Home > 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Mock Draft, Prospects > Dean Youngblood’s 2011 NHL Mock Draft – #21-30

Dean Youngblood’s 2011 NHL Mock Draft – #21-30

 

21st OVERALL – OTTAWA SENATORS Select….

Team Need(s):

– Top 6 Skilled Forwrads

Breaking it Down:

Ottawa makes it’s second selection in the first round at the 21st position after receiving the pick from Nashville for veteran center Mike Fisher. Once again, the Senators have the defensive depth to target skilled forwards to continue with their rebuild. With only four picks in last year’s NHL Draft, GM Murray will certainly be looking to stock pile prospects with all different types of potential. Last season, the Ottawa Senators’ most skilled player Jason Spezza represented the team’s largest forward at 6’3″. The Senators are in the position where they can take a big of a gamble with a second first round pick.


The Decision:

GM Bryan Murray and Piere Dorion head to the stage to make the 21st selection,

“The Ottawa Senators are proud to select from the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals winger Nicklas Jensen

Why Nicklas Jensen?

What team doesn’t want a 6-foot-3 winger who has tremendous speed, can make ‘thread the needle’ passes and score with an impressive pro release? Jensen represents a rare combination of size and skill that teams often spend years trying to find. The skilled Dane didn’t post elite numbers (58 points) in his rookie season but he did bank an impressive with 29 goals and showed that he was very reliable defensively as well. Jensen places an importance on becoming a rounded two-way winger but also knows that he possesses a lot of offensive potential. The smooth-skating Jensen was ranked 21st in the Central Scouting Services’ final rankings and the Senators should be thrilled to walk away with him at that position.

Nicklas Jensen, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Position: Left/Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 187 lbs
Hometown: Herning, Denmark
61GP-29G-29A-58P

DY as GM: Oshawa’s Jensen has been one of my personal favourites of this draft class and he could develop into a steal. Jensen has the attributes, intangibles and plays a complete game that should make him a good NHLer.

The Senators will surely be considering several other players at twenty-one (Namestnikov, Khokhlachev, Rattie, Saad or Grimaldi) but I think that Jensen presents as the best player here. Plus, Ottawa doesn’t select russians too often and the other players come with real concerns (size, consistency, and work ethic).

 

22nd OVERALL – ANAHEIM DUCKS Select…

Team Need(s):

– Defencemen
– Skilled Centre

Breaking it Down:

After analyzing Anaheim’s current depth chart there are two glaring needs that stick out for the Ducks organization. Anaheim has some fantastic talent upfront on their wings which include Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon and Brandon MacMillon. There is a good chance that three of those prospects develop into contributors for the big club. However, Anaheim could use some depth at the center position as the organization’s top pivots are represented by Peter Holland and Nick Bonino. Both players are good but teams always like to have depth at a vital position. Secondly, Anaheim could use another defenseman to add to their prospect pool. Sbisa, Fowler and Shultz represent the team’s top defensive prospects but adding a reliable stay at home defender to play with the offensive Fowler and Sbisa would be a good approach.

The Decision:

Bettman calls on Anaheim to make their selection and GM Bob Murray eagerly makes his way to the podium,

“The Anaheim Ducks are proud to select from the Swedish Elite League’s Farjestad defenseman Jonas Brodin

Why Jonas Brodin?

As previously stated above, Brodin will bring stability to the Ducks’ defence core to allow Fowler and Sbisa to attack offensively. Brodin plays a simple game but he is a tremendous skater and makes the first pass effectively. At 6-foot-1, Brodin isn’t large and he will need to bulk up but he is a rock defensively and projects to be a very good second pairing defenseman.

Jonas Brodin, Farjestad (SEL)
Position: Defence
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’1″, Weight: 170 lbs
Hometown: Karlstad, Sweden
42GP-0G-4A-4P

DY as GM: You know what you are getting with Brodin. There is no denying that. Brodin is ranked as Europe’s 3rd best skater behind only Larsson and Zibanejad but if I were Bob Murray then I would be looking closely at number 6 on that list – Oscar Klefbom. The Klefbom kid is the yang to Brodin’s ying. The two defenders were teammates in Farjestad last season and have become good friends. For me, I admire the personality and enthusiam that Klefbom plays with and he has a lot of potential. However, Brodin definitely fits the Ducks’ need for a stable reliable defender better.

Anaheim could also become the first team to select a goaltender especially with Hiller’s recent vertigo issues. The Ducks have a tendency to lean towards players with size making wingers Saad, Biggs and Ritchie possibilities as well.

23rd OVERALL – PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Select…

Team Need(s):

– Skilled Wingers
– Defencemen


Breaking it Down:

The Pittsburgh Penguins franchise continues their search for skilled forwards to complement superstar centermen Crosby and Malkin. Sure, Shero did a good job acquiring winger James Neal from the Dallas Stars in exchange for the talented puck moving defenseman Alex Goligoski but that doesn’t gaurantee he will be the right ‘fit’.

The Penguins are more than stable at the center position with Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Jeffrey and prospect Tom Kuhnhackl. Simon Depres is the most likely candidate to replace the hole left after trading away Alex Goligoski but there’s no reason to rush him into the system. Beau Bennett and Eric Tangradi are Pittburgh’s top winger prospects and I fully expect the Pens to draft another one come June.

The Decision:

The crowd cheers as the Penguins are called to make their selection. Ray Shero stands up from Pittsburgh’s draft table and motions for his draft team to follow,

“The Pittsburgh Penguins organization are proud to select a native of Pittsburgh, PA. The Penguins would like to welcome Brandon Saad as the newest member of the Penguin’s organization.”

Why Brandon Saad?

Saad is another potential winger who could flank either Crosby, Malkin or even Jordan Staal. A native of Pittsburgh, Saad dominated midget and high school hockey before committing to the US Under-18 team. After one season in the USHL, Saad left the Under-18 USA Team to join the Saginaw Spirit. Entering his first OHL season, people predicted that Saad would dominate the OHL. Unfortunately the power forward didn’t meet the unfair expectations initially placed on him resulting in his draft stock falling.

Saad was once touted to be a top-ten selection in the 2011 NHL draft and he certainly has all the tools to become a dominant forward if he can overcome the consistency issues that he struggled with all season long. Brandon Saad owns great speed, soft hands and can physically take over the game along the boards when he is fully engaged – but that doesn’t happen often enough. Scouts definitely like Saad’s potential and he could just become that perfect fit alongside Crosby in Pittsburgh. Saad could become a player capable of scoring 30+ goals at the next level.

Brandon Saad, Saginaw Spirit(OHL)
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″, Weight: 197 lbs
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
59GP-27G-28A-55P

DY as GM: It’s no secret that teams love drafting big power forwards who project as goal scorers. Saad fits that billing perfectly. As with most power forwards, it’s often a long wait for them to achieve consistency in their game. The hometown Saad would be a fantastic pick for the Penguins especially with their need for skilled wingers as he does have the potential to play in the top six.

Pittsburgh could add another defenseman if they feel that there is one available that’s better than any potential forwards. Shero should consider the following players for his team – Brandon Saad, Ty Rattie, Tyler Biggs and defenseman Oscar Klefbom or Scott Mayfield. There is one player available with good upside who could absolutely fill their need on the wing. Simply type in “Jurco” on YouTube and you can view a player who could make fans in Pittsbugh go crazy over another star.

 

24th OVERALL – DETROIT RED WINGS Select…

Team Need(s):

– Starting Goaltender
– Defencemen
– Scoring Power Forward

Breaking it Down:

The Detroit Red Wing’s franchise will be looking to the future (as always) and will look to address what they believe is a “need” in their system. It’s almost foolish for me to try and predict what they need because I am sure they will make me look stupid. Oh well.

Taking a look at their extremely deep prospect pool full of players waiting to become the next star produced the Wings I can find a few holes that could easily be improved. With Jimmy Howard representing their future between the pipes there is a real need to address their goaltending situation especially since Niklas Lidstrom wont be around forever to make life easier for Howard. Thomas McCollum hasn’t really panned out as expected so the Wings will likely add a goaltender within the first few rounds. Tatar, Mursak, Nyquist, Pulkkinen, Sheahan and Jarnkrok are all forward prospects with Top 6 upside so look for Detroit to address their backend or goaltender needs.

The Decision:

Ah, the Detroit Red Wings’ draft team is on the board and you can bet that everyone will stop and listen as Ken Holland and his scouting staff approaches the podium to make their selection (probably another ‘steal’),

“Hello. On behalf of the Red Wings’ organization we would like to thank the Minnesota Wild and the City of St. Paul for the fantastic week. With the 24th pick of the draft, the Detroit Red Wings are proud to select defenseman Oscar Klefbom from Farjestad of the SEL”

Why Oscar Klefbom?

Klefbom has become my favourite defenseman after Adam Larsson and Nathan Beaulieu. The Red Wings are in need of another offensive defenseman to join prospects Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl to replace the legendary Niklas Lidstrom and recently retired Brian Rafalski. Klefbom could easily be gone before the Red Wings get to pick as some experts have him going in the top half of the draft. At the NHL Draft Combine last week people were raving about Klefbom’s outgoing personality and overall impressive demeanor. The Swede appears to be very likeable and his run and gun style of play will be a fan favourite at the NHL level.

Klefbom’s offensive upside is one of the highest in this year’s draft class as he likes to rush the puck and laying out big hits will get fans on their feet as well. The team who selects Klefbom will be getting a defender with good size (6’4″, 200 lbs) who is capable of offensive and defensive minutes. Klefbom was Team Sweden’s captain at the WJC this past year which isn’t surprising given his personality.

Oscar Klefbom, Farjestad(SEL)
Position: Defence
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’4″, Weight: 200 lbs
Hometown: Karlstad, SWE
23GP-1G-1A-2P

DY as GM: The Swedish connection with european scout Hakan Andersson is well documented and there’s a chance that Andersson approves the Klefbom selection. Detroit can address their defensive depth by developing Klefbom into the player that fits their system and that will do wonders for a prospect who at times is caught running around.

Other potential selections include defenseman Jonas Brodin (need a shutdown defenseman), power forward Tyler Biggs (see needs section), centers Khokhlachev or Namestnikov (to eventually replace Datsyuk) and goaltender Chris Gibson (definite possibility).

 

25th OVERALL – TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS Select…

 

Team Need(s):

– Top Line Centerman
– Puck-moving Defenceman

– Goaltender


Breaking it Down:

Here we are sitting waiting to make the Maple Leafs’ first round selection. How many of you were waiting for this pick? To be honest, I am extremely interested in seeing how the Maple Leafs’ 2011 draft pans out as it’s a crucial moment in their rebuild. I am being cautiously optimistic but with their history of drafting I am preparing myself to violently criticize their selections.

Brian Burke has been straight forward with the media stating that he will attempt to package his two late first round picks in order to move up in the draft but he won’t sacrifice the future to do so (ahem, ala Kessel). The Toronto Maple Leafs have several needs to fulfill but their priority remains a top line center. It has been no secret that Burke prefers his draft picks to have size and play the game with ‘truculence’ (for normal people we use the term ‘aggressive’). The importance of having a “plan” when rebuilding a franchise cannot be emphasized enough but I believe Burke has followed the plan almost to a fault. The 2011 draft class is deep with talented centers but Burke might need to deviate from his plan of selecting big truculent players in order to select the best available centerman.

The Decision:

Leaf fans across the world collectively hold their breath as the grumpy wavy-white-haired Brian Burke stomps up the stairs en route to the draft podium,

“We, the Toronto Maple Leafs, would like to (insert big complicated word here) thank Minnesota for their first-class hospitality. Without further ado, the Toronto Maple Leafs are pleased to select from from the US Under-18 Team of the United States Hockey League Jonathon “JT” Miller”

Why JT Miller?

Surprise! Burke picks a pivot who owns good size (6’1″, 190 lbs), plays aggressive and just happens to be an American. Miller is ranked 23rd by NHL’s Central Scouting and 17th by the International Scouting Service so based on this mock Miller falls slightly in the rankings. The Ohio resident does not project to fill Toronto’s need for a top line centerman but he is one of the most complete players in the draft. The power forward is committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of 2011 where he will display his speed and willingness to get dirty. Miller has been described as “Kesler-lite” and his compete level will be enough to frustrate the opposition on a nightly basis. There are a lot of things to like about JT Miller as he will certainly work his a** off to make sure he becomes an NHLer. It’s expected that Miller will honour his full four years of college so don’t expect him to contribute for a few years.

Jonathon ‘JT’ Miller, US Under-18(USHL)
Position: Center/Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’1″, Weight: 190 lbs
Hometown: East Palestine, OH
21GP-3G-12A-15P

DY as GM: Miller is not my first choice but he’s a solid pick who has all of the intangibles that increase his chances of becoming a full-time NHLer. Best case scenario Miller will become the second line center. In the worst case scenario, Miller contributes on special teams and skates in the third line center spot. Ideally, I would love Burke to package the picks to move up to select Mark McNeil or Mark Scheifele (there is a chance he falls to the 25th spot) but a trade might be a long shot.

As mentioned in the “Breaking it Down” section, I would like Burke to deviate from his “plan” and select a more unconventional centerman in one of Namestnikov, Khokhlachev or Grimaldi. Namestnikov is a Russian who plays the game hard and he would complement Kessel perfectly as his set-up man. Grimaldi would be my first choice and is the best player available (in my opinion). I wouldn’t mind the Leafs using one of their late round picks on Grimaldi if they cannot move up in the draft. In saying that, I don’t expect Burke to draft a member of this trio and see Miller as the “Burke-type” of centerman. The Toronto Maple Leafs will seriously consider selecting winger Tyler Biggs as well (big, nasty and American).

 

26th OVERALL – WASHINGTON CAPITALS Select…

 

Team Need(s):

– Depth Defencemen
– Scoring Power Forward

Breaking it Down:

The Washington Capitals are in an enviable position as their organization has good depth at every position. With Neuvirth, Varlamov and Holtby all in their twenties there is no need for a goaltender. The Capitals’ prospects Eakin, Kuznetsov, Galiev, and Perreault all have good upside and will make an impact in the not-so-distant future. On the backend, rookie Carlson and Alzner are coming off a solid season where they earned important minutes. Orlov is another defensive gem waiting in the wings for his debut with the caps too. GM George McPhee will likely take the “draft-the-best-player-available-regardless-of-their-position approach” I wouldn’t blame him. The Capitals could use a big strong power forward type of player as they are most likely to lose Brooks Laich to free agency this summer.

The Decision:

The cameras zoom in closely to George McPhee as he leans forward into the microphone to make his selection,

“The Washington Capitals are extremely thrilled to select with the 26th pick from the London Knight of the Ontario Hockey League, Vladislav Namestnikov “


Why Vladislav Namestnikov?

The Capitals have been making a habit of selecting skilled forwards with their first round picks and it’s well known that they aren’t afraid to select Russian players either. Fortunately, Namestnikov doesn’t come with the “risk factor” associated with most other Russian players as he has absolutely no contractual ties to the KHL and has made it quite clear from a young age that the NHL is his dream. Like Landeskog, when the composed Vladislav Namestnikov speaks it is quite clear that his ability to speak the English language is astonishing. Namestnikov could easily teach Ovechkin a few things about the english language.

The speedy and elusive Namestnikov plays a strong two-way game and prides himself on being responsible at both ends of the rink. In his first OHL season, Vladislav was quite impressive notching 30 goals and 68 points and played in all 68 games. Those numbers are extremely good considering the relatively weak team he played on. Scouts project Namestnikov as a playmaker but he does have a knack for scoring goals as well. Washington has lots of time to develop whomever they select this year and that would give Namestnikov a few years to develop his game and bulk up a bit.

Vladislav Namestnikov, London Knights(OHL)
Position: Center
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’0″, Weight: 170 lbs
Hometown: Voskresensk, RUS
68GP-30G-38A-68P

DY as GM: To be honest, I had an extremely difficult time deciding on the Capitals’ pick considering that they could actually select about 30+ different players in their position. To help with my decision I looked at the Capitals’ draft history and tendencies and settled on a speedy, hard-working, skilled Russian center.

I wouldn’t be surprised if McPhee changed it up a bit and selected a different type of player (big and nasty like Biggs) but at this point Namestnikov is one of the best players available. In the end, my decision came down to five players who could fit nicely in Washington – Namestnikov, Khokhlachev, Grimaldi, Rattie or Biggs. For me, Namestnikov offers a lot of skill with little risk and his work ethic is admirable. The Capitals definitely have the forward depth to justify rolling the dice on Rocco Grimaldi or Tomas Jurco and it wouldn’t surprise me if they did just that.

 

27th OVERALL – SAN JOSE SHARKS Select…

 

Team Need(s):

– Defencemen (puck moving and big minute munchers)
– Skilled Forwards (specifically wingers)



Breaking it Down:

Historically, the Sharks have been extremely successful at drafting and developing forwards and their NHL arrival time always seems to be sooner than other teams. In more recent, years the Sharks organizational depth at forward has started to become depleted due McGinn and Couture graduating to the big club. Prospect right winger Charlie Coyle is the only notable forward in the system with ‘promise’ so that is a concern for Sharks’ management.

Last season, Dan Boyle logged a ton of minutes as the Sharks were forced to go with a young and inexperienced defence core. The Sharks do have some promising defensive prospects in their system with Taylor Doherty, Nick Petricki and Justin Braun highlighting the group but adding depth at the backend would be a good proactive approach.

The Decision:

The Sharks’ scouting staff ceases their quick discussion and appear to agree on their selection,

“With the 27th pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the San Jose Sharks select from the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks winger Ty Rattie”



Why Ty Rattie?

The undersized smooth skating winger with tremendous creativity has the potential to be one of the better playmaking forwards from this draft class. Rattie offers an arsenal of offensive skills that feature effortless puckhandling, elusive skating and elite playmaking abilities. Ty has been criticized, especially during his rookie season, for being too much of a ‘showboat’ at times. However, Rattie impressed scouts last season as he altered his game to complement his teammates better and his 79 points reflect the success he had. Rattie would be a fantastic prospect for the Sharks to add to their system especially since he can benefit from spending a few more seasons developing his game. The main roster isn’t in need of any immediate help from offensive forwards with Top 6 potential making Rattie a smart long-term plan.

Ty Rattie, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 5’11”, Weight: 163 lbs
Hometown: Airdrie, AB

67GP-21G-58A-79P

DY as GM: There is a strong possibility that a team selects Ty Rattie much earlier than 27th (as he is ranked 17th among North American skaters) but I am a little skeptical of his numbers leaving me to wonder how much his talented teammates (Niederreiter, Johansen and Bartschi) influenced his stats. Rattie definitely has very good offensive skills and his edgy style of play provides another whole dimension to his game.

GM Wilson isn’t likely to draft another centerman (unless he falls head over heels for one) so I expect him to look closely at Rattie, Biggs, Khokhlachev (plays C and W), and Jurco. Rattie makes the most sense to me but the nasty Biggs is also a good fit with his ability to play different roles.

 

28th OVERALL – TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING Select…

Team Need(s):

– Puck Moving Defenseman
– Skilled Centers

Breaking it Down:

Steve Yzerman joined the Tampa Bay Organization just prior to last year’s Entry Draft and as a result he put a lot of the trust into the scouting staff already in place. With a successful year under his belt, Steve Yzerman will be more eager to make his thoughts more prevalent during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul Minnesota.

The Lightning have decent talent in their pipelines with forwards Brett Connolly, Carter Ashton, Dana Tyrell, James Wright, Richard Panik, and Johan Harju. Between the pipes Tampa is looking good with young talented goalies Dustin Tokarski, Cedrick Desjardins and Jaroslav Janus all within the system. There is a definite need for the Lightning to address their backend as they are in need of another puck moving defenseman who can play alongside Victor Hedman in the future.

GM Steve Yzerman will definitely add some defencemen to the organization’s depth charts but I have a gut feeling he won’t make it a pressing need with his first selection at 28th.

The Decision:

Steve Yzerman and Guy Boucher are both tremendous hockey minds and I am certain that both of them will interact closely with the Lightning scouting team to ensure that they get the best player available,

“The Tampa Bay Lightning are proud to select from the US Under-18 team, of the United States Hockey League, center Rocco Grimaldi Come on up Rocco”

Why Rocco Grimaldi?

Reason one, Grimaldi would be considered a top 5 pick in this year’s draft class if it weren’t for his small 5-foot 6-inch frame. Reason two, The Lightning showed last year with their Brett Connolly selection that they are willing to take the most talented player available regardless of any ‘red flags’ associated with them. Reason three, Rocco shouldn’t fall this low and if he’s available at 28th Yzerman surely won’t pass up the chance to select him even if his team needs defencemen. Projecting where Rocco Grimaldi lands in the draft is extremely tough and I wasn’t going to let him fall out of the first round – NO WAY!

The International Scouting Services have the speedy center ranked as the 15th best skater. On the other hand, NHL Central Scouting has Grimaldi ranked 32nd among North American skaters. As you can see, there’s a huge range of where people ranked the small dynamic US NTDP star. For me, Grimaldi is the most interesting player of this year’s draft class and I will be watching closely. Scouts definitely agree that the kid has elite skill so that will bode well for Grimaldi but will teams be brave enough to use a high draft pick on him?

Grimaldi might be extremely undersized but he plays with a lot of energy, owns a deceptively quick shot and is very difficult to knock off the puck with his low center of gravity. I watched Grimaldi during the recent Under-18 Championships and he was by far the best player on Team USA and absolutely loves to shoot the puck projecting to be a goal scorer.

Rocco Grimaldi, US NTDP(USHL)
Position: Center
Shoots: Right
Height: 5’6″, Weight: 163 lbs
Hometown: Anaheim, CA, USA
50GP-34G-28A-62P


DY as GM:
Sure, Tampa needs that puck moving defenseman but Yzerman will take the BPA and address that need later or through free agency. Grimaldi is, by far, the best player available. The Lightning have already went on record stating that they will not put too much emphasis on player size and will draft a player based on their skill.

If I were to send my recommendations to ‘Stevie Y’ on who they should consider, my list would consist of centers Grimaldi or Catenacci, wingers Jurco, Biggs or Danault and defenders Mayfield, Sproul or Musil. Rocco would be a ‘rock-solid’ pick.

 

29th/30th OVERALL – TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS Select…

Note: If Boston wins the Stanley Cup Toronto will pick 30th

Team Need(s):

– Top Line Centerman
– Puck-moving Defenceman
– Goaltending Depth


Breaking it Down:

Brian Burke is an unpredictable man and he will surely surprise us with one of his picks in the first round (assuming he doesn’t trade them). He is a man set in his ways and if he has a guy who he likes then it will be extremely difficult to persuade him otherwise. The Maple Leafs need to continue to add to the prospect depth that currently includes Nazem Kadri, Joe Colborne, Jake Gardiner, Keith Aulie, Luca Caputi, Jesse Blacker, Greg McKegg, Brad Ross, Jerry D’Amigo and whichever player Toronto selects at 25th (I took JT Miller). Toronto can either opt for another forward or choose add another defensive prospect.

The Decision:

Brian Burke ends his phone call with an anonymous NHL GM hoping to complete a trade and decides to continue forward with their selection after not getting what he wanted via trade,

“The Toronto Maple Leafs are thrilled to select from the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting forward Brett Ritchie”

Why Brett Ritchie?

Did you really think we were going to get through the first round without me selecting a player from the Sarnia Sting? Truth be told, despite his current ranking of 36th by NHL Central Scouting, Ritchie is the type of player who has the potential to go much higher than 29th/30th. The big skilled winger was projected as a Top 20 pick entering the 2010-11 season but battled with mononucleosis during his sophmore season.

Despite missing almost a month of action, Ritchie potted 41 points in 49 games and was the best player on the Sting team on most nights. Ritchie has represented Team Ontario and Team Canada several times internationally and has become one of their most valuable players. Brian Burke was on hand to witness Ritchie during the World Under 18 Championships this past April when he notched two goals to help Canada come from behind to force overtime. Canada lost in overtime to Russia.

Ritchie has great puck protection skills and thrives in the cycle game down low. He drives to the net and owns a good quick shot making him dangerous when in tight. Eight years ago Brian Burke was the GM of the Vancouver Canucks and he missed out on selecting Ryan Getzlaf when he went 19th overall. Vancouver eventually grabbed Kesler at 23rd but Burke has the chance to draft Brett Ritchie would would be a poor man’s version of Ryan Getzlaf. Ritchie can pass, score, hit and drops the mitts with no questions asked. There is a chance Ritchie becomes their target with their second round pick but I doubt if he’s around when the 39th pick comes due.

Brett Ritchie, Sarnia Sting(OHL)
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 210 lbs
Hometown: Orangeville, ON, CAN
49GP-21G-20A-41P

DY as GM: Brett Ritchie comes into the 2011 Entry Draft underrated and underappreciated after injuries/illnesses held him back but teams are surely interested in this skilled power forward as he was one of only four players who had interviews scheduled with 29 of 30 NHL teams at the Combine. The fact that there’s that much interest in talking to him makes the chances of him being a first round selection much greater.

With Tyler Biggs still available, Toronto will surely debate whether he’s the right kid and since he’s big, nasty and American there’s a good chance that Burke decides on Biggs instead. I like Ritchie better and his upside is higher tool. Other notable players the Maple Leafs will look closely at include defensemen Connor Murphy, Scott Mayfield, Ryan Sproul and Adam Clendening. Toronto should take the best available forward in their eyes, whoever that may be.

 

29th/30th OVERALL – VANCOUVER CANUCKS Select..


 
Note: If Boston wins the Stanley Cup VANCOUVER will pick 29th
Team Need(s):

– Right Wingers
– Two-way Defenceman
– Goaltending Depth

Breaking it Down:

The Vancouver Canucks don’t have a lot of holes in their system but they could address a few spots. Cody Hodgson, Jordan Schroeder, Sergei Shirokov, Anton Rodin and Billy Sweatt are all good prospects but none of them are sure-fire NHLers and carry a lot of risk. The Canucks may look to land a forward who has first line potential but could also play somewhere within the top nine if he fails to reach that. On defence, Kevin Connauton, Yanne Sauve and Chris Tanev are the Canucks only notable prospects so depth on the backend might be their focus. Corey Schneider has graduated to the big club and Eddie Lack had a fantastic AHL season giving the organization strength in goal but beyond those three there isn’t much help for the farm team. GM Mike Gillis has lots of options with his first round selection and can afford to take a ‘project’ player with their NHL club being pretty much set.

The Decision:

Mike Gillis is joined by Dave Gagner (Director of Player Development) and Ron Delorme (Chief Amateur Scout) stroll on up to the podium to make their first round selection,

“The Vancouver Canucks are proud to select from the Saint John Sea Dogs Tomas Jurco”

Why Tomas Jurco?

Jurco probably represents the biggest “boom or bust” player in this year’s draft class. The young Slovak winger would help Vancouver’s depleted right side and he possesses the skillset worthy of first round selection. Jurco ranked 25th on ISS final rankings and 20th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The YouTube sensation is one of the best puckhandlers of the ’11 draft class but he owns good size (6’2″) and great skating abilities. With their main roster pretty much set, Vancouver has the time to allow it’s forward prospects to develop and refine their game in the minor leagues and Jurco could address his issues of consistency over the next couple of years. Jurco has shown good success in shootouts and could become a spe******t in that aspect of the game. But, whoever chooses to draft Tomas Jurco will be looking for more than just a spe******t. Teams will want to see Jurco reach his full offensive potential and that could just be a 30+ goal scorer with 70 point upside. Jurco has gamebreaking abilities and I witnessed it in the Memorial Cup first hand.

Tomas Jurco, Saint John Sea Dogs(QMJHL)
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″, Weight: 187 lbs
Hometown: Kosice, SVK
60GP-31G-25A-56P

DY as GM: Jurco had a good QMJHL playoff run and Memorial Cup Tournament as he notched 18 points (19 games) and 5 points (4 games) respectively. The Canucks would be taking a risk by drafting Jurco but his offensive skills are first round worthy and he does have a good work ethic which should make him a coachable player.

Mike Gillis and his staff will surely consider some defencemen but if they feel that Jurco has the best value at 29th/30th then he’d make an excellent pick. Defencemen that would help improve the Canucks’ blueline consist of Mayfield, Connor, Sproul, Musil or Percy. If they choose to go the defensive route then I prefer one of Mayfield, Sproul or Percy. The Canucks could consider adding the bulging Tyler Biggs to their right side or the offensive Alexander Khokhlachev.

In my opinion, the Canucks have been among the poorer drafting teams and I am hope that Gillis can make the right decision when his team comes due to pick.

 

 

First Round Thoughts


Wide Open Draft

– The 2011 Draft is extremely wide open after the first 10 or so picks and it was extremely difficult deciding on who was selected where. In the end, I tried my best to place prospects with teams by addressing their needs. In my opinion, that is the easiest way of hoping for any sort of success.

– Obviously, I would love to see my projections be 100% correct but I stand no chance of that – especially in a draft where experts say that players ranked between 15 and 40 are rated so close. It would be great to see between 5-10 correct picks but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see only a few correct picks. The draft really is that wide open.

Long Shot Picks: Hindsight Analysis

– There are a few players that I selected that are long shots to go as high as I projected including Mark Scheifele (NYR – 15th), Boone Jenner (BUF – 16th), Matt Puempel (PHX – 20th) and Brett Ritchie (TOR – 29/30th).

– There are a few players above that definitely could fall outside of the first round (mainly Puempel, Ritchie and possibly Jenner) but I included them because I strongly feel that they help that specific team a great deal. For example, Buffalo could use a Jenner-type player who gives it 110% every shift and will play with a win-at-all-cost type of attitude.

No Goaltenders?
From what I have heard, the 2011 goaltender draft class doesn’t possess much “starting potential”. However, there are a few goaltenders who have the potential to go in the first round and those include: John Gibson, Christopher Gibson, and possibly Jordan Binnington or Sami Perhonen.

– I chose not to include a goaltender in the first round but there are several teams who could take a chance on one of the Gibson’s including Colorado (doubtful), New York Rangers, Chicago, Phoenix, Detroit, Toronto and Tampa. In my opinion, selecting a goaltender ealier than 15th would be too early.

DY’s Draft Sliders
– Every year we see a few prospects fall in the draft. The above mock is no exception. The 2011 draft class has quite a few potential first rounders and that will result in some players falling in the draft. Here are a few players who slide in the draft (based on NHL Central Scouting and ISS rankings):

  • Namestnikov(11th by NHL CS): I don’t have a real reason for him “falling” and I could see a team like NYR picking him a 15th. However, ISS doesn’t have him in the Top 30 so I can justify him going at 26th.
  • Oleksiak (13th by NHL CS; 16th by ISS): The big defenseman didn’t slide too far by ISS standards (17th to MTL) but after a strong combine I think he may go within the Top 15 (possibly even Top 10) and earlier than I projected.
  • Klefbom(10th by ISS): The potential is huge with this young defender but I have a strong feeling that a team will have to “love” him for him to go higher than 15th. He does have a great attitude and skill set so it is a possibility. Also, the 2012 draft class projects to have one of the strongest defensive depth in a long, long time and that could cause teams (especially rebuilding teams) to favour forwards over defencemen this year.
  • Murphy(19th by ISS; 25th by NHL CS) I projected Murphy falling out of the first round but he is just one of many players who falls victim to the “too-many-similar-players” phenomenon. Unfortunately, some of these kids will slide further than projected especially if a team makes a surprise pick. Again, I see some defencemen falling due to the deep 2012 class.
  • Others: Tomas Jurco (concerns: boom-bust), Alexander Khokhlachev (concerns: Russian; one-dimensional), Rocco Grimaldi (concerns: small)

DY’s Draft Risers

– Identifying the “risers” is tough especially since teams are hush-hush about the player they truly like but I have a few players rising in the draft and it’s because I personally like them. It only takes one team to like these type of players and sometimes that team doesn’t want to risk losing him.

  • Matt Puempel (29th by ISS; 29th ranked NA by NHL CS): Injuries often cause players to fall and that’s exactly what happened to Puempel. I have a gut feeling that Puempel will find a team earlier than 29th and if not, I hope my Leafs take him
  • Brett Ritchie (36th by NHL CS, 30th by ISS): Apparently the ISS feel the same about Ritchie as I do. His big frame and soft hands are two attributes that scouts seem to adore and after a season filled with misfortunes (mono), Ritchie finished strong at the Under-18 World Championships showing scouts the real Brett Ritchie.

DY’s First Round Wild Cards

– Here’s a quick list of some players who could surprise and jump higher than expected in the draft. There are a few players who are already projected first round picks but could jump further than anyone expects:

  • Rocco Grimaldi: potentially a top 10-15 pick
  • Mika Zibanejad:I have been hearing that the Swedish center could go as high as 3rd overall.
  • Tyler Biggs: Has the size and strength that could be attractive to some teams. Remember, Biggs was once considered a Top 10 selection
  • Victor Rask: Rask has seen his stock fall the furthest still owns first round potential)
  • Ryan Sproul: Big, mobile defenseman who impressed a lot of scouts with his offensive abilities
  • Stuart Percy: Improved his draft stock immensely during Mississauga’s Memorial Cup run as he proved to be a mobile dependable puck moving defenseman capable of bg minutes.
  • Reid Boucher: Rocco Gimaldi’s teammate who is one of the best pure scorers of the draft. I just have a gut feeling about this kid’s potential.

That wraps up my first round thoughts.

I will add more as they come to me.

Thanks for reading the first round Mock Draft and check back here over the next few days as I release my quick picks for the 2nd round.

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  1. VivaLaEric21
    June 19, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I’m lovin the love for my boy, Brett Ritchie. I feel he definitely has the potential and the tools to be a 1st round pick. I think GM’s should take a look at who Ritchie will be playing with this coming season. For him to be playing a 2nd season with elite talents such as Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, his stock should surely rise. I desperately hope that the Leafs (my team) pick up Ritchie with their 30th pick. I also hope they take a stab at Connor Murphy (Sarnia Sting draft pick…bias? Yes). I feel the Leafs D-Man prospect list has decent depth…but adding Murphy would put it where it needs to be. Having Murphy, Gardiner, Aulie, and Blacker as their Top-4 D prospects is killer.

  1. June 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm
  2. June 19, 2011 at 11:39 am

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