Europeans are wild cards in the NHL Draft. Some teams, like the Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs have done some very notable work in pulling NHL talent out of Europe. While the Caps have done the majority of their work in the first round, Detroit's Hakan Andersson and Toronto's Thommie Bergmann have done most of their work in later rounds.
The Swedes have dominated the European contingent in recent draft classes. Top end Swedes like Magnus Paajarvi, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson and Mattias Tedenby have already made their impact in the NHL. Swedes Adam Larsson and Gabriel Landeskog are the top ranked skaters for this year's draft.
The lack of a transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian Hockey Federation has stifled the flow of Russians into the NHL in recent years but its also had an unintended side effect. Top Russian prospects have started migrating to North America for Major Junior in an attempt to increase their draft stock and forego transfer issues. Russian trained prospects Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov both found themselves selected in the first round selections last year.
The Finns have put forward top prospects in recent years with Toni Rajala, Teemu Pulkkinen and Mikael Granlund but only Granlund managed to go gate-to-gate as a first round. Though, Pulkkinen and Rajala both followed up their drafts with strong performances the next season.
Meanwhile, the Czechs and Slovaks are still having trouble consistently developing top end talent and even when they do, they're having trouble convincing them to stay at home to develop. They tend to either leave before their draft year as Tomas Jurco, Petr Straka and Jakub Culek have. Or they leave immediately after as Richard Panik and Martin Marincin did.
Who will come after Larsson out of Europe at this year's Draft? Here are the five European Prospects who could shake up the 2011 NHL Entry Draft...