2011 NHL Entry Draft Rankings Top 60 – An Early Look

Christopher Ralph is a senior sportswriter here at THW specializing in covering NHL prospects and the entry draft.

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Update June 2011: For up-to-date draft coverage and rankings visit:

THW’s 2011 NHL Entry Draft Guide – The Next Ones

THW 2011 NHL Draft Final Rankings – Top 210

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Is it ever too early to think about the NHL’s next entry draft?

Many shots will be taken.

Many saves will be made.

Many hits will be dished out.

Many battles for loose pucks will be fought.

Many passes will be delivered.

Many savvy puck moves will be executed.

Many coach tirades will fall on deaf ears.

All before the 2011 NHL Entry Draft takes place on June 24-25th in St. Paul, Minnesota. Once again, I love the dates – the 24th and 25th representing hockey’s version of Christmas!

The quest for Tavares, Hedman and Duchene has long since passed as all three are integral parts of their respective franchises. The jostling over Hall and Seguin, Taylor versus Tyler, has recently been concluded this summer.

The debate now rages on as to who will emerge as best of class – 2011. At present, it is a three-headed race led by:  Centreman Sean Couturier of Dummondville Voltigeurs, Sweden’s brilliant blueliner Adam Larsson and centerman Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels.

Adam Larsson {Photo: Wikimedia Commons - CanadaHky}

Will someone, in a similar fashion to Tyler Seguin, raise the ranks to challenge these three frontrunners?

In the past couple of years, the 2011 entry draft class has been projected as a relatively weak one. The more one delves into analyzing eligible prospects more in-depth, it is quickly becoming apparent that this is likely far from the truth.

Of course, it is safe to say any rankings done at this point will evolve and look quite different as the hockey season wears on. Names like Keegan Lowe, Maxim Shalunov and Mika Partanen will be just some of the ice gladiators battling to place themselves amongst these and other rankings.

Stay tuned to the Prospects section of The Hockey Writers (THW) as I continue to provide detailed prospect profiles (see 2010 Draft Preview).  I also plan to feature prospect interviews and will do a series of articles ranking drafted NHL prospects.

Here then are my preliminary top 60 ranked 2011 draft eligible prospects.

Notes:

*The table is “sortable” – that is, if you click on any of the headings it will sort them.

*The table is also searchable (top right hand corner of table).

*Just under the title, you can click “Show” and change the quantity you show on one page or you can simply click on bottom right hand corner of table to scroll through the rankings.

*Follow The Hockey Spy on Twitter as I infiltrate, dissect and analyze happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft.

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Update March 2011: NHL Draft Rankings Top 100 – March Madness Edition