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My 2011 Mock Draft: Round 1


Welcome to my first mock draft for Webster defines "mock" as: To treat with contempt or ridicule. To disappoint the hopes of. So, apologies in advance if the accuracy rate of the following 30 predictions ends up resembling that of the Florida Panthers' power play. After all, there is talk of significant draft day dealing that will skew the order of selection and give me an out. (Just to be extra safe, I should mention that I served as the inspiration for the 2003 William H. Macy film, The Cooler.)

Without further ado, your 2011 NHL first round mock draft, ladies and gentlemen:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL)

This kid is one of many in this draft who has a great name and it's going to be of the hockey household variety before long. He's from Burnaby, B.C., the same town from which Joe Sakic hails, and he seriously looks like a skinny, 18-year-old version of Colorado's revered former captain. Ultimately, he may not make Edmontonians forget The Great One, but he's got shifty, slippery, crafty moves with the puck, and he seems to have an element of being able to step up his game. At some point, he'll just be known by the initials RNH.(Central Scouting's take)

Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)

Colorado could use another big, strapping Swede on its front lines again -- until Peter Forsberg's next NHL comeback, anyway. But seriously, this kid is being compared to guys like Brenden Morrow and Mike Richards, and that's just the kind of guy the Avs need -- especially since their trade of Chris Stewart to St. Louis last spring. The Avs are especially thin at left wing, but the rugged Kitchener captain would change some of that. (Central Scouting's take)

Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Saint John (QMJHL)

None other than Scotty Bowman told the other day, "I've seen this kid, and he's a heck of a player." Huberdeau had a heck of a playoff run while leading Saint John to the Memorial Cup title and taking MVP honors. A guy like him would help out Florida's bottom-ranked power play, and he's said to be good at the other end of the ice, too. (Central Scouting's take)

Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (SEL)

Niedermayer and Stevens are long gone, so rebuilding the defense with this smooth-skating Swede would be a good start. Having played against pros during the last two years, he's readier than most to jump right into the NHL. But is it just me or are his offensive numbers a little underwhelming? One goal and eight assists in 37 games for Skelleftea last season are not exactly Bobby Orr-esque. (European Scouting's take)

Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)

A 106-point season for Niagara boosted his stock a bit. The Islanders need help at center, so the 6-foot, 185-pounder would be a nice fit some day, perhaps on a line with John Tavares. Rome, NY wasn't built in a day, but Strome would help the beleaguered Isles in their rebuild. (Central Scouting's take)

Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)

Ottawa's once-potent offense has seen desertion and attrition in the last couple years, and Couturier would help up the middle. There have been some concerns about his skating, but he proved he can score at the junior level -- with 96 points each of the last two seasons. (Central Scouting's take)

Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (SEL)

Welcome back to the 'Peg, first of all. Second, you'll enjoy watching this good-sized Swede as the years progress. He might be the best skater in the draft, both in speed and power. He opened many scouts' eyes with a strong showing for Sweden in the under-18 World Junior championships with seven goals and 13 points in nine games. (European Scouting's take)

Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)

A great skater with a pretty good shot. Some scouts believe Murphy has a chance to be the Second Coming of Brian Rafalski some day. The Blue Jackets need help everywhere, but particularly at the point on the power play.(Central Scouting's take)

Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)

Another member of our 2011 All-Name Team, this 6-4 blueliner should fit in well with Boston's big, hard-hitting system. He also put up a strong 58 points for Niagara last season. (Central Scouting's take)

Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)

The Wild desperately needs scoring after finishing in the bottom half of the league in goals in each of the last 10 seasons. That's a decade's worth of popgun offense. A 38-goal, 95-point producer for Saint John, Phillips will help remedy that matter. (Central Scouting's take)

Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland (WHL)

He's only 5-10 and 181 pounds, but his talent and grit have won over many scouts. Baertschi put up 85 points in the rugged WHL for the Winterhawks, and he would continue to restock Colorado's huge void on the left side. (Central Scouting's take)

Joe Morrow, D, Portland (WHL)

Here's a sleeper pick. He's not ranked this high on the scouting lists, but he's a fine two-way blueliner. Playing in the "W" is one of the best primers for life as a defenseman in the NHL you can get. (Central Scouting's profile)

Mark McNeil, C, Prince Albert (WHL)

Calgary still has a hole in the middle of the ice, and here's a pretty good prospect to help fill it. McNeil is big -- 6-1, 205 pounds -- and he's a solid two-way center who put up 81 points (with 32 goals) last season. (Central Scouting's take)

Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)

He's still only 17 years old, but at 6-3, 197 pounds and with good skating skills, the Stars should take a chance on the kid if he's still available. The back end in Dallas has been a mess much of the last two seasons. (Central Scouting's take)

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Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL)

A key member of the Memorial Cup champs, Beaulieu is big (6-2) and needs to fill out (only 174 pounds), but he can skate. Teams will always be able to use big D-men who can skate and the Rangers have been assembling a pretty nice corps of young blueliners.(Central Scouting's take)

Jamieson Oleksiak, D, Northeastern (Hockey East)

The kid is 6-7, nearly 250 pounds and still only 18. The league is trending bigger again -- at least defensively. This kid certainly qualifies. He and 6-8 Tyler Myers would give the Sabres two absolute towers on the backline. (Central Scouting's take)

Joel Armia, C, Assat (Finland)

He had a solid season in Finland's pro league (18 goals, 29 points in 49 games) and scouts like his size (6-3) and skating ability. (European Scouting's take)

Tyler Biggs, RW, U.S. U-18

Other than Landeskog, the Cincinnati native may be the best power forward available in the first round. At 6-2, 210 with a mean streak, he'd fit in well with Chicago's skill guys -- and he's on our All-Name Team, too. (Central Scouting's take)

John Gibson, G, U.S. U-18

The Oilers haven't had any cornerstone goaltending since Dwayne Roloson left town, so it makes good sense at this spot to take a flyer on this Pittsburgh native who is considered the best netminder prospect in the draft. (Central Scouting's take)

Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw (OHL)

He's a solid power forward prospect at 6-1 and 210 pounds. It just so happens that they Coyotes need size and toughness. (Central Scouting's take)

Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (SEL)

Sweden just keeps cranking out solid, responsible defensemen. The fleet, smart, puck-moving Brodin looks as if he will be another. (European Scouting's take)

Nicklas Jensen, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

This Danish forward is big (6-2, 190) with some skill. He left home early to pursue a career in North America, and that's the kind of bold initiative that NHL scouts like to see. (Central Scouting's take)

Oskar Klefbom, D, Farjestad (SEL)

See No. 21 above. Oh, and this kid is 6-4, 200 pounds and a leader who was captain of Sweden's U-18 squad at the world championships. Lots of upside here. Hey, I waited 'til No. 23 to use that term -- just couldn't hold out any longer. (The Scouting Report)

Rickard Rakell, RW, Plymouth (OHL)

A Swede, Rakell put up nearly a point per game for the Whalers and impressed at the world juniors, where he was the youngest member of his team. The Red Wings seem to have some luck with Swedes. (Central Scouting's take)

Tomas Jurco, RW, Saint John (QMJHL)

Some scouts think this kid could be a real steal at this pick. He has fast hands and a sneaky shot. (Central Scouting's take)

Vladislav Namestnikov, C, London (OHL)

A sleeper pick, and obvious All-Name Teamer. He's raw, but has obvious talent and had a good first season with the Knights, leading them with 30 goals, including 11 on the power play. He was also +12. (Central Scouting's take)

Christopher Gibson, G, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)

The Lightning has been blessed with a lot of young talent, but needs to start thinking more seriously about the goalie spot as Dwayne Roloson starts to qualify for Social Security checks. Gibson posted a strong .920 save percentage in the notoriously high-scoring QMJHL. (Central Scouting's take)

Daniel Catenacci, C, St. Sault Marie (OHL)

He's small (5-10, 183) -- maybe too small -- but he's plenty quick (fastest lap time of 14.017 seconds at the Top Prospects Game) and he put up 74 points in 67 games for the Soo while riding scoring streaks of 13 and 14 games. The Sharks will like they way he looks in teal and black. (Central Scouting's profile)

David Musil, D, Vancouver (WHL)

Local boy makes good. The son of former NHL blueliner Frantisek Musil has got size (6-4, 200) and he plays a good fundamental game. (Central Scouting's profile)

Matt Puempel, LW, Peterboro (OHL)

He's proven himself as a scorer at the junior level (67 goals last two seasons), but saw his stock fall some while playing on a bad team. But if he goes to the Maple Leafs, he'll likely feel right at home. (Central Scouting's take)