2011 NHL Mock Draft – Round 1 (v3.0)




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While the quest for this year’s Stanley Cup has been completed by the Boston Bruins, the rest of the NHL is gearing up for next season’s potential championship season.  The first task in the offseason is the NHL Entry Draft, this year held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.   Who will go where?  How will your team meet its needs?  It’s all part of the intrigue of draft day and the 2011 NHL Entry draft, June 24 and 25.  To hold you over until the first pick is announced, here’s a fresh mock draft to hold you over.   Let’s put the Edmonton Oilers on the clock.  To find out who they pick, and every other NHL team pick, read after the jump.


Bryan Vickroy


The NHL draft is a little different than most other drafts, as the draft is based on age and not where you’re coming from.  Teams retain a player’s rights until the draft the following season, allowing a team and player to sign anytime in between.  While this year’s draft doesn’t have the name power that last year’s debate over the top pick, it might be deeper in terms of overall talent pool.  This year’s draft should have something for everyone.  To view earlier interpretations of the draft, click here or here.  The numbers next to the draft pick names represent change in draft position from last mock draft.


While there is no change in the top nine picks from the last mock draft, things start to change starting with the host Minnesota Wild at ten.  And one pick can cause a change reaction for your favorite team.  So, with the first pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers select………


1. Edmonton Oilers

–  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL) +0

There isn’t the intrigue of last year’s draft as to who the Oilers will take, as Nugent-Hopkins appears to be the best player available in this draft.  N-H is a playmaking center who will slot in with last year’s first overall pick Taylor Hall, giving Edmonton a dynamic first line duo for years to come.


2.  Colorado Avalanche

–  Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL) +0

While it might be tempting to take the big Swedish defenseman Larsson here, the Avalanche have another first round pick where they can add another defenseman in a deep blue liner draft.  Taking Landeskog gives Colorado something that you can’t teach a player: scoring mentality.  His speed and ability to pressure in the offensive zone will help create scoring opportunities for his linemates.


3.  Florida Panthers

–  Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL) +0

The Panthers also could take the big Larsson, but have done a good job rebuilding their defensive corps throughout the last few drafts.  The Panthers have a much greater need of a scorer, and Huberdeau is proving himself to be quite skilled at accumulating goals.  Huberdeau made a great impression during St. Johns’ run to the Memorial Cup, and the championship momentum has helped him climb way up the draft charts.


4.  New Jersey Devils

–  Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (SWE) +0

Larsson finally comes off the board to the Devils, who will appreciate his size and scoring ability possibly as soon as next season.  Larsson gives the Devils something to get the puck up ice to the high priced talent, while also chipping in a few points of his own.  Big body will bode will in the grinding Atlantic Division.


5.  New York Islanders

–  Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagra (OHL) +0

After acquiring the skill players over the last few drafts, it’s time for the Islanders to add a possible franchise blueliner.  Another big defenseman (6′ 4″), Hamilton averaged nearly a point a game last season, and wasn’t afraid of contact, amassing 77 penalty minutes.  And with a name like Dougie Hamilton, he sound like he belongs on the Islanders of yore.


6.  Ottawa Senators

–  Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL) +0

The Senators are unveiling new jerseys and remodeling their look, and Couturier will go a long way in giving the team some offensive burst up the middle.  Couturier is big, good in the face off circle, and disciplined enough to play both ends of the ice.  Add in the offensive touch, and Ottawa might be in for a Daniel Alfredsson like career for Couturier.



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7. Winnipeg

–  Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL) +0

After the joy of getting a team back, fans in Winnipeg will definitely be loud and proud in St Paul come draft day to cheer the first official act of the new era of Manitoba hockey.  Strome gives the team another young, fast forward who will be given the chance to thrive now that the team is in a hockey friendly environment.  Strome will add a lot of offensive flair, as well as a grinding work ethic.



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8.  Columbus Blue Jackets

–  Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL) +0

The Blue Jackets have yet to have a true franchise defenseman in their ten years of existence.  Beaulieu may eventually be that player for this franchise.  Having someone with the ability to shutdown skilled forwards will do a lot to helping Columbus make the leap forward.  Beaulieu has size and room to grow, both physically and mentally.  But his ability to skate creates a lot of offensive opportunities, especially with his heavy shot.


9.  Boston Bruins (via Toronto)

–  Sven Bartschi, LW, Portland (WHL) +1

The Bruins have shown that they have the patience to bring along rookies, even if they’re at the NHL level.  Taking Bartschi with this pick, instead of a defenseman, continues to reshape the Bruins forwards as younger, faster, and flashier.  It’s hard to pass up one of the many defensemen still available, but Bartschi gives offensive depth to an aging, sometimes injury plagued group. 



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10.  Minnesota Wild

–  Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert (WHL) +6

The Wild need scoring badly, and another need is some overall size and toughness in the line up.  McNeill lit up the scouting combing held recently in Toronto, leading all prospects in four individual  strength tests.  His talent and size are sorely needed in the State of Hockey, and the selection should be accepted well by the home crowd on hand.


11.  Colorado Avalanche (via St Louis)

–  Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL) -1

Murphy sliding down this far gives the Avalanche something that could possibly give them the stability they need for years to come.  Murphy will be a skilled offensive threat while doing an above average job in his own end.  He will also give them someone to control the power play from the point, feeding the young snipers down low and controlling puck movement.


12.  Carolina Hurricanes

–  Vladimir Namestnikov, C, London (OHL) +1

Carolina got an immediate impact player in Jeff Skinner last year, and could get the same thing in Namestnikov in this year’s draft.  Namestnikov plays a strong two way game, and is committed to playing defense.  Both the defensive first mentality and ability to bury the puck in the net will make him another young, fan favorite down in the Research Triangle.


13.  Calgary Flames

–  Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL) -2

The Flames are in a tight spot, once again, with the salary cap.  While the draft may not do much to help that problem, Siemens gives Calgary a big, strong defenseman who will put up points, as well as throw his body around.  If he makes a great impression, he could even make his way to the roster by the time next season starts.

14.  Dallas Stars

–  Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (SWE) -2

Whether the Stars do anything with the upcoming Brad Richards saga (Richards tweeted something of a goodbye to Dallas fans the other day)  Zibanejad, while he will not be instantly ready to replace the goal scoring Dallas needs, will be an electric player in the future.  Zibanejad has gread hands and instincts, and will give the Stars another young sniper up front.


15.  New York Rangers

–  Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL) +0

Phillips stock has been helped by his team’s run to the Memorial Cup this postseason.  Phillips gives the Rangers a center with good hands who isn’t afraid to handle the puck below the dots.  For a team swirling with rumors of possible change in the forward corps, Phillips will be another good young centerman for the Blueshirts.


16.  Buffalo Sabres

–  Mark Scheifele, C, Barrie (OHL) +2

Scheifele put up more than a point a game for an underwhelming Barrie team.  The Sabres get a strong defensive player who will also score goals and set up his teammates around the net.  Possibly paired up with Thomas Vanek in the future, Scheifele will be another key piece for coach Lindy Ruff’s team first mentality.


17.  Montreal Canadiens

–  Boone Jenner, C, Oshawa (OHL) +5

Jenner is a big body who can also move around with the puck in tight spaces in front of the net.  A member of the OHL All Rookie team, Jenner is a hard worker who will play both ends of the ice.  Jenner gives the Canadiens some size to their very small roster, and will make a home finishing off rebounds from in front of the net.



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18.  Chicago Blackhawks

–  Tyler Biggs, RW, USA U-18 (USHL) +7

Biggs is a big body with a big frame.  He also has a pedigree (his father played in the NHL during the 80’s).  While he may not be ready to make the leap right away, he will mature very well playing for nearby Miami (OH).  While many scouts don’t like taking NCAA talent, there is no doubt that players who go this route come out smarter.  Biggs will be a key to filling the wings with size, like Big Buff used to do.


19.  Edmonton Oilers (via Los Angeles)

–  Jamieson Oleksiak, D, Northeastern (HE) +1

Oleksiak will be a sophomore  at Northeastern University this coming fall, but made an impact during his freshman year in Hockey East.  The 6′ 7″ lefty made his way up through the competitive Toronto youth hockey circuit, and obviously is a comparison to Zdeno Chara waiting to happen due to his size.  The Oilers get a potential top blueliner for years to come.


20.  Phoenix Coyotes

– Christopher Gibson, G, Chicoutimi (QMJHL) NR

The Coyotes may have tipped their hand by trading away the rights to goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov before he becomes a free agent, and goalie is a significant need for Phoenix.  Gibson posted four shutouts last year in the QMJHL, and is very smooth and composed between the pipes.  Expect him to be a #1 goaltender in the NHL for quite a few years.


21.  Ottawa Senators (via Nashville)

–  Joseph Morrow, D, Portland (WHL) -2

Morrow was second among all defenseman in the WHL during this past season’s playoffs.  Morrow comes from a hockey bloodline (his brother and father both played at least collegitely) and was adept at distributing the puck up the ice.  Could become a future quaterback for the Senators’ power play unit.


22.  Anaheim Ducks

–  Nicklas Jensen, LW/RW, Oshawa (OHL) +7

The slick skating Dane scored 29 goals and 29 assists this past year, his first in the OHL.  Jensen is strong with the puck, both protecting it in the offense zone and stickhandling, and has a quick, deceptive wrist shot that he isn’t afraid to release.  Able to play either wing, Jensen would slot in well with the other young Ducks, or ducklings.


23.  Pittsburgh Penguins

–  Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw (OHL) +0

A Pittsburgh product gets to come home to the Penguins, as Saad will get a chance to join one of the best franchises in hockey.  Saad might finally be the player that they slide next to Crosby, as long as he’s healthy, and be the finisher for Sid.  Saad plays a defense first style of hockey that will put him instantly into coach Dan Bylsma’s good graces.



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24.  Detroit Red Wings

–  Tomas Jurco, RW, Saint John (QMJHL) -3

Jurco led the Memorial Cup in goals scored, helping lead the Sea Dogs to the title recently.  Jurco is strong on the puck, and isn’t afraid to show off with some moves if it means he can score a goal.  Some may seem him as cocky, others see a drive and skill level that few possess.  Jurco could become another of the keen draft picks made by the Red Wings over the years.

25.  Toronto Maple Leafs (via Philadelphia)

– Jonathan Miller, C, USA U-18 (USHL) NR

The Ohio native led Team USA in scoring during the most recent World Juniors.  Miller will play for North Dakota this coming fall, and will bring the fire, intensity, and grittiness that GM Brian Burke loves.  Guaranteed to be another strong performer in the WCHA, and will likely see a good, strong NHL career after college.


26.  Washington Capitals

–  Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (Sweden) -12

Brodin is very young, but played with the men in Sweden this past year.  Although he didn’t score a goal, he showed great promise, something in the mold of recent high draft pick Victor Hedman.  The Capitals will get another young, mobile defenseman, but one more disciplined in his own end of the ice.  Also adds more depth in case injuries continue to plague players like Mike Green.


27.  Tampa Bay Lightning

–  Scott Mayfield, D, Youngstown (USHL) +1

Mayfield is a big, physical defenseman who controls the ice like a veteran.  He is calm and collected on the ice, which makes everything he does seem smooth.  The Sharks get a smart player, Mayfield will head to college at Denver in the fall, who will also be a superb special teams player with his great passing and vision.


28.  San Jose Sharks

–  Joel Armia, RW, Assat (FIN) -11

Armia has size and skill, and has already proven he can play with the men will excelling in the Finnish Elite League.  Armia has great size for a forward, and will give the Sharks some size to screen and crash the opposing net.  Armia will likely play in Finland for a couple more years before coming to the States.


29. Vancouver Canucks

– Phillip Danault, LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL) NR

Danault was the captain for Victoriaville, and led the team both with leadership and points.  He averaged more than a point per game during the regular season, and led the team in playoff scoring this past postseason.  For a team struggling to finish, Danault will bring some fire and determination to the roster.


30.  Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston)

–  Alexander Khokhlachev, C, Windsor (OHL) +0

Khoklachev is small, fast, and extremely gifted with the puck.  He has a flair for the dramatic on the ice like some of his fellow countrymen, and even some of the same finishing abilities.  Khokhlachev is an offensive weapon who has proven his scoring ability in Russia and the OHL.


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Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms.  He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long.  Look for new articles throughout the week.  He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy.  If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at bryan.vickroy@gmail.com .

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