NHL Mock Draft 2011: How It'll Play out

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NHL Mock Draft 2011: How It'll Play out
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Not in a long time has the NHL entry draft been this wide open. 

As many as five players could be going first overall. To quote Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, "I think there's at least five players that can be in play and arguably qualify as the No. 1 pick - no question. It's different than last year for sure."

Bob MacKenzie simply says after the top three, this draft is "ridiculously wide open".

The general consensus at this point is that Edmonton will pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but, more than any other draft year in recent history, there's a solid chance he may not be.

Further to that, many GM's agree that from 12-15 to pick 50, the players are about equal.  What does this mean? It means a team isn't necessarily going to draft "best available" and could instead be drafting for "position" and for "depth".

Because the 12-50 slot is so wide open, expect teams to do a lot more trading than you would see on a "normal" draft day in order to fill their internal ranking lists.

Other than the trades that have already occurred, I predict in the first two rounds no less than eight teams trading picks.

Assuming there are no trades (yeah right), this is how it's going down!

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