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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Who's Going Where and Who'll Make an Immediate Difference

Jeff LangridgeCorrespondent IIIMay 11, 2011

2011 NHL Mock Draft: Who's Going Where and Who'll Make an Immediate Difference

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    Courtesy of www.wild.nhl.com

    The 2011 NHL Draft is roughly a month away, and the future of about 210 young players lives are about to be decided.

    What makes this draft different than any other is that after the top four prospects, the draft could really go anyway. That is how close together the rest of the players are. A player that I have getting picked in the first round could just as easily be picked in the second- or even the third-round.

    In this mock draft, I will obviously tell you where players will be picked but also how long it could be before the player makes it to the NHL.

    To compile this, I used the International Scouting Services Ranking System, The Hockey News Draft Preview Magazine and of course, my own opinion to see who would go where. Everytime I mention scouts saying something, its from the Draft Preview. They don't give specific names, so neither can I.

    Without further a due, with the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft...

1. The Edmonton Oilers Select... Ryan Nugent Hopkins

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

    Why They Take Him: The top two could really go either way, but Edmonton has the chance to form what could be the best top line in the future, which tips the Oilers' decision towards Nugent-Hopkins. If you have Nugent-Hopkins centering Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, the Oilers' first line will be set for the next 10 years at least, and all they would have to do is worry about their depth forwards and their goaltending.

    The biggest question is whether he will play in Edmonton this year or play another year in Red Deer. While it might be best for him to do the latter, Edmonton most likely doesn't want to pick first overall again next year, and having a player like Nugent-Hopkins could help their cause.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2011-12

2. The Colorado Avalanche Select... Gabriel Landeskog

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    Position: Left Wing

    2010-11 Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

    Why They Take Him: While I originally had the Avalanche selecting Adam Larsson with this pick. But after a closer look at Colorado's roster, I see them surprising a few people and taking Landeskog. Similar to Edmonton, a line featuring both Landeskog and Matt Duchene could be too good to pass up.

    Being advertised as the most NHL-ready player in the draft, Landeskog will be penciled into the Av's roster the moment he is drafted.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2011-12

3. The Florida Panthers Select... Adam Larsson

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Skelleftea HC (SEL)

    Why They Take Him: With the Av's passing on Larsson, Panthers' general manager Dale Tallon will say, "Thank you very much" and take him. Adding Larsson will give the Panthers a tremendous young defense core that already includes Dimitry Kulikov and Erik Gudbranson.

    As Nik Lidstrom nears his retirement, his apparent replacement will be setting up shop in not as big a hockey market than the Motor City.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2011-12

4. The New Jersey Devils Select... Dougie Hamilton

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

    Why They Take Him: The New Jersey Devils have been focusing on defense for the past few years, taking defensemen with their first pick of the draft in two of the last three drafts. I don't see that strategy changing this year.

    Dougie Hamilton ramped up his offensive stats this past season, and will most likely spend another year with Niagara. He could make the jump to the Devils the next season, but could end up playing a year with the Devils' AHL affiliate in Albany.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

The New York Islanders Select... Sven Bartschi

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Left Wing

    2010-11 Team: Portlant Winterhawks (WHL)

    Why They Take Him: New York goes a little off the board here. In most mock drafts I've seen, Bartschi has been taken just outside the top 10. I have the Islanders picking him for one reason: his connection to Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter.

    Bartschi and Niederreiter both played in Portland this past season, and both are Switzerland-born players. That means they might already have some chemistry, and that could be invaluable to a young team like the Islanders.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

6. The Ottawa Senators Select... Sean Couturier

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

    Why They Take Him: The last of the top four to go, Couturier has slowly seen his stock drop from where it was at the beginning of the season. Ottawa is in the start of a big rebuild, and Couturier should play a big part in it.

    Because of the Senators lack of depth right now, Couturier has an outside shot of making it in the Senators line-up next season, but will most likely play another year with Drummondville before making the jump.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

7. The Atlanta Thrashers Select... Jonathan Huberdeau

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: St. John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

    Why They Take Him: In every mock draft I've seen, Ryan Strome has been picked by the Thrashers, but not this one. Jonathan Huberdeau's upside is far too high for the Thrashers to pass up.

    While Huberdeau needs another year at least in junior, on a team like the Thrashers, he could crack the lineup with a strong performance in training camp.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2011-12

8. The Columbus Blue Jackets Select... Ryan Murphy

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

    Why They Pick Him: Scouts are split on how Murphy will turn out, but it won't stop him from going in the top 10. Columbus has needed an offensive dragon since they entered the NHL and have yet to find one, so they will take the chance on Murphy.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

9. The Boston Bruins Select... Duncan Siemens

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

    Why They Pick Him: After taking two centers with the picks they acquired from the Leafs last year, they will take a defenseman this year. Boston does not have a top-rate defensive prospect in its system, and Siemens will give them one.

    As one of the youngest players in the draft, Siemens will be given time to mature and and graduate to the Bruins when he is ready.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

10. The Minnesota Wild Select... Ryan Strome

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

    Why They Pick Him: Originally thought to be a second-rounder, Ryan Strome's season bolted him up the charts. Still in the top 10, Strome will be the most popular pick of the draft going to the hosting team.

    He drops down further than expected, but Minnesota will have no problem adding him to their already strong offensive prospect core.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

11. The Colorado Avalanche Select... Brandon Saad

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Left Wing

    2010-11 Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

    Why They Pick Him: The Avalanche's top six will be pretty much set with the drafting of Landeskog at No. 2. Now they will start work on their bottom six. Brandon Saad could be just what they need.

    He could work his way onto the second line, but he will most likely end up on the third line. That is no problem for Colorado has plenty of talent in it's top six, and adding Saad to the bottom six will help them immensely. He has secondary scoring talent that will be essential to the Av's return to the playoffs.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

12. The Carolina Hurricanes Select... Zack Phillips

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: St. John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

    Why They Take Him: While some scouts have problems with his skating, there is no doubt that Zack Phillips has talent. A lot of people seem to think that Phillips will fall into the late first round to be selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs. I am not one of those people.

    Phillips tallied 95 points this past season, so it's a big question how many more points he would have scored if he weren't on the same team as fellow draft eligible prospect Jonathan Huberdeau.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

13. The Calgary Flames Select... Mika Zibanejad

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    Courtesy of www.tsn.ca

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: Djurgarden (SEL)

    Why They Take Him: With only one pick in the first three rounds, the Flames have to take the best player available at their pick. That player, in my opinion, is Mika Zibanejad. He was not the biggest point producer for his team this past season, but that was because, most of the time, he was buried underneath bigger stars.

    According to The Hockey News' Draft Preview, there are a few scouts that wouldn't be surprised to see Zibanejad in the top five based on potential alone, so the Flames will take a chance on him.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full time: 2013-14

14. The Dallas Stars Select... Alexander Khokhlachev

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    Courtesy of www.windsorspitfires.com

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

    Why They Take Him: The Russian factor doesn't seem to be as big a story as it was last year, and Alex Khokhlachev will be the first Russian selected this year. Playing for the perennial contender Windsor definitely helped his case, although Windsor will not be three-peating this year.

    Again, according to The Hockey News Draft Preview, one scout compared his game to that of a more physical Marc Savard. Any team would probably like a player like that.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

15. The New York Rangers Select... Matt Puempel

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Left Wing

    2010-11 Team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)

    Why They Take Him: The New York Rangers are not that strong on left wing, but when Matt Puempel is ready to make the jump the NHL, he will definitely give the Rangers a strength at that position.

    In 2009-10, Puempel was named the top rookie for both the OHL and CHL. This year was a different story. He had to play on a bad team all year long and missed the last month of the season. He might have been a top 10 guy if he had a better showing this past season, but it shouldn't hurt his standing that much.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full time: 2013-14

16. The Buffalo Sabres Select... Tyler Biggs

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    Courtesy of www.nhl.com

    Position: Right Wing

    2010-11 Team: United States Development Program

    Why They Take Him: The past few years, Buffalo has been going for big forwards. Biggs would be one of the taller forwards left at this point, and Buffalo adding another power forward to it's mix is not out of the question.

    Biggs is heading to Miami University so it will be a few years before he makes an impact in the NHL.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full time: 2014-15

17. The Montreal Canadiens Select... Mark McNiel

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

    Why They Take Him: Montreal gets a player in Mark McNeill that some scouts have compared to Bobby Ryan. McNeill is one of the smartest players in the draft when it comes to hockey sense, and is a very tough to boot.

    If he were to step into the Canadiens lineup today, he would be taller than all but five players on the Canadiens roster.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full time: 2012-13

18. The Chicago Blackhawks Select... Niklas Jensen

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Right Wing

    2010-11 Team: Oshawa Generals (OHL)

    Why They Take Him: Another case of a team just picking the best player available. Nicklas Jensen is a young player from Denmark who is very talented and has jumped the rankings in most scouting reports. Chicago will grab him hoping he can bring some secondary scoring behind Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

19. The Edmonton Oilers Select... John Gibson

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    Position: Goaltender

    2010-11 Team: United States Development Program

    Why They Take Him: With their offense set and their defense at least okay, the Oilers last step is goaltending. John Gibson is the best goalie in the draft this year, and Edmonton should jump at the chance to take him.

    The Nikolai Khabibulin experiment hasn't worked out, so they should let Devan Dubnyk hold down the fort until Gibson is ready and the Oilers could regain some of what the had in the 1980's.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full time: 2014-15

20. The Phoenix Coyotes Select... David Musil

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Vancouver Giants (WHL)

    Why They Take Him: Three of Phoenix's defensemen—Ed Jovanovski, Adrian Aucoin and Derek Morris—have played over 900 games in their NHL careers. With two young defensemen in Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, they have two players that will replace them. David Musil will be the third.

    Yandle and Ekman-Larsson are both offensive defensemen, so they will end up taking the highest-ranked defensive defensemen left in the draft.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full time: 2013-14

21. The Ottawa Senators Select... Tomas Jurco

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Right Wing

    2010-11 Team: St. John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

    Why They Take Him: Yet another Sea Dog is selected in the first round. Tomas Jurco is most known for his fancy stick work that made him popular on YouTube.

    The Ottawa Senators will jump at the chance to add so much raw skill to their prospect core.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

22. The Anaheim Ducks Select... Jonas Brodin

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    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Farjestad (SEL)

    Why They Take Him: Anaheim has a bunch of defense prospects, but none that really stand out. Also, their defense is full of older players. When these players retire, Anaheim could have quite a lackluster defense, far removed from the days of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger.

    Jonas Brodin played for the best team in Sweden, which limited his ice time. When playing for Sweden in international competition, he showed off what he can actually do. He is a good puck-handler and can take on big minutes, something that Anaheim will like.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

23. The Pittsburgh Penguins Select... Joel Armia

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    Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    Position: Right Wing

    2010-11 Team: Assat (SM-liija)

    Why They Take Him: Joel Armia slips to this position because of other teams' needs. Pittsburgh, who has well documented holes on the wing, will glady snag him if given the chance.

    Armia was one of the goal-scorers on Assat this season. Given the Pen's wing situation, if he has a good training camp, he could find himself in the NHL next season.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

24. The Detroit Red Wings Select... Dimitri Jaskin

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    Courtesy of www.tsn.ca

    Position: Right Wing

    2010-11 Team: Slavia (ELH)

    Why They Take Him: Yet another projected power forward, Detroit will take a risk on Dimitri Jaskin with their history with drafting players from the Eastern Hemisphere.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

25. The Toronto Maple Leafs Select... Jamie Oleksiak

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    Courtesy of www.thehockeynews.com

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Northeastern University

    Why They Take Him: Even though Toronto's biggest need isn't a defensemen, it would be hard to pass up the 6'7" behemoth Jamie Oleksiak. In a division where they are playing against players like Zdeno Chara and Tyler Myers regularly, it would be nice to have a counterpart to them on the Leafs.

    Adding Oleksiak would give the Leafs arguably the toughest defense in the NHL to play against in a couple of years.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

26. The Washington Capitals Select... Vladislav Namestnikov

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: London Knights (OHL)

    Why They Take Him: Washington likes its Russians and they will have no problem adding another one in Vladislav Namestnikov. Has some NHL blood in him as both his father John and his uncle, Slava Kozlov, played in the NHL.

    The London Knights have churned out more than a few NHLer's, and Namestnikov just could be another one.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

27. The Tampa Bay Lightning Select... Scott Mayfield

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

    Why They Take Him: The Lightning have a few very good forward prospects so they will now focus on defense. Scouts see Scott Mayfield as a good skater with offensive instincts.

    He could be heading to the University of Denver, but the Kitchener Rangers, who have his OHL rights, would definitely like to add him to their team.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

28. The Toronto Maple Leafs Select... Rocco Grimaldi

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    Courtesy of www.mynhldraft.com

    Position: Center

    2010-11 Team: United States Development Program

    Why They Take Him: Standing at just 5'6", Rocco Grimaldi will have a lot of work to do in the NHL. That being said, scouts love the way he plays.

    He is primarily a goal-scorer, something that Leafs can't just enough of that right now. But he is also not afraid to throw a few hits and take on bigger competition. The Leafs could use another player like that.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2013-14

29. The San Jose Sharks Select... Robbie Russo

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    Graig Abel/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: United States Development Program

    Why They Take Him: San Jose went off the board last year, taking Charlie Coyle in the first round. So far it has worked for them. This year they will follow a similar path with Robbie Russo.

    With Dan Boyle's career winding down in a couple of years, the time has come to develop a replacement. He plays well offensively, and he's heading to a school know for its defense in Notre Dame, so by the time he's done he could a pretty good well-rounded defenseman.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2014-15

30. The Vancouver Canucks Select... Nathan Beaulieu

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Position: Defense

    2010-11 Team: St. John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

    Why They Take Him: Vancouver will be losing at least a few defensemen this year to free agency, so it would be prudent to take one and start developing him. Nathan Beaulieu was one of the best players at the CHL top prospects game, and Vancouver will have no problem taking someone that could just as easily have gone in the top 20.

    Will Make it to the NHL Full Time: 2012-13

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