First Blush 2011

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.

    Yes, finally someone else besides me who thinks Couturier should go number one. I myself is an armchair hockey scout with years of experience and I think Couturier fits the Oilers mold-size, skill, finese, two way (MacT) player, hits (not always but when he needs to)… RNH is like all other Oilers-smaller, fast, scorer and not much weight to hit with. We need someone else to bring some different chemstry into the Oilers offence without assimilaton of sameness. Couturier will make room for Hall and Eberle. During playoffs when tight checking, hitting and defensive plays are always in play, Couturier will benefit the Oilers. Couturier is a rare breed – a 6’4″ (200 pound) first line center who can score very well and play responsibly in his own end. How many first line centers in the NHL maybe 4 or 5 that fits that bill.

  • A pundit might say that since Couturier put up 96 pts last year, that he would have put up even more points this year had he not had MONO this year. Think about how scary that is for a second. LT, would we even be having this discussion if our boy Sean C. had put up 138 pts? That’s getting up into Tavares country. Clear cut #1 overall if he hadnt contracted mono? Food for thought.

  • db7db7db7

    I am interested in where Bartschi ends up. Living in Portland and being involved in my son’s hockey has given me an opportunity to get really engaged with the Winterhawks.

    Sven, like all the current ‘Hawks, is a great energetic player. His size has not hampered him in any way. I’m not much of a critical observer of players as I am much more a fan.

    I don’t know if the Oilers would be too interested in Bartschi as we’ve got to many small guys but I think he will be an NHL’r.

    • Lowetide

      The key for me in regard to Bartschi is tha the posted those numbers as a flat out rookie. It’s a tough damn league, but he posted 85 points in his first season there and that was 18 better than the next guy.

      AND he’s leading all rookies in playoff scoring and tied for 7th overall. I think he’s going to be outstanding.