2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
Posted On Friday, 06.24.2011 / 9:26 PM

By Compiled By -  NHL.com Staff /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

CHL again dominates top of draft

For the second year in a row, there's a run on Canadian Hockey League players at the top of the NHL Entry Draft.

Ten of the first 13 players taken in the first round Friday night play in one of the CHL's three leagues. That includes center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 pick from Red Deer of the Western Hockey League, the fifth consecutive CHL player taken with the first selection in the draft.

The three non-CHL players taken in the first 12 all played in Sweden this past season: Defenseman Adam Larsson (No. 4 to New Jersey), forward Mika Zibanejad (No. 6 to Ottawa) and defenseman Jonas Brodin (No. 10 to Minnesota).

Not all of the CHL players taken were Canadian.

Gabriel Landeskog, taken No. 2 by Colorado, is Swedish but plays for Kitchener in the Ontario Hockey League, and Sven Baertschi, taken 13th by Calgary, is a Swiss player who plays for Portland in the WHL. Sean Couturier, taken by Philadelphia with the eighth pick, was born in Phoenix but played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.

Jamie Oleksiak, a defenseman who plays at Northeastern University, was the first non-CHL North American player taken when he went to the Dallas Stars at No. 14. J.T. Miller, a left wing with the U.S. National Team Development Program, went No. 15 to the New York Rangers.

Last year, the first eight players taken in the draft all played in the CHL -- Mikael Granlund, who played in Finland, was the first non-CHL player taken when he went No. 9 to Minnesota.
Posted On Friday, 06.24.2011 / 9:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Emotional tribute to Boogaard at Draft

The night started with an emotional tribute to Scouting Director EJ McGuire and now it is Derek Boogaard's turn to be remembered.

The New York Rangers, selecting at 15, honored Boogaard, a former Wild player, during their pre-pick speech and then allowed Boogaard's older brother, Aaron, to make the pick. But, before Aaron could announce the pick, he was drowned out by a standing ovation from the crowd, team officails on the draft floor and media in the risers.

There were very few dry eyes in The Xcel Energy Center in what proved to be a touching tribute.

Then, it was down to business and Aaron Boogaard announced the Rangers had selected J.T. Miller, a center from the US National team. He is the highest drafted Pittsburgh native, stripping that honor from RJ Umberger.

Posted On Friday, 06.24.2011 / 11:30 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

USA Hockey ADM clinic huge hit with youngsters

As part of this year's NHL Entry Draft extravaganza in St. Paul, Minn., USA Hockey offered many of the area's children a chance to participate in an American Development Model clinic with a few NHL players and seven of the top draft-eligible prospects at St. Thomas Ice Arena on Thursday.

Top prospects Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer, Gabriel Landeskog of Kitchener, Jonathan Huberdeau of Saint John, Dougie Hamilton of Niagara, Adam Larsson of Skelleftea, Sean Couturier of Drummondville and Seth Ambroz of Omaha offered their assistance to about 50 children aged 6-8.

Several representatives from the Minnesota Wild, including players Cal Clutterbuck and Brad Staubitz, and Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke were also on hand.

With USA Hockey's Red, White and Blue initiative, coaches can promote creativity among players, increase player involvement and create a positive environment to learn and play.
Brian Burke, Toronto Maple Leafs GM

"The ADM is going to revolutionize how we develop hockey players in America," Burke told NHL.com. "I think people feel this system is geared toward developing players for us and that's not the case. The elite athletes will find their way to us and we'll find them. We want the program to develop hockey players for life. We want people to become proficient at the game, have fun at the game and play it for life.

"Those are the people who'll put their sons and daughters in hockey, watch it on TV," Burke continued. "We're trying to make the sport bigger and better."

The ADM includes shrinking the ice surface during practices during which players split up and rotate throughout six different stations to hone a specific set of skills -- forward/backward transition, partner pass with movement, acceleration puck toss, tight space and agility skate. It enables everyone to be involved and the more participating there is, the more likely those children will develop a passion for the game. Focusing on smaller areas allow kids more time with the puck and less time worrying about the technical aspects of the game such as positioning, staying in lanes or skating offsides.

Mike Snee, the executive director at Minnesota Hockey, undoubtedly takes great pride in the type of players the state has produced via the ADM model.

"Minnesota prides itself as being the state of hockey; we have more kids playing hockey than any other kids in the country," Snee told NHL.com. "We've had a lot of success with some of our higher end players being drafted in all rounds. It's inspiring for our young players to see neighbors and kids that went through the same association as them of being drafted in the NHL."

There were 18 Minnesotans, including first-round picks Derek Forbort of Duluth, Nick Bjugstad of Blaine and Brock Nelson of Warroad, who were selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. There are 18 Minnesota natives rated by NHL Central Scouting for this year's draft.

"We think USA Hockey based a little bit, or a lot, of the ADM off what Minnesota has been doing for a long time," Snee said. "A number of our 160 associations have been implementing some sort of ADM program into their development models. The motion of having many kids on the ice at once and keeping them moving and having a multiple station practice that is not only fun, but better for development, has kind of been a part of Minnesota hockey and part of our community-based associations for quite a while. To see it being promoted nationwide as the official development model in the county is pretty special."

The top-rated Minnesotan at this year's draft is Ambroz, who just completed his third season with the Lancers in the United States Hockey League. According to NHL Central Scouting, Ambroz is rated No. 31 among North American skaters.

"Doing this ADM clinic is a lot of fun; anytime you get to help out kids, it's special," he said.

Landeskog and Larsson, who both trained in Sweden during the early stages of their career, saw many similarities between the ADM model and the instruction back home.

"I think there's a lot of skill development in Sweden, and they work on that a lot with the ADM clinic," Landeskog said. "Obviously, skating is a big part of the game and you need to be good at that. I think what USA Hockey is doing, is great. They mix in a lot of fun games and some fun drills so it makes it a lot easier to play.

"The (ADM) is a great program and it has a very bright future if they keep going like this; having the kids involved and NHL players and prospects out there helping out. It's nice to see the smiles on the kids' faces."

Said Larsson: "It was pretty much the same like we did back in Sweden, the same stuff on ice and off ice. It's good to start practicing at a young age; it's what you need to do to be a better hockey player."

Burke also had one final message to those parents of children wanting to give the sport a shot.

"They should have as much fun as their kids have and a lot of them don't," he told NHL.com. "Parents have to intercede if you see a crazy parent yelling at his kid, yelling at the referee. You have a duty to intervene and say 'OK enough, that's not how we do it here.'

"I coached my son, Patrick, in hockey and we had great experiences with the parents. We talked about it the first day of practice. I'd kick the kids out of practice and have the parents sit down and I'd tell them this is how we're going to it - no one is ever going to yell at their son, no one is ever going to yell at an official. We're going to have fun and we did it."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
Posted On Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 2:22 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Clinic over, off to lunch

The gear is stored, but the smiles still are big for the prospects and the kids they worked with at the St. Thomas Ice Center. The 50 kids, ages 6-9, had as much fun as the prospects.

"The best part of today was just stepping on the ice with kids," said Dougie Hamilton.

"I was having lots of fun with the kids, added Gabriel Landeskog, who even did Superman dives with the kids. "I've been in their shoes."

Landeskog said that when he was 5 years old or so he was a one-night mascot for his hometown hockey team in Stockholm, skating around the ice with a flag. "I remember touching the goalie and not wanting to wash my hand."

Next stop is the Walker Art Center for lunch and one more media event.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 1:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Quite a coup for Reebok-CCM

Reebok-CCM pulled in quite a draft haul, announcing sponsorship agreements with five top prospects.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier and Gabriel Landeskog will use CCM gear, while Jonathon Huberdeau and Adam Larsson will be using Reebok.

"Every single one of these athletes are both promising players as well as outstanding people and will be fantastic additions to the Reebok-CCM Hockey family," said glen Thornborough, Vice President, Sports Marketing, Reebok-CCM Hockey. "We believe these five prospects will develop into stars."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Thursday, 06.23.2011 / 12:18 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Prospects on the ice

The top prospects are on the ice with kids at the St. Thomas Ice Arena for a USA Hockey ADM clinic.

Along with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau, Adam Larsson, Dougie Hamilton, Sean Couturier and Seth Ambroz are Brad Staubitz and Cal Clutterbuck from the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke.

From the early looks, it's hard to tell who's having more fun -- the kids or the pros.

We'll have more, including photos, after the clinic.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 8:46 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Prospects on TV and radio

The last stop on the top prospects tour of the Twin Cities was KSTP, the Twin Cities' ABC affiliate, for a round of TV interviews.

Seth Ambroz, a native of New Prague, is the home-state favorite, so he was the first prospect to take his turn in front of the camera.

"Just basic questions about being from Minnesota and having the draft here," he said of the level of questioning.

Adam Larsson said he was asked to compare playing hockey in Sweden to playing hockey in North America, while Gabriel Landeskog his feelings heading into the first round of the Draft on Friday.

Next was a trip to the other end of the building for a spot on ESPN Radio 1500's Phunn House show with Joe Anderson and Minneapolis Star-Tribune NHL writer Mike Russo.

Each prospect got his turn at the microphone, and then it was back to the hotels for some personal time. The players will be back together in the morning for an American Development Model clinic at the St. Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota, Minn. NHL.com will be there the whole way, so check back often.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 5:16 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Visiting Sea Life

The Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America is the world's largest of its kind, and it was an interesting experience.

There was an array of hands-on spots where the prospects handled starfish and hermit crabs. Then it was inside with blacklighting for spectacular glowing jellyfish.

After that it was into the walk-through aquarium, where you were surrounded by water and sea life on all sides.

The sharks were clearly the favorites.

"Seeing all the sharks and getting close to them was pretty cool," Jonathan Huberdeau said.

"The sharks were awesome," added Adam Larsson. "I had never seen one before."

After a quick visit to the LEGO Promenade, it's time for a quick bite to eat at Soul Daddy, the restaurant owned by Jamawn Woods, winner of NBC's "America's Next Great Restaurant."

Back with more in a bit.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 4:49 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Surviving the log flume

You wouldn't think taking six of the top propsects for the 2011 Entry Draft to a Nickelodeon amusement park would be fun, but according to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Dougie Hamilton, Adam Larsson, Jonathon Huberdeau and Seth Ambroz, they had a blast.

"It was the first time I've on a roller coaster since I was 10," Hamilton said.

They finished on the Log Chute log flume.

It looked like the guys had a good time, but Landeskog and Nugent-Hopkins got a bit soaked.

"That's what I get for riding shotgun," said a dripping Landeskog. "Glad I brought another suit."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.22.2011 / 4:13 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Entry Draft blog

Huberdeau the smartest prospect

Jonathan Huberdeau is renowned for his skill on the ice, but here at the Nickelodeon Amusement Park at the Mall of America, he showed his brains.

After going on the SpongeBob Plunge and the Brain Surge roller coaster, Huberdeau wisely sat out the Last Airbender ride. As the ride curved up and down, the riders were spun at high speeds.

"That was the roughest one," said a slightly pale Gabriel Landeskog.

Huberdeau said after the first two coasters, he'd had enough.

"They were good but I'm afraid of heights," Huberdeau said. "But it was great to hang out with the guys."
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