The 2011 NHL draft is right around the corner, so I thought I'd enlighten all of my readers with my personal guess on who goes where and when they go. There's not much thought into the draft, as I did most of the thinking in my head, but here's my mock draft.
Included in my draft is who I believe will be available for the Leafs at the time they pick (pending they don't trade any of their picks), and who'll be the most ideal.
- Edmonton: Ryan Nugent Hopkins - Oilers need Hall's partner in crime.
- Colorado: Gabriel Landeskog - Avs need complimentary wingers to glut of centers.
- Florida: Adam Larsson - Panthers need identity, Larsson also main building block.
- New Jersey: Jonathan Huberdeau - Beyond Zajac, Devils don't have much.
- Islanders: Dougie Hamilton - Isles need building block on blue line, physical Hamilton is that.
- Ottawa: Ryan Strome - Dynamic winger gives Sens' Alfredsson successor.
- Winnipeg: Sean Couturier - Along with new city, old Thrashers need.
- Columbus: Zach Phillips - Beyond Brassard, Johansen, there's nothing.
- Boston: Ryan Murphy - Bruins need future power-play stud w/Chara plus Kaberle in 30s.
- Minnesota: Joseph Morrow - Wild could use stability on back-end.
- Colorado: Sven Bartschi - Avs keep on adding to arsenal of wingers for their centers.
- Carolina: Mika Zibanejad - Carolina adds future glue guy for Cup-bound team.
- Calgary: Matt Puempel - Risky, but Flames need scoring and Puempel knows how.
- Dallas: Mark McNeill - No more Neal, Stars need new big, imposing scoring threat.
- Rangers: Rocco Grimaldi - Risky, but his skill is undeniable. Fits right into NYR offensive scheme.
- Buffalo: Brandon Saad - Physical winger can score too, two things Buffalo hasn't had lately.
- Montreal: Tyler Biggs - Average height on Montreal is near 6'1", Habs could use 6'2", 215-pound force.
- Chicago: Richard Rakell - Chicago needs cheap scoring options, and Rakell would be both.
- Edmonton: Jamieson Oleksiak - Oilers got their center, now they need to rebuild the defense.
- Coyotes: Mark Scheifele - 'Yotes had lack of scoring and size last year, Scheifele is that and more.
- Senators: Boone Jenner - Talent is questionable, but his work ethic has "Mike Fisher" all over it.
- Ducks: Nathan Beaulieu - Vishnovsky in his 30s, and after Fowler there isn't much.
- Penguins: Joel Armia - Penguins could use big, scoring wingers for glut of centers.
- Red Wings: Jonas Brodin - Typical Red Wings prospect; two-way, playmaking defenseman.
- Maple Leafs: Ty Rattie - Leafs lack scoring, playmaking, Rattie knows how.
- Capitals: Alexander Khokhlachev - Caps take advantage of Russian factor to nab top talent.
- Lightning: Duncan Siemens - Lightning need stability on 'D' with many veterans in 30s.
- Sharks: Oscar Klefbom - Sharks take the best option available here.
- Canucks: David Musil - Feel good story of draft, Musil gives 'Nucks cheap, dependable option.
- Maple Leafs: Stefan Noesen - Like Rattie, Noeson knows how to score and NHL size is bonus.
Here's my mini-analysis on my Leafs' first-round picks—Rattie and Noesen.
Yes, Noesen's a bit off the board, but he's a big, talented center—something the Leafs sorely lack.
In the analysis, I also mention who I'd like to see the Buds pickup with their 39th overall choice should they be available.
You can see a trend to what I believe the Leafs need from this draft throughout all three players. Here's a few scouting reports and analysis on our picks:
Ty Rattie – Portland Winterhawks LW, 5’11", 180 lbs. (28G-51A-79P/67GP) – Offensively-gifted player is a slick puck-handler, and an offensive catalyst. Over 50 assists in junior is evidence of his playmaking skills. Skating and defense is questionable, but makes up for it with his undeniable talent and work ethic. NHL Comparable: Tyler Ennis
Stefan Noesen – Plymouth Whalers, C, 6’0", 200 lbs. (34G-43A-77P/68GP) – Noesen has all the tools to become a dominant, offensive power-forward in the NHL. He uses his size (still growing) to drive to the net effectively, and often creates scoring opportunities on his own. His playmaking and puck-handling skills are still raw, but his defense and scoring knack make up for it. NHL Comparable: Jeff Carter
Victor Rask – Leksand (SEL), 6’2", 200 lbs. (5G-6A-11P/37GP) – Talented, skilful center has crafty playmaking skills with a drive for the net. Possesses an NHL-ready frame, and uses it very effectively to his advantage in corners and face-off circle, where he’s already considered an ace. Limited ice-time with Leksand scared many teams off after initially being noted as a top-five pick, but his combination of size and skill and that he knows how to effectively use them will do wonders for Rask in the NHL. He will end up as the biggest steal in the draft. NHL Comparable: Claude Giroux