Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 NHL Entry Draft: Predictions

Every year, there are a few top names that normally go according to form. This season will probably not be much different, though the order of those players from 1 through 4 may not be exact. In John Tavares's draft year, it was about the big three of Tavares, Victor Hedman, and Matt Duchene. Last year, the forward tandem of Taylor Hall and (Stanley Cup Champion) Tyler Seguin were all the rage. This year, there are three forwards and a defenseman that are around the top.

This is great news for the New Jersey Devils, who pick fourth, and less so for the New York Islanders, who select fifth, if they elect to make their selections. There is always the possibility of trading the pick to move up, down, or out of the first round. The Islanders could speed up their rebuild by trading down in some sort of package and, for the Devils, salary cap relief is mighty important to them if they want to be able afford to sign Zach Parise before arbitration or afford the award without breaking up the team.

In most publications and prognostications, with available time and money to watch these superteens play, have the top four pegged, in some order, as forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier, Gabriel Landeskog, and defenseman Adam Larsson.

My picks for the first five selections:
1. Edmonton - C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
2. Colorado - D Adam Larsson
3. Florida - LW Gabriel Landeskog
4. DEVILS - D Dougie Hamilton
5. ISLANDERS - F Sean Couturier
8. FLYERS - F Ryan Strome
9. BRUINS - D Ryan Murphy
15. RANGERS - RW Tyler Biggs

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