurco
Some forecasters have Tomas Jurco going in the first half of the first round. Others have him going somewhere in the second. My prediction falls somewhere in the middle, with the Sea Dogs winger going to the Tampa Bay Lightning. [20th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 25th by ISS, 28th by Hockey News; Recent Lightning picks: RW Brett Connolly (2010), D Victor Hedman (2009), RW Carter Ashton (2009)]

#28: The San Jose Sharks select D Jonas Brodin
The Sharks grab Swedish blueliner Jonas Brodie with the 28th selection. [3rd among European skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 20th by ISS, 22nd by Hockey News; Recent Sharks picks: F Charlie Coyle (2010), C Logan Couture (2007), D Nick Petrecki (2007)]

#29: The Toronto Maple Leafs select LW Nicklas Jensen
With their second selection of the round, the Leafs go back to the OHL well, grabbing Oshawa winger Nicklas Jensen. [21st among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 22nd by ISS, 19th by Hockey News]

#30: The Vancouver Canucks select RW Tyler Biggs
With the last selection of the first round, the Canucks get a bit bigger and American, as they snag the US National Development Team’s Tyler Biggs. [22nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, 8th by ISS, 20th by Hockey News; Recent Canucks picks: C Jordan Schroeder (2009), C Cody Hodgson (2008), C Patrick White (2007)]

Ryan Pike
A native of the Stampede City, Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and as Managing Editor of FlamesNation.ca.
Ryan Pike
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