Chris' stuff is suggested reading, and is a frequent destination for both Nate and I- and we strongly encourage you to check for United States of Hockey too.
For the twitter-literate, you can follow Chris on Twitter.
Now, on to business. Instead of doing a Mock Draft, Chris sent along his Top 30 for the 2011 Entry Draft, which is equally as entertaining and more insightful- because he's seem nearly all of these kids play.
Here we go.
For me, Mock Drafts are kind of tough. How does one person become a GM for 30 teams? Well… the other guys on board with First Round Bust’s Mock Draft are a lot better at this than me. Instead, I’ve put together my list of the players I’d select in order, if I had all 30 picks. So… here it goes.
1. Adam Larsson Good defensive prospects will always get an advantage in my book. At this point, he’s the most advanced player in the draft and I think he’ll continue to grow his game.
2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins What else is left to say about this kid that hasn’t already been said? The scariest part about RNH is his upside. He’s by no means a finished product.
3. Gabriel Landeskog He brings so many tools to the table, he’d be hard to pass up in this spot. I actually like his style of game better than RNH, but I don’t know if he’s got the same upside.
4. Sean Couturier I wouldn’t want to rush this kid. But there’s a lot to like about his game and where it could be. I know Huberdeau is riding some buzz, but I love Couturier’s size and skill.
5. Jonathan Huberdeau It’s hard to argue with his point production and his team’s success. He had a pretty solid group around him, but he was definitely the best. He’s not far from NHL-ready.
6. Dougie Hamilton You’ve got to love a big defenseman who can put up points. He’s a pretty easy choice as the second defenseman off the board.
7. Ryan Strome His 106 points are certainly nice. I’m not 100% sold on him as an elite offensive player
at the next level, but he certainly can produce.
8. Nathan Bealieu There’s something about kids on winning teams. I always like a guy who’s a big part of a winning team, especially when that young man is a defenseman.
9. Rocco Grimaldi A reach you say? In my mind, Grimaldi is the fastest, most-skilled player in the draft. He’s confident and he’s feisty. There’s no quit in this kid. Everywhere he’s been, he’s produced, won.
10. Ryan Murphy He is elite offensively, and so good with the puck on his stick. He’s a risky choice, not because of his size, but because of his defensive ability. He’s all or nothing.
11. Duncan Siemens Big, physical defenseman are nice and all. I just don’t know if they’re top-10 nice.
Nonetheless, Siemens is a solid defender and belongs in the top half.
12. Sven Bartschi Bartschi is further proof that the Swiss are beginning to develop more high-level offensive players. I like that he produced the way he did in the WHL both in the regular season and the playoffs.
13. Jamie Oleksiak Upside. Upside. Upside. Oh… and size. I just see this kid as a potential monster at the next level. He’s 6-7 and his skating has vastly improved. I’d bring him along slowly, but he’s good enough for the top 10.
14. Mark McNeill He’s got great size and strength and can put up some serious points without forgetting about the defensive responsibilities of a center.
15. Alexander Khokhlachev He’s a gifted scorer who tore up the OHL in both the regular season and the playoffs. His offensive skills would be too good to pass up in this slot.
16. Mika Zibanejad There are a lot of people high on Zibanejad, but I think he’s a risky pick. Great tools, very advanced player… but he disappeared when it mattered most for Sweden at the World U18s.
17. Brandon Saad If there are teams that have done their homework on Saad, they’ll know he’s better than he showed this year. He’s a great character kid, with great strength and great finishing ability.
18. Joel Armia He was Finland’s best player at the World Under-18s, and he has some filthy skill. The only thing I worry about is consistency and playing in those tough, physical games.
19. Joe Morrow When you play with a bit of an edge and you can move the puck pretty well too, I like that. He was also another key piece of a really solid hockey team.
20. J.T. Miller After his performance at the World Under-18s, we all saw what Miller looks like at his best. If he can find some consistency to his game, he’s going to be deadly. Great size, speed and
21. Scott Mayfield Mayfield earns a first round selection not necessarily for what he does, but what it looks like he can do. He’s got size, skates well and plays with an edge. What potential he has.
22. Tyler Biggs A run on Americans… Imagine that. Character, toughness and power are all essential things Biggs brings to the table. He’s got an underrated shot, but may not have the offensive upside many of us had originally thought. He’s a guy I want on my team.
23. Mark Scheifele He appears to have a solid offensive game and good scoring ability. I wasn’t overly impressed in my three viewings of him at the World Under-18s, despite his production. Still first-round
24. Jonas Brodin I was a huge fan of this kid at the World Under-18s. He played smart, steady defense for Sweden. He doesn’t do any one thing great, but he does a lot really well.
25. John Gibson There’s no doubt he’s the best goalie in this draft. His size and athleticism are unrivaled, but it is his poise and calm-under-pressure that makes him a cut above. He’s also a proven winner.
26. Zack Phillips I considered putting Phillips higher, but couldn’t find anywhere else to slot him. He’s part of a championship team, and was on a very deadly line with Huberdeau.
27. Vladislav Namestnikov A Russian with skill? Weird. He had a great first season in the OHL and still has room to improve. The stronger he gets, the better he’ll be.
28. Connor Murphy Murphy appears to be a risk worth taking. A breakout performance at the Combine settled most of the health concerns. He may have the highest ceiling of the American defensemen in the draft. One of the smartest players I’ve seen at his age.
29. Dmitrij Jaskin This kid plays hard and he’s strong. Was the Czech Republic’s best player at the World Under-18s by far, showing he can bring the offense.
30. Oscar Klefbom He’s got great size and skating ability. He was Sweden’s captain at the World Under-18s. He can really let the puck fly, but his strengths are on defense.
Thanks again to Chris for this.
Previous Mock Madness Entries: