It is that time of year again, and though the NHL regular season may have ended, it is NHL Draft time.
The NHL Draft is an exciting event in which the world's top hockey prospects gather and hope to be asked to join an NHL franchise.
Players in this year's draft had to meet the eligibility requirements established by the NHL.
Players born between Jan. 1, 1991 and Sept. 15, 1993 are eligible for selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Additionally, undrafted, non-North American players over the age of 20 are eligible for the draft; and those players who were drafted in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but not signed by an NHL team and who were born after June 24, 1991, are also eligible to re-enter the draft.
This year, the Edmonton Oilers hold the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive year. This was retained when the New Jersey Devils won the draft lottery and moved up to the fourth spot overall.
In past years, we have seen players like Taylor Hall (2010), John Tavares (2009), Steven Stamkos (2008) and Patrick Kane (2007) selected as the No. 1 overall pick.
This year's draft class is full of high-caliber prospects, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau and countless others.
This year, scenic St. Paul, Minn. will play host to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will be held on June 24 and 25.
The Draft will be televised live from the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, in downtown St. Paul.
This is the first time since 1989 that Minnesota has played the host for an NHL Draft. At that point, the Minnesota North Stars were still alive and well.
Unless you are one of the prospects, scouts, an NHL executive or a ticket holder, you will have to tune in from the comfort of your own home, local sports bar or watering hole. Bleacher Report will also provide live NHL Draft coverage throughout the night.
In the United States, pre-draft coverage will be held on NHL Network. The 2010 NHL Draft will be replayed on NHL Network starting at 11:30 a.m. on Friday.
At 6 p.m., NHL Network will broadcast a draft preview show.
Live coverage of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft will begin at 7 p.m. EST on Friday night. The Draft will be broadcast live on Versus
For our fellow Canadian viewers and readers, TSN will be your one stop shop for live NHL Draft coverage.
Once the first round of the NHL Draft is complete and the top 30 prospects are off the board, the first round will be broken down and analyzed on NHL Network. This will continue late into Saturday morning.
After this, the first round will be replayed on NHL Network.
Rounds 2-7 will be broadcast on Saturday, with Round 2 beginning at 11 a.m. EST. NHL Network and Versus will continue to cover these rounds, as well as providing breakdown coverage after the end of the draft.
There is certainly a lot to remember, so here is the complete schedule.
Friday, June 24
- 11:30 AM 2010 NHL Draft - Round 1 (NHL Network)
- 3:30 PM 2011 NHL Network Scouting Combine Recap (NHL Network)
- 4:00 PM NHL Live: Draft Edition (NHL Network)
- 6:00 PM NHL Network Draft Preview Show (NHL Network)
- 7:00 PM 2011 NHL Entry Draft (Versus) and (TSN)
- 10:00pm-2:00 AM NHL Network Draft Round 1 Recap (NHL Network)
Saturday, June 25
- 2:00 AM 2011 NHL Draft Round 1 (NHL Network)
- 6:00 AM NHL Network Draft Round 1 Recap (NHL Network)
- 7:00 AM 2011 NHL Draft Round 1 (REPEAT) (NHL Network)
- 11:00 AM 2011 NHL Draft Rounds 2-7 (NHL Network)
- 3:00 PM 2011 NHL Draft Rounds 2-7 (NHL Network)
What is clear is that there is going to be a lot going on in the next few days, so review your schedule and set your DVRs so you don't miss any of the action.
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.