Home > 2011 NHL Entry Draft, OHL, Prospects, QMJHL, WHL > [Part Three] 2011 Draft Class Hierarchy

[Part Three] 2011 Draft Class Hierarchy

(Aaron Bell/CHL Images)

Special Thanks to Aaron Bell of CHL Images for the use of his images.

In the final part of the Draft Class Hierarchy series we take a look at the remaining ten players of the first round. The following draft eligible prospects have made the final cut and will appear “on paper” in my first round rankings; however, there are probably about 15-20 players who have the talent to be selected in this range. As a result, number 21 through 30 were selected based on gut instinct. In the end, the players included should turn into solid NHLers and carry less risk (with the exception of #29). There are several players who did not crack the first round that have made an impactful impression on me over the past couple of years and they will not be forgotten. Keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up article that will highlight players omitted from the first round rankings which will include some of my favourite sleepers for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Before we start, a few disclaimers are needed:

  • Rankings are not based on fantasy value
  • Rankings are not a mock draft (to be released later)
  • Estimated Time of Arrivals (ETA) are best personal guesses and will depend largely on the team who selects them. Subject to change

Let’s take a look at #21-30 in the Draft Class Hierarchy…

21. Matt Puempel, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Position: Left Wing, Shoots: Left, Height: 6’1″, Weight: 196 lbs, Hometown: Windsor, ON

55 GP – 34 G – 35 A – 69 P

Video1 Video2

Puempel has finished the past two seasons with back-to-back 30-goal seasons and his stock reflects that. The young goal-scoring forward from Essex missed time at the end of the past season due to a hip injury and his draft ranking has reflected that. Entering the year, Puempel was projected as a top-10 selection but over the course of the year he has slid a bit. The second year Pete is one of the best natural snipers of this draft class. He plays a finesse game but is capable of using his good size to his advantage. At the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, Puempel tied number one ranked RNH as Team Canadas leading scorer and he was only playing fourth line minutes.

Puempel was the OHLs 2010 Rookie-of-the-Year after putting up 64 points on a weak Peterborough Petes team. Matt Puempels draft stock has dropped slightly due to injury but he definitely possesses the talent to be selected in the top half of this draft class. Puempel could be a potential steal.

ETA: 2014-15

Readiness: I have heard some people say that Puempel could “Jeff Skinner” his way into the NHL sooner than later but I think most would like to see him dominate in the OHL for a few seasons before turning pro. Everyone is hoping that he bounces back strong after last years’ hip injury.

22. Boone Jenner, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Position: Center, Shoots: Left, Height: 6’1″, Weight: 204 lbs, Hometown: Dorchester, ON

63 GP- 25 G – 41 A – 66 P


The name “Boone Jenner” is likely the best handle in the 2011 draft class. Jenner represents the type of player that every coach loves and wants. He projects to be a typical third line center that does everything right with very few holes in his game. The runner-up for the 2010 OHL rookie-of-the-year award has solid two-way abilities that should make him an extremely important asset to any NHL team. Jenner competes hard, plays physical and can contribute on the score sheet when needed. I would not be surprised to see Boone wearing a letter on his NHL jersey down the road – he has great leadership qualities.

ETA: 2014 (or later)

Readiness: Jenner’s compete level and all-around game could see him sneak into the pro-ranks sooner than most players his age but that will depend largely on which team selects him. Jenner will return to Oshawa next season as their emotional leader and look to improve upon his offensive numbers. Boone could turn pro after next season but I expect him to spend the next two seasons in the ‘O’ developing his game – especially offensively.

23. Brandon Saad, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Position: Left Wing, Shoots: Left, Height: 6’1″, Weight: 208 lbs, Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

59 GP – 27 G – 28 A – 55 P

Video1 Video2

There were high expectations for the former US NTDP star entering the 2010-11 season. Saad was considered the top rated OHL player by most scouts and expectations were sky high. The scouts were excited to see Saad’s NHL-size, soft hands and smooth skating stride dominate OHL rinks across the land. However, after a strong start to the season Saad struggle with his consistency and battled a few injuries which has caused many people to question the power forward’s pro value. Saad is at his best when he is dominating along the half boards and using his large frame in the cycle. The biggest knock on Saad is that he is not aggressive enough for a kid with his size. The Saad stock has fallen over this past year but this power forward is one of only a few players in the draft that with huge pro potential. Don’t be shocked if Saad is selected in the Top 10 or shortly thereafter.

ETA: 2014

Readiness: If you look back to September 2010, Saad may have been one of a few players projected to be able to step right into NHL in his draft year. However, Saad needs to improve his consistency and he will return to Saginaw next year to showcase his stuff. The young power forward is likely three years away from NHL action (1-2 years of junior, 1 year of pro).

24. Joseph Morrow, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Position: Defence, Shoots: Left, Height: 6’0″, Weight: 197 lbs, Hometown: Sherwood Park, AB

60 GP – 9G – 40 A – 49 P


Morrow is another Winterhawk featured in this draft class and it is easy to see why scouts like him. Morrow projects to be a two-way defenseman and is among the best puck-moving rearguards in the draft. Morrow has a rocket of a point shot but has been criticized about his defensive zone play at times. He is a very efficient skater with great vision and high hockey IQ leading most to believe he should run a powerplay quite effectively.

Morrows position in the draft rankings have been all over the map as he has been near the top ten on some and a late second round pick on others. With Bartschi, Rattie, Nieddereiter, Johansen and Ross as teammates there has been no shortage of scouting reports on Morrow in the past two years. There will be a few scouts very interested in Morrow as a first round selection.

ETA: 2014

Readiness: Traditionally, defenseman usually take longer to develop and with Morrow’s deficiencies occurring in his defensive game it is expected that Morrow will need a year or two of professional seasoning following his junior career.

25. Dmitrij Jaskin, Slavia (CZE)
Position: Right Wing, Shoots: Left, Height: 6’1″, Weight: 196 lbs, Hometown: Omsk, RUS

33 GP – 3 G – 7 A – 10 P


The Czech Republic native is not the prettiest skater in the world but Jaskin does possess all the abilities you look for in a power forward �€“ size, physicality, puck protection skills and an accurate heavy shot. Jaskin will need to improve his skating but it is not poor enough for scouts to sour on him. Dmitrij is the top ranked Czech player in the draft and is a legitimate first round talent. Jaskin has battled a knee injury this season but scouts could regret passing on him in hopes of snagging him later. Jaskin is a passionate player with a great work effort and is one of my personal favourite European players this year.

ETA: 2014

Readiness: Jaskin has already been playing against men in the Czech professional league and that experience helps his development. Jaskin will need to polish his skating skills and come across the pond before we start estimating his time of arrival.

26. Scott Mayfield, Youngstown (USHL)
Position: Defence, Shoots: Right, Height: 6’4″, Weight: 197 lbs., Hometown: St. Louis, MO

50 GP – 7 G – 7 A – 14 P

Radio Profile

Mayfield was named the 2010 World Junior A Challenge Tournament MVP and was instrumental in the USA victory over Canada to win the championship. The Youngstown sophomore is a big, mobile, smooth skating defenseman that moves the puck very well. He had a down year on a terrible Youngstown team but he possesses an offensive upside unlike a lot of defensemen in the draft. Mayfield plays an efficient game defensively and can log huge minutes in a shutdown role as well. There are scouts that were extremely disappointed in his stalled progression this season but there should be a team in the first round that drafts him based on his upside alone.

ETA: 2015

Readiness: Mayfield is committed to Denver University and will head there next season which will delay his ETA. Many prospects opt out of their NCAA eligibility after their second or third year to turn professional so that is an option for Mayfield. However, Mayfield has played for a poor USHL Youngstown team and whoever drafts him will want Scott to prove he can play at the next level and that could take some time 

27. Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Position: Left Wing, Shoots: Right, Height: 5’11”, Weight: 170 lbs, Hometown: Airdrie, AB67 GP – 28G – 51A – 79P

Video1 Video2

Rattie projects to be an offensive forward at the next level but will need to improve his consistency to become a full-time professional. The speedy Albertan finished third in scoring behind Ryan Johansen and Sven Bartschi on a powerhouse Winterhawks team this season. In his rookie campaign, it was reported that Rattie was too much of a “show-off” with his flashy play and those allegations did not sit well with some people. However, Rattie has become a much better teammate and is utilizing his creativity and dynamic skills to make him one of the WHL’s best playmaking forwards.

Its easy to see that offense is Rattie’s biggest asset but he has also shown an effort to improve his defensive game through hard back checking and seems to have developed an agitating style of play.

ETA: 2014

Readiness: Rattie will return to the Winterhawks next season for his fourth WHL campaign and he will use the next couple of years getting stronger and improving his defensive game.The NHL team who selects Rattie will want to see him progress offensively by approaching the century mark in points.

28. Rocco Grimaldi, US NTDP (USHL)
Position: Center, Shoots: Right, Height: 5’6″, Weight: 163 lbs, Hometown: Rossmoor, CA

50 GP -34 G -28 A – 62 P

Video1 Video2

The pint-sized American sniper is one of my personal favourites especially from a fantasy standpoint. The five-foot six-inch Grimaldi was the NTDPs best player this year and was an absolute standout during the Under-18 World Championships. Rocco, the second best name after Boone Jenner in this draft, plays the game with the intensity of a thousand suns. Grimaldi loves to shoot the puck and his dynamic, quick, elusive skating creates a lot of open offensive opportunities for himself and his teammates.
It is quite likely that Rocco Grimaldi will fall outside of the first round strictly due to his size but Rocco deserves to be a first round selection. He will make teams regret passing on him if he isn’t selected in the first round or early in the second.

ETA: 2015 (or later)

Readiness: Rocco possesses that much needed elusiveness quality that smaller players need. However, the little sparkplug would be a lot more appealing if he was able to add a few inches and some weight. Grimaldi has the offensive skills to succeed in the NHL but scouts are concerned that he might be done growing and will have to play against large NHLers at less than 170 lbs. Rocco should see success as he heads to the NCAA but scouts will be interested to see how he plays on a smaller ice surface after scouting him on the large international ice surfaces the past couple of years. Don’t expect to see Grimaldi anytime soon but there is some upside waiting for an NHL team that rolls the dice on him.

29. Tomas Jurco, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Position: Right Wing, Shoots: Left, Height: 6’2″, Weight: 193 lbs, Hometown: Kosice, SVK

60 GP – 31G – 25 A – 56 P

Video1 Video2

Jurco is the newest YouTube sensation in the viral hockey circle. The Sea Dogs’ winger is the fourth player to make the list from the QMJHL’s top team. Jurco has been described as “Bure-esque”� in the way that his offensive skills can change the game in a split second. His good foot speed, great shot and ridiculous puckhandling skills make Jurco one of the purest offensive players available this June. The Slovakian-native doesn�€™t offer much outside of offense but it would be difficult to imagine an NHL scout passing on Jurco’s dynamic upside late in the first or early in the second round.

ETA: 2014

Readiness: Jurco was almost left out of the first round but I just love his offensive upside. Jurco has been playing in the shadows of Huberdeau and Phillips all season and it will be interesting to see how he progresses going forward. Jurco will only make the big show by scoring points so he needs to focus on being not terrible defensively and showing up every game offensively. His progression will depend largely on how quickly he proves that he can compete at the next level as his skating and size should not be an issue.

30. Rickard Rakell, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
Position: Right Wing, Shoots: Right, Height: 6’0″, Weight: 191 lbs, Hometown: Solientuna, SWE49 GP – 19 G – 24 A – 43 P


Rakell appears to be a borderline first round selection but I am fond to the style of game he plays. The two-way forward came to North America from Sweden this past year and posted strong offensive numbers while proving that he is a responsible forward as well. Rakell competed in the World Junior Championships and inherited added responsibilities after Landeskog went down with an injury. Ironically, Rakell has been compared to his Swedish teammate by many calling him �€œLandeskog-lite�€�. Rakell�€™s work ethic and drive are two attributes which scouts absolutely boast about and when you combine that with good offensive skills it is believed that he will become a sure-fire NHLer.

ETA: 2014 (more likely 2015)

Readiness: It is expected that Rakell will return to Plymouth for the next two seasons before graduating to the pro ranks. The young hard-working Swede will likely clear the point-per-game mark next season for the Whalers alongside teammate and 2011 draftee Stefan Noesen.


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