The 2011 Entry draft is coming into view. We’ve mulled over the talent and read the tea leaves. Bob McKenzie’s latest update was most informative and now we await the final Redline, McKenzie, ISS lists. In the meantime, here’s my first ranking of this year’s top 10 prospects eligible for the 2011 entry draft.
This is not an attempt to predict the top 10, nor is it a mock draft. This is my ranking of the "across the board" talents with math as the deciding factor. My list relies heavily on NHL equivalencies courtesy Gabriel Desjardins and uses Bob McKenzie’s list as a template.
- #10: RW Joel Armia 6.03, 191. Has size, speed and skill, a deadly combination. Armia is a load, highly skilled with great anticipation.
- #9: LW Sven Bartschi 5.10, 185. Undersized winger with terrific skill is being undervalued by some. He is a pure WHL rookie and delivered an exceptional season.
- #8: D Ryan Murphy 5.10, 168. He’s one dimensional but man what a dimension. Murphy is an exceptionally talented puck mover, his lack of size for the position he plays and some questions about his strength are the only real negatives. He could be the best player in this draft.
- #7: D Dougie Hamilton 6.04, 190. Big man can skate very well and has a major impact on his team’s powerplay. I’m nicking him a little because his offense is inflated via the powerplay and it’s very unlikely he’ll bring that to the NHL for some time (if at all). Still, a terrific player.
- #6: L Jonathan Huberdeau 6.01, 168. I have him lower than many of the mock drafts or seedings, but Huberdeau is on an exceptionally talented team and his offensive numbers may have been inflated quite a lot courtesy the quality of team. He’s a talent, no doubt. I just like the other 5 kids better.
- #5: L Gabriel Landeskog 6.05, 205. The one guy in the draft I’m having a hard time slotting. Landeskog has a nice range of skills and that’s high value in my opinion. Landeskog is a difficult player to play against, a leader. He’s tough and because of the wide range of skills he’s certainly worth a lottery pick.
- #4: D Adam Larsson 6.03, 220. Big defender is already a seasoned pro in the SEL. I have him at #4 because it’s likely Larsson won’t be a major offensive contributor based on how he’s being used in the SEL. Despite having a lot to recommend him defensively, I don’t think he’s as valuable as the men above him.
- #3: C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 6.0, 170. In ranking RNH here it’s with the belief that he’ll go 1st overall. Is he the best player available? I don’t think so. There are two players whose skills are RNH’s equal and both possess a wider range of skills than the kid.
- #2: C Ryan Strome 6.0, 183. A dynamic offensive player with a motor that won’t stop took a massive step forward this season. Excellent skater, soft hands, sees the ice well and he has decent size. Doesn’t have a lot of flaws to his game and it’s ridiculous how much he improved season over season.
- #1: C Sean Couturier 6.04, 195. Huge center had a wonderful season (again) and delivered eye popping numbers compared to the rest of his team (along with Ondrej Palat). He’s falling down everyone’s lists but I’m staying the course. Why? There’s just too much here. Size, skill, impressive wingspan and a long resume of results. Here’s what Kirk Luedeke wrote about him at Bruins Draft Watch about his skating: it’s not a major flaw and is correctible with some work on mechanics. He has the size and power to be a legitimate power forward and top-six player for years in this league.