Featured Columnists like Kevin Goff have kept us up to date on the latest trade and draft buzz around the league, Matthew Fairburn has analyzed the first 30 picks and Franklin Steele has told us about the top forwards in this year's draft class.
Mark Messier is one of my favorite players of all time, so I chose to look at 11 of the defensemen in this year's draft class.
Today I will analyze the top 11 defensemen in this year's draft and where they will land.
Projected Team: Edmonton Oilers or Colorado Avalanche
This is a recent development, as there have been rumors swirling that indicate the Oilers may trade their No. 1 pick and would pass on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, there is another scenario that would involve the Oilers holding on to their pick.
Another possibility would involve the Colorado Avalanche selecting him with the second pick. The Avalanche also hold the 11th pick in the draft, and there will be more quality forwards left at that point than there would be defensemen.
Larsson is a top-notch defender who is a great puck-handler with a superb on-ice vision.
He is very calm and collected under pressure and never feels rushed or hurried.
Larsson is the top defensive prospect in this draft and is NHL-ready, and he will make a huge impact next season.
Projected Team: New York Islanders
Dougie Hamilton is a sizable two-way defender who has a booming shot and good hands. He excels in both facets of his game and is NHL-ready.
Hamilton is a physical blueliner at 6'4" tall and 193 pounds. He would bring grit to a mainly offensive Islander blue line. Hamilton is exactly the physical blueliner the Islanders need.
Projected Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a team that will attempt to address some of their needs in this year's draft. One of these needs is a power-play quarterback.
Nathan Beaulieu can fill this need. His booming shot and offensive arsenal make him a sure-fire pick for the Columbus Blue Jackets at eighth overall.
This is if they hold on to this pick, as trade rumors involving Jeff Carter include the Columbus Blue Jackets parting ways with the eighth overall spot.
Only time will tell, but Nathan Beaulieu is the third-best defenseman in this year's draft.
Projected Team: Boston Bruins
Ryan Murphy is going to be a bona fide top-10 pick in the 2011 NHL draft because of his offensive arsenal.
Murphy is a good passer and puck-handler and could become a great power-play quarterback.
With Tomas Kaberle potentially departing in free agency, Murphy in time will fill the void of an offensive puck mover on the Bruins blue line.
Projected Team: Carolina Hurricanes or *Edmonton Oilers
If the Oilers select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, they will hope that Duncan Siemens is still on the board when they look to use the 19th pick.
Chances are that Siemens will go earlier in the draft, and the Carolina Hurricanes could scoop him up at 12th overall.
Siemens is a solid defender who will occasionally join the offensive rush. His booming shot makes him a threat when playing the point on the power play.
Siemens would add some offensive talent to the Hurricanes blue line and would replace the potentially departing Joni Pitkanen.
Projected Team: Dallas Stars
Jamieson Oleksiak stands at an impressive 6'7" and weighs over 240 pounds without his skates on. Saying that he is an intimidating defender would be a grandiose understatement.
Oleksiak loves throwing body checks left and right and can be a real bruiser on the blue line.
As the largest and most physical defender in this draft, he will not be on the board for long.
Look for Dallas to pluck him up with the 14th overall pick.
Projected Team: *Edmonton Oilers
As I stated earlier, Edmonton will draft either Adam Larsson or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall. That first pick will affect every other defenseman in the draft.
Joseph Morrow could be selected at 19th overall if RNH goes first overall and if Duncan Siemens is no longer on the board.
Morrow is a solid puck-moving defender. He had 49 points last season, 40 of which were assists. He stands 6'0" and weighs 197 pounds.
Morrow's strengths are his passing and skating abilities, which make him a dual threat on both sides of the ice. These factors will make Morrow a distinguishable first-rounder.
Projected Team: Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks will likely use their 22nd overall pick to select another defenseman. Enter Oscar Klefbom.
Klefbom is a defenseman who has a good offensive game. He is on the small side and would need to bulk up before hitting the NHL level. He could improve his game in his own end after adjusting to playing with some AHLers.
Klefbom would fit in with Anaheim's first-round draft pick from 2010, Cam Fowler, as Anaheim looks to build up a young defensive core.
Projected Team: Vancouver Canucks
Connor Murphy is a typical US-bred defender. He is big-framed and a solid-skating puck-handler. He is a work in progress, as he needs some developments to his offensive game.
The Vancouver Canucks have two big-name defenders in Kevin Bieksa and Christian Ehrhoff. While it is possible to re-sign both players, it is unlikely. Murphy in time could develop into a player to fill the void on the Canucks blue line.
Projected Team: St.Louis Blues
When the Blues traded for Chris Stewart, they sent their former first overall draft pick Erik Johnson packing. He was their top defensive asset.
David Musil is a player who could potentially replace Johnson.
Musil has above-average skating skills and soft, agile hands that could turn him into a solid two-way defender one day.
Musil uses his balance and strength to his advantage when attempting to separate other players from the puck. Musil stands at 6'3" and is just under 200 pounds.
If Musil can develop his offensive capabilities, he could become an offensive force and top power-play quarterback.
Projected Team: Montreal Canadiens
Jonas Brodin is a reliable player with an average skill set. He is 6'1" and 165 pounds and still has some growing to do. Brodin is a solid pick for a team looking to add a good soldier to its blue line.
He is a gamble pick because of his age (he turns 18 on July 12). Brodin is a player who could improve as he gains some experience and size, but nonetheless he will fall somewhere from the mid first to early second round in the draft.
Make sure to check out the NHL page on Bleacher Report for some great draft pieces by some of the Featured Columnists mentioned earlier in the slideshow.
IN OTHER NEWS
Tom Urtz is a New York Rangers Featured Columnist and is a member of the Bleacher Report's Official 2011 NHL Draft Coverage Team. For more NHL draft news, updates and alerts about prospects.
and at SportsHaze NYC.