2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
Posted On Friday, 10.29.2010 / 3:36 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Drummondville's Sean Couturier -- Let the buildup begin

So if the NHL Entry Draft were held tomorrow, odds are Drummondville center Sean Couturier would be the No. 1 overall selection.

At least that's the gut feeling. It seems scouts like his tough two-way acumen and the confidence within. It certainly doesn't hurt being ranked sixth in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 25 points, including 11 goals, in 19 games.

At this point in the season, Couturier's agent, former NHLer Gilles Lupien, would prefer not to have his client speaking with reporters. So, I spoke to Lupien about his budding prospect, who led the QMJHL in scoring in 2009-10 with 96 points (41 goals) in 68 games.

Lupien compared Couturier to a young Darryl Sittler, the former Toronto Maple Leaf, Philadelphia Flyer and Detroit Red Wing inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.

"He's a bright kid, he gets 95's in school, he's a brainer and quiet guy and doesn't say much," Lupien said of Couturier. "He's the type of guy who sits in the room, like a Bob Gainey and doesn't say much but shows by example. He's like a Joe Thornton, that silent type, and Darryl Sittler. Sittler was like that. He's tall and appears slow-moving but then, all of a sudden, poof, he's out like a rocket like Sittler."

Lupien has limited Couturier's interview requests during the early stages of the season in order to minimize the pressure of his draft year.

"I just want him to concentrate on being the best player he can be right now," Lupien said.
Posted On Friday, 10.29.2010 / 2:47 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Draft Fodder Friday

If you haven't already checked out Adam Kimelman's report on the players to watch this season in the Western Hockey League, you can find that right here.

I recently had a great conversation with the head amateur scout for the Edmonton Oilers, Stu MacGregor. While the veteran talent-evaluator wasn't about to reveal any secrets, he did tell me that Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL is really opening some eyes. Strome has 8 goals, 24 points and a plus-3 rating in 14 games this season.

Strome, draft eligible next June, was a 'B List' player on the NHL's Central Scouting 'Futures List', but will undoubtedly be at or near the top by the time the preliminary rankings are released in mid-November. If you haven't yet seen Strome's highlight-reel goal against Plymouth, check it out here.

Gabriel Landeskog
MacGregor informed me how the most "interesting experience of his scouting career" took place last season when he was routinely reporting on Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. As we know, the decision would ultimately be Hall, but it was only after countless meetings and viewings.

In other news, Gabriel Landeskog, who is also high on 2011 draft lists, was named team captain for the Kitchener Rangers on Oct. 24. Landeskog was Kitchener's Rookie of the Year in 2009-10 after notching 24 goals and 46 points in 61 games. He was the youngest player -- at 16 years and 90 days -- to play for  Djurgarden in the Swedish Elite League during the 2008-09 campaign.

"I play a lot like Jarome Iginla and Mike Richards," Landeskog told NHL.com. "They're kind of my role models. I look a lot at how they play and I kind of try to be like them. They're good leaders and good role models for me."
Posted On Thursday, 10.28.2010 / 2:46 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

E.J. McGuire talks 2011 Entry Draft

How tough is it at this point in the season to pinpoint one prospect capable of living up to all the hype as the first overall choice in the 2011 Entry Draft in June?

So tough that even E.J. McGuire, the Director of NHL's Central Scouting, admits there is no consensus No. 1 -- for now.

"In mid-November, (Central Scouting) will put out their (preliminary rankings) once we've had a chance to comb the major junior leagues and, from that, we'll usually get our top 1-2-3 guys," McGuire told NHL Live! on Thursday. "There are some top guys from each of the three leagues this year and there's probably one Swedish guy (defenseman Adam Larsson) who'll also be top 5 next year."

While no one player has taken the lead as top gun, McGuire certainly didn't hold back when asked his opinion of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer in the Western Hockey League.

"Ryan is the type of player who goes through traffic -- he's not likeable in a china shop," McGuire said. "I had the pleasure to watch him at the Research, Development and Orientation Camp in Toronto in August and no one executed the long pass better than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He's a bring-the-fans-out-of-your-seat kind of player with all his offensive moves."

Nugent-Hopkins is more of a skilled forward as compared to those power types, according to McGuire. To get more insight into Nugent-Hopkins, check out his blog on NHL.com.

"Early in the season, Sean Couturier is that power-forward type playing with Drummondville in QMJHL," McGuire said. "He's a big, strapping center, tall and rangy, and he might go No. 1 overall."

Sean was born in Phoenix, Arizona, when his father Sylvain Couturier played for the IHL's Phoenix Roadrunners and moved to Bathurst after his dad's retirement. Couturier has drawn comparisons to a young Vincent Lecavalier, although he claims to model his game after Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin. Through 19 games this season, he's produced 11 goals and 25 points.

McGuire also touched on a few players generating a buzz throughout Central Scouting headquarters. Three of the five players he mentioned -- Adam Clendening of Boston University, Shane McColgan of Kelowna in the WHL and Seth Ambroz of the Omaha Lancers in the USHL -- have already been featured on NHL.com.

McGuire also recognized U.S. National Team Development Program member Connor Murphy, a defenseman who is currently sidelined with an ailing back, and David Musil of the Vancouver Giants in the WHL. Musil, also a defenseman, has 2 goals, 10 points and 24 penalty minutes in 16 games with Vancouver this season. He produced 7 goals, 32 points and 67 PIM in 71 contests last season.
Posted On Wednesday, 10.27.2010 / 11:45 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

World Junior 'A' Challenge set

In case you missed it, the rosters for the six-team 2010 World Junior 'A' Challenge in Penticton, B.C., slated Nov. 8-14 have been established. Several players on each roster will likely be selected in the 2011 Entry Draft, so check them out when you have the chance.

Group A
Team USA (gold medalist 2009, '08)
Canada East

Group B

Canada West (gold medalist 2006, '07)

Round-robin play runs through Nov. 10. The semifinal round takes place Nov. 13 and the gold-medal game, shown nationally on TSN and RDS, is scheduled Nov. 14 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Also, 2011 draft-eligible prospect Seth Ambroz of the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League has filed his initial blog on NHL.com. Check it out here.
Posted On Monday, 10.25.2010 / 10:00 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Prepping for St. Paul (Minn.)

No better time to fire up the 2011 Entry Draft blog than right after Central Scouting's initial 'Players to Watch' release for high schools, Canadian provincials and international skaters.

It's the first step in attempting to pinpoint the crème de la crème among draft eligible prospects for 2011. While it's certainly no easy process, it's something the NHL's Central Scouting Service takes great pride in. So with eight months to go before draft day, in St. Paul, Minn., it's time to get informed.

In case you missed it, here are the high school and Canadian provincial players to keep an eye on.

Here are the international players to watch. Of course, Adam Larsson, a defenseman from Sweden, is being touted as the next Victor Hedman (or better).

NHL.com has already featured several future stars, including a few players from the United States Hockey League in Scott Mayfield of Youngstown and Seth Ambroz of Omaha and two from the Western Hockey League in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer) and Shane McColgan (Kelowna). Adam Kimelman has written reports on goalie prospect Christopher Gibson of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Adam Clendening of Boston University.

In case you missed it, NHL.com's list of the top draft-eligible prospects from the USHL also hit the front page of the web site. Get it here!

Four players have also offered to provide NHL.com with a monthly blog that will chronicle their season, start to finish. You can check out a new blog each Wednesday every month leading up the Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center in June.

Scott Mayfield's blog

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' blog

Shane McColgan's blog

Seth Ambroz's blog

The Draft blog will be updated as often as possible with player updates and information as it becomes available, so check back often.
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