So these past few days, considering it's summer and life is good, I decided to do my own little mock draft. Figuring Lighthouse readers can't get enough of this stuff, enjoy and feel free to discuss, debate, etc.
2011 NHL Mock Draft:
1.) Edmonton Oilers- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, 6'0'', 165 lbs.
- Oilers go with the high-end offensive center to play with Taylor Hall for the next decade. Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson will also get consideration for the top pick.
2.) Colorado Avalanche- Adam Larsson, D, 6'2'', 210 lbs.
- Avalanche have a tough decision at #2, with Larsson and Gabriel Landeskog both available. They could draft Landeskog at 2, and a defenseman with their 11th overall pick, or could draft Larsson 2nd and a forward at #11. Avs will opt with future franchise blueliner Larsson.
3.) Florida Panthers- Gabriel Landeskog, LW, 6'0'', 207 lbs.
- GM Dale Tallon will choose Landeskog over Sean Couturier because of his leadership and goal-scoring touch, with Landeskog reminding scouts of a young Mike Richards. Landeskog and last years first rounder Eric Gudbrandson will provide the young Panthers with leadership and identity for the next decade.
4.) New Jersey Devils- Sean Couturier, C, 6'4'', 197 lbs.
- Devils, by virtue of winning the draft lottery, jump up to #4, where they land Couturier, a big center with skill who has been mentioned as a possible #1 overall pick for at least a year. Couturier has been compared to Jordan Staal, and if his goal-scoring touch fully develops, a Vincent LeCavalier comparison would not be far off.
5.) New York Islanders- Dougie Hamilton, D, 6'4'', 193 lbs.
- Once the "big four" are off the board, there is a group of players in the 5-8 range that the Isles will look at, starting with the blueliner Dougie Hamilton. Compared to Jay Bouwmeester and Brent Burns, Hamilton combines considerable size, skill, and smarts to form a future top-pairing defenseman.
6.) Ottawa Senators- Jonathan Huberdeau, C, 6'1'', 170 lbs.
- The Senators have built a lot of defense depth over the past few years, so they will undoubtedly go forward with their pick. Huberdeau has seemingly come out of nowhere to be potentially this years Jeff Skinner, translating a 100+ point season into a top-10, and possibly even top-5, pick at the draft.
7.) Atlanta Thrashers- Ryan Strome, C, 6'1'', 183 lbs.
- The Thrashers will go best player available at this position, and that player is Strome, the skilled, lanky center. Compared to Patrick Kane, Strome has also come out of nowhere to be a top prospect in June. Expect Strome and last years first rounder Alex Burmistrov to form a solid 1a-1b punch down the middle for a long time.
8.) Columbus Blue Jackets- Mark McNeill, C, 6'2'', 210 lbs.
- The first surprise of the draft, the Blue Jackets land a big power center compared to Ryan Getzlaf. Expected to go anywhere from pick 10 to pick 20, McNeill could rise into the top 10 with a good showing at the combine. McNeill is a perfect 1b center behind Ryan Johansen, and for a team that has had trouble in the past obtaining centers, the Jackets will have two good ones relatively soon.
9.) Boston Bruins- Duncan Siemens, D, 6'3'', 197 lbs.
- The Bruins will use the final first rounder acquired from Toronto for Phil Kessel on a defenseman who imitates Scott Stevens on the ice. Siemens has limited offensive ability, but combining that with his immense defensive ability, Siemens has top-pairing potential, and will be a stalwart on the Bruins blueline for years.
10.)Minnesota Wild- Mika Zibanejad, C, 6'3'', 185 lbs .
- The Wild have never been afraid to draft international prospects, and will add to that reputation with Finnish center Mika Zibanejad. Zibanejad has sky-rocketed up the draft rankings with a tremendous two way game, and has top six potential. He is also one of the least risky players in the draft, with a near certainty of being a third-line center should his offensive game never explode.
11.) Colorado Avalanche- Sven Baertchi, LW, 5'10'', 185 lbs.
- The Avs, having drafted Adam Larsson with the second pick, land Swedish winger Sven Baertschi out of the WHL champion Portland Winterhawks with their 11th overall pick. Like last years top 5 picks Ryan Johansen (Blue Jackets, 4th overall) and Nino Niederreiter (Islanders, 5th overall), a Winterhawk will represent well at the draft.
- Although not exactly a Fowler-like drop, the uber-talented, but undersized, Murphy will fall to the Hurricanes at 12, who are quietly developing a great offensive core of players. Murphy, drawing comparisons to Brian Rafalski and Mike Green, is arguably the most talented offensive player in the entire draft, but questions about his size and defensive ability linger.
13.) Calgary Flames- Matt Puempel, RW, 6'0'', 190 lbs.
- Another relatively surprising pick, the Flames land a pure goal scorer who has been dealing with a nagging injury for months. Similar to last years 6th overall pick Brett Connolly (Lightning), there is risk with this pick, but the reward is sky high. Compared to Patrick Sharp, Puempel plays with one purpose at all times on the ice: to put the puck in the net.
14.) Dallas Stars- Jamieson Oleksiak, D, 6'7'', 245 lbs.
- The Stars land a hulking defenseman who, by virtue of his size alone, could already be a third-pairing or depth defenseman. But add in his skating ability and hard shot, and you potentially have the next Tyler Myers, or even Zdeno Chara if it really breaks the right way.
15.) New York Rangers- Mark Scheifele, C, 6'3'', 175 lbs.
- The Rangers choose the two-way center Scheifele over Joel Armia and Brandon Saad solely based on position. Few years away.
16.) Buffalo Sabres- Joel Armia, RW, 6'2'', 185 lbs.
- Best player available.
17.) Montreal Canadiens- Brandon Saad, LW, 6'2'', 200 lbs.
- Need size.
18.) Chicago Blackhawks- Nathan Beaulieu, D, 6'3'' 190 lbs.
- Big drop for Beaulieu leads to Hawks drafting BPA.
19.) Edmonton Oilers- Joseph Morrow, D, 6'1'' 200 lbs.
- Get their D-man after picking RNH first overall.
20.) Phoenix Coyotes- Zack Phillips, C, 6'0'', 180 lbs.
- Pure scorer, year or two away. Needs to prove he can perform without Huberdeau.
21.) Ottawa Senators- Nicklas Jensen, RW, 6'2'', 185 lbs.
- Impressive scorer
22.) Anaheim Ducks- Boone Jenner, C, 6'1'', 195 lbs.
- Ducks kind of player, future third-line, two-way center.
23.) Pittsburgh Penguins- Jonathan Miller, C, 6'1'', 200 lbs.
- Surprise pick, going with a center, but mix of size and skill, on top of an impressive performance in the U-18 championship tournament, give Penguins the impressive aura of a BPA pick. Can always move to wing to accommodate Crosby-Malkin-Staal.
24.) Detroit Red Wings- Oscar Klefbom, D, 6'3'', 200 lbs.
- Impressive two-way Swedish defensemen skyrocketing up the rankings will go a long way towards stabilizing Detroit's blueline corps.
25.) Toronto Maple Leafs-Ty Rattie, RW, 6'0'', 170 lbs.
- Speedy sniper out of Portland a few years away, but could be one of the more offensively proficient players in the draft.
26.) Washington Capitals- Tomas Jurco, RW, 6'2'', 193 lbs.
- Flashy sniper has a chance to be an electrifying offensive player, or the next Rob Schremp. Skills very worthy of the 26th overall pick, but must work on two-way play and consistency to be a difference-maker at the NHL level.
27.) Tampa Bay Lightning- David Musil, D, 6'3'', 190 lbs.
- Defenseman has good size, underwhelmed scouts this season; boom or bust pick for the Lightning.
28.) San Jose Sharks- Jonas Brodin, D, 6'1'', 170 lbs.
- Outstanding skater a good fit in San Jose.
29.) Toronto Maple Leafs- Tyler Biggs, RW, 6'2'', 200 lbs.
- Once considered a top-10 talent, falls to back of first round where Toronto gladly scoops up, at worst, a third-line grinder and at best, a top-six power forward.
30.) Vancouver Canucks- Scott Mayfield, D, 6'3'', 175 lbs.
- Although he's likely two-to-three years away from the NHL, the Canucks will gladly take a flier on a shutdown D-man, especially with the likelihood of Kevin Bieksa and/or Christian Ehrhoff about to depart as free agents