The 2011 NHL Draft should not disappoint in terms of producing impact players. This smooth transition of the world's top NHL prospects to the game has allowed the NHL Draft's popularity to grow each year.
The selection process was once considered an investment in the long-term future of a team.
Now, the draft produces players that immediately impact the teams that pick in the top half of the first round.
The 2011 draft class boasts a number of talented prospects at all positions.
Up front, Sean Couturier has the look of a franchise center, while Adam Larsson is the stud defenseman many teams desperately lack. Between the pipes John Gibson is the clear-cut No. 1 prospect in a relatively weak class at the top.
One can't help but wonder if any of these players are talented enough to push their respective teams out of the cellar and back into contention.
Here is the first full edition of my 2011 NHL Mock Draft.
A dynamic skater, Catenacci is a nice luxury pick for the deep Canucks.
Seth Ambroz's combination of size and strength is a perfect fit for the Flyers' brand of hockey.
Jurco is a pure winger that would bring a lot of depth to the Red Wings' system.
The Penguins' system leaves a lot to be desired in terms of offensive talent.
Vladislav Namestnikov could be considered selfish, but he is a value at the end of the first round.
Rask has seen his stock slide, but still can find a home in the first round based purely on potential.
The Dallas Stars are desperate for promising young talent on the blue line. Musil may never provide much more than depth, but at least it's something.
Rattie has the hockey sense and effort that Cam Neely will love.
The one area the Capitals need to address is the wing position. Jensen is a raw talent and could be picked anywhere from 15 to 35 overall.
With all of the offensive fire power in the Rangers' system, you have to think that New York will look elsewhere in June.
The Phoenix Coyotes desperately need to upgrade their depleted talent on offense.
Zibanejad is slowly creeping up draft boards and would make a solid developmental player for the Coyotes.
The Nashville Predators possess one of, if not the most, talented groups of prospects in the NHL. They have the luxury of taking Brodin to add even more depth to their system.
Jenner is a strong and smart forward that the Anaheim Ducks would love to mold.
Miller has some injury concerns, but he is a big, strong forward with a nose for the net that would add depth to the Canadians' system.
Christopher Gibson slides due to an injury. Otherwise, he would be battling John Gibson (no relation) for the top goalie spot in this draft.
Oleksiak, at 6'7'', is the towering presence Atlanta needs on their blue line.
It is nice to get scoring out of your defensive corps, but nothing beats having a lock-down guy on the back end.
The Avalanche do not have a shut-down defenseman in their system.
Beaulieu has the potential to be a first- or second-line defenseman in the NHL.
The Carolina Hurricanes' system is completely devoid of talent on both wings.
Richard Rakell is going to shoot up draft boards after a great showing at the WJC for Team Sweden.
The Kings simply know how to accumulate talent. They have arguably the most talented group of prospects of any team in the league.
Hamilton may not fill a huge need for the Kings, but he is a tremendous value and could easily land in the top 10.
The Blues' system is stacked on the blue line, so it makes sense for them to add to their offense with this selection.
After an impressive showing at the World Junior Classic, Baertshi has solidified himself as a top 15 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.
This is a perfect spot for the first goaltender to come off the board.
The Wild have a ton of needs, but building a team starts from the net out, and Minnesota has to start grooming a goaltender.
The Sharks need to add some play-making forwards to their system. Armia is a big body who seems to get better with each game.
The Blue Jackets have been doing a solid job of accumulating talent in recent drafts, but still lack depth up the middle.
Strome is putting together an impressive season and could shoot up draft boards.
Biggs is the big body the Buffalo Sabres lack on the wing. They have made a point of adding size in recent drafts, and Biggs would continue that trend.
The Panthers are slowly and quietly developing a talented group of prospects.
A power forward like Saad would add another element to an already thriving system.
The Flames' system is in serious need of rebuilding.
Aside from a couple of decent defensive prospects and Mikael Backlund, Calgary is completely devoid of talent.
Nugent-Hopkins slides a few picks further then some may expect due to questions about his ability to get it done against the best.
How many times have the talking heads mentioned Boston's need for a defenseman who can move the puck?
Murphy is the most talented puck mover in this draft and is as strong a skater as any defenseman available.
There are questions about Huberdeau's lack of elite skills, but his instincts and hockey intelligence are as impressive as any player in the draft.
The Senators desperately need to replenish the offensive talent in their system.
While the Oilers are stacked up front in terms of young talent, they are lacking an elite prospect on the blue line.
Larsson is the best player in the draft in my opinion, but he has come back down to earth a bit this year. He is a perfect fit and nice value for the Oilers.
Landeskog has picked up steam in recent weeks due to a breakout year.
It appears as though he could be the 2011 version of Tyler Seguin. I doubt he gains enough momentum to secure the number one spot, however, given he cannot play center.
The Devils have not drafted well in recent years, so their collapse this season is not a surprise.
Luckily, they are in line to be picking first in the 2011 NHL Draft, giving them a golden opportunity to add depth to their shallow system of prospects.