June 24, 2011
2011 NHL Draft Tracker: First Round
Other than a consensus No. 1 -- Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- there are no apparent franchise cornerstones in the Draft Class of 2011, but that doesn't mean there isn't talent to be had or gems to be unearthed. Several trades have gone down, with the Ottawa Senators ending up with three first-round picks. The Wild sent defenseman Brent Burns and a 2012 second-rounder to the Sharks for forwards Devin Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle (San Jose's first-round pick in 2010) and the 28th spot in this year's draft. The Chicago Blackhawks have also been active. In other news, the NHL's new outpost in Winnipeg announced that it is keeping the traditional name the Jets.

1 C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Red Deer WHL 6-0 164
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "A couple of people high up -- and not naming names -- said Hopkins has the best vision since No. 99 (Wayne Gretzky). That's the highest compliment you can get. But the other thing is the way he competes. He never takes a night off and he works as hard in his own end as he does in the offensive zone and that takes a special player with a special set of skills to do that." PLAYER PROFILE
2 LW Gabriel Landeskog Kitchener OHL 6-0 207
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Gabriel does remind me of former Kitchener Ranger (and Philadelphia Flyers captain) Mike Richards. He sticks up for his teammates and is as strong at both ends of the rink as any player in the draft this year. He competes as hard if not harder than anybody. He's got all the assets that you need to be a team leader and, for a potential No. 1 overall, that's what you would want." PLAYER PROFILE
3 C Jonathan Huberdeau Saint John QMJHL 6-1 170
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He's still not the fastest, but I'd certainly label him the craftiest on our team. He's a quality, character kid. He competes both ways, battles for those goals around the net and competes hard in every situation. I can put Jonathan on the ice in any situation -- the last minute of a game when we're behind by a goal or ahead by a goal. He comes to play every time. His vision is outstanding, he has great puck skills and I think he's the complete package." PLAYER PROFILE
4 D Adam Larsson Skelleftea Sweden 6-3 200
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Adam is one of the best skaters in this year's draft -- he has excellent speed and mobility. He also has patient puck handling abilities and can surprise an opponent with a solid hit. His size and skating ability make him comparable with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman." PLAYER PROFILE
5 C Ryan Strome Niagara OHL 6-0 175
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Ryan is one of those guys that initiates contact and makes a great play. He plays in those traffic areas and he wins battles and then he makes great passes. He's got great vision...He's confident, he feels good on the ice, and when you have skill and a lot of confidence, good things happen."PLAYER PROFILE
6 C Mika Zibanejad Djurgarden Sweden 6-2 191
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Mika's a real power forward but also has soft hands, good vision and fine skating skills. He has tremendous balance and is hard to knock off the puck. He's very strong in the battles along the boards, finishes checks with authority and has a heavy shot that he gets off quickly. Mika's a competitive player who is willing to pay the price to score a goal. He does have a very good understanding of his defensive duties."PLAYER PROFILE
7 C Mark Scheifele Barrie OHL Hgt Wgt
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Mark protects the puck very well and will take it to the net while fighting through checks. He's got a great work ethic. His Barrie Colts have struggled this season and he has been relied upon to provide offense. He sees the ice very well and his playmaking ability is very good. He gets back quickly and works hard defensively." PLAYER PROFILE
8 C Sean Couturier Drummondville QMJHL 6-4 197
Acquired from Columbus. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "At his size, he'll be hard to pass up in the draft. He possesses a very good work ethic and he's out there for every important faceoff. He's very responsible in the defensive aspect of the game -- a rare quality for such a young player in junior hockey." PLAYER PROFILE
9 D Dougie Hamilton Niagara OHL 6-4 187
Acquired from Toronto. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Especially at this level, you find guys that are awkward or don't have a lot of explosion. You're 6-foot-4, you don't have a lot of explosion (but) the jump off his skates is phenomenal. When he sees those opportunities to jump into the rush or lead the rush, I really believe it's untapped what he can do. He's a very special defenseman in our league. He just has to understand the details and he's going to be a very good pro . . . Dougie gets himself very prepared for hockey games. He's very diligent preparing himself. He goes about it very business-like. He's mature beyond his years." PLAYER PROFILE
10 D Jonas Brodin Farjestad Sweden 6-1 169
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Brodin is a very mature defenseman with good mobility, smarts and coolness. He's effective in one-on-one situations. He has an average frame, but could use a little more weight."PLAYER PROFILE
11 D Duncan Siemens Saskatoon WHL 6-2 192
Acquired from St. Louis. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He's a guy that is really tough to play against. Sometimes I think he over-does it, that he tries to do too much, but he's got all the potential. He can carry the puck, and he's a tough kid -- he can fight. He's tough to play against. He can work both ends; he plays both the power play and penalty kill. He's just a solid, all-round defenseman."PLAYER PROFILE
12 D Ryan Murphy Kitchener OHL 5-10 166
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Ryan's work on the power play is outstanding. He sees the ice very well and is creative, [has] excellent passing ability and a great shot that he gets through to the net. (He's) also an excellent all-round skater. He's got real good mobility. He's a bit of a gambler. He does move the puck well, but he's going to have to concentrate on making good plays." PLAYER PROFILE
13 LW Sven Baertschi Portland WHL 5-10 181
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Quick, skilled, very fast type of player...I don't think anyone can stay on the ice as long as he does. We have to tell him to get off the ice 45 minutes after practice ends. He stays out there forever to work on his game. He works on inside-outside moves, quick shots and little foot movement."PLAYER PROFILE
14 D Jamie Oleksiak Northeastern H-East 6-7 244
CENTRAL SCOUTING: Great size. He was the second-youngest player invited to Team USA's final camp for the 2011 World Junior Championships. His first chance to represent the U.S. was on the Under-18 team at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka tournament. PLAYER PROFILE
15 C Jonathan Miller USA U-18 USHL 6-1 198
CENTRAL SCOUTING: At the 2011 Under-18 World Championships, Miller led the U.S. with 13 points (4-9-13) and was named one of Team USA's top three players. Will play for the University of North Dakota next year. PLAYER PROFILE
16 RW Joel Armia Assat Finland 6-3 191
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He's going to be a different kind of Finn in the NHL. He just needs to add a couple more kilos to that frame of his. I know there have been comparisons to Teemu Selanne, but while they both have that sniper mentality, Teemu was quicker when he arrived in the NHL. The thing I like about Joel is he's very humble. He wants to know what I expect and he's willing and ready to execute it. That tells me he really wants to learn how to play, how to be a better hockey player."PLAYER PROFILE
17 D Nathan Beaulieu Saint John QMJHL 6-2 174
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He'll be an offensive-defenseman -- he's a good skater, good puck-mover. He has a good shot and is very poised with the puck. He's a veteran who has a lot of responsibilities for Saint John. He's gotten better, bigger and stronger, he's playing a lot better defensively but he's pressing for his points. He's a guy who gets a lot of opportunities because he jumps into the rush very well." PLAYER PROFILE
18 C Mark McNeill Prince Albert WHL 6-2 201
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "One thing that I like about him is that he's a right-handed center, which is good to have. He's really composed and has a real pro-style game. He has a nice touch, he can dish, and he makes nice, soft passes. His on-ice awareness is very good and he's paid attention to detail at both ends of the rink. He has good defensive-zone coverage as well as being offensive at the other end. All around I think he's got a real solid game I think his offensive game will improve the older he gets and the more confident he gets. I think he'll be a better offensive player than he's showing right now. He's good at both ends of the rink. He comes down low and helps out defensively." PLAYER PROFILE
19 D Oscar Klefbom Farjestad Sweden 6-4 200
Acquired from Los Angeles. CENTRAL SCOUTING: He captained Team Sweden to a silver medal at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships finishing with four points (1-3-4) and a plus-four rating in six games. He generated 24 shots on net to lead all defensemen on the team. He is prone to take more risks with the puck. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, either, as he's developed into an exceptional skater off the transition. PLAYER PROFILE
20 D Connor Murphy USA U-18 USHL 6-3 185
CENTRAL SCOUTING: At the 2011 Under-18 World Championships, Murphy led the U.S. defensemen with three goals (3-1--4) and a plus-seven rating in six games. He was named Player of the Game after he scored the gold-medal winning overtime goal, his second of the game, helping Team USA defeat Sweden 4-3. The victory gave the U.S. its third straight gold medal and sixth in tournament history. PLAYER PROFILE
21 RW Stefan Noesen Plymouth OHL 6-0 195
Acquired from Nashville. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "The bigger the game, the better he plays. He plays big in the big games and there's not a lot of guys like that. (Noesen's) hands are phenomenal, he works on them constantly. His scoring and his playmaking are two areas that we rely on the most. He has a very high hockey I.Q. He wants to be in that pressure-cooker moment where he is relied upon. He actually looks forward to it. When the game is on the line, he wants to be involved. He is the ultimate competitor." PLAYER PROFILE
22 RW Tyler Biggs USA U-18 USHL 6-2 210
Acquired from Anaheim via Boston. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He has that leadership quality -- that desire, that passion, that competitiveness. He just never quits. He's a young player who has taken the role as leader of his team. He does most of their fighting when they have to fight. He's kind of the guy that when someone starts picking on somebody, he's standing up for them. I think while wearing the C may have taken a little away from his offensive finish, my gut feeling is that I can't think of anything else but an uphill path for Tyler." PLAYER PROFILE
23 D Joe Morrow Portland WHL 6-0 197
CENTRAL SCOUTING: A good skater. Morrow is one of four Portland Winterhawks ranked by Central Scouting -- he is joined by forwards Sven Baertschi (No. 7 ranked) and Ty Rattie (No. 17 ranked) and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon (No. 40 ranked). In 2010, eight players were drafted from Portland. There is no shortage of hockey lineage in the family: his father, Dave, was drafted by Vancouver in the 1977 amateur draft and by the Cincinnati Stingers in the WHA draft -- he went on to play 10 games in the World Hockey Association with the Indianapolis Racers; his brother, Josh, was drafted 203rd overall in 2002 by Nashville (a shoulder injury ended his hockey career at the junior level); and his uncle, Darrell, played four years at the University of Denver. PLAYER PROFILE
24 LW Matt Puempel Peterborough OHL 6-0 196
Acquired from Detroit. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He is dangerous with the puck and has an excellent shot, he has the ability to make highly skilled passes through traffic and can make his linemates better. His goals are skilled goals. He goes to the net and he battles. He's not shy about getting involved in traffic and going to the net." PLAYER PROFILE
25 D Stuart Percy Mississauga St. Michael's OHL 6-0 186
Acquired from Philadelphia. CENTRAL SCOUTING: A hometown, underrated pick. At the 2011 Memorial Cup, he led all defensemen with four assists and was named to the Memorial Cup All-Star Team -- Mississauga lost in the final to the Saint John Sea Dogs. Percy finished second on the team in scoring among defensemen with 12 points and a plus-11 rating in the 2011 playoffs, helping the Majors reach the Ontario Hockey League finals. PLAYER PROFILE
26 LW Phillip Danault Victoriaville QMJHL Hgt Wgt
Acquired from Washington. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Danault is a tremendous worker. He's dedicated to the game, but now he's taking more and more leadership and it's contagious. He has the admiration of every single one of his teammates just on how hard he works. He'll bring work ethic, dedication and leadership. His passion for the game is unique because he's the most passionate kid I've ever coached. He plays with pride; he's not the type of kid who thinks he's better than the next guy, but he challenges himself to be as good if not better." PLAYER PROFILE
27 C Vladislav Namestnikov London OHL 6-0 166
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Vlad plays a high-energy, two-way game he's very aggressive on the forecheck and backcheck and has the ability to beat defenders outside and cut back to the net. He has an excellent wrist shot that he can release with accuracy on the rush. "I find him most effective at center, but he is versatile enough to play a solid game on the wing, he's very responsible defensively and is not afraid of getting involved and battling for pucks. He'll take the body and take a hit to make a play." PLAYER PROFILE
28 C Zack Phillips St. John QMJHL 6-1 178
Acquired from San Jose. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "Zack has great vision and is strong on the puck. He's a solid center and has come a long way in a short time. He kind of reminds me of an Adam Oates-type of player -- he's strong on the puck down low and in the corners and has nifty hands." PLAYER PROFILE
29 LW/RW Nicklas Jensen Oshawa OHL 6-2 187
CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He's starting to take off, certainly after Christmas, after he returned from the World Junior B pool and spending some time at home, since he's been back he's been on fire. It's renewed confidence for him. He's proving that the accolades coming his way are well deserved. They feed off each other (Lucas Lessio, Andy Andreoff and Nicklas Jensen). It's not the pretty passing plays, it's the little touch passes. They utilize their size and their quickness. Their puck protection is excellent. They have a chemistry. It's been kind of neat."PLAYER PROFILE
30 RW Rickard Rakell Plymouth OHL Hgt Wgt
Acquired from Toronto. CENTRAL SCOUTING: "He's a good energy guy with a good work ethic and hustle. He forechecks hard, he bangs and is very responsible defensively. I really like his upside. He's one of those guys who the coach can throw out there and know what you're going to get. He has great balance and good skills and is physical. I can see him having an impact in the (NHL) two or three years down the road." PLAYER PROFILE

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