2011 NHL Draft Top 100 Skaters: (1-25)

2011 Draft Rankings, TSR Features | 30 May 2011


Welcome to the 2011 edition of TSR’s Top 100 NHL Entry Draft Skaters. This free resource has been compiled by our team of contributors who have taken in numerous hockey games during the course of the 2010/2011 season. We hope that this guide will serve as a valuable resource for your reference of 2011 NHL Entry Draft Prospects. The list is broken up into four separate sections for ease of reading, so be sure to check out each section.

This is the second edition of our guide and something that takes a tremendous investment of personal time from each of our contributors. I would like to personally thank everyone on our staff for all their hard work throughout the season and helping to make this resource a reality for hockey fans from around the world. As always, we appreciate feedback from our readers in the form of comments or emails. Thanks for checking us out!
- Scott Campbell

Be sure to check out the rest of our Top 100: (1-25) (26-50) (51-75) (76-100)

1. LC Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Red Deer (WHL)

DOB: Apr. 12/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 164lbs
Midterm Rank: 3 | League Rank: 1st WHL | Country Rank: 1st Canada
Ryan Nugent Hopkins came into the season as a legitimate top 5 prospect for the 2011 NHL entry draft and has not disappointed. After dominating the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament where he both led Canada in scoring and scored the tournament winning goal, Nugent-Hopkins returned for a second full season in Red Deer where he finished the season tied for 3rd overall in league scoring with 31 goals, 75 assists and 106 points. Nugent-Hopkins is an exceedingly good playmaker that sees the ice extremely well. He also possesses an underrated wrist shot that he gets off both quickly and accurately. He is a very good skater that is among the shiftiest players available in the draft although Nugent-Hopkins lacks breakaway speed. He possesses a very high-end skill set that is arguably the best in the entire draft. Defensively he is reliable and has become a dangerous takeaway artist capable of stripping the puck off the sticks of unsuspecting players and quickly counter-attacking. Nugent-Hopkins has made a very strong case for being the first overall pick with his small frame the biggest potential impediment to that case for scouts

2. RD Adam Larsson - Skelleftea AIK (SEL)

DOB: Nov. 12/92 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 220lbs  
Midterm Rank: 1 | League Rank: 1st SEL | Country Rank: 1st Sweden
It hasn’t been the type of year most were expecting from the pre-season consensus top pick. Larsson saw his point totals erode from last year’s standards and wasn’t the overwhelming force most were hoping for at the World Juniors. Despite a somewhat disappointing season, Larsson still has an attractive skill-set that translates well to the NHL. The size, puck moving ability, and solid positional play are all there, but it’s going to be up to Larsson to take the next step in his game if he wants to regarded as a top pairing defenseman in the NHL.

3. RW Gabriel Landeskog - Kitchener (OHL)

DOB: Nov. 23/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 201lbs   
Midterm Rank: 4 | League Rank: 1st OHL | Country Rank: 2nd Sweden
A sophomore season in North America proved to be exactly what the doctor ordered for Gabriel Landeskog. After coming over with high expectations last season, the reviews were fairly lukewarm on the Swede until his impressive play-off run. This season, Landeskog picked up where he left off and has ascended to the top of the NHL draft board. He’s not going to be a dominant goal-scorer at the next level, but Landeskog has a great package of competitiveness, offensive talent, and the ability to dominate the play in tough areas on the ice. He projects as a 30/30 type player who has all the intangibles coaches and team’s love to have.

4. LC Sean Couturier - Drummondville (QMJHL)

DOB: Dec. 07/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 191lbs   
Midterm Rank: 2 | League Rank: 1st QMJHL | Country Rank: 2nd Canada
Couturier has progressively slid from his pre-season perch but we still feel that he is certainly deserving of a place in the Top 5. After struggling to take his offensive production to the “next level”, there are some concerns about his potential as a first line center. While he isn’t going to be a dominant offensive player, Couturier is a very capable offensive forward who has the size to create space for himself at the next level as well. He will need to work on his skating a bit to solidify himself as a two-way center with the increased pace of the NHL, but Couturier is a pretty safe pick who has likely been the victim of over-exposure this year.

5. LC Jonathan Huberdeau - Saint John (QMJHL)

DOB: Jun. 04/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 171lbs    
Midterm Rank: 7 | League Rank: 2nd QMJHL | Country Rank: 3rd Canada
Huberdeau’s meteoric rise continues as the lanky center has worked his way inside our Top 5 after a brilliant second half to the season. The 17-year-old was one of the most dangerous players in Major Junior hockey all season and has an explosive dynamic that few others in this class can match. At this point, you can easily make the argument that Couturier and Huberdeau are neck in neck with each other, but we feel there is just a bit more risk with Huberdeau’s translating in comparison to Couturier’s.

6. RD Ryan Murphy - Kitchener (OHL)

DOB: Mar. 31/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.10 | Weight: 165lbs  
Midterm Rank: 6 | League Rank: 2nd OHL | Country Rank: 4th Canada
Murphy clocks in at number six and is a player that has the potential to be in a unique league of his own if he hits his ceiling. The Aurora, Ont. native is a dynamic playmaking defenseman who has a creative blend of speed and the ability to make highly skilled moves at top speed. At any given point he’s a threat to rush the puck up the ice and has very good vision in doing so. He’s also a very smart player on the powerplay and has utilized his shot a lot more over the past season than he did as a rookie. Defensive coverage has improved and he’s started to use his body a little more as well. Once considered a bit of a risk, we feel Murphy has entrenched himself as a blue-chip prospect regardless of some of the concerns about his game.

7. RC Mika Zibanejad - Djurgarden (SEL)

DOB: Apr. 18/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 195lbs   
Midterm Rank: 25 | League Rank: 2nd SEL | Country Rank: 3rd Sweden
Zibanejad is the biggest riser in the final rankings this year; something that doesn’t come as much of a surprise given our placement of him in the mid-term edition. The versatile Swede has a big body and plays both ends of the ice equally well. Skates well and can cover a lot of ice from the center position while being strong in the face-off circle. Might not have the highest offensive ceiling out of some of the players in the Top 10-15, but still has first line potential and could still be a great second line center if his offensive upside isn’t there.

8. RD Dougie Hamilton - Niagara (OHL)

DOB: Jun. 06/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.04 | Weight: 193lbs   
Midterm Rank: 13 | League Rank: 3rd OHL | Country Rank: 5th Canada
Hamilton is a big defenseman who is very mobile and has pretty good offensive upside. Took advantage of increased responsibility from the beginning of the season and has developed into a very good powerplay quarterback and adept puck moving defenseman. He’s pretty strong in his own end and does a good job of using his long reach to his advantage. Depending on the game, he can be a physical player, but doesn’t show it consistently. Also is prone to being beaten by some of the more highly skilled players in the league. He’s still a bit of an unfinished product, but Hamilton will probably remind people a lot of a player like Alex Pietrangelo.

9. RC Ryan Strome - Niagara (OHL)

DOB: Jul. 11/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 183lbs   
Midterm Rank: 10 | League Rank: 4th OHL | Country Rank: 6th Canada
Strome was the talk of the prospect world by November and didn’t let up as the year progressed. He’s a highly skilled forward with some of the craftiest hands in the crop and the ability to create a scoring chance at any opportunity. His statistics will indicate that he’s more of a playmaker, but Strome is also a very adept goal scorer and has a pretty good release on his wrist/snap shot. His game doesn’t come without concerns, however, as Strome is very weak and easily muscled off the puck. He had trouble in the playoffs against stiffer competition, which was a bit of a symptom of that problem. Probably will need at least another year in the OHL to add some strength before he makes the jump.

10. RC Mark Scheifele - Barrie (OHL)

DOB: Mar. 15/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbs    
Midterm Rank: 15 | League Rank: 5th OHL | Country Rank: 7th Canada
Scheifele’s first year in the OHL is one to remember as the unheralded Kitchener, Ont. Native burst onto the scene with the Barrie Colts. Scheifele is a big-time talent with the ability to make his linemates better as a great playmaker and player who can buy time in the offensive zone. Scheifele is good along the boards and in traffic and did a good job of making things happen on a team that lacked talent in a big way. He still needs to add some much needed bulk to his frame, and could probably afford to shoot the puck more; as the U18’s showed, but he’s a guy with a pretty high ceiling and is certainly a player to watch for.

11. RW Joel Armia - Assat (SM-Liiga)

DOB: May 31/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 191lbs   
Midterm Rank: 9 | League Rank: 1st SM-Liiga | Country Rank: 1st Finland
After climbing the rankings early, it seems like Armia’s stock may have tailed off a bit the past few months in the eyes of most. Despite going under the radar at the U20’s in Buffalo, Armia still had a productive first season in the SM-Liiga and went on to lead Finland in scoring at the U18’s. The Finn is still pretty raw, but a winger with his size and skill is an attractive package and it’s hard to imagine him slipping much further than 11.

12. LW Matthew Puempel - Peterborough (OHL)

DOB: Jan. 24/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 190lbs  
Midterm Rank: 5 | League Rank: 6th OHL | Country Rank: 8th Canada
High expectations were bestowed upon the 2009/2010 CHL rookie of the year this season; one that proved to be pretty disappointing for Matt Puempel. A combination of a poor Peterborough squad and a late season ending hip injury made this season a difficult one for Puempel. Despite the negatives, Puempel still remains as one of the premier goal scorers in this crop. Puempel will likely make a living off his release and shot power/accuracy, but he improved some of the other areas of his game this season as well. It was evident that he started to take some steps to become more of a dominant player on his own and began to create a lot of his own opportunities instead of relying on a center to get him the puck. Assuming NHL teams are satisfied with his injury rehabilitation, Puempel is still very much a Top 15 type player.

13. RC Mark McNeill - Prince Albert (WHL)

DOB: Feb. 22/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.02 | Weight: 210lbs   
Midterm Rank: 19 | League Rank: 2nd WHL | Country Rank: 9th Canada
McNeill did a lot of things well this year. On a weak team, McNeill proved that he could compete and succeed against the best players from around the WHL with minimal help as he tallied 81 points in 70 games this year. McNeill has a nice mix of speed, size and grit. He was among the fastest skaters at the CHL Top Prospects game and combining that with his size and grittiness make him hard to handle when he is on his game. He can be guilty of taking the occasional shift off, but his combo of speed, skill and grittiness (including a willingness to fight) allow him to project nicely as a 2nd line center.

14. LD Duncan Siemens - Saskatoon (WHL)

DOB: Sep. 07/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbs    
Midterm Rank: 8 | League Rank: 3rd WHL | Country Rank: 10th Canada
Siemens is a prototypical WHL defender that is big, can play at both ends of the rink, and also provide a physical edge. Siemens is a very good skater for his size and has a good shot. He is able to make the first pass out of his zone and has handled himself very nicely in game action despite being one of the youngest players available in this year’s draft. While Siemens has very high potential, it doesn’t come without some risk. He did put up good number this past season (43 points in 72 games), but one can’t help but wonder whether or not he is being sheltered by playing on such a deep team featuring a star defender in Stefan Elliott. Decision-making (especially in his own end) is also a concern at times. Siemens does possess one of the more attractive toolkits in the draft and if a team thinks that the decision-making will be resolved in time, Siemens could end up a relatively high pick in the draft.

15. LW Sven Bartschi - Portland (WHL)

DOB: Nov. 05/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 5.10 | Weight: 185lbs     
Midterm Rank: 12 | League Rank: 4th WHL | Country Rank: 1st Switzerland
Bartschi came into the season as a fairly unknown prospect, but quickly established himself as a high scorer for the Portland Winterhawks. Bartschi has excellent hands and goes to the traffic areas to create offense, and has excellent vision on the ice. There are question marks about his two-way play, however Bartschi only improved as the season went along, quickly creating a name for himself as an elite level winger in the Western Hockey League while being a major offensive contributor for the Hawks; continuing his solid play well into the WHL playoffs.

16. LD Nathan Beaulieu - Saint John (QMJHL)

DOB: Dec. 05/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 191lbs     
Midterm Rank: 22 | League Rank: 3rd QMJHL | Country Rank: 11th Canada
Bealieu is a technically sound defenseman that has a pretty refined overall game. He’s a solid skater with good size, moves well laterally, and has the ability to buy time for himself and make good decisions with the puck. The issue is that he doesn’t have an overly dominant aspect to his game which raises some questions about what his role will be at the next level. As it stands, he projects to be a decent middle pairing type player, but the lack of high-end talent prevents him from being higher in our rankings.

17. LC Vladislav Namestnikov - London (OHL)

DOB: Nov. 22/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 170lbs     
Midterm Rank: 39 | League Rank: 7th OHL | Country Rank: 1st Russia
Namestnikov is a player that certainly grew on us as the year went on. If you only see him once or twice, you might not get an appreciation for the little things he does well which make him such a valuable player. Namestnikov is an effortless skater with tremendous agility; something that is very evident whenever you see him. He sees the ice well but is a very creative player and makes a lot of nifty little plays that may raise your eye-brows. Some of his other qualities come in the form of being a very good stick checker and having great anticipation. Some people have compared him to Datsyuk, and his style probably isn’t too far off. Adding strength is priority number one for Namestnikov right now, as he is often outmuscled at the junior level.

18. RC Rocco Grimaldi - USNTDP U18 (USHL)

DOB: Feb. 08/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.06 | Weight: 163lbs     
Midterm Rank: 26 | League Rank: 1st USHL | Country Rank: 1st USA
Easily one of the more skilled players available in the draft, Grimaldi has a proven track record of production at every level. Strong work ethic and dedication to the game have enabled him to develop skills in skating, passing, shooting and puck handling that could comprise a video on “How To….” All indications are that he’ll keep developing as he moves up the ladder. The only obvious knock is his size.

19. LD Oscar Klefbom - Farjestad (SEL)

DOB: Jul. 20/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 201lbs    
Midterm Rank: 33 | League Rank: 3rd SEL | Country Rank: 4th Sweden
Klefbom has steadily risen to become one of the most sought after defensemen in this draft. The big Swede has the tools to play in the NHL, being a mobile player who can log minutes in basically any situation, and should be a great value pick-up somewhere around the middle of the first round. He has a calming presence on the ice and does a good job of playing mistake-free hockey, which is something that will allow him to play in the NHL sooner than later. Like Beaulieu, he may not have a ton of high-end potential, but has more than enough to justify being picked in this range.

20. LC JT Miller - USNTDP U18 (USHL)

DOB: Mar. 14/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 198lbs     
Midterm Rank: 30 | League Rank: 2nd USHL | Country Rank: 2nd USA
The skill set to be reliable 2 way forward has always been there as prior to this year, Miller has been at worst a strong skating centerman who plays hard on both sides of the puck. He always possessed the puck skills necessary to contribute offensively but lacked that consistency leading to questions about his hockey sense. Miller seems to have answered those as the year progressed culminating in an excellent showing at the U18’s. There are some rumblings that the North Dakota recruit will opt for Plymouth in the OHL.

21. RW Nicklas Jensen - Oshawa (OHL)

DOB: Mar. 16/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 186lbs    
Midterm Rank: 18 | League Rank: 8th OHL | Country Rank: 1st Denmark
Jensen is the first real “boom or bust” player in our rankings, and could be a draft changer when we look back on the 2011 draft in the future. If you haven’t seen any of his highlights, make sure to check some out because he’s scored some of the nicest goals in junior hockey this year. A big, lanky winger, Jensen has dynamic speed and puck handling ability to go coast to coast and make something out of nothing at any given point. As the season progressed, he found some much needed consistency in his game, but we’ll see how much of that translates to the NHL. If everything pans out, he could be a game breaker even at the NHL level, and if he can’t find consistency, he could be struggling to find a role in the league.

22. LD Jamiesen Oleksiak - Northeastern (NCAA)

DOB: Dec. 21/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.07 | Weight: 240lbs    
Midterm Rank: NR | League Rank: 1st NCAA | Country Rank: 12th Canada
After getting a few viewings of Oleksiak in the second half of the season, it became clear to us that all the talk about Oleksiak is justified. The thing that will jump out at you aside from likely being the biggest player on the ice in almost every game, is that he’s a pretty good skater for his size and moves well laterally as well. Oleksiak doesn’t really have the offensive tools to be an offensive guy at the next level, making his role more of a shut-down type guy.

23. LD Jonas Brodin - Farjestad (SEL)

DOB: Jul. 12/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 165lbs     
Midterm Rank: 43 | League Rank: 4th SEL | Country Rank: 5th Sweden
A fellow teammate of Oscar Klefbom, there isn’t a whole lot separating the two Swedes and you could likely make the case that the two Swedes actually have a lot in common. Brodin is probably a little bit of a better skater than Klefbom and also moves the puck pretty well, but lacks some of the physical tools that Klefbom has and doesn’t quite have the offensive upside. If he can improve his offensive skills, he could develop into a nice two-way defender, but as of now he projects as a low-risk puck moving defenseman who can provide a team with some stability on the back-end.

24. LW Stefan Noesen - Plymouth (OHL)

DOB: Feb. 12/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 195lbs      
Midterm Rank: 38 | League Rank: 9th OHL | Country Rank: 3rd USA
Noesen is one of those players that seemingly comes out of nowhere as he quickly became the key cog up front for Plymouth. For those who may have seen him last season, it was actually quite evident that the Plano, Tex. native had the tools to be a player, but just needed to wait for his opportunity. That came this season for Noesen as he quickly established himself as a go-to player with the Whalers. Noesen is a hard working, north-south type player who should be a sandpaper type guy in the NHL that can play on any line. He’s got a hard shot and does a pretty good job of making things happen in the offensive zone with quick moves. While not an overly nasty player, Noesen finishes checks and is not an easy player to play against. He probably won’t be a huge point scorer at the next level, but he can play on any line and will be a very valuable player to any team.

25. RD Robbie Russo - USNTDP U18 (USHL)

DOB: Feb. 15/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.11 | Weight: 193lbs      
Midterm Rank: 29 | League Rank: 3rd USHL | Country Rank: 4th USA
Russo dropped in some rankings during the course of the season. TSR remained high on him due to his intangibles in leadership and hockey sense. Russo always seems to have the puck on his stick whether he’s moving it out of his zone or anticipating the play defensively. His smooth skating and vision along with above average passing skills should translate well as he progresses.

Be sure to check out the rest of our Top 100: (1-25) (26-50) (51-75) (76-100)

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