Winnipeg NHL Franchise Looks to NHL Draft to Shape Future

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Winnipeg NHL Franchise Looks to NHL Draft to Shape Future
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
With a lineup stocked with first round draft, picks the Winnipeg franchise is hoping to land a franchise player with a 7th overall pick.

With the NHL Board of Governors approving the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, the new franchise in the Manitoban capital now sets its sights on the 2011 NHL Entry Draft upcoming in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center.

Though the current roster is stocked with previous picks, such as Bryan Little (2006, 12th overall), Zach Bogosian (2008, third overall), Evander Kane (2009, fourth overall), and Alexander Burmistrov (2010, 8th overall), the franchise's track record beyond the first round of the draft is dismal at best.

In Atlanta, the Thrashers managed to select 24 players who have played at least one game in the NHL past the first round out of 87 picks.  Out of those 24 players, only six have played more than 100 career games in the NHL.

The Thrashers have picked first overall twice and second overall twice.  In their 12 years of drafts have picked in the top ten nine times and have picked in the top five six times.

In an attempt to turn the franchise's poor drafting track record around, Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff relieved head scout Dan Marr from his duties as Director of Amateur Scouting and Player Development when the team relocates to Winnipeg.

Winnipeg has the seventh overall pick in the upcoming draft.  Let's diagnose the team's needs and the possible prospects that should and possibly will be around come the seventh overall pick.

With only a few players between the 5-8 pick, we will examine the top three players who could be available come the seventh overall pick.

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