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June 23, 2011, 07:39 PM ET

2011 NHL Mock Draft- Top 10 Picks

by Corey Pronman

When it comes to mock drafts you’re always better off saving them for the last possible moment especially in a league that lets teams deal draft picks. For all we know the number one pick isn’t completely safe.
The following is my mock draft for the top ten selections of the first round tomorrow. This is based on what I’ve heard from sources and while I’m not 100% on any of these picks, based on information I’ve gotten this is where I’ve heard these respective teams could possibly be leaning while noting other possibilities that could happen.

I only had time to get information that I deemed suitable for such a mock for the top ten picks. If I tried doing beyond that I would have been just throwing names up on the board and that’s not the type of mock draft I wanted to deliver.

I’ll be tweeting the draft like crazy the next two ways over at @coreypronman and then after day two I’ll start bringing team by team draft reviews.

1.        Edmonton Oilers-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Center, Red Deer-WHL

I’ve heard Larsson’s name thrown around here and of course the rumors of the Oilers trading down, but I believe they’re going to stick at 1 and take the draft class’ most talented player.

2.        Colorado Avalanche-Jonathan Huberdeau, Center, Saint John-QMJHL

Thought for the longest time this pick was going to be Landeskog as he fit right into the Avs model for drafting high-character kids with skill, but as the draft season has winded down the impression I’ve gotten is Colorado will take Huberdeau.

3.        Florida Panthers-Sean Couturier, Center, Drumondville-QMJHL

I had Larsson as a lock at this spot a while back if he got here, but then I heard Florida may be pressing for a top scoring forward at #3 and with Huberdeau’s ascent, I’m under the impression they could take Couturier if they can’t make the big move to get up to number one. I’m not an advocate of drafting for need so high, but the organization has young defenders like Kulikov and Ellerby on the club, with Colby Robak, Alex Petrovic and Erik Gudbranson on the way and is desperately lacking in scoring.

4.        New Jersey Devils-Gabriel Landeskog, Left Wing, Kitchener-OHL

Thought he was a top three lock a month or so ago, but his slide ends here. I’d say the chances of Landeskog getting past New Jersey if he’s on the board are nearly non-existent.

5.        New York Islanders-Adam Larsson, Defense, Skelleftea-SEL

I don’t see the Islanders showing much haste at all to take the top blueliner when they see he’s still there at five. If I’m wrong on Florida taking Couturier and Larsson gets off the board, I could see them dealing this pick though or taking Ryan Strome. Their system and organization is loaded with enough good young players to seek NHL-ready talent externally—which Larsson is as well mind you.

6.        Ottawa Senators-Mika Zibanejad, Left Wing, Djurgarden-SEL

Zibanejad’s stock has risen rapidly over the last few months and Ottawa snags an organizational need in a scoring forward who can fast track to the league fairly quickly. If it’s not Zibanejad here, the pick will likely be Ryan Strome.

7.        Winnipeg-Ryan Strome, Center, Niagara-OHL

Really hard to get a sense on this pick with the new management coming in, so I’m not as sure on this one as I am the other selections.

8.        Philadelphia Flyers-Dougie Hamilton, Defense, Niagara-OHL

Had no time at all to get an idea as to what will happen with the Flyers picking so this one is admittedly fitting logical pieces together more than relying on known information. I could very well see Ryan Murphy being this pick as well.

9.        Boston Bruins-Ryan Murphy, Defense, Kitchener-OHL

Speaking of Murphy, if he gets here, he stops here.

10       Minnesota Wild-Nathan Beaulieu, Defense, Saint John-QMJHL

Have heard the Wild like Beaulieu and this could be their pick to round off the top ten.

Update 06/24 11:35 AM: Again as stated before I can’t be truly certain on any of these picks, so I should mention that I have heard Sven Bartschi and Jonas Brodin thrown around as players who could slide into the top ten with the latter being more likely.

Everyone enjoy the draft and you can look forward to extensive coverage of the event from myself once it has concluded. Also if you are familiar with Kevin Goldstein’s work at Baseball Prospectus and the Top 11 Prospects he churns out annually, then stick around this summer where we’ll be doing a similar feature for all NHL teams and their respective systems.

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