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NHL Mock Draft Pick by Pick Analysis-1st Round

by Bill Placzek on May. 12, 2011
1 Edmonton Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C Red Deer (WHL) 5' 11" 156
Commentary: Edmonton's need for defensemen is apparent, and their present glut of smaller forwards on their roster is as well. Yet I am not sure whether any of their present smaller guys have the total skill set that this kid does. Compounding the matter is that he is an Edmonton native. When asked of the possibility of trading the pick, Oilers GM Steve Tambellini said it would have to take a "monumental offer." I wonder if that includes a trade down a slot or two?
2 Colorado Colorado Gabriel Landeskog RW Kitchener (OHL) 6' 1" 205
Commentary: Colorado is in a pretty nice position at slot two. If Edmonton goes Defense or takes the more NHL-ready Landeskog, then Ryan-Nugent might fall to them. Ryan-Nugent would be great since he is being compared to Joe Sakic, and Larsson would be another all-around horse on defense to put in with Erik Johnson. Landeskog is no consolation prize here though. He is a can't miss winger, who will play soon. He projects with the upside to be a top line player, but also one who slides to any line or role easily. No team doesn't like him. The question is will he be able to contribute season after season of 30 plus goals or just be the game that helps others?
3 Florida Florida Adam Larsson D Skelleftea AIK (SEL) 6' 2" 209
Commentary: Most teams would be thrilled with Larsson, and the fact that the Panther's third-overall pick last year, Erik Gudbranson, has underwhelmed in juniors might make Larsson a bit more attractive. Yet Dale Tallon will certainly hesitate before making the pick, since he is looking for speed and size upfront as well.
4 New Jersey New Jersey Dougie Hamilton D Niagara (OHL) 6' 3.75" 185
Commentary: The Devils truly won the lottery by winning the lottery, because they wouldn't be getting a chance at an all-around top pair guy if they stayed in their original slot. The Devils will have lots of options here. Selecting a forward here is not out of the realm of possibility either. The Devils could easily go center here, but after Hamilton, there is little chance of them selecting a defensive prospect with the upside that he has to be a two-way top pair player who can be dominant everyone on the pond.
5 NY Islanders NY Islanders Jonathan Huberdeau C Saint John (QMJHL) 6' 0" 160
Commentary: Going with Huberdeau poses a problem in that the Isles have more than a few guys that play at his size. If they are convinced with his long term upside, it is a no-brainer, but they may want the bigger Couturier if they think he is a better long term addition to the mix.
6 Ottawa Ottawa Sean Couturier C Drummondville (QMJHL) 6' 3.5" 193
Commentary: Bryan Murray was candidly disappointed in the New Jersey lottery win that bumped them down to slot six, and said they will now not get a player as good or as close. It would seem Murray has already declared the top five on his list are a cut above pick six. He thinks the teams picking above him are locked in with their top five and the same as his. He may be wrong though. If his scouting staff did their job, he should get a major leaguer. Sean Couturier may be the player of this draft who was most scrutinized, criticized, and undeserving of a fall down to slot six. He is a high character kid who could eclipse the careers of the players presently slotted above him. He will get quicker and would bring Ottawa a huge presence in the next couple of seasons in an area that they need help.
7 Atlanta Atlanta Ryan Strome C Niagara (OHL) 6' 0.5" 183
Commentary: At this point in the draft Rick Dudley could do anything. If they truly are on their way to Winnipeg, they won't have to answer for a trade-down, or for the position at which the guy they pick plays. But you have to think they would love to add a razzle-dazzle forward to erase all the memories of that rich Russian guy who is now in New Jersey.
8 Columbus Columbus Ryan Murphy D Kitchener (OHL) 5' 10.75" 178
Commentary: Columbus has wanted a puck magician for the backline for awhile and I think they will not hestiate to take the chance on this kid. If they were to go with a forward, it would have to be one of the aforementioned players, since most other forward propsects are going to be wait-for guys. However, another big guy to eventual play with prospect center Ryan Johansen might be in order.
9 Boston Boston  Trade from Toronto Duncan Siemens D Saskatoon (WHL) 6' 2.25" 185
Commentary: The Bruins have been wanting to start filling organizational needs with a big defensman, and although Siemens plays like a big bad Bruin, there are a lot better values at forward. The Bruins have had the luxury of extra Leafs' draft picks and this may be their last chance to aquire a big defender while they have extra chips.
10 Minnesota Minnesota Mikah Zibanejad C Djurgardens IF (SEL) 6' 0.5" 183
Commentary: There are several forwards here that jump out. It might be a decision made by each player's upside, what position they may be honing in on, or how long a team will have to wait for the player to get to the NHL. Minnesota may be looking for a player on a fater schedule to make it to the big leagues, whether he is a scorer, playmaking center, or power wing. This Swedish-born Zibanejad is of Iranian-Finn descent and plays a power game at both wing and center.
11 Colorado Colorado  Trade from St. Louis Joel Armia RW Assat Pori (SM-liiga) 6' 2.5" 165
Commentary: No matter which of the big three the Avs picked at pick two, they get a chance this early to get a player who may develop into scorer. They can go various directions here from center to tough wing, but a second early pick gives them the luxury to gamble on a scorer as opposed to a safer alternative.
12 Carolina Carolina Alexander Khokhlachev C Spartak Moscow (KHL) 5' 11" 171
Commentary: Sometimes you play the cards you are dealt. They were the smartest team last season recognizing Jeff Skinner could play at his size and although adding another smaller skilled forward might seem odd, Khokhlachev may be hard to pass. He is a fearless skilled guy who might end up as a terrific lineman for Skinner as the two forecheck and zip around the attack zone.
13 Calgary Calgary Tyler Biggs RW US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 6' 3" 203
Commentary: The Flames rebuild has to start with a guy who can generate offense. They may hold back at going big here, and opt for a quicker skating scorer. Yet given their past history and style of thinking, they take jam over offensive. They may have to wait, but it is time to keep a pick and use it for need.
14 Dallas Dallas Ty Rattie RW Portland (WHL) 6' 0" 170
Commentary: Not the biggest player available but he certainly is skilled, quick and good enough with the puck to eventually fit with the Stars.The Stars have chosen lots of bigger players and brought them in slowly.
15 NY Rangers NY Rangers J.T Miller RW US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 6' 1" 190
Commentary: The Rangers need this type of player and he has upside. The Garden fans will see an honest effort every game, and he may be able to deliver more scoring than he has shown so far.
16 Buffalo Buffalo Matt Puempel LW Peterborough (OHL) 6' 0.5" 187
Commentary: The new Buffalo owner will be happy with another scoring wing who has a bit more size than the present ones.
17 Montreal Montreal Oscar Klefbom D Farjestads BK (SEL) 6' 3" 196
Commentary: The Habs might find this as an excellent opportunity to get a big offensive defenseman here since it is an organizational need. One thing is certain: they will take a player with size no matter what the position is.
18 Chicago Chicago Mark McNeill C Prince Albert (WHL) 6' 0.75" 198
Commentary: Although the Hawks present club is young, they would love to find a good big pivot or a strong big D-man that fits in to their mix in the near future. At this point in the draft there also may be wingers who they just cannot pass up, and will have to go with the best player and fill needs later on in the draft.
19 Edmonton Edmonton  Trade from Los Angeles David Musil D Vancouver (WHL) 6' 3.25" 193
Commentary: If the Oilers don't move away from selecting Ryan-Nugent, this spot fills a need provided Musil is available. They will have to decide whether his limited upside warrants his selection here, and if not then who else might be available at any position. If the Oilers truly want a defenseman, and Musil is not available, then they might have to reach down the list.
20 Phoenix Phoenix Jamie Oleksiak D Northeastern 6' 6.5" 240
Commentary: There are a half-dozen NHL teams who regret passing on Tyler Myers in the 2008 draft, and Phoenix is one of them. The 240-pound Oleksiak doesn't have the flash and dash of the other forwards available, but it would be far too tempting to not select if he was still here.
21 Ottawa Ottawa  Trade from Nashville Nicklas Jensen C Oshawa (OHL) 6' 2" 197
Commentary: Ottawa will look for the best guy on the board, but their scouts know all there is to know about this kid.
22 Anaheim Anaheim Brandon Saad LW US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 6' 2.25" 199
Commentary: The Ducks like big and although Saad has not stayed up in the top slots he occupied earlier in the year, he has considerable value at this point.
23 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Jonas Brodin D Farjestads BK (SEL) 6' 1" 165
Commentary: The injuries to Geno and Syd may get them thinking offense, but the Gologoski trade may have them looking hard and long at Brodin as a potential long term replacement.
24 Detroit Detroit Vladislav Namestnikov C London (OHL) 5' 11.75" 160
Commentary: Russian - Red Wings; no brainer. He may be gone, but as the Wings' roster gets long in tooth, they will be looking long and hard for youthful players that are less "roster-fillers" and more risky high reward guys who will be top line replacement guys.
25 Toronto Toronto  Trade from Philadelphia Zack Phillips C Saint John (QMJHL) 6' 1.25" 180
Commentary: Brian Burke wants a home run even though he also knows that patience in a player like Oleksiak or Conner Murphy might serve the organization. Still Burkie will have a big decision on which way he goes here. He picks again five slots later. No doubt the player will have some size and a scorer may be the biggest need, with a developmental defenseman being an afterthought.
26 Washington Washington Rocco Grimaldi C US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 5' 6" 157
Commentary: Radical move by a team whose fans need more than a new coach. This little mosquito can help with a quick injection of wow. Will they get radical?
27 Tampa Bay Tampa Bay Dmitri Jaskin RW Praha Slavia (Czech) 6' 3.1" 199
Commentary: Tampa's new GM already has the past big wings they picked on the team and he may be looking to see if there is a quick center or offensivemen that will speed up the team. Still Jaskin is quite a nice option at big wing. If Rocco Grimaldi fell, would Yzerman take someone the same size as Martin St. Louis here? There are many other potential scorers left at this juncture that they could develop too.
28 San Jose San Jose Connor Murphy D US-Under-18 (USAH-NTDP) 6' 3" 194
Commentary: Doug Wilson can fill an organizational need on defense by elevating Murphy to first round status. There is so much to like about this young man and the sharks are great at patiently getting their players ready. There are lot of options here, but all possibles prospects are guys they will have to wait for to develop.
29 Toronto Toronto  Trade from Boston Rickard Rakell C Plymouth (OHL) 6' 0" 191
Commentary: The Leafs get a versatile guy with size, hands and a bit of grit. He may be a Burke type player, if he is there this late.
30 Vancouver Vancouver Nathan Beaulieu D Saint John (QMJHL) 6' 1.75" 175
Commentary: Canucks may want to take Beaulieu solely based on what he may eventually be able to do for them. At this point you just look over your board and say "Is he the best player?" If so, put his name on the card.

 

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