While the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals festivities are stealing the headlines and taking the hockey world by storm, the Edmonton Oilers are preparing for what has become their own Stanley Cup: the NHL Draft. The team will be picking first overall in the draft for the second consecutive year. Luckily, there's plenty to look forward to for Edmonton.
Teams are built through the NHL draft. The talented youngsters available early in the draft have the ability to impact the game immediately. With the NHL transitioning to a game that is more focused on speed than physicality, an 18-year-old can jump from juniors to the NHL seamlessly given he has the talent.
On June 24th and 25th at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. the stars of tomorrow will be given new homes at the 49th NHL Entry Draft.
Canadian-born playmaking center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and the offensively gifted blueliner from Sweden, Adam Larsson, have entered what appears to be a two-horse race to be selected first overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
The rest is a mystery.
Without elite top-end talent in the first round, it's anyone's guess as to where this tightly ranked group will fall into place.
Here's the fourth edition of my 2011 NHL mock draft with more than 10 changes in the first round. Stay tuned for more updates.