2011 NHL Mock Draft

1. New Jersey Devils Adam Laarson D SEL Skellefetea AIK Adam Laarson is clearly the best player available at this point in the draft with his defense skills and I cannot see New Jersey passing on him.  When your in a division with centers who will play for the next ten years like Sidney Crosby, John Tavares, and Claude Giroux.  You have to take a defenseman to shut these players down, if there is a defenseman who is as talented as Laarson you take him if you have the first pick in the draft period.  Also with Laarson you can put Laarson in the AHL farm system and groom him for the future if you do not think he is NHL ready.  I do not think you can say that about too many other prospects in this draft because until you turn 20 in the Canadien leagues you either play for you junior hockey team or you play for the NHL.  Last years draft had 2 players who could play right away.  This years draft does not provide that so Laarson will probably play his rookie year in the AHL before going on to have a successsful career in the NHL.

2. Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent Hopkins C WHL Red Deer The Oilers would love to get a long term player to play across from Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent Hopkins is a great long term option for Edmonton.  With Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall as line 1 players.  Ryan Nugent Hopkins would become a line 2 center, and maybe a line 3 center at best because Edmonton drafted a center in 2008 in the first round and he is coming up to the NHL next season to be the Oilers #2 center.  Edmonton has 1 line in place to succeed and next year the Oilers will have another line in place with an effective line 2.  Nugent Hopkins will most likely return to the WHL after the Oilers draft him.

3. New York Islanders Sean Coutrier LW QMJHL Drummondville The Islanders already have a deadly line one for the future in the works with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, but with Coutrier the New York Islanders will have a line one that can be competitive.  The Islanders drafted a left winger in the WHL in 2010 and sent him back to the junior leagues after letting him play 9 games.  The Islanders need defense, but have a lot of depth on offense.  Coutrier has 2 more years in the QMJHL before he can jump to the AHL.  So we probably will not hear of this guy for a few years.  Coutrier can work his way up the depth chart, but he will need 2 to 5 years to develop.

4. Ottawa Senators Matt Puempel LW OHL Peterbourgh The Ottawa Senators have to take the best available player here because these 4 players I mentioned are clearly the 4 best players available who stand out.  After that it is anyone’s guess about who goes where at this point.  Ottawa has some veterans at left wing, but they cannot score as much as Puempel can, but I still belive Puempel returns to the OHL after being drafted by Ottawa.

5. Boston Bruins from Toronto Maple Leafs Jamieson Oleksiak D Northeastern Oleksiak is  a 6 foot 7 defenseman from Northeastern.  Northeastern finished 3rd in the annual Boston Beanpot Tournament last year in college hockey and finished 2nd the year before that. Northeastern usually finishes last in the Beanpot tournament, but the Northeastern Huskies fortunes have changed because of Oleksiak. Something tells me Oleksiak’s draft stock skyrockets and Oleksiak ends up in Boston if Northeastern does well this year.  I know there are better players available, but I like to use my Northeastern pick here as a joke, because the Bruins need a defenseman and my mom used to watch the hockey games when she attended Northeastern back in the late 70′s.  Critics will question this move passing on Ryan Murphy the Kitchner defenseman for the Northeastern defenseman.  This pick will receive so much criticism and controversy that if it happens Barry Melrose’s hair might fly off and attack Gary Betman on draft day, but in all seriousness if Boston follows through and takes Oleksiak in the top 5 the Boston Bruins fans will go crazy and question the pick that the front office made after getting this top 5 pick courtesy of Toronto.

6. Florida Panthers Gabriel Landeskog RW OHL Kitchner Florida needs to add some defense to make Thomas Vokoun better and Ryan Murphy is an excellent player. The OHL usually has the most players drafted #1 overall on draft day, but this OHL prospect falls to #6 and the Florida Panthers upgrade their line.

7. Columbus Blue Jackets Ryan Murphy D OHL Kitchner Columbus needs defense.  They have 2 good lines of offense and a goalie.  A guy like Ryan Murphy can make Columbus a playoff team 2 years from now if the Blue Jackets start retooling their defense.

8. St. Louis Blues Seth Ambroz RW USHL Omaha The St. Louis Blues need to get a right winger like Ambroz to succeed.  The Blues have the defense and the goalie to win.  Now they just need the offense.

9. Buffalo Sabres Brandon Sadd LW OHL Saginaw Buffalo loves size and Brandon Sadd has the size to become a great left winger for Buffalo one day.  The Sabres have depth at left wing and will have that depth for a long time, but something tells me they draft Brandon Sadd.

10. Calgary Flames Jonathan Huberdeau C QMJHL Saint John Huberdeau may be skinny, but he can develop in the minors.  Calgary has long term plans at goalie, and defense, but an offense is not in place for the long term for Calgary.  Some people believe Huberdeau has a shot at cracking the top 5.  I would not go that far, but I think he has a shot.

11. Carolina Hurricanes Dougie Hamilton D OHL Nigeria Some NHL draft pundits think Dougie Hamilton has greater potential than Ryan Murphy.  I think Hamilton is a solid selection for Carolina giving them a line 3 player for their defense.

12. Colorado Avalanche Joel Arima LW Finland Assat The Avalanche could use some help up front at left wing.  I know they no farm prospects on defense, but their NHL line on defense is strong.

13. Minnesota Wild John Gibson G USA Both of the Minnesota Wild goalies are in their 30′s.  I have to believe that the Wild will want to develop someone for the future.

14. Los Angeles Kings Sven Baerstschi LW WHL Portland The Los Angeles Kings line 2 and line 3 left wings only have 8 points this season.  When your performing that poorly at left wing it is time to get a new wing player.

15. Atlanta Thrashers Tyler Biggs RW USA Tyler Biggs could become a good right winger on a line 4 in time.  The Thrashers need to get a winger and Biggs has top ten potential.  Landing a potential top 10 pick at number 15 is pretty close to getting a steal.

16. Chicago Blackhawks Nathan Beiuleau D QMJHL Saint John The Blackhawks would love to have a line 3 defender who could one day play on line 2.  Beiuleau has line 2 talent with line one potential making him the perfect player for the Blackhawks to draft.

17. Pheonix Coyotes Ryan Storme C OHL Niagra The Coyotes need a line 4 center and Storme has played well in the OHL.

18. Anaheim Ducks Richard Rakell LW OHL Plymouth Anaheim could use a left winger on line 4 and Rakell could provide some impact for the Ducks.

19. San Jose Sharks Christopher Gibson G OHL Chicoutimi San Jose could use a 2nd goalie and Gibson may be the teams long term answer.

20. Nashville Predators Jonas Brodin D Sweden Farjestad The Predators could add some key defensive players to their farm system which is already stacked with NHL potential prospects.

21. New York Rangers Duncan Siemens D WHL Saskatoon The New York Rangers need to add some key depth to their defense.

22. Montreal Canadiens Nicklas Jenner LW OHL Oshawa The Canadiens get a left wing player for line four in Nicklas Jenner.  Jenner will instantly provide more snipper shots on the later lines which could set up more scoring opportunities for other players on the ice.

23. Washington Capitals Boone Jenner C Oshawa The Capitals are deep at every position in the NHL and the farm system as the Hershey Bears are the Washington Capitals farm team.

24. Dallas Stars Mika Zibanejed C Sweden JR Djurgarden Jr. Zibanejed is creepy up draft boards and despite drafting Scott Glennie in 2009.  Dallas needs long term centers.  Zibanejed will be a nice long term prospect for Dallas to develop.

25. Boston Bruins Ty Rattie RW WHL Portland The Boston Bruins would love to add a right winger to their roster.

26. Detroit Red Wings David Musil D WHL Vancouver Detroit adds a defenseman for depth here.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning Jonathan Miller C USA Miller would go higher in this draft if he were not so injury prone.

28. Pittsburgh Penguins Tomas Jurco RW QMJHL Saint John The Pittsburgh Penguins need help at right wing.  They have depth at every other key position plus another thing to consider is 3 of the Penguins last 5 first round picks have been from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League If you add Fleury and Malkin into the mix dating back to 2003 that is 4 of the last 7 first round picks playing in the QMJHL.

2003 the Penguins got Fleury QMJHL, 2004, the Penuins took Malkin a center from Russia, 2005 drafted Sidney Crosby QMJHL, 2006 took Jordan Stall he played in the OHL, 2007 the Penguins drafted Angelo Esposito QMJHL, 2008 the Penguins had no first round pick, 2009 the Penguins took Simon Despres QMJHL in the first round.  The Penguins love drafting QMJHL hockey players in the first round.  Also Marc Andre Fleury played in the QMJHL when the Penguins swapped picks with the Florida Panthers in 2003 for the #1 overall pick.  Its practically a Pittsburgh tradition for the Penguins to draft a QMJHL league player who will eventually make the jump to the NHL.  That’s why the Penguins team chemsitry is so strong because some of their starters played against each other when they were kids growing up in the QMJHL.  Did you know Mario Lemieux also played in the QMJHL?  Enough said the Penguins are taking a QMJHL player.

29. Philadelphia Flyers Victor Rask C Sweden Leskland Jr. Rask is too good to pass up on here. I know he has declined on some draft boards, but the Flyers will take him here.

30. Vancouver Canucks Daniel Cantennaci C OHL Saul St. Marie The Canucks have to get a center.  Cantennaci is a good prospect to consider at this point in the NHL Draft.