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2011 Rant Sports NHL Mock Draft

This one round mock draft will feature insight and analysis from some of our top Rant Sports Bloggers. I hope you enjoy this 2011 NHL Draft.  I’ll make picks for any teams that do not have bloggers.

1. Edmonton Oilers Adam Larsson D Skelleftea Elitserien Even though I’d probably take Larsson over Ryan Nugent Hopkins too if I were the Oilers GM lets hear what Rant Sports Edmonton Oilers Blogger Eric Yeomans had to say about the Edmonton Oilers who pick #1 overall in the 2011 NHL Draft.

“When you can get your hands on a young, stud, franchise defenseman, you take it. While Nugent-Hopkins is supremely talented, acquiring Larsson fills a much greater need for this Oilers team, who is already loaded with small, skilled forwards.
Larsson has been compared to Nicklas Lidstrom, and certainly plays like it. After an impressive showing at the World Juniors to go along with his three years of service playing against grown men in the Swedish Elite League and his already filled out frame at 6’3, 200 lbs, Larsson has proven that he can step onto the ice from day one and compete against NHL talent. And with his experience and size, he represents the closest thing to a “sure thing” in this draft.
If you have the opportunity to draft a sure thing, can’t miss prospect, you have to strongly consider that player. When that prospect can be your franchise defenseman for years to come, you can’t afford to go any other direction.”

For more top notch Edmonton Oilers content check out Eric’s Edmonton Oilers blog at www.struckoilers.com.

2. Colorado Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog RW Kitchner Rangers OHL The Avalanche front office is set on drafting Landeskog at #2 plus the Avalanche don’t need Ryan Nugent Hopkins with their array of centers.

Landeskog could start out on line 2 as a right winger working his way up to line 1.

3. Florida Panthers Ryan Nugent Hopkins C Red Deer Rebels WHL The Florida Panthers take Ryan Nugent Hopkins in a heartbeat if he slides this far by some miracle.

4. New Jersey Devils Jonathan Huberdeau C Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL Here is Rant Sports New Jersey Devils blogger Steve Palumbo with his thoughts on the draft.

“He played allot of wing last year but he’s still a center and could compliment Kovalchuk. I still feel like the Devils may trade the pick or just grab a guy like Murphy but for the sake of this mock draft I’d take Huberdeau.”

To read Steve’s blog check out www.dekingdevils.com.  Today he is discussing and examining all of the New Jersey Devils draft options on his website.

5. New York Islanders Dougie Hamilton D Niagara IceDogs OHL Here is Rant Sports New York Islanders blogger Chris Leyden with his brief summary on the pick.

“It seems likely the Islanders will trade down but for the sake of simplicity I would say they take Dougie Hamilton. Not sure its the right selection but it seems to be the popular one.”

To read Chris’s blog about the New York Islanders check out www.thelonelyislanders.com.

6. Ottawa Senators Ryan Strome C Niagara IceDogs OHL The Senators worked out Ryan Strome and really like him.  I know the consensus is the Senators take Sean Couturier, but I’m going out on a limb saying the Senators take Strome.

7. Winnipeg Jets Sean Couturier LW Drummondville Voltigeurs QMJHL Atlanta is relocating to Winnipeg.  The team name is unknown.  Atlanta has a front 6 and needs a face for their back 6.

Couturier can be a playmaker or a sniper.  He can play left wing, center, or right wing.  Hockey Magazine which crowned Brayden Schenn the best CHL prospect in Hockey right now stated that they believe Couturier is the best QMJHL prospect since Sidney Crosby.  Those are very strong words and very big shoes to fill.

I’m not high on Couturier and I believe he busts, but anchoring a back 6 on line 3 is the perfect role for Couturier so I love the role that Couturier gets inserted into.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets Ryan Murphy D Kitchner Rangers OHL The Blue Jackets want an offensive defender and Murphy fits the bill at #8.  There is talk that Columbus will trade Jakub Voracek and the 8th overall pick to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter.  If that’s the case the Flyers are getting a huge bargain in the long term.

9. Boston Bruins from Toronto Maple Leafs Mika Zibanejad C Djurgardens Elitserien Before we go to Nick Tavares the Rant Sports Bruins blogger for his take on the pick I will congratulate the Boston Bruins for being 2011 Stanley Cup Champions.

Here is a summary of what Nick believes Boston should do with Toronto’s 9th overall pick below.

“Zibanejad played well at the SuperElit level, and the Bruins like taking talented centers and working from there, either putting them on the wing or letting them grow into the job of anchoring a line. And with PJ Axelsson in the past and David Krejci now, there’s a willingness to give time to hardworking forwards from Europe.”

Go to www.bruinszone.com to read Nick’s take on the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Bruins.

10. Minnesota Wild Mark McNeil C Prince Albert Raiders WHL The Minnesota Northstars drafted Mike Modano who went to Prince Albert.  Maybe the Wild take McNeil at #10 seeing that they need forward depth.  Mark McNeil is being discussed as a possible option to go #10.

11. Colorado Avalanche from St. Louis Blues Nathan Beaulieu D Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL Colorado takes a defender to boost their defense because their defense was dead last in goals allowed and dead last in penalty killing.  Saint John won the Memorial Cup so the Avalanche pass on Duncan Siemens and take Nathan Beaulieu here.

Go to www.bluemenonice.com to read Michael Wagenknect and his St. Louis Blues blog.  I already mentioned the Avalanche blog so I decided to take some time to mention the Blues blog.

12. Carolina Hurricanes Duncan Siemens D Saskatoon Blades WHL Nick Marek the Hurricanes blogger believes that the Carolina Hurricanes should add a defender because there stacked with forwards.  Siemens is a top ten pick in every mock draft so he should be the pick if he falls this far.

To read Nick Marek’s blog go to www.eyesofthehurricanes.com

13. Calgary Flames Zach Phillips C Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL Calgary adds Zach Phillips as a line 1 center hoping he can be the playmaker that Calgary needs.

14. Dallas Stars Sven Bartschi LW Portland Winterhawks WHL Sven Bartschi is a WHL prospect.  Dallas usually pursues WHL players.  Bartschi was listed as the 8th best player on one NHL Draft Board and was projected to be a reach at #5 to the New York Islanders at one point.  Dallas takes Bartschi here if he falls this far.

I write for www.lonestarshockey.com as the Dallas Stars Blogger.

15. New York Rangers Alexander Khoklachev C Winsdor Spitfires OHL The Rangers should add a playmaker center.  Alexander Khoklachev is considered the best available player at this point.

To read Zach’s blogs go to www.rangersdanger.com for New York Rangers updates or to get your daily feed on the Washington Nationals check out www.dcdoubleplay.com.

16. Buffalo Sabres Jamie Oleksiak D Northeastern Buffalo has taken a defenseman 4 of the last 5 years plus they draft for size.  Oleksiak is 6 foot 7 240 pounds and went to my mom’s alma matter Northeastern.  Oleksiak is the kind of player the Sabres front office drafts.

17. Montreal Canadiens Phillip Danault LW Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL The Canadiens really like Danault and something tells me they go out on a limb and draft him here.  Danault is a left winger that really capitalized on key opportunities when trying to score shorthanded goals.

18. Chicago Blackhawks Boone Jenner C Oshawa Generals OHL Randy Holt our Chicago Blackhawks blogger and NHL Moderator for Rant Sports made this pick for the Blackhawks.  Many people consider Jenner to be a 3rd line center and that is exactly what Jenner is.

To read Randy and his input on the Chicago Blackhawks go to www.hawkeytalk.com to read our Chicago Blackhawks blog.

19. Edmonton Oilers from Los Angeles Kings Mark Schefele C Barrie Colts OHL Edmonton needs more depth at center and since Larsson went #1 in our mock draft Schefele goes 19th to the Oilers here as Eric drafts a center for Edmonton.

I already mentioned the Oilers Blog so to read the Kings blog go to www.fitforakings.com.  Danielle, the LA Kings blogger also blogs for www.blogthatbarrybuilt.com for updates on the San Francisco Giants.

20. Phoenix Coyotes Niklas Jensen RW Oshawa Generals OHL Here is what Robby Baker the Phoenix Coyotes blogger has to say.

“I would take Jensen. He put up 58 points last year with the Oshwa Generals and kind of reminds me of Boedker, a winger with great skill and potential. He seems to have great fundamentals and his size, 6 foot 3, will be an advantage to him as well. He will learn more in the NHL how to use that size to his advantage.”

For information on the Phoenix Coyotes go to www.yotesnotes.com

21. Ottawa Senators from Nashville Predators Joel Arima C Assat SM Liiga Arima can play center, left wing, or right wing.  Arima is a good pick at #21 for Ottawa.

22. Anaheim Ducks Jonas Brodin D Farejstad Elitserien Anaheim boosts their PK by finding a 2nd long term defender who could play along with Cam Fowler.

23. Pittsburgh Penguins Brandon Sadd LW Saginaw Spirit OHL Troy Pfaff our Penguins blogger believes that hometown prospect Brandon Sadd is the best fit for the Penguins if he slides to #23.

Ironically Pittsburgh’s Post Gazette sports page talked about Sadd’s teammate Vincent Trocheck going to the Penguins today.  Maybe the Penguins can land both hometown Pittsburgh players and Saginaw teammates in back to back rounds before picking again in round 5.

After round 1 the Penguins have a 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th round pick from the Sharks.  Due to a surplus of limited picks it would not shock to to see Pittsburgh move up by giving up their entire draft.  Lemieux and Shero are too smart to let that happen.

To read top notch Pittsburgh Sports content read Troy’s blogs www.penguinspuck.com and www.buccosbuzz.com.  For Steelers content check out Tom TJ Jenkins at www.steelerschronicle.com.

24. Detroit Red Wings Vladislav Namestnikov C London Knights OHL Red Wings blogger Mike Suggs believes the Red Wings decide to add a center for depth and start retooling their farm system.

To read the Red Wings Rant Sports blog check out www.redwingsrising.com for all your information on the Detroit Red Wings.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs from Philadelphia Flyers Tyler Biggs RW USHL Maple Leafs Blogger Jeff Zeffer will make this pick.  You will get to hear Jeff pick again at 29 and 30 when Vancouver and Toronto picks with Boston’s pick.

“With the 25th pick the Toronto Maple Leafs select Tyler Biggs from the U.S National Development team. Biggs is a 6’ 2” 200lbs winger; he’s American and a prototypical Brian Burke player. Biggs is a physical winger who will sacrifice his body and has a 20G 20A upside. Biggs’ needs to work on his passing and neutral zone play. Overall he is a safe pick in the 2011 NHL draft.”

Mike Santa Barbara writes for the Flyers Blog.  I’ll mention the Maple Leafs blog at pick #30.  To read Mike’s Philadelphia Sports Content go to www.getflyerdup.com or www.76erscentral.com  Mike and I debated some of the first round picks in the 2011 NBA Draft with an intelligent discussion.  You can read the discussion on Mike’s 76ers page.

26. Washington Capitals David Musil D Vancouver Giants WHL The Capitals blogger wanted David Musil and none of the other bloggers picking after took Musil so I’m allowing Washington to change their pick from BPA to Musil since I didn’t get their pick in earlier.

Go to www.captialshill.com to read Ryan Davenport’s take on the Washington Capitals.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning Matt Puempel LW Peterborough Petes OHL Puempel was once in contention for the #1 pick with Larsson, Nugent Hopkins, Couturier, and Landeskog at the start of the season being a top 5 pick along with these other 4 players heading into the year.

Peterborough had the 2nd worst OHL record.  This caused Puempel’s stock to drop.  Tampa Bay already drafted a long term answer at right wing for when St. Louis leaves in Brett Connolly in 2010.  Adam Hall is 30 and his contract is up.  I expect Connolly to take his spot since Prince George isn’t that good and because Tampa got so close to the Cup.  Tampa Bay has 3 left wingers with expiring contracts with Ryan Malone being the only player under contract.  Malone is 30.  Tampa Bay draft a left winger who could compliment Stamkos and Connolly on line 1 5 years down the road when St. Louis retires.

28. San Jose Sharks Seth Ambroz RW Omaha Lancers USHL San Jose needs wingers to anchor the back 6 and Ambroz is the best winger available at #28.

29. Vancouver Canucks Joseph Morrow D Portland Winterhawks WHL Jeff Zeffer who writes for the Canucks and Maple Leafs picks with these final 2 picks.  Here is Jeff’s take on what Vancouver should do at #29.

“With the 29th pick the Vancouver Canucks select defenseman Joseph Morrow from the Portland Winter Hawks. This offensive defenseman scored 9 goals, with 40 assist this season. Morrow is a power play specialist with a good shot and vision, with defensive upside. But Morrow will need time to develop, which is something the Canucks can give him because of their depth of veteran defenseman.
The Canucks have four defenseman who are UFA’s this offseason; Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo, Christian Ehrhoff and Andrew Alberts. Obviously they can’t sign them all and the fact that Vancouver does not have a stud defenseman in their farm system. In my opinion this is why I think the Canucks will go defenseman with their first pick.”

To get the latest and greatest content from the 2011 Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks go check out www.canuckspuck.com.

30. Toronto Maple Leafs from Boston Bruins Victor Rask C Lesklands Toronto picks at #30 with Boston’s pick.  Jeff will wrap up the draft with this pick.

“With the 30th pick the Toronto Maple Leafs select Victor Rask from Leksands of the J20 Swedish Super Elite League. Rask is 6’ 2” and 195lbs. He was a top 10 prospect last fall after drawing some serious attention because of his skating ability, puck control and faceoff skills. But is stock has dropped to the early second round because of his cocky attitude and among other things. Overall I do feel taking Rask at the 30th pick is a reach but he is worth the shot.”

Go to www.wafflesandleafs.com for information on the Toronto Maple Leafs and their blog for Rant Sports.