Home > 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Mock Draft, Prospects > Dean Youngblood’s 2011 NHL Mock Draft #1-10

Dean Youngblood’s 2011 NHL Mock Draft #1-10

 

In a three part series, I will be releasing my 2011 NHL Mock Draft with my best guesses (I emphasize the word “guess” since most mock drafts are a crapshoot) on  how each NHL team will make their selections on June 24th in St. Paul, Minnesota.

For the purpose of this mock draft the selections will be based on my opinion of team needs and (like real drafts) some players may be chosen ahead of “better players” simply because of team needs.

To simplify the mock draft, I will be assuming that NO TRADES will be made (again, not realistic but necessary to avoid confusion).

Enjoy!

1st – EDM – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer Rebels, WHL)
2nd – COL – Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener Rangers, OHL)
3rd – FLA – Jonathon Huberdeau (Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL)
4th – NJD – Adam Larsson (Skelleftea, SEL)
5th – NYI – Sean Couturier (Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL)
6th – OTT -Ryan Strome (Niagara IceDogs, OHL)
7th – ATL – Dougie Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs, OHL)
8th – CLB – Ryan Murphy (Kitchener Rangers, OHL)
9th – BOS – Duncan Siemens (Saskatoon Blades, WHL)
10th- MIN – Mika Zibanejad (Djurgardens, SEL)

 

1ST OVERALL – EDMONTON OILERS Select…..

Team Need(s):
- Top Line Center
- Franchise Defenseman

The first-overall pick of the NHL Entry Draft is a huge advantage but General Manager Steve Tambellini and the Oilers’ organization have an extremely important decision to make in order to address their two major areas of need – a franchise defenseman and centerman. As a result, Edmonton’s scouting staff likely knows Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (the top centerman) and Adam Larsson (the top defenseman) even better than their own parents.

Breaking it Down:

When Steve Tambellini steps up to the podium to make the Oilers first-overall selection, we will be listening for one of two names – Larsson or Nugent-Hopkins. In 2010-11, the Edmonton Oilers graduated several key prospects within their organization including Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark and Jeff Petry and the player selected this year could likely become the most significant piece of the puzzle.

Sam Gagner currently sits in the top line center position but his development has been extremely slow. The former London Knight is still very young (21) but at this time he might be better suited as a number two center. On the backend, Ryan Whitney is the team’s go-to defenseman but beyond him there is no sign of a “franchise defenseman” in the system. Martin Marcinin, Jeff Petry and Colton Teubert are all good pieces that will complement the forwards well but they could use a defender like Larsson who can do it all.

What is the bigger need? Well, let’s find out how it should play out…

The Decision:

“With the first selection of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers are proud to select from the Red Deer Rebels Ryan Nugent-Hopkins!”?

Why Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

Simple. RNH is the best player available in the 2011 NHL Draft. The dynamic centerman with an insane level of hockey IQ will make every other player that the Oilers have invested in over the past few years that much better. To add, many experts are projecting the 2012 draft class to be one of the deepest drafts when it comes to quality defenseman. The Oilers will have plenty of opportunity to fill their need for a franchise defenseman next season or possibly later in this years draft. You cannot pass up a player of RNH’s calibre even if he may take a while to arrive in the NHL.

…Plus, Edmonton hasn’t really been that discrete about their love for RNH either.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″, Weight: 164 lbs
Hometown: Burnaby, BC
164GP – 31G – 75A -106P

DY as GM: No debate here. GM Youngblood agrees on the RNH pick.

2ND OVERALL – COLORADO AVALANCHE Select…

 

Team Need(s):

-Goaltending
-Wingers


Breaking it Down:

The Avalanche have two quality picks in the first round as they select 2nd and 11th overall. The mile high city could end up with two impact players very early in the draft. Milan Hejduk has stated that he will return for another season but the loyal veteran is getting long in the tooth and Colorado lacks a long term replacement on the right side. The futures of Peter Mueller (concussion) and Tomas Fleischmann (UFA, blood clot) are somewhat unknown but I would expect that GM Greg Sherman would like to keep both wingers. Ryan Stoa has been extremely disappointing after the organization hoped he would develop into a top 6 winger (and he still could) and David Jones has struggled to stay healthy leaving their wings extremely thin.

Last spring, Sherman decided to pull the trigger on a trade that sent top defensive prospect Kevin Shattenkirk and gritty scoring winger Chris Stewart to St.Louis in exchange for star defender Erik Johnson and the 11th overall pick. Earlier in the season, Colorado traded prospect defenseman Colby Cohen to Boston for some immediate blueline help in Matt Hunwick. As a result, these trades (slightly) depleted the long term depth of the blue line. Fortunately, Colorado had previously stacked their defensive depth with top notch prospects like Stafan Elliott (WHL Defenseman of the Year), Cameron Gaunce, Tyson Barrie, Joel Chouinard and Jonas Holos and are in a better position than most teams.


The Biggest Question:

Can the Avalanche afford to pass on a generational talent like Adam Larsson?

The Decision:

Greg Sherman (with Peter Mueller standing beside him wearing dark glasses and foam helmet) makes his selection,
“With the 2nd pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Gabriel Landeskog from the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers”

Why Landeskog?

While it is hard to pass on Adam Larsson the Avalanche will solve their biggest need for a top 6 winger and welcome a player with the most intangibles in the draft. And, oh ya, Landeskog could fill that winger void earlier than any other player as he is NHL ready.


Gabriel Landeskog,Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6`0, Weight: 207 lbs
Hometown: Stockholm, SWE
53GP-36G-30A-66P

DY as GM:

Every NHL General Manager would love to land Landeskog but I am not ready to make him the 2nd overall selection – especially ahead of Larsson.

To be honest, I would consider taking both Couturier and Huberdeau before Landeskog. Sure, Sherman will likely draft based on need but it’s my belief that when you have a pick in the top five selections it is imperative to select the best player available (BPA).

In saying that, Landeskog represents the top winger available in the draft and is surrounded by centerman and defenseman so I can understand the justification in taking him while he is available.

For me, I wouldn’t be able to pass on Adam Larsson at number two and would look to address your winger need with the 11th overall pick (Bartschi, Saad or Puempel)

3RD OVERALL – FLORIDA PANTHERS Select…

Team Need(s):
-Franchise Center
-Depth at all positions

Breaking it Down:

Dale Tallon arrived in Miami just over a year ago (three-hundred seventy-four days to be exact) to take on the vacant position of the Panthers�€™ General Manager and he quickly cleaned house in hopes of a fresh start.

At the 2010 Entry Draft, Dale Tallon and his staff selected the feisty Erik Gudbranson with the third overall pick and then proceeded to stock the cupboards in the first two rounds as he snatched power forward Nick Bjugstad (19th), sniper Quinton Howden (25th), speedster John McFarland (33rd) and defenseman Alex Petrovic (36th) who had an impressive 57points and 140 PIM for Red Deer this season. Add those players to the young core of Markstrom, Kulikov, Mathias, Repik, Robak, Dadonov, Drew Shore and Garrett Wilson and the Panthers have one of the best prospect groups in the NHL and are headed in the right direction. However, the rebuild will take some time so it�€™s essential for Tallon and his scouting staff to pick a player to grow (and maybe lead) this young group of players.

When Tallon was with the Blackhawks organization he had some tough decisions to make but it appears that he made the correct calls. In 2006, Tallon was deciding between Jonathon Toews, Phil Kessel and Niklas Backstrom and finally made the eventual Stanley Cup captain Toews his third overall selection. One year later, Chicago had the first overall selection and were debating between number-one ranked Kyle Turris, number-two ranked Patrick Kane and third-ranked James van Riemsdyk. Patrick Kane was named the first overall selection in 2007 and Tallon now looks smart after passing on Turris.

Fast forward to June 24th in St. Paul, Minnesota and Tallon is discussing their options. To me, it comes down to three players for the Florida Panthers – Adam Larsson (D), Sean Couturier ( C) and the quickly rising Jonathon Huberdeau (LW/C). Experts believe that Florida will opt for a franchise forward which has people leaning towards Couturier or Huberdeau but can another team let Adam Larsson slip further?

The Decision:

Dale Tallon arrives at the podium to make the 3rd overall selection,

(Under his breath he mutters, ‘F*©& you Stan!’) uh hum, On behalf of the fans of the Florida Panthers, we are proud to select from the Saint John Sea Dogs Jonathon Huberdeau”

Why Jonathon Huberdeau?

It is a gut feeling. Huberdeau brings an exciting dynamic game that Florida desperately needs. The Panthers need a player to sell to their fan base and Huberdeau has the skills to excite the fans. Behind Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau may have the next best set of hands of this draft class. In the future, Florida could be icing an extremely dangerous line with Huberdeau and Dadonov flanking Bjugstad.

Jonathon Huberdeau, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left, Height: 6’1″
Weight: 170 lbs
Hometown: Laval, QC
67GP-43G-62A-105P

DY as GM:
Tallon has been fairly successful at identifying talent and there is a good chance that he goes with the “safer” pick in Larsson or Couturier but if Huberdeau becomes Florida’s third overall pick then I cannot argue his decision. Huberdeau plays well at both ends of the rink and has proven that he can step it up in big games and that is the exact type of player Tallon should be adding to his roster that doesn’t really have a “game breaker” at this point. Huberdeau is a gamebreaker who will make his teammates better with his superb playmaking skills. It is tough to pass on Larsson (again) but I feel that Florida has to.

 

4TH OVERALL – NEW JERSEY DEVILS Select…

Team Need(s):

– Franchise Defenseman
– Top Line Centerman
– Future Starting Goaltender

Breaking it Down:

“In Lou We Trust” is a slogan that the Devils’ organization and its fans have lived by throughout Lou Lamoriello’s tenure as General Manager. Lou has found a knack at getting out of tough situations by using his experience and knowledge but he has ran into some luck as well. Most recently, Lamoriello was able to hammer out the extremely long Kovalchuk contract talks and that experience should help him during Zach Parise’s RFA contract negotiations this summer. ‘Lucky Lou’ received some great news on April 12th when the New Jersey Devils were the winners of the 2011 NHL Draft lottery that propelled them up four spots in the draft from eighth to fourth. The Devils have a few areas of need that they need to address and moving up into the fourth spot gaurantees that one of their needs will be met very nicely.

Regardless of who gets picked in the three spots ahead of them, the Devils are gauranteed to add a potential franchise centerman (Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau, Couturier) or their franchise defenseman (Larsson, Hamilton or Murphy). The Devils have added some nice prospects over the past few drafts including forwards Tedenby, Cormier, Vasyunov, Zharkov, Josefson, and Henrique. Jon Merrill, Mark Fayne, Matt Taormina, Alexander Urbom and Matt Corrente will be the future defenders and should help out top goaltending prospects Jeff Frazee and Scott Wedgewood.

The Devils are deep on left wing (assuming Parise is retained) with Parise, Kovalchuk and Elias able to play the left side and they will be searching for a true number one center to complement their star wingers. Travis Zajac is capable of playing in the top line center slot but he’s more suited for second line duties.

The 2011 draft class does not offer much for starting franchise goaltenders to replace Brodeur and the Devils certainly won’t be addressing that need with the fourth overall pick. New Jersey’s biggest hole in their roster appears to be a defenseman that can log huge minutes and contribute both offensively and defensively. Ideally, Lamoriello would like to grab a defender who fits that billing and immediately step into the Devils’ lineup to help out.

The Decision:

Lou will waste no time as New Jersey makes their selection,

“The New Jersey Devils select Adam Larsson from the Swedish Elite League. Boo Ya!”

Why Adam Larsson?

Larsson is the best available player. Drummondville’s Sean Couturier fits their need for a potential number-one centerman but only if he reaches his full potential. In my opinion, it would be foolish for New Jersey to pass on a defenseman of Larsson’s calibre if he slides to them. It has been over seven years since New Jersey has had a franchise defenseman after both Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer played in their final games as Devils in 2004. Lamoirello will fill that gap that has been sitting there for almost a decade if at all possible.

Adam Larsson, Skelleftea (SEL)
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6`3″
Weight: 220 lbs
Hometown: Skelleftea, SWE
37GP – 1G -8A-9P

DY as GM: Larsson is the best defender available in the 2011 draft class and it would be absolutely shocking if Lamoirello passed on the young Swede. If Larsson is off the board, I expect the Devils to look closely at Sean Couturier or Huberdeau. Adam Larsson is the right choice if he’s available

5TH OVERALL – NEW YORK ISLANDERS Select…

Team Need(s):
- Center
-Defence

Breaking it Down:

Islanders; General Manager Garth Snow must be getting quite comfortable selecting in the fifth position at entry drafts. With the fifth pick last year, Snow selected Portland Winterhawks’ winger Nino Niederreiter strengthing the right wing position. In 2009 the Islanders had a very good draft as they added franchise superstar centerman John Tavares (1st), dependable defenseman Calvin de Haan (12th), goaltender Mikko Koistenen (31st) and energy forward Casey Cizikas (92nd). Snow looked like a genius as he claimed the speedster Michael Grabner from the Florida Panthers and he went on to score 34 goals. The Islanders have drastically improved the look of their organization and at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft they will be looking to draft the BPA.

If there was a weakness in the Islanders’ depth chart it might be the defence but with Mark Streit returning from injury and Calvin de Haan expected to make the jump soon it appears the Islanders have sufficient depth. Travis Hamonic, the Isles’ 2008 2nd round pick, impressed many last season as he was able to contribute both defensively and offensively in the absence of Streit. Snow acquired defenseman Ty Wishart from Tampa Bay in the Roloson deal last year and he is expected to develop into a dependable big-minute defender. Former Sarnia Sting, Mark Katic, raised a lot of eyebrows as he played well for Bridgeport and was able to make his debut with the Islanders late in the season. Katic should be a decent depth addition to the Islanders blueline. Lastly, defenseman Blake Kessel (Phil’s brother) had a strong campaign for New Hampshire notching 27 points in 39 games providing hope for the 2007 6th round draftee. Summarizing, the Islanders’ defense should be just fine.

Predicting what Garth Snow will do on draft day is nearly impossible but if the top four picks are gone as I predicted then he will surely be looking at three players to become the next first round selection of the Islanders. Sean Couturier and defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Murphy will all get long looks from the Islanders’ brass. Dougie Hamilton brings a stabilizing element to the defense core as he plays a relatively simple game providing value both offensively and defensively. Kitchener’s Ryan Murphy is a riskier selection as his game is a little more one-dimensional. The center position could be filled with a tremendous two-way player like Couturier as he can contribute in all areas of the rink.

The Decision:

Bettman calls Garth Snow and Charles Wang to the podium to make the firth selection of the NHL draft,

“Charles and I are proud to announce that the Islanders select Sean Couturier from the Drummondville Voltigeurs”?. Wang pipes in, “Pleeeeze, come support us”


Why Sean Couturier?

One year ago many experts had Drummondville centerman Sean Couturier as the favourite to go first overall in the 2011 draft but a year later many people feel he has fell considerably. Couturier’s skating has been the biggest criticism from most but It shouldn’t be an issue. Former QMJHL star Vinny Lecavalier has never been the greatest skater and he has turned out just fine. Couturier’s skating skills are more of a reflection of his playing style as his size allows him to protect the puck using his reach and large body frame rather than simple out skating his opponents. Take a look at many larger forwards who like to protect the puck to create opportunities (Lecavalier, Penner or Thornton) and you will see that by using their reach they don’t require the blazing speed to beat guys wide. Sure, it would be awesome if he could do both but with the combination of size and excellent hockey intelligence, Couturier should be a perfect fit for the Islanders’ second line center position.

Sean Couturier, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
Position: Center
Shoots: Left
Height: 6`4
Weight: 197 lbs
Hometown: Bathurst, NB
58GP-36G-60A-96P

DY as GM: I would love for the Islanders to swing for the fence here and select Ryan Murphy as Bailey and Frans Nielsen can adequately fill the number two and three center spots just fine. The reward on Murphy’s upside is huge and a puck-moving defenseman who can get the puck to players like Tavares, Okposo, Niederreiter, Balley and Grabner would be huge in everyone’s development

6TH OVERALL – OTTAWA SENATORS Select…

Team Need(s):
- Top 6 Forward

Breaking it Down:
The Senators sit at one of the most interesting places in the draft order and if it weren?€™t for New Jersey winning the draft lottery then Ottawa would likely be a little more comfortable as they would be getting one of the top tier players (RNH, Larsson, Landeskog, Couturier or Huberdeau). Four of those players would help fill an organization need for a top six forward while the fifth (Larsson) would be a colossal steal at number five. Don’t get me wrong, Ottawa will have the opportunity to draft an extremely talented player at 6th but the decision becomes a little tougher.

Taking a look at Ottawa’s potential choices I think you can narrow it down to three of four players who they might consider. The Sens should be considering forwards Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad while defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Murphy have to intrigue Sens’ GM Bryan Murray as well. When selecting in the top ten of the draft, it is my belief that General Managers should be targeting the best player available (BPA) regardless of their team?€™s needs. In this case, Ottawa needs a top six forward but the best players available appear to be both defensemen – Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Murphy.

The defensive prospect depth in Ottawa’s prospect pool is among the best in the entire NHL featuring David Rundblad, Jared Cowen, Patrick Weircioch and Erik Karlsson (who made the jump last year). Because of the defensive depth, I believe Ottawa will be very aggressive in trading up to grab one of the aforementioned forwards. Unfortunately for us, this mock draft does not allow for trades so the Ottawa’s selection must be made at 6th overall.

The Decision:

Bryan Murray and newly named coach (ahem Dave Cameron *see below) appear at the podium when Bettman calls the team picking at 6th overall to come up to make their selection,

“The Senators would like to thank the city of Minnesota for putting on a great draft event. The Ottawa Senators are ecstatic to make Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs their first round selection of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Welcome to Ottawa Ryan!”

Why Ryan Strome?

There is always a possibility that Ottawa grabs a defenseman like Dougie Hamilton or Ryan Murphy regardless of their organizational defensive depth but the need for a top six forward is just too significant to make that selection even if it’s the right one. It is just another reason why Ottawa will trade up to get their forward or trade down if their targeted forwards are gone. In saying that, if Ottawa selects Ryan Strome they shouldn’t be too disappointed as the IceDog forward was sensational in his first full season with Niagara. Over the course of the season, Strome was the fastest rising player in this draft class as he improved his offensive totals by an astonishing 93 points as he was given more responsibility in Niagara. The explosive offensive star has all the skills and intangibles to become an excellent NHLer.

Initially projected to be a second or third round pick, Strome boasts superb skating skills, soft hands and elite vision and with the youngster growing almost two inches over the year his size is no longer a concern. Strome’s work ethic and passion for the game are intangibles that appeal to every NHL scout.

Ryan Strome, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’0″, Weight: 175 lbs,
Hometown: Mississauga, ON
65GP-33G-73A-106P

DY as GM: Again, I am proponent of selecting the BPA and in this case I would select Dougie Hamilton if this was any team other than the Ottawa Senators. If Ottawa cannot move up in the draft and are forced to select at 6th overall then Murray can’t be criticized too much for selecting the best FORWARD available ignoring the fact that Dougie Hamilton might be the BPA. The situation is indeed difficult but a good player will be available for the Ottawa franchise. I think it’s safe to say that a Niagara IceDog will be selected by Ottawa if the draft plays out as I have predicted.

7TH OVERALL – WINNIPEG JETS Select…

Team Need(s):
- Second Line Center
- Top 4 Defenseman
- Future Backup Goaltender

Breaking it Down:

Atlanta Winnipeg will get a fresh breath of air once the legal paperwork is complete and the league (officially) announces that the team will begin next season playing in front of Winnipeg’s loyal fanbase. What better way to start fresh than welcoming another top prospect to your organization a few weeks later. The Thrashers franchise has been stockpiling prospects for the past few years that include Alexander Burmistrov (2010), Ivan Telegin (2010), Evander Kane (2009), Carl Klingberg (2009) and Zach Bogosian (2008). General Manager Rick Dudley has the luxury of picking the best player available with no glaring holes in their organizational depth chart. In saying that, Winnipeg would probably pounce on one of the top centers if Huberdeau, Couturier or Strome fell to them.

The Decision:

Rick Dudley will appear at the podium with a masked-man wearing the jersey of the newly named Winnipeg franchise,

“On behalf of the fans of Winnipeg that have waited so long for the return of an NHL franchise I would like to reveal the identity of the masked-man. Please remove your mask sir.”

The man slowly turns around as his #8 jersey faces the draft floor. He peels off his mask and turns around throwing it into the air. The crowd explodes in applause as Teemu Selanne shoots the flying mask circa 1992-93.

Teemu speaks,

“Winnipeg, I will be returning to your city for one more season.” Epic applause.

After an eight minute standing ovation, Teemu continues,

“With the 7th pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Winnipeg ________s are pleased to make defenseman Dougie Hamilton from the Niagara IceDogs the first ever draft pick of this new franchise”

Why Dougie Hamilton?

Hamilton might not be available at seventh as he’s a difficult prospect to read. There are some people who believe Hamilton could be drafted as high as fourth and others who feel he may slide late into the first round (no chance). Dougie Hamilton is a defenseman who projects to be a top four defenseman capable of logging big minutes. He owns a smooth powerful skating stride to combine with good size and good hockey IQ. To add, Dougie Hamilton recently took home the CHLs 2011 Scholastic Player of the Year award after finishing with a 94% average and that intelligence shouldn’t be overlooked.

In all likelihood, Hamilton will likely develop into a defender similar to Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester. Hamilton has good offensive instincts that will allow him to play effectively on the powerplay but also plays a good sound defensive game. Hamilton would join a talented defence core that features Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, and Zach Bogosian. It’s been rumoured for a while that Bogosian might be on the move which would make the Hamilton-pick look like a good fit as his replacement.

Dougie Hamilton,Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’4, Weight: 187 lbs
Hometown: St. Catharines, ON
67GP-12G-46A-58P

DY as GM: Hamilton is a solid prospect who I believe is one of the more sure-fire NHLers. But, with Atlanta moving to Winnipeg, I would love to see the new franchise make a huge splash by trading up. As I stated in the Winnipeg introduction, I feel that Atlanta will pick the best player available. In my opinion, Dougie Hamilton would be a good pick if he fell to seventh.

8TH OVERALL – COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS Select…

 

Team Need(s):
– Puck moving defencemen (multiple) BOLDED. Italicized. And, underlined.
– Goaltending Depth

Breaking it Down:

No surprise here. The Columbus Blue Jackets have been desperately trying get a puck moving defenseman that is capable of getting the puck in the hands of its talented forward group consisting of Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, Jakob Voracek and soon-to-be-NHLer Ryan Johansen. The factorganization has actually drafted some defencemen with good offensive skills that could develop into the quarterback they need in prospects John Moore (’09), David Savard (’09) and Cody Goloubef (’08). Both Anton Stralman and Kris Stralman haven’t developed that the organization had hoped for. There should be several candidates available when the Blue Jackets pick at the 8th spot but it will be up to Scott Howson to identify who is the best fit and the pressure is high for the fourth-year general manager. Let’s get to the point as everyone fully expects the Blue Jackets to draft a defenseman…

The Decision:

After long nights of watching film and debating several different draft targets Scott Howson approaches the draft stage to make Columbus’ first round selection,

“The Blue Jackets are thrilled to draft a player of his calibre at this position and would like to select defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League”

Why Ryan Muphy?

Murphy should not be a surprise pick if he is still on the board when it is Columbus’ turn. The young defenseman oozes offensive talent like no other defenseman in an entry draft since Ryan Ellis. While Howson will definitely take a close look at prospects Nathan Beaulieu, Jamie Oleksiak, Oscar Klefbom and Duncan Siemens, it is the smooth skating defenseman with silky smooth hands that the Jackets should be targeting.

The city of Columbus has never had a defenseman that can skate and provide offense like Murphy can and he should provide the organization with a breath of fresh air. Murphy isn’t large by NHL standards but his lack of size should not be an issue as his skating skills will more than make up for that. The Kitchener Ranger will need to bulk up and improve his defensive game in order to compete at the NHL level against bigger opponents but with his extremely high hockey intelligence that shouldn’t be an issue.

Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Height: 5’10, Weight: 175 lbs
Hometown: Aurora, ON
63GP – 26G -53-79P

DY as GM: As mentioned above, Ryan Muurphy fits the hole perfectly on Columbus’ backend. There is a small chance that Dougie Hamilton becomes available at the 8th position but I still think I would opt for Ryan Murphy over him if I were in Scott Howson’s place. Nathan Beaulieu provides a good all-around game that the Jackets could be interested in but I have been more impressed with the play of Ryan Murphy than that of Nathan Beaulieu. Plus, Murphy’s 79 points this past season is something impressive. The reward on Ryan Murphy is just too great to pass up on for Howson. Ryan Murphy was ranked 8th by the International Scouting Services in their final rankings and that is the exact position I expect him to be selected.

 

9TH OVERALL – BOSTON BRUINS Select…

 

Team Need(s):
- Top 4 defenseman
– Centerman (Savard, Bergeron, Krejci all have had concussions so a center would be a decent insurance plan)

 

Breaking it Down:As a Maple Leaf fan, it will be quite painful when Boston steps up to the podium to make the ninth selection of the draft with the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first round pick. The evil in me wants to predict a disastrous selection at ninth but as a diehard hockey fan I cannot do that to the readers. The Bruins have the luxury of competing in the Stanley Cup Finals at the chance of winning the cup and making a Top 10 draft selection. It’s been a good year for the Bruins.

The Bruins have good depth throughout their lineup but Peter Chiarelli will likely be searching to add to his defensive depth – the weakest of all positions. Tomas Kaberle and Shane Hnidy are the only two defenders coming off the books and Kaberle’s future with the Bruins is unknown at this point. The Bruins have a well stocked prospect cupboard with the likes of Ryan Spooner, Jordan Caron, Jared Knight, Zach Hamill and Tyler Seguin all expected to make an impact soon. The big bad bruins will be searching for a top four defenseman to add to their roster.

The Decision:

Peter Chiarelli enters the draft laughing as he prepares to make the 9th selection while there is a good chance that a Toronto Maple Leaf gets selected last in a draft (at least in the first round). If you are confused, please see Phil Kessel’s all-star draft results.

“The Toronto Maple Leafs, oops, I mean Boston Bruins are proud to make Duncan Siemens the 9th selection of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Thanks Brian”

Why Duncan Siemens?

Duncan Siemens fits the ‘Big Bad Bruins’ style of play perfectly with his physical style of play and tendencie to rough it up on a nightly basis. Furtunately, Siemen possesses some offensive skills that can help any NHL franchise looking for a point here and there. The rugged Saskatoon Blade has all the qualities to become a great NHL. Simeons is a great skater who can make that important first pass. To add, Duncan has the ability to lay out opponents with highlight reel bodychecks and is no stranger to dropping the mitts either striking fear in his opponents. His offensive upside is the biggest debate among scouts but teams should be drafting Siemens mainly on his sound defensive play. The offensive numbers will be bonus.

Duncan Siemens, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Position: Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 200 lbs
Hometown: Sherwood Park, AB
72GP – 5G -38A-43P

DY as GM:
The Bruins will have the choice of several defensemen when it comes to their pick including Siemens, Oleksiak, Connor Murphy, Joseph Morrow and possibly Ryan Murphy and/or Dougie Hamilton (if not selected). I would be surprised to see Chiarelli deviate from selecting a defender but crazier things have happened. If the Bruins do opt to go with a forward instead, Mika Zibanejad would sure look good in the black and gold.

 

10TH OVERALL – MINNESOTA WILD Select…
 
Team Need(s):
– Top 6 Forward (Center, Right Wing)
– Two-way Defenseman

Breaking it Down:

The hosts of the entry draft will certainly be looking to leave a lasting impression with the tenth overall selection. Historically, the Minnesota Wild have been atrocious at the draft day and equally as bad at developing their prospects. The Wild have had a little more success in recent years after drafting defenseman Nick Leddy (no longer with Minny) and goaltenders Darcy Kuempfer and Matt Hackett in 2008.
General Manager Chuck Fletcher has to be most pleased with the results of his 2010 draftees as he added the electric Mikael Granlund and Denver star Jason Zucker.

The team will need to continue their recent success as the Wild are snugged up against the salary cap and need to bring in some cheap talent. Veterans Antti Miettinen, Andrew Brunette, John Madden and Chuck Kobasew headline the Wild UFA this offseason and it’s unknown which players will return. It’s been heavily rumoured that Brunette will not return and if so, the Wild will have to replace his consistent offensive production somehow. Minnesota should be looking to add another top six forward (preferably a centerman or right winger) but a defenseman who is capable of logging big minutes will also be welcomed with open arms in St.Paul. In addition, Minnesota has always struggled to score offensively and the lack of big bodies in their lineup is a bit concerning. Chuck Fletcher hopes to address those two particular needs and I think I have the perfect fit for him…

The Decision:

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman will call upon Fletcher to make the Minnesota Wild’s first round selection and as Fletcher walks up he quiety pronouncing his picks’ name to save embarrassment,

“We would like to thank all of the Minnesota Wild fans who have joined us today. It’s truly an exciting day for the Minnesota organization as we welcome the next wave of talent into our building today. The Minnesota Wild are pleased to select Mika Zibanejad of the Swedish Elite League with the 10th overall pick!”

Why Mika Zibanejad?

Mika Zibanejad (pronounced Zee-bahni-yad) almost went to the Boston Bruins at 9th overall (especially considering Savard’s injury). Zibanejad is a player already with professional experience playing for Djurgarden (SEL) and brings a whole lot of passion to the rink. At 6-foot 2-inches and close to 200 pounds, Zibanejad would add size to the Wild lineup while offering some good offensive skills to go along with it. Zibanejad utilizes his size well and likes to drive to the net engaging himself physically to create scoring opportunities.

The Swedish pivot (also can play wing) has good foot speed, soft hands and an NHL-calibre shot making him an extremely well rounded scoring forward. Zibanejad is the top-ranked European forward of this draft and his intangibles will bring personality to a franchise desperate to excite its fanbase. If Zibanejad puts a Minnesota Wild jersey on come June 24th, it won’t take very long before he becomes a fan favourite in St. Paul.

Mika Zibanejad, Djurgarden (SEL)
Position: Center/Winger
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’2″, Weight: 192lbs
Hometown: Huddinge, SWE
26GP – 5G -4A-9P

DY as GM: Dean Youngblood fully endorses Zibanejad as the Minnesota Wild’s first round selection. Mika addresses every need for the Minnesota Wild as he can play both center and wing, owns good size and most importantly is a hard worker witha great personality. Plus, Zibanejad is signed until 2013 with Djurgarden leaving him to develop overseas and far away from the awful Wild development program (haha Kidding…..but, not really).

I would also recommend that Chuck Fletcher strongly consider Portland’s Sven Bartschi and Assat’s Joel Armia. Bartschi lacks size but the scoring punch is definitely there. Armia’s biggest fault is consistency but he has star potential and is a big bodied winger. In the end, Zibanejad would be the right choice.  

 
 
 
 
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