I am really really pleased to present the next contributor to the Mock Madness series- Kirk Luedeke. He's an impressive man- he writes for both the New York Hockey Journal and the New England Hockey Journal, is in Graduate School at Georgetown, and served our Country in the United States Army; he continues to serve as a Public Affairs Officer. Also, he writes maybe the most extensive and informative draft blog on the series of tubes we call the Internet, the seminal Bruins 2011 Draft Watch. This website is something I check out everyday, and I suggest you do too. And for those Twitter-philes, he can be (and should be) followed at Kluedeke29.
Plainly put, Kirk is one hell of a human being, and I'm honored that he was willing to do a mock for us.
Here we go...
1. Edmonton- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C:
No-brainer for the Oil who grab the immensely popular Red Deer star believing he’ll turn Taylor Hall into 50-goal scorer
in three years.
2. Colorado- Adam Larsson, D: Colorado agonizes between taking another stud D to pair with Erik Johnson and a more pressing need on the wing with Gabriel Landeskog, but opt for the skilled defender.
3. Florida- Jonathan Hubderdeau, C/W: Huberdeau rides that Memorial Cup MVP wave all the way to Sunrise as Panthers fans rejoice.
4. New Jersey- Gabriel Landeskog, LW: Lou Lamoriello and his right-hand man David Conte race up to the stage to announce their pick and future captain before Armageddon arrives.
5. NY Islanders- Dougie Hamilton, D: Garth Snow and company happily pluck the big, talented and bright defenseman with possibly the highest ceiling of any in the class.
6. Ottawa- Mika Zibanejad, C: Bryan Murray surprises everyone expecting him to go with French Canadian Couturier by taking the draft’s biggest riser and beginning the Sens’ rebuild in popular fashion.
7. Winnipeg- Sean Couturier, C: The former Thrashers recognize a bargain when they see one and snap up the once expected top first- or second-overall pick with nice value.
8. Columbus- Ryan Murphy, D: Desperate for a power play QB and offensive star from the blue line, the Blue Jackets figure they won’t make the same mistake with Kris Russell and take the most dynamic scoring D since Phil Housley.
9. Boston (via Toronto)- Ryan Strome, C: The Bruins’ needs lie more with defense, but with this 106-point scorer and offensive stud on the board, they figure to tab Marc Savard’s long-term replacement and a potent 1-2 punch up the middle with Tyler Seguin.
Note: (If Columbus deals the No. 8 to Philly, then flip the players at 8 and 9)
*Ed. Note- Luedeke mentions that he's heard that this deal is done and awaiting announcement.
10.Minnesota- Nathan Beaulieu, D: The Wild can go any direction here, but opt for the new Sarnia Sting coach’s kid who can do a quite a bit of everything and will make a nice complementary player to Brent Burns.
11. Colorado (via St. Louis)- Sven Bartschi, RW: After nabbing the big two-way defenseman, the Avalanche grab the pure goal scorer and this year’s version of Jeff Skinner to jolt the offense.
12. Carolina- Joel Armia, LW: Jim Rutherford would love a big gunslinger to go with his sheriff Eric Staal and deputy Skinner. The 6-3 Armia fits the bill.
13. Calgary- Joe Morrow, D: Legitimate puck-moving d-men are the one skill set that flies off the board fast and the Flames are well acquainted with the WHL standout.
14. Dallas- Oscar Klefbom, D: Joe Nieuwendyk and Co. are thrilled that Calgary opted for Morrow over Klefbom, who may just be the best offensive defenseman of all in the 2011 class.
15. NY Rangers- Mark Scheifele, C: Another big draft riser and smart, character kid falls into New York’s lap here and Broadway’s lights shine on the former Cornell recruit.
16. Buffalo- Jamie Oleksiak, D: Visions of a Tyler Myers clone swim in the Sabres’ heads as they grab the monstrous 6-foot-7 Northeastern defender who could play at 260-270 pounds.
17. Montreal- Mark McNeill, C: The Habs grab the draft’s most physically- developed player and hope that he can flick the switch to be a consistent, snarly power center with skill that every NHL team covets.
18. Chicago- Jonas Brodin, D: Cerebral puck mover is slight and needs a lot of work on the physical side, but could flourish with Chi-town’s cast of characters on D.
19. Edmonton (via Los Angeles)- Duncan Siemens, D: While many can debate this mobile blue liner’s ultimate NHL upside, what cannot be questioned is his character and leadership. The Saskatoon standout is the perfect player to continue Steve Tambellini’s rebuild.
20. Phoenix- Matt Puempel, RW: The Peterborough ace may be unremarkable in a lot of areas, but he’s money when it comes to scoring goals. The Desert Dogs call his name and smile.
21.Ottawa- John Gibson, G: By the time this Michigan recruit and gold medal-winning stud is ready to compete for NHL duty, Craig Anderson will be longer in the tooth. Potential franchise netminder with ice water in his veins at crunch time.
22. Anaheim- Nicklas Jensen, LW: Ducks add one of the purest offensive talents in the draft. Boom or bust winger is worth the risk here.
23. Pittsburgh- Brandon Saad, LW: Penguins grab the hometown star who will be motivated to prove that his falling stock is unwarranted. Legitimate top-five talent is a steal here for the Pens.
24. Detroit- Rocco Grimaldi, C: Ken Holland has never shied away from legitimately talented little guys, and Grimaldi is a fierce competitor and winner.
25.Toronto (via Philadelphia)- Vladislav Namestnikov, C: The Leafs have seen plenty of this dangerous and creative pivot’s scoring antics in London this season and go for the kid who looks up to Pavel Datsyuk as his favorite NHL player.
26. Washington- Alexander Khokhlachev, C: Predicting a Russian to the Caps seems to be a copout, but Khokhlachev is a high-end scorer and solid citizen. He’s solid value here for George McPhee.
27. Tampa Bay- Connor Murphy, D: Although durability has been an issue, the Bolts can’t pass on this player’s upside. His maturity and character are a bonus with his prodigious talent. They’re no strangers to risky health issues having drafted Brett Connolly a year ago.
28. San Jose- Zack Phillips, C/W: Skating is nothing to write home about, but all this guy does is score. Put him with Joe Thornton and magic could be in store.
29. Vancouver- Tyler Biggs, RW: The Canucks need toughness and big bodies after being exposed in the Stanley Cup final against Boston. Biggs brings the nasty and has some skill, too.
30. Toronto (via Boston)- Ty Rattie, LW: Playmaking winger can also finish and is one of the most creative players in the 2011 draft. There’s a bust factor, but we think he could be a stud once he gets strong enough to handle the NHL’s rigors.
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