2011 NHL Draft Predictions
The NHL draft is one of the most anticipated days in the hockey calendar, and this year is no different.
There are at least four potential candidates to go first overall, and the top 5 seems to be almost set in one order or another – after that there seems to be a strong consensus among scouts and pundits who will fill out the top 10.
I’m not going to go the whole hog; just the top 5 – though as a side note when I took part in the Pro Hockey News Mock Draft recently, I took swede Oscar Klefbom at #11 for Colorado; so I’ll be keeping a close eye on that one! Ha ha. I’ll also be itnerested to see what Philadelphia do with the 8th overall pick, acquired yesterday from COlumbus as part of the deal for Jeff Carter.
And so without further delay:
1. Edmonton Oilers: Adam Larsson – Whilst Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the consensus pick to go first overall; I think the Oilers defensive needs (and strong core of young forwards) will see the Swedish blueliner elevated to the top spot in this years draft.
2. Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog – Again the teams positional needs come in to play. The Avs are strong down the middle, decent on D but less impressive on the wing. With Fleischmann potentially leaving on July 1st and Peter Mueller’s future still unclear the Avs wings look even more patchy.
Landeskog is physically ready, has a great work ethic and the skills to be a top performer in Denver for years.
3. Florida Panthers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Florida are a team short on quality up front; doubly so since they traded away Nathan Horton and Michael Frolik. So it’s a no brainer they should take Nugent-Hopkins with the 3rd overall pick.
4. New Jersey Devils: Jonathan Huberdeau – Whilst the Devils may be tempted to bolster their D; Huberdeau is too good to pass up for ol’ Lou; and the Memorial Cup MVP will find himself in the red and black of the Devils.
5. New York Islanders – Sean Couturier: Whilst Couturier may have dropped down the draft rankings lately, he still represents a strong pick up a young Islanders side trying to pull themselves out of the NHL basement and back in to the post season picture.
So there we have it, just a quick one today and those are my predictions for the top 5 – I will just add two minor notes though:
It is not inconceivable that the Islanders could take Dougie Hamilton over Couturier. Both young blueliners have shown great ability and great potential and would boost the Long Island franchise.
The other query is whether the much rumoured trade between Edmonton and Florida happens, and the Panthers end up with the 1st pick. Even if this does happen, I still feel FLA will take Nugent-Hopkins; the Avs will take Landeskog and Edmonton Larsson.