Take a look at how the Hockey News predicts the first round of the NHL draft will turn out.
The 2011 draft promises to be one of the most chaotic in years, particularly at the top. Dominoes will fall based on the first pick and conventional wisdom may be tossed on its ear. With that in mind, this mock draft is based on one of those possible outcomes and is not necessarily "best player available."
Minnesota hosts this year's draft, which starts Friday, and though THN's Draft Preview ranked Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the top pick, there are a number of top prospects who could go No. 1.
So without further ado, we present our 2011 mock draft.
1. Edmonton: Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea AIK (SWE)
The Oilers need defensemen and the all-around Swede with size can step into their lineup right away.
2. Colorado: Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
Stacked down the middle, the Avs go for a heart-and-soul winger who can score and kill penalties.
3. Florida: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL)
A huge coup at No. 3, RNH’s dazzling vision and playmaking are sorely needed by the drab Cats offense.
4. New Jersey: Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)
The Devils already have a great core; adding a dominating, big-bodied center is the icing on the cake.
5. NY Islanders: Jonathan Huberdeau, C/LW, Saint John (QMJHL)
A monster playoff run showed off Huberdeau's sick hands; now imagine him as the No. 2 center behind John Tavares.
6. Ottawa: Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)
The rebuilding Sens don’t have a lot of high-end skill, something the goal-scoring Strome has in spades.
7. Winnipeg: Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)
Hamilton is a two-way defenseman who boasts a 6-foot-4 frame, great power-play acumen and leadership skills.
8. Columbus: Sven Bartschi, LW, Portland (WHL)
A highly skilled winger, Bartschi would give the Jackets two future stars from Portland along with center Ryan Johansen.
9. Boston: Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)
The B’s are playing with house money, so why not tab an undersized D-man with mad power-play skills?
10. Minnesota: Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgårdens IF (SWE)
The highlight-reel Swede can score and throw big hits. The Wild's future would be not so dark with him and Granlund.
11. Colorado: Oscar Klefbom, D, Färjestad (SWE)
This mobile defenseman brings a little of everything to the table, including leadership. Could be in the NHL soon.
12. Carolina: Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
This big blueliner would bring both skill and snarl to 'Canes' back end. He's not afraid to drop the gloves.
13. Calgary: Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
The Flames need offense and the Sea Dogs center knows how to get on the scoresheet.
14. Dallas: Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)
The Stars D corps needs more weapons and this big Saint John star can contribute at both ends of ice.
15. NY Rangers: Joel Armia, RW, Ässät (FIN)
Armia, a budding power forward from Finland, is lethal with the man advantage and not afraid to shoot the puck.
16. Buffalo: Alexander Khokhlachev, C, Windsor (OHL)
For a team that scores by committee, ‘Koko’ would be another potent weapon and brings strong character.
17. Montreal: Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
Habs fans worried about team size will love this power forward with a versatile game and hockey sense.
18. Chicago: Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw (OHL)
Saad, a two-way power forward, has immediate potential; he plays a responsible game in all three zones.