NHL Draft 2011 Results: 7 Steals From Round 1 of the Draft
This year's draft was full of surprises, from the blockbuster deal between Minnesota and San Jose to the apparent deal that will send Brian Campbell to Florida.
The actual draft picks came with their share of surprises as well. A lot of players fell from where scouts had them going and a few players heard their name called prior to when they thought they would. Any of these players could become the steals of the first round.
So let's get it started.
Drafted: Fourth overall by New Jersey.
Even though I expected the top four to come out as it did, that doesn't change the fact that Adam Larsson is a steal at No. 4. The Devils came out with highway robbery as they acquired a player that could have easily gone first overall.
Even if he stays in Sweden for another season or two, when we look back at this draft years from now, a lot of us will be asking how he did not go earlier.
Drafted: Seventh overall to Winnipeg.
Winnipeg shocked a lot of people, including myself, by picking Mark Scheifele when a player like Sean Couturier was still available. Some even said that they have already made the worst pick in new Winnipeg Jets history. However, don't be so quick to judge.
Mark Scheifele had a pretty good first year with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. In 66 games played, he scored 22 goals and added 53 assists for 75 points. If he can continue to impress at the junior level in the next couple of years, Winnipeg will have made quite a pick and will be starring in Winnipeg for years to come.
Drafted: Eighth overall by Philadelphia.
Coming into the draft, I knew there was a possibility that Sean Couturier could fall, but no farther than sixth or seventh. I know eight is only one more than seven, but there is no way that a player of Couturier's talent should fall to eighth.
Philadelphia did a great job of finding a long-term replacement for Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. Couturier and the newly-acquired Brayden Schenn are nice additions to a now young core that is forming in Philadelphia. Like Larsson, Coutourier will be another player that we just ask: How?
Drafted: 12th overall by Carolina.
There are definitely doubts that Ryan Murphy's game can translate well to the NHL. There are also plenty of reasons to support the argument that he could be a bust of the first round. That does not mean, however, that he cannot become a steal. That is usually the case.
Ryan Murphy will be given enough time in junior to learn the defensive side of the game. Once he does, he will join a young core in Carolina led by Jeff Skinner.
Drafted: 17th overall by Montreal.
I was shocked to see Nathan Beaulieu fall to the No. 17 spot to Montreal. Ranked fifth in the Central Scouting Rankings of North American skaters, seeing Jonas Brodin and Duncan Siemens drafted before him was another shock.
After taking Jarred Tinordi last year, Montreal's defense is looking like it will be a force for years to come with PK Subban leading the way.
Drafted: 22nd overall by Toronto.
Unlike the other two forwards on this list so far, Tyler Biggs will be a steal for a completely different reason. The way Tyler Biggs plays will endear him to his teammates and Toronto fans. He plays hard and scores big goals, as evidenced by his overtime goal to win the gold medal at the World Under-18's.
NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee said this about Biggs, “He has that leadership quality … that desire, that passion, that competitiveness. He just never quits. He's a young player who has taken the role as leader of his team. He does most of their fighting when they have to fight. He's kind of the guy that when someone starts picking on somebody, he's standing up for them. I think while wearing the "C" may have taken a little away from his offensive finish, my gut feeling is that I can't think of anything else but an uphill path for Tyler."
Drafted: 28th overall by Minnesota.
After Jonathan Huberdeau was drafted third overall, it took a while before the next Saint John Sea Dog Nathan Beaulieu was taken. It wasn't until 11 picks later that the next Sea Dog was taken. Zack Phillips could have gone anywhere from picks 10-20 but obviously teams were had other needs and decided against Phillips.
Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant said this, "Zack has great vision and is strong on the puck. He's a solid center and has come a long way in a short time. He kind of reminds me of an Adam Oates-type of player...he's strong on the puck down low and in the corners and has nifty hands."