2011 Entry Draft: First Blush

This is Ryan Nugent Hopkins. The young man from the hockey hotbed of Burnaby, BC is one of the highest ranked prospects eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft. He’ll probably go in the top 3, and it looks (increasingly) like the Copper and Blue will be drafting "in the range" come summer.

The lists are here and here. The final Central Scouting list gets a lot of play but is in fact a poor guide to the final numbers (Bob McKenzie has cornered the market in this area). The first full CSB list–this one–is the most important because it gives us a list to follow for the entire season. Most of the players drafted next summer are on the lists CSB just released. The mystery is where will they go? Here’s an early guess:

The Top 10

  1. C Sean Couturier (QMJHL): 6.04, 191. Tremendous combination of size and skill; he scores a lot of points at even strength. Skating has improved a lot but he’s no speed burner. Has been compared to Vincent Lecavalier. He’s a shooter (excellent wrist shot) and is 55% in the FO circle. The Oilers could really use him.
  2. D Adam Larsson (Swe): Big defender plays a complete game. Looks like he might be a franchise player. Calm feet and an expert puck mover, as with Couturier foot speed is the one item that has been nicked a little.
  3. C Ryan Nugent Hopkins (WHL): Major buzz happening in the west about this player. 6.01 and a half, he weighs just 170 but is an absolute wizard with the puck. Exceptional on the powerplay and has very good speed. Is probably the best offensive prospect among the top 3 and is certainly one dimensional compared to the other two.
  4. L Gabriel Landeskog (OHL): Owns a wide range of skills. Combines skill and toughess, along with aggressive play. Ranks in the top 10 in OHL scoring and that’s a helluva league, he is not considered an elite offensive talent. Power forward style and is getting there in terms of size (6.01, 207). Excellent cycle player.
  5. R Ty Rattie (WHL): Young winger is very close to leading the WHL in points (39 in 23 games). Very skilled (described as slick), he’s not big and his footspeed doesn’t stand out in this crowd. I’ve read in a few places that he’s taken a big step forward already this season, so he might end up going very high.
  6. D Ryan Murphy (OHL): There’s all kinds of chatter about him, but Murphy looks like he might be a special player. He’s 4th in OHL scoring and is dazzling with the puck. Too many moves to ignore and he apparently can play defense too. Murphy might end up being one of the best values in the 2011 draft.
  7. L Brandon Saad (OHL): Powerforward with good speed and hands. 6.01, 196 and he battles in high traffic areas. There’s a lot to like about him, and he’s scoring well. The only real downside is that (from what we read) he appears to be mature physically and may get passed by others in his age group as things roll along. From the resume, he looks like a strong pick.
  8. L Shane Prince (OHL): Skill winger is ripping it up in the OHL 17 points in his last 10 games, he ranks 5th in OHL scoring and a lot of it is at EV strength (8-18-26 at evs in 22gp). I’m not sure if there’s even a slight negative beyond size (5.11, 185) but this guy would appear to be the first of the "breakout players" for this year’s draft.
  9. D David Musil (WHL): Defender will make his living in with his own zone play. Big, skilled and athletic, Frank’s boy has all of that and genetics too. Some concern about his consistency but defense is a tough position. He doesn’t look like he’ll spend a lot of time on an NHL powerplay.
  10. R Shane McColgan (WHL): The dub keeps turning out these undersized speed demons with skill. Ennis, Etem and now this guy. Missed some games early but appears right on track at this time. Smaller player, but extremely skilled and effective.
  • Dipstick

    Typically forwards develop earlier than D or G and first line centers are rare and hard to acquire through trades or free agency. Draft the best C. Develop through the draft and acquire the missing parts when the team is a contender. Timing the team’s push for a cup is crucial. Salary cap and free agency issues will mean that teams have a 3 – 4 year window to put their cup contender together.

  • misfit

    The Oilers should be seriously considering any offers they might get for their pick if they end up with another top 5 pick (and it’s not really an “if” at all). I think both Couturier and RNH will be good NHLers eventually, but neither are really worth a 1st overall selection. Larsson, I’ve only seen play at the WJC’s, but the fact that he hasn’t been able to separate himself from the other two worries me a little. If he was really better than Hedman at the same age, he’d be a runaway choice for #1.

    I’d probably take Couturier with the top pick, but mostly because I haven’t seen much of Larsson. I know it’s really early, but this draft isn’t very good, and gets worse every time I look at it.

    • C-DOG

      Scouts are actually saying this draft is better than anticipated,as the season goes on more prospects are stepping up. Lots of centres (Couturier,RNH, Victor Rask,Ryan Strome).

  • Speeds has it right.

    Couturier or bust, but Larsson is a nice consolation prize if the Isles pick first.

    At LT says, Dmen develop by sundial, and I’m not sure the patience is there to wait for a young defender to develop.

    Look at Schenn in TO. His 3rd pro year and he’s just getting his head above water. They wasted 2 contract years waiting for him to come around that he should have spent elsewhere.

    Players may not have “anything left to prove” by staying in the lower leagues, but their bodies and brains change significantly from 18 to 20 and shouldn’t be around the NHL. Unless you have a building to get.

    With Petry, Plante, Marincin in the pipe and Peckham here, the D and is coming along. There is no Larsson among them, but there are players maturing and getting ready for the NHL.

    Pitlik, VV, Lander and even Hamilton and Martindale are in the pipe but none have a 1C pedigree. Given the right circumstance Pitlik might eat Gagner’s lunch.

  • C-DOG

    There’s been a rumor that Edmonton will be considered for an NHL franchise if we build a new arean. I think the NHL should guarantee us a team before we spend that kind of money.

    I called out Renny a couple of days ago. That was wrong. Sorry dude. But when your best defenceman is Whitney you got major issues. Goddam he stinks up the rink.

    So how did Gilbert do paired with Whitney last night?
    So how did Whitney do paired with Gilbert last night?
    Minor leaguers. Both.

    And pretty soon UN-HABBY BULIN.

    Seguin must breath a sigh of relief every time he pulls on that spoked-B

    There will be emply seats at WRECKS-ALL soon. We are not that stupid to keep going to watch this crap.

    I want Souray back. Remember STEVE, WE pay your salary. Don’t be such a childish jerk. Souray called out management last year. Good. How many do you think want to call you out right now? I only suspect, but i suspect there are a few. And if there isn’t, then you got a team of losers.

    • D-Man

      Hard to disagree with anything you say, but I don’t think Souray would help. How many co-workers do you have that have openly thrown your boss under the bus (whether he was right or wrong) that have stayed on with your company? And if they did stay, how would that reflect on your boss?

      I like the fact that Tambo is at least sticking to his guns and leaving Souray in Hersey… Granted, if we could stitch Souray’s mouth shut for the entire season, he would definitely improve our defence, but a cultural change has to start somewhere (whether the decision was popular or not)…

      I agree with the majority of ON on the next draft. Go for the franchise center. Larrson would obviously be a good consolidation if we’re picking second, but considering how some people have already jumped off of the ‘rebuild bandwagon’ (see madjam), the Oilers public would demand to see the next first rounder in our lineup… Defensemen traditionally develop slower and there’s no guarantee Larrson would be as good as a Pronger or Lidstrom… Has anyone seen Larrson play in the WJHC yet??

  • C-DOG

    We’re going to need to continue this tank job to really assure ourselves of a top 2 pick

    the Isles have been equally horrible, and if TO goes .500 in their first 5 games, they’re worse than the Oilers

    Bottom 3 only guarantees a top 4 pick, Tambo may not have the choice of Couturier, Larsson, Nugent-Hopkins.

    in 2013, when the Oilers are picking 22nd or lower, we’ll all miss these threads

  • This is tricky – on one hand, I can’t handle watching the complete farce that is currently the blue line. Go ahead, give me the list: d-men develop slower than forwards, they get hurt, etc etc, but I still take Larsson. We need a franchise D-man to build a defence around.

    On the other hand, Couturier sounds like he might actually, oh I don’t know, ATTACK THE NET! Man, it’s getting tough to watch the Oilers play almost a 100% permimeter game. Would someone, for the love of god, please get within 5 feet of the blue paint?

    I’ll still go with Larsson. If I consider a recent draft – Tavares v. Hedman, I take Hedman in a heartbeat, and I don’t really care how he’s doing now. He’s going to be an outstanding player for a long time. I think of Larsson the same way – solid long-term investment.

  • Chris.

    We’ve got flakes of Tuna , We’ve got flakes of Ham . But mostly a team and management that doesn’t seem to give a dam . Not really , but the way they play makes you wonder sometimes . It can’t be very pleasant(discouraging) for our good veterans ( which are few and far between ) to be motivated with such a bad supporting caste around them driving their values down accordingly . Then the further expectations to play above their heads on a constant basis just to make up for a bad base put together to begin with .

    Having Oiler nation jump on them just adds further to their woes – deserved or otherwise. Same goes for media and cost of playing in such an avid hockey city in Canada . Even private lives are effected when club and players are not playing well . Pronger prime example of that . A winning club is a total different story , but we are far from that .

  • D-Man

    I’m not sure what to think about the oil anymore? You watch the pregame comments by Gagner and Horcs, and they talk about being ready to compete, and supporting eachother, not having enough puck support and so on and so on. The game starts, and nothings changed……??

    Hemskys comments after the game about he and others being scared to touch the puck and affraid to make mistakes deflated me!! If your most offensivly gifted player is scared to touch the puck where does that leave you?

  • Chris.

    Not sure what some of the posters expected …perhaps that you can rebuild a complete team and move up 15 places in the league over the summer? Doesn’t happen that way. Yes I am depressed with the current way the team is playing but we have some good young guys in the system. We do lack up the middle and on D right now and maybe Tambo is fishing with other teams. But the bottom line is a rebuild takes 2 to 3 years and we are only 6 or 7 weeks into year one.

    Before we write off the team and talk about last place again, can we at least wait until we hit the mid-point of the year first…just say’n

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’d give most anyone off this roster to get another top five pick this summer, with Penner,Gagner,Brule,Gilbert,Cogliano,Khabibulin,Jacques,Deslaurier and Souray, maybe they could net us another first round pick or two. Best bet has to be getting the Tor/Bost pick from the Bruins if the Oilers have something they need. It’s hard to believe things could get worse than they did last year, who would have thought Kevin Lowe/Kevin Pendergast would have driven us into a hole this deep.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The idea that the Hawks or the Pens rebuild is the model to follow right? Lets look at some history…

    Pens ’01-’02 through ’05-’06
    Point totals of 69,65,58,58
    Wins totals of 28,27,23,22

    Haks ’02-’03 through ’06-’07
    Point totals of 79,59,65,71
    Win totals of 30,20,26,31

    The teams start to get better after that, but it was four years of bottom place hockey for each of them and they both won the cup and are now contenders…..
    ~So lets fire everyone from Tambo(whom I agree, does not look like a GM), Renney, Penner, and Joey Moss!! This is ridiculous! 15 games into the first official blow up year and we haven’t won the cup yet!~

    *Jumps off the bandwagon for 3 years, fills with hate and negativity, calls for the heads of everyone involved with the team and continually spews hate on message boards. Then jumps back on in 3 years and says “See, now this is how you do a rebuild, I knew they would get good. If they just would have made these players this good 3 years ago. I should be GM”

    • ubermiguel

      Hi Five for that.

      I agree man but look when the dust settles you’ll know who the true Oiler/Hockey fans are and who just wants to feel like a winner by living vicariously through this team. I watched the Oilers throught the 92-97 seasons. I can bear through this rebuild knowing that they actually have a formulated plan now instead of treading water.

      I agree with the complainers that it’s tough to watch but hey that’s a rebuild. You can’t cheer for the rebuild in the off season and then complain when you have to actually witness what it is.

  • Wax Man Riley

    ya we will prolly pick in the top 3 again.. but what good are these kids going to be if we have nobody around them to play with…..
    so….. what, we tank and then start putting stronger players around the young guys??? picking players when we finish last is the easy part no?? lets get some peeps around these kids.. when does that start?? i dont have the rewbuilding model bible infront of me.. just wanna know what page thats on thats all..

  • Horcsky

    I’m sticking to the philosphy that we should no longer be drafting speedy players, but rather players that are positional and think the game well. If Courtier has any hockey sense or two way ability, he’s my pick.

    No to Nugent-Hopkins. The last thing this team needs is more guys who are one-dimensional and can’t play anything remotely resembling defensive coverage in their own zone.

    I am on board with the “it’s easier to move and acquire d-men than centres train of thought”. Just look at the Oilers. In the last 6 years, we have acquired Chris Pronger, Lubo Visnovsky, Ryan Whitney, and Sheldon Souray. We’ve also shipped out two of those. Other notable d-men that have moved around the leauge recently are Bouwmeester, Gonchar, and Phaneuf.

  • ubermiguel

    Two centres in the top 3? Very interesting. I agree with Falco, draft the guy who’s going to be the best in 5 years when we should be contending.

    I’ve been looking at the Nordiques/Avalanche as a possible Oilers-comparable. The one thing that franchise had in the mid-90s was a lot of very good centres (Sakic, Forsberg, Sundin, Ricci). Time to starts drafting some guys at that position.

  • jarihung

    I think a great way to speed up the rebuild would be to make a trade with boston. Say the oilers REALLY liked Seguin , enough that they would prefer him over Nugent-Hopkins and Couturier. Boston is loaded up center , so i think it wouldn’t be too out of line to trade our 1st round draft pick for Seguin some time this year.

    I know Couturier is big and he could probably still play strong on the puck if he’s not physical (a la penner). Apparently Nugent-Hopkins is a great playmaker but isn’t really 6’1″. So maybe it would work out great if edmonton traded the 1st rounder next year , for the guy they were seriously considering picking over taylor hall. I know Larsson is supposedly the next Lidstrom but Lidstrom came in when scoring was cupcakes. Today it takes long for a defenceman to develop, with the only exception being Doughty.

    Boston would then get 2 great 1st round picks. Say they do terrible in the playoffs again, then realize they’re too loaded up center. I think they would consider giving up Seguin for a pick that could turn out as Landeskog.Scooping up Murphy with Bostons pick and then they would become an unbelievable force in say 2-3 years.

    I think having a franchise center will be way more beneficial to the oilers. Besides they will likely tank again afterwards again then turn that pick into a premier defenceman. It would be quicker than waiting on the learning curve of Hopkins and Couturier.I say butter up the deal and help boston with their salary cap problems also.

    YES?NO?…or f*$k off you crazy bastard?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We’re better off with Couturier over Seguin, there’s no way the Bruins would move their future No.1 center. I do think they could be tempted to move that Tor/Bos 1st round pick for just the right package. We may be better off with say 2 of the top 3 or 4 picks rather than tanking it for another year.

  • bored

    I’m torn on the “he’s not really 6’tall” argument, implying that RNH is too small. I get that we’ve been burned recently with a roster of dwarfs, but that doesn’t mean that all small players aren’t effective. I would love to have Patrick Kane on this team and he’s a smallish guy.

    That being said, I would rather have Toews over Kane. And if Couturier is an all-round Centre…that’s the guys we need. But I think that RNH is our guy if we have the second overall pick.