Sunday, May 22, 2011

2011 Mock NHL Entry Draft

Minnesota.  The home of hockey in the United States of America and home of this year’s NHL Entry Draft.  On this day, the lives of 210 players may be changed for the better.  The 2010 draft came and went and hockey fans were pleased to see first round talents such as Taylor Hall, Jeff Skinner, and Cam Fowler make an impact in the NHL.  This year, there is a new crop of first rounders just waiting to burst onto the scene and make the same impact for their team.

This is my first mock draft of the season because I like to wait until most of the picks have already been decided.  I realize the playoffs are not over yet and the first thing you may notice that I have the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup (let a man dream).  So without further a due, I present to you my 2011 Mock NHL Entry Draft.

1.     Edmonton Oilers – Adam Larsson
Height/Weight: 6’3”/220 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Skelleftea AIK (Elitserien)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 37GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 PTS, 41 PIM 

As much of a privilege it is to acquire the 1st overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers find themselves in a very difficult spot.  The two keys pieces the Oilers are missing are a number 1 center and a number 1 defenseman.  I have always been under the mindset that you build from the net out.  A franchise defenseman is worth more to an organization then a number 1 (on MOST occasions).  So the Oilers should end up taking best defenseman in the draft.  With comparisons to Lidstrom, this big powerful Swede can take over a game by himself from the back end.  A very silky smooth-skating defenseman with bomb from the point, Larsson will be a #1 d-man for the foreseeable future.  After watching him at the World Juniors this year, he possesses all the skill that GM’s drool over.  For me, as talented as Nugent-Hopkins is, it is a no-brainer for the Oilers to take Larsson with the first overall pick.

2.     Colorado Avalanche – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Height/Weight: 6’0”/157 lbs
Position: C
Team: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 69 GP, 31 G, 75 A, 106 PTS, 51 PIM

Screw team needs.  Nugent-Hopkins is clearly the best player available if Larsson goes first overall.  Most fans know of Colorado’s center depth as it is with Duchene and Stastny, but that doesn’t validate not taking RNH at number 2.  With impeccable on-ice vision, playmaking ability, and hockey IQ, RNH’s skill set has been compared to the likes of Gretzky.  Nugent-Hopkins delivers night in and night out with his accurate shot, commendable defensive play, and overall effectiveness.

3.     Florida Panthers – Gabriel Landeskog
Height/Weight: 6’0”/201 lbs
Position: Left wing/Right wing
Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 53 GP, 36 G, 30 A, 66 Pts, 61 PIM

The only thing Swedish about him is his name.  Landeskog came over to play for the Kitchener Rangers and has programmed himself to be the best all-around forward in the draft.  He has adapted to the North American game with ease.  He is as good offensively as he is defensively, lays out big hits, drives hard to the net, explosive shot, and if you get the chance to talk to him, he has even lost his Swedish accent.  Florida is happy to take a winger at this position.  A center like Couturier or Huberdeau would’ve done just fine here but Weiss and Dadonov look pretty good as their number 1 and number 2 centers.  Also take into consideration that they picked Nick Bjugstad in last years first round, as well as a later pick, Zach Hyman, who is really coming into his own.  Landeskog fits the bill of any GM because he brings it all every game.  Mike Richards, a former Kitchener Ranger, is an easy comparison for Landeskog, but I liken him more to a Brendan Morrow.  Florida fans will be in for a treat when Landeskog breaks into the NHL.

4.     New Jersey Devils – Sean Couturier
Height/Weight: 6’3”/192 lbs
Position: Center/Left wing
Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 58 GP, 36 G, 60 A, 96 PTS, 36 PIM

Couturier posted the highest point-per-game of any player in the CHL this year.  I’ve seen many mock drafts and rankings that have shown Couturier drop out of the top 5, which has left me in awe.  Couturier could have gone at number 3 overall, but the Devils are blessed to have him fall to him at 4th overall.  He really impressed me at the World Juniors.  A big center whose defensive game shouldn’t be counted out, Couturier is a perfect blend of size and skill, precisely what the Devils are looking for in this draft.  Sure their defensive core could still use some work, but I feel the Devils have a good enough scouting staff that they could find someone in the 3rd round (or the conditional 2nd) with the Dallas Stars pick that they acquired in the Langenbrunner trade.

5.     New York Islanders – Ryan Murphy
Height/Weight: 5’10”/165 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 63 GP, 26 G, 53 A, 79 PTS, 36 PIM

I still think that Ryan Murphy is the second best defenseman in this year’s draft.  His offensive game is second to none, and his defensive game is vastly underrated.  Murphy is going to be the Cam Fowler of the draft.  Not so much that he will drop, but more so that he will be an offensive weapon on any team and will make an immediate impact starting from his first game in the NHL.  He led the Kitchener Rangers defensemen in points and will be looked at to lead the rush up ice and quarterback the power play.  Islanders need a player like him.  They have built a great top 6 of young talent with Tavares, Moulson, Okposo, Bailey, Nino, and Grabner.  It also looks like Kirill Kabanov has turned the right corner and has resurrected his image after the trade to Lewiston from Moncton and Kirill Petrov may be headed across the river.  Defense is the final piece that the Islanders need in order to make themselves a contender for a playoff spot.  It might take a while, but Murphy might be that final puzzle piece that the Islanders need.

6.     Ottawa Senators – Jonathan Huberdeau
Height/Weight: 6’1”/159 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats: 67 GP, 43 G, 62 A, 105 PTS, 88 PIM

Huberdeau may be my favorite top prospect in this year’s draft.  We all know how much Ottawa wants Landeskog in this draft, but Huberdeau is definitely the more dangerous prospect.  The kid has hands that can dangle his way out of a telephone booth; he can play center or wing, and has the uncanny ability to pass in tight quarters.  Much like Murphy might be the Fowler of this year’s draft, I feel Huberdeau is similar to Skinner.  He may not be ready for the NHL like Skinner was in his draft year, but give him some more time in juniors and his flashy play will show up on the score sheet in the NHL sooner than later.  He was on the most offensive line in juniors with Zack Phillips centering he and Stanislav Galiev.  Ottawa may not land Landeskog, but Huberdeau is no slouch either.

7.     Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets – Ryan Strome
Height/Weight: 5’11”/170 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Niagara IceDogs (OHL)
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats: 65 GP, 33 G, 73 A, 106 PTS, 82 PIM

Atlanta is in a world of hurt at the moment.  With the whole Winnipeg scenario, their blowup in the second half of the season, and being unsure if their top defensive player, Zach Bogosian, will stay with the team or be traded, Ryan Strome looks like the only bright spot in Atlanta’s near future.  Strome came on big in the beginning of the season and never looked back.  Quick hands gave way to 33 goals and 73 assists in 65 games for the Niagara IceDogs.  He isn’t the biggest kid on the ice, but he sure plays like he’s meant to be out there on the top line every night.  He controls the play extremely well and his passing is spot on.  But while his points are impressive to look at, there are still some skeptics who believe Strome’s game may not translate at the NHL level.  With the great work ethic that Strome has already, this will probably fuel him more to prove the naysayers incorrect.

8.     Columbus Blue Jackets – Dougie Hamilton
Height/Weight: 6’3”/181 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Niagara IceDogs
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats: 67 GP, 12G, 46 A, 58 PTS, 77 PIM

Is this the year Columbus finally gets their top defensive prospect?  I think so.  Dougie Hamilton is the perfect mix of size and skill.  Think of it him as a blend of the best offensive qualities that Ryan Murphy has tied in to the best defensive qualities that Duncan Siemens has.  Columbus needs a kid like this on the blue line.  Taking over the power play in Niagara, Hamilton scored 58 points in 67 games.  But he isn’t all skill; he’s also a bruiser of a defenseman.  I’m sure there are some OHL players who regret crossing paths with Hamilton this season.  He isn’t afraid to take the body in order to make a play and certainly isn’t afraid to mix it up with some of the best players.  His 77 penalty minutes attest to that.  Columbus can leave the first round with their heads held high knowing that Hamilton will be a cornerstone of their blue line for years to come.

9.     Boston Bruins (via Toronto) – Nathan Beaulieu
Height/Weight: 6’0”/165 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 65 GP, 12 G, 33 A, 45 PTS, 52 PIM

Boston has had defensive problems of its own and finds themselves in a lucky spot to pick a highly skilled defender in Nathan Beaulieu.  Nathan becomes the second Sea Dog to get selected in the top 10 and it is mainly due to the juggernaut of a season the team had.  Perhaps a tad bit uneasy with the puck, Beaulieu will have time next season to work on any kinks to his game.  He did put up respectable numbers for a defender but won’t be looked at as “go-to” guy in Boston.  A quick skater, Beaulieu reads the play well and is a versatile defensemen in all three zones.  Boston can personally thank Phil Kessel for this pick.

10. Minnesota Wild – Joel Armia
Height/Weight: 6’3”/187 lbs
Position: Right wing
Team: Assat (SM-liiga)
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats: 48 GP, 18 G, 11 A, 29 PTS, 24 PIM

Don’t dog me for this pick hockey fans.  I know the consensus pick here is Mika Zibanejad, but I think Joel Armia is a better fit in Minnesota.  With their 2010 first rounder, Mikael Granlund, showing up big at this year’s World Championships, Minnesota could use a winger to play alongside the playmaking Granlund.  Armia is just what Wild fans have been looking for.  A big, skillful winger with finishing (no pun intended) capabilities, Armia and Granlund could turn out to be a deadly combo for Minnesota.  I got to watch him at the World Junior Championships, and let me be the first to say, Armia has got a nasty shot to match his stick handling.  A super quick release benefits him in fooling goalies and he, along with Pulkkinen and Ortio were the standouts on Team Finland during the tournament.

11. Colorado Avalanche (via St. Louis) – Duncan Siemens
Height/Weight: 6’3”/194 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats:  72 GP, 5 G, 38 A, 43 PTS, 121 PIM

Well, if they weren’t going to pick a defender with the 2nd overall pick, then you figured they would do it at 11th overall.  Duncan Siemens is all grit, no BS.  A big body capable of shutting down players, blocking shots, and clearing the opposition away from the net, Colorado picks him to back up the more offensive talents that they have on defense.  You know, guys like Erik Johnson or Stefan Elliot or Tyson Barrie.  His offensive game may be a tad bit underrated, but I doubt you see Siemens put up a point on the score sheet every game.  He is the stay-at-home type but also has a big shot from the point.  Avs fans, be happy Siemens fell to you at 11.

12. Carolina Hurricanes – Mika Zibanejad
Height/Weight: 6’0”/ 176 lbs
Position: Center/Right wing
Team: Djurgarden (Elitserien)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 26 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 PTS, 2 PIM

A player who has been shooting up the ratings lists from the start of the season, Mika Zibanejad is one of the best two-way forwards in the draft.  Snubbed from the Swedish junior team, Zibanejad came back to Djurgarden with a vengeance and showed he wasn’t to be messed around with.  Mika is a big body that likes to go into the dirty areas to make plays.  Big hits are common for a player of his stature and he is very difficult to knock off the puck.  For a physical player, Zibanejad has very soft hands and great skating ability.  When watching Zibanejad, you might think you are seeing the next coming of Mikko Koivu…with an edge.

13. Calgary Flames – Mark Scheifele
Height/Weight: 6’3”/174 lbs
Position: Forward
Team: Barrie Colts (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 66 GP, 22 G, 53 A, 75 PTS, 35 PIM

Talk about rising to the occasion, Mark Scheifele really shined at the past U18 tournament.  A standout on his Jr. B team, Scheifele saw his rights get traded to the Barrie Colts before the season had even began.  But Mark didn’t falter.  Playing solid on both sides of the puck, Scheifele put up 75 points in 66 games.  If he wants to find any success at all, he will need to put on more muscle.  Calgary is aching for their next big star and their offensive depth could use some work.  Their prospect centers leave much to be desired and Scheifele might be one of those surprise picks of the draft that ends up producing consistently at the NHL level.

14. Dallas Stars – Jamie Oleksiak
Height/Weight: 6’7”/240 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Northeastern University (NCAA)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 38 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 13 PTS, 57 PIM

Jamie Oleksiak has the one thing you can’t teach…SIZE!  And he has plenty of it to go around.  Needless to say, he has quite the reach for a defenseman, and moves surprisingly quick for a man of his size.  His smooth skating is an asset and he uses every pound of his 240-pound build to knock players off the puck.  Dallas took a flyer on hot goalie prospect, Jack Campbell, even while Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley were still on the board.  Now Dallas can fix their main weakness with this mammoth of a pick.

15. New York Rangers – Matt Puempel
Height/Weight: 6’0”/190 lbs
Position: Left Wing
Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 55 GP, 34 G, 35 A, 69 PTS, 49 PIM

Puempel has fallen out of favor with a lot of people because of the injury he sustained.  Puempel just might be the best goal scorer to come out of this draft.  He has put up two consecutive 30+-goal seasons in the OHL despite the nagging injury.  A workhorse, blessed with a knack of finding the back of the net, Puempel has great speed and playmaking ability as well.  The Rangers further assure their solid prospect pool with yet another gem.  I find Puempel’s game very similar to Phil Kessel and with his injury, he may be like a Brett Connolly in this draft (aka: a top 5 pick had it not been for the injury)

16. Buffalo Sabres – Mark McNeill
Height/Weight: 6’0”/185 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 70 GP, 32 G, 49 A, 81 PTS, 53 PIM

The Sabres, much like the Canadiens don’t have much talent up the middle, regarding prospects (or even players, for that matter).  Most of the standouts in the Sabres system are defensemen like Drew Schiestel, T.J Brennan, Mark Pysyk and Brayden McNabb.  Only God knows whether or not Tim Connolly will ever be taken off the IR for a consistent amount of time so while Roy and Gerbe man the forefront for the time being, Mark McNeill could develop into a talented point producer down the middle.

17. Montreal Canadiens – Nicklas Jensen
Height/Weight: 6’3/187
Position: Right Wing/Left wing
Team: Oshawa General (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 61 GP, 29 G, 29 A, 58 PTS, 42 PIM

Well, Habs fans…you have been looking for size and here it is.  Jensen is a very agile and speedy winger with great hockey poise and IQ.  His numbers were relatively good, but they don’t show every facet of Jensen’s game.  The Dane is a playmaker at heart and finding the open man is his specialty.  Canadiens fans would hope that he would be a little tougher and mix it up a bit, but that is just not his game.  Jensen certainly needs to fill out his size a bit more, but even given his slight build, it is still a tough task to knock him off the puck.  He isn’t a slouch in his own end and has a very quick release.  While Kristo had a solid season, as did Leblanc and Palushaj, they are all 6 foot and under.  Count your blessings Habs fans; your newest prospect will tower over your current forwards.

18. Chicago Blackhawks – Sven Bartschi
Height/Weight: 5’10”/174 lbs
Position: Left wing
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 66 GP, 34 G, 51 A, 85 PTS, 74 PIM

Sven ain’t nothing like Swiss cheese.  On the contrary, Bartschi certainly isn’t afraid of going to the rough areas to put the puck in the net, even for his size.  A gifted winger, with a nose for the net and nifty hands give the Blackhawks the talent they have been looking for.  Seeing guys like Kruger make it to the big club, Chicago could use a skillful winger for Kruger to dish to.  One of the top point getters in the Dub, Bartschi doesn’t mind getting a little chippy either.  Look no further than the 74 penalty minutes he put up this season.  The Blackhawks add a very nice piece and should be thankful that Bartschi didn’t get snagged earlier.

19. Edmonton Oilers (via Los Angeles) – Zack Phillips
Height/Weight: 6’0”/180 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 67 GP, 38 G, 57 A, 95 PTS, 16 PIM

Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t go from a 35-point season to a 105-point season in one year on skill, alone.  Zack Phillips was a main reason for the spike in points.  The gritty yet gifted center holds tremendous vision on the ice and can score just as easily as assist.  Yet another prospect who needs to bulk up a bit, Zack Phillips has a ton of potential.  With Larsson getting taken 1st overall by Edmonton, they find their number 1 center in the first round as well.  A line of Hall-Phillips-Eberle could end up being EXTREMELY dangerous.

20. Phoenix Coyotes – Brandon Saad
Height/Weight: 6’2”/197 lbs
Position: Left wing
Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 59 GP, 27 G, 28 A, 55 PTS, 47 PIM

Brandon Saad’s name has been thrown around all over the draft board, either as a top 10 pick, or possibly floating out of favor in the first round.  With a solid defense that Phoenix has been able to muster, they now begin to look for forwards with game-breaking potential.  As a big man, Saad plays a big game and is very fast on his skates.  Not necessarily the prototypical power forward, Saad does have 30-30 potential written all over him.  At just under a point per game clip in the OHL, expect Saad to come back to Saginaw to prove he was worth the 1st round selection by the Coyotes.

21. Ottawa Senators (via Nashville) – Alexander Khokhlachev
Height/Weight: 5’11”/174 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats: 67 GP, 34 G, 42 A, 76 PTS, 28 PIM

This little blurb was taken from my other blog on
Khokhlachev’s simple style of game, high hockey sense, and fantastic passing abilities make Khokhlachev a desirable target in this year’s draft.  His deceptive quality is his finishing abilities.  It often gets overlooked with how well he can set players up, but his wrister is blistering.  His skating is flawless, and he is able to break down plays so well to create offensive chances.  Alexander lacks the physical presence and will need to tack on some mass in order to exceed at the next level.  But the Sens can leave the first round with their heads held high with Huberdeau and Khokhlachev at their respective picks.

22. Anaheim Ducks – Rocco Grimaldi
Height/Weight: 5’6”/161 lbs
Position: Forward
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 23 GP, 12 G, 13 A, 25 PTS, 18 PIM

The most intriguing draft prospect to date, in my opinion, Grimaldi is worth the praise he has received.  Also taken from a blog I did a few weeks back on Hockeyspy:
You'd think, watching him play, that Grimaldi was at least 6'2", so it does seem a little shocking that a player of his capabilities is only an inch taller than Nathan Gerbe.  His height gives him an advantage on skates with explosive acceleration and short, quick strides that makes it easy to beat defenders.  His shots are deceptively quick, as well as accurate.  Give him time to windup for a slapshot and he will make any goalie pay.  With his height limitations, Grimaldi's stick work is key because a taller defender means a longer reach.  Grimaldi's hockey smarts have been able to kick in to make moves before the opposing player knows what hit him.  Take into account his low center of gravity, and you have a complete player who is very difficult to knock off the puck.  I compared him to a play like Theoren Fleury, but ask Grimaldi whom he compares him to and he would say that he doesn’t compare to anyone.  He just knows how to play HIS style of game.

23. Pittsburgh Penguins – Tyler Biggs
Height/Weight: 6’2”/207 lbs
Position: Forward
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 20 GP, 7 G, 4 A, 11 PTS, 41 PIM

Much like the Habs needed size, the Penguins need wingers.  Tyler Biggs brings with him everything Eric Tangradi does without the terrible nickname (ie. Big Dog).  A big body in front of the net, Biggs has deceptive skills that make him a target in every draft.  Biggs has garnered a lot of interest in the past couple weeks and has been talked about as a possible top 10 pick.  So for the Penguins to snag a player of Biggs’ quality, position, and stature, is a match made in heaven.  A teammate of Grimaldi’s, Tyler’s biggest problem may be consistency.  He can play a big game, but he may not play that big game every single shift.  To make it to the NHL, you need to give it all every single shift, which I am sure Tyler Biggs will figure out sooner or later.

24. Detroit Red Wings – David Musil
Height/Weight: 6’3”/205 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 62 GP, 6 G, 19 A, 25 PTS, 83 PIM

Now Detroit has been known for their gems in the later rounds such as Datsyuk and Zetterberg, but with the first round pick they go for as close to a sure thing as you can.  David Musil was a potential top 3 pick in the beginning of the season when the ISS rankings came out.  A safe pick in this year’s draft, Musil is everything you want in a shutdown defenseman…size, strength, tenacity, and skill.  Tallying an impressive rookie season, Musil played a more defensive role in his sophomore year in the WHL.  He was hoping to suit up for the Czech Republic at the World Junior Championships, but an injury held him back.  With Niklas Lidstrom’s future with the Wings likely to wrap up within the next couple years, and with Jonathan Ericsson’s contract situation moving him out of Detroit, the Red Wings are happy to bring down a defenseman who might be a part of the blueline’s foundation for a long while.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Philadelphia) – Ty Rattie
Height/Weight: 6’0”/165 lbs
Position: Right wing
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 67 GP, 28 G, 51 A, 79 PTS, 55 PIM

The second Winterhawk selected in the first round, Ty Rattie has matured tremendously from his rookie season in the Dub.  He made his game more simplistic, which translated to consistency and better numbers (79 points, to be exact).  He still has some room to grow, but his overall game is what makes him an attractive piece to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Toronto acquired this pick with Philadelphia, along with a 3rd round pick for Kris Versteeg.  In my personal opinion, Rattie will be much better at the professional level than Kris Versteeg, so the 3rd round pick is just an added bonus.

26. Washington Capitals – Tomas Jurco
Height/Weight: 6’1”/183 lbs
Position: Right wing
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 60 GP, 31 G, 25 A, 56 PTS, 17 PIM

Boom or bust.  The description of Tomas Jurco’s potential is based on one of those two words.  Jurco’s stick skills alone would make him first overall.  Don’t believe me?  Just go on Youtube and check out some Jurco vids and tell me you aren’t impressed.  I saw him at the World Junior Championships and he’s got crazy moves up his sleeves.  Washington has a liking for flashy players and Jurco is no exception.  He will either be a talented scorer in the NHL or a regular AHL player.  It doesn’t seem like there is much in between those two options for Jurco.  But one thing is for certain, if he does reach his potential, he will be a treat to watch.

27. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston) – Joe Morrow
Height/Weight: 6’0”/196 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 60 GP, 9 G, 40 A, 49 PTS, 67 PIM

The last of the Winterhawks to be selected in the first round and 2nd in a row for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Joe Morrow really came onto the scene this year as a puck-moving defenseman.  Talk to many Leafs fans and they will be the first to say that Joe Morrow is just what the doctor ordered.  Leading all defensemen on his team with 49 points, Morrow is a quick but smart defenseman who can lead the rush up ice.  Morrow’s most underrated skill is his first pass out of the zone.  Whether it is a quick chip up to the forward or a stretch pass for a breakaway, Morrow knows how to create chances where there seemingly was none.  Toronto snags the offensive defenseman they have been desperately looking for.

28. San Jose Sharks – Dmitrij Jaskin
Height/Weight: 6’3”/200 lbs
Position: Right wing
Team: HC Slavia Praha (Czech)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 33 GP, 3 G, 7 A, 10 A, 16 PIM

San Jose has their depth down the middle so it’s time now to secure some spots on the wings.  Jaskin is playing in a mens league in the Czech Republic but he fits in just fine.  Standing 6’3”, Jaskin holds a unique blend of skill and defense that the Sharks could use.  For his size, he really enjoys throwing hits and finishing checks, but his offense gives him that appeal of a first round pick.  Able to deke with ease, shoot hard and accurate with a quick release, and tough to knock off the puck, Jaskin is one of a few Europeans with the power forward stigma.  His only drawback, according to most scouts, is his skating. 

29. Vancouver Canucks – Oscar Klefbom
Height/Weight: 6’3”/201 lbs
Position: Defense
Team: Farjestad (Elitserien)
Age: 17
2010-11 Stats: 23 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS, 2 PIM

With the Canucks defense just about set in stone, with the exception of a possible departure to the free agent market by Christian Ehrhoff, Vancouver should probably start looking for a new defenseman.  While Klefbom does have a high offensive upside if he ever were to reach it, it still won’t eclipse that of Ehrhoff’s.  However, Klefbom is a nice pick to have because of his defensive presence as well.  Klefbom may not be used strictly for offense or strictly for defense.  In fact, he will be used however the Canucks please, so don’t picture him as a bust just because he doesn’t put up points or because his defensive game doesn’t pan out.  He will still be a capable player in the NHL no matter how Vancouver uses him. 

30. Tampa Bay Lightning – Shane Prince
Height/Weight: 5’9”/161 lbs
Position: Left wing
Team: Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Age: 18
2010-11 Stats: 59 GP, 25 G, 63 A, 88 PTS, 18 PIM

And so finishes my mock draft with the player who was just able to squeak into the first round.  Size has always been a question in the NHL.  Can a player be able to contribute in a game where the players are bigger than he is?  Will his stock drop because of his size?  If we have learned anything since the lockout, it’s that some of the smallest guys have contributed the most to their respective teams (Kane, Briere, St. Louis).  Shane Prince could be in that crop of talent.  Prince hasn’t been talked about too much likely because of his size, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t warrant a first round pick.  In his 3rd season in the OHL, Prince went from 30 points to 88 in the span of a season for the Ottawa 67’s.  His small size gives him a lead when it comes to explosiveness on his skates.  His defensive game is almost nonexistent, but that can be worked on.  If he breaks out in the NHL, he has a good shot at being a top point scorer on the top two lines in Tampa.


YourMother,  May 22, 2011, 7:58:00 PM  

Big Dog rules all

Anonymous,  May 24, 2011, 3:21:00 PM  

Isles top 6 you left out the fastest skater in the league and 34 goal scoring rookie Michael Grabner and his 5 year contract :)

Anonymous,  May 29, 2011, 5:42:00 PM  

If Hamilton has the offensive qualities of Murphy PLUS the defensive qualities of Siemens, why would the Islanders choose Murphy instead of Hamilton at 5? Doesn't make sense...

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