Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
Posted On Monday, 05.16.2011 / 12:14 PM

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

Huberdeau: 'Q' playoff MVP; Memorial Cup set

Saint John Sea Dogs center Jonathan Huberdeau continued his superb play in the Quebec Major Junior League Playoffs on Sunday when he struck for a goal and one assist to lead his team to its first President's Cup with a 3-2 double overtime decision over the Gateneau Olmpiques in Game 6 of the best-of-7 series at Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau.

The victory sends the Sea Dogs, a 4-2 series winner over Gatineau, into the MasterCard Memorial Cup in Mississauga, Ont., from May 20-29. Saint John will open the tournament against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors on May 20 at 7 p.m. ET. The Sea Dogs, who are in their sixth year of existence, will look to become the ninth QMJHL team to win the championship.

The Kootenay Ice, who scored a five-game series victory over the Portland Winterhawks in its league championship series, also qualified for the Memorial Cup and will play OHL champion Owen Sound Attack on May 21 at 7 p.m. ET.

Kootenay goalie Nathan Lieuwen, who was named series MVP, stopped 26 shots in a 4-1 Game 5 triumph on Friday for his 16th win of the playoffs. Lieuwen, born August '91, is in his third season with Kootenay and is eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft.

Owen Sound, meanwhile, scored a 3-2 OT victory over Mississauga in Game 7 of the Robertson Cup Final on Sunday before a sold out Hershey Centre crowd of 5,517. Owen Sound's Robby Mignardi earned the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as Playoff MVP with 15 goals and 9 assists for 24 points in 22 postseason games. Mignardi, born June 1990, is in his third and final year of eligibility for the Entry Draft.

Huberdeau, rated No. 3 by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft, sent Game 6 to overtime by scoring with just 23 seconds left on the clock. In the second OT, Alexandre Beauregard scored the decisive goal for the Sea Dogs, who have all 10 of their road games in the playoffs this season.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 05.13.2011 / 5:04 PM

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

Does the other Granlund have the goods?

After witnessing Mikael Granlund's perfectly executed lacrosse-style goal for Finland in its victory against Russia in the semifinal round of the IIHF World Championship on Friday, the big question is whether his younger brother could execute the same type of play.

NHL scouts and general managers probably are pondering that very question right now. After all, 5-foot-10, 169-pound Markus Granlund, who turns 18 on Monday, not only is Mikael's brother, but is No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's list of European skaters eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft.

The younger Granlund was captain for Finland at the World Under-18 Championship in Germany. He finished second on the team with 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) as the team finished fifth.

Granlund is regarded as a fantastic skater with outstanding play-making ability. Though not as strong as his Mikael, taken by the Minnesota Wild with the ninth pick of the 2010 Draft, Markus Granlund is a consistent point producer in most games. In six games on loan with the Suomi Under-20 team in the Finnish second division, he had 3 goals and 6 points. He had 11 goals and 21 assists in 15 international games for Finland this season.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Friday, 05.13.2011 / 1:42 PM

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

NHL.com releases fourth mock draft of the season

Now that the NHL conference finals are set and those top 102 draft-eligible players from North America and Europe confirmed for the NHL Scouting Combine later this month, it's time to take one more crack at predicting the opening round of the NHL Entry Draft at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Needless to say, all 30 NHL teams have been hard at work since NHL Central Scouting's final release of the top players back in April. They're making their own lists and preparing accordingly with the hope of finding that diamond in the rough.

How will the teams decide to use those valuable picks? No one knows for sure, but NHL.com is willing to take a guess.

NHL.com's three Draft experts -- Mike Morreale, Adam Kimelman and Steven Hoffner -- have once again taken their crystal balls out of storage to predict how the first round might turn out.

The draft order for this exercise is not what the final draft order will look like. The first 14 slots were set by the NHL Draft Lottery, which was held April 12. The next 12 spots set by teams eliminated in the first two rounds of the playoffs -- non-division winners in reverse order of points, followed by division winners the same way. The final four teams will be set following the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, but for now we're listing them in inverse order of points.

All three of our prognosticators are in agreement that the Edmonton Oilers will select Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Central Scouting's No. 1-ranked North American skater -- with the top pick. The 6-foot, 164-pound center led the Western Hockey League with 75 assists and was tied for third with 106 points.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

"I think any time you're selecting at the top of the draft, especially No. 1, these players are there for a reason," Edmonton General Manager Steve Tambellini said. "They have the ability to emotionally handle something; they have the obvious skill so whether they develop into that player, you don't know. But these top players have the ability to, one day, be franchise players."

After the top pick, things start to go in different directions. How do they think the rest of the first round will play out? Well, you'll have to check out all three drafts for yourself.

You can check back in a little more than two months to see how smart our experts really are.

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 05.12.2011 / 9:53 AM

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

Sea Dogs win marathon OT game; Phillips hurting

Saint John Sea Dogs rookie center Ryan Tesink tries to model his game after Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. What promising young hockey player wouldn't?

But it's one thing to emulate the style of a player and another to showcase some on-ice dramatics reminiscent of that player as well, particularly when the game is on the line. The young Tesink, who is eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., on June 24-25, did just that on Wednesday when he ended the longest game in the history of the President's Cup Finals.

Tesink's goal at 19:16 of the second overtime gave the Sea Dogs a 4-3 victory over the Gatineau Olmpiques in Game 4 of their best-of-7 series in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship round. The Sea Dogs, which now lead the series, 3-1, have a chance to win their first-ever QMJHL championship on home ice in Game 5 on Friday in a sold-out Harbour Station.
Zack Phillips Saint John Sea Dogs QMJHL

Tesink is one of nine players from the Sea Dogs rated among the top 210 North American skaters eligible for the upcoming draft by NHL Central Scouting. Tesink was regarded as the sixth-best Saint John player, ranked 47th overall, in April. Jonathan Huberdeau, No. 3 on Central Scouting's list, along with No. 5 Nathan Beaulieu and No. 15 Zack Phillips also hit for the Sea Dogs on Wednesday.

Phillips, who has nine goals in the playoffs, did suffer an upper-body injury and didn't play in the third period and overtimes. Coach Gerard Gallant admitted after the game that his injury isn't thought to be serious.

Saint John has yet to lose three straight games all season and lost back-to-back contests only once all year. A year ago, Saint John lost the QMJHL final in six games to the Moncton Wildcats. Gatineau's last appearance in the final, and last championship, was in 2008.

Stanislav Galiev, chosen by the Washington Capitals in the third round (No. 86 overall) last year, set up all four goals, and goalie Jacob DeSerres made 35 saves for the win.

The longest President's Cup Final prior to Wednesday's game was 28:31 into overtime, when Pat LaFontaine gave Verdun a 5-4 win over Longueuil on April 22, 1983. The lone assist on that goal came from current Sea Dogs coach, Gallant.

Tesink began the game-winning sequence when he hit Gatineau's Nicolas Deslauriers, forcing a turnover, which Galiev collected as Tesink drove to the net. Tesink alertly took a whack at the puck following a pass from Galiev and the puck fluttered over goalie Maxime Clermont's left shoulder for the clincher.

"That's the most tired I've ever been and I did not want to go into a third overtime, so we said we had to finish it and we got lucky," said Tesink, who beat Clermont on the Sea Dogs' 64th shot of the game. "It's a great feeling, but it's not over yet, though. [Gatineau] doesn't quit."

Huberdeau, who has a league-leading 15 goals in the playoffs, has performed on a line with Phillips and Galiev most of the postseason.

Beaulieu squared the contest with a power-play goal off a rebound in the third period. Saint John outshot Gatineau, 13-6, in the third but couldn't find another goal as the game required extra time.

In the first overtime, Saint John was called for two early penalties, giving Gatineau a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:24. Sea Dogs coach Gerard Gallant called a timeout and sent out Huberdeau, Beaulieu and Simon Despres to start the penalty kill. With help from Kevin Gagne, Eric Gelinas, Mike Thomas, Stephen MacAulay and Danick Gauthier, the Sea Dogs escaped unscathed.

"Everybody's tired. They're a tired hockey team over there and we're tired and beat up," Gallant said. "It's going to be a battle Friday night. I don't see it being any different than tonight. It was just a battle of two good teams playing hard hockey."
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Tuesday, 04.26.2011 / 4:54 PM

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

Niagara defenseman Hamilton named OHL Scholastic Player of Year

Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton, NHL Central Scouting's No. 4-rated North American skater eligible for the 2011 Entry Draft in June, has been named the Ontartio Hockey League's Scholastic Player of the Year.

Hamilton, the first defenseman identified on Central Scouting's final report, had an exceptional season in Niagara with 12 goals, 58 points, a plus-35 rating and 77 penalty minutes. He currently leads the IceDogs in assists (12) and points (15) in 13 playoff games. Hamilton is also sporting an impressive plus-8 rating in the postseason.

"I've watched Dougie in the playoffs and he was dominant," OHL scout Chris Edwards said. "He was pinning guys down and his puck movement was great. I hadn't seen the physical side of his game before, not much of it anyway this year, but he was strong all game. He set up the first goal of game on a nice cross-ice to (Ryan) Strome. He moves the puck well, is a great decision-maker and he's a top two defensemen right now … probably will be in the NHL too."

Hamilton is preceded in the rankings by No. 1 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Red Deer in the Western Hockey League, No. 2 Gabriel Landeskog of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers and No. 3 Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL). Rounding out the top 10 are No. 5 Nathan Beaulieu of Saint John, No. 6 Sean Couturier of Drummondville (QMJHL), No. 7 Sven Baertschi of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL), No. 8 Ryan Strome of Niagara, No. 9 Ryan Murphy of Kitchener and No. 10 Duncan Siemens of the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:57 PM

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

U.S. beats Canada in semis of U18 WC

The rivalry between the United States and Canada was renewed on Saturday in the Men's Under-18 World Championship at Crimmitschau Arena in Germany.

Boy, was it ever!

In the first meeting between the North American combatants on an international stage since Canada rubbed out the Americans in the semifinal round of the World Junior Championship in Buffalo four months ago, the U.S. made amends in dramatic fashion.

After watching a seemingly insurmountable three-goal lead disintegrate right before their eyes over the final 11 minutes of the third period, the U.S. received the inspirational boost they so desperately needed from one of their team leaders.

After U.S. goalie John Gibson stopped Canada's Ryan Murray at one end, U.S. National Team Development
Tyler Biggs Team USA NTDP
Program captain Tyler Biggs connected 4:22 into overtime at the other to give the Americans a 5-4 victory. Biggs, who dropped 17 rungs to No. 22 on NHL Central Scouting's final listing of North American skaters, might have just boosted his stock, too. Learn more about Biggs right here.

Team USA will look to capture its third straight gold medal after garnering back-to-back world titles in 2009 and 2010.

"We are fortunate to have held on for the win against such a good Canadian team," said U.S. coach Ron Rolston. "The puck bounced our way in overtime and now we have to prepare for a talented Sweden team."

After spotting Canada a 1-0 lead 4:37 into the first on the first of two goals by Brett Ritchie, the U.S. stormed back with four unanswered goals. J.T. Miller evened the score at 11:14 before assisting on Reid Boucher's first of two tallies 16:10 into the second. The U.S. then received goals by unheralded Zach Larraza at 6:43 and Boucher 33 seconds later in the third to open a 4-1 advantage. Boucher was named Player of the Game.

Despite the deficit, the Canadians didn't quit. Ritchie connected at the 9:15 mark and 2012 draft-eligible defenseman Ryan Murray then scored a power-play goal with Canadian goal Malcolm Subban pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage. Canada would then square the contest, 4-4, with 51 seconds showing and their goalie still pulled when Mark Scheifele converted feeds from Murray and Nick Cousins.  

For the second straight year, the Americans will face Sweden, a 3-1 victor over Russia in the other semifinal, in Sunday's gold-medal match at Crimmitschau Arena at 12:30 p.m. ET. Canada will face Russia in the bronze medal contest at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Sweden earned its one-way ticket to the gold-medal contest behind some fine display of goaltending by Niklas Lundstrom, the No. 8-rated European keeper according to Central Scouting. Lundstrom finished the contest with 28 saves, including 11 in the second period.

Russia's Sergei Smurov opened the scoring 3:07 into the game and that lead stood up, due in large part to the goaltending of Andrei Vasilevski (44 saves). Jeremy Boyce Rotevall squared the contest 11:02 into the second before Gustav Bjorklund connected for a pair of third-period goals, including the clincher 5:23 into the period. He'd hit an empty net with just 25 seconds left in the game. In five tournament games, Bjorklund has produced 4 goals, 6 points and a plus-8 rating for the Swedes.

U.S. forward Rocco Grimaldi continues to climb the leaderboard in all-time points at the IIHF World Men's U18 Championship for Team USA, with 17 points (4-13) in 11 games to rank third. He also played for the gold medal-winning 2010 U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team at last year's tournament in Belarus.

The Americans have captured a record seven consecutive medals at the U18 Championship, including back-to-back gold medals in 2005-06 and 2009-10, two silver medals (2004, 2007) and one bronze (2008). Team USA also captured the gold medal in 2002.

Here's a quick snapshot of each of the teams competing in the medal round on Sunday and those draft-eligible players to watch.

UNITED STATES: The top four players from the U.S. National Team Development Program who are listed on NHL Central Scouting's list of the best North American skaters are each making their presence felt in Germany. Biggs has notched 2 goals, 3 points and 45 penalty minutes. Biggs is No. 22 on Central Scouting's list. J.T. Miller, rated No. 23, has 4 goals, 11 points and a plus-6 rating. Miller has recorded points in every game and owns four multi-point efforts. Connor Murphy, rated 25th, has done a fine job along the blue line with a goal and a plus-7 rating; Grimaldi, No. 32, has 2 goals, 7 points and a plus-4 rating; Reid Boucher, No. 113, had produced 7 goals, 9 points, a plus-8 rating and team-leading 29 shots; and No. 70 Zac Larraza, has 1 goal, 5 points and plus-4 rating.

The top goalie eligible for the June Draft, USNTDP's John Gibson, has been solid between the pipes. Gibson, rated No. 1 among North American goalies, is a perfect 5-0-0 with a 2.25 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

Sweden's Mika Zibanejad

SWEDEN: Top draft eligible prospect Mika Zibanejad (Djurgarden), who NHL Central Scouting has rated No. 2 among European skaters, has 4 goals, 8 points and a plus-9 rating for the Swedes. Additionally, another 2011 prospect along the forward line having a marvelous showing is 6-foot-1 1/2, 194-pound Victor Rask (Leksand), ranked 12th, has 2 goals and 5 points in five games. Defenseman Jonas Brodin (Farjestad), rated third, has one assist and a plus-4 rating.

RUSSIA: Nikita Kucherov (CSKA 2), rated No. 17 among Euro prospects but considered the best Russian winger available in the 2011 Draft, has led his country with 9 goals, 18 points and a plus-9 rating in 6 games in the tournament. The other Nikita on the U18 roster, Nikita Nesterov (Chelyabinsk 2), ranked 32nd on the Euro list, has also had a good tournament with 2 goals, 4 points, plus-9 rating and a whopping 27 penalty minutes.

CANADA: The Canadians have received a nice contribution from Mark Scheifele, who is the No. 16-rated North American on Central Scouting's chart. Scheifele, who plays for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League, has 6 goals, 7 points and a plus-2 rating. Additionally, defenseman Ryan Murphy of the Kitchener Rangers has 3 goals, 9 points and a plus-2 rating while generating 39 shots on net. Murphy, whose draft value has skyrocketed in the second half of the season, is rated ninth. Mark McNeill of Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League has chipped in with 6 assists -- he's rated 14th on Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters.  

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 6:11 PM

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

Victor Hedman has advice for Adam Larsson

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman not only completed his second NHL season this year but is now enjoying the frenetic pace that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In two seasons playing for MODO Ornskoldsvik in the Swedish Elite League prior to joining the Lightning in 2009-10, Hedman racked up 9 goals, 25 points, 96 penalty minutes and a plus-22 rating in 82 games.

As a rookie, he had 4 goals, 20 points and a minus-3 rating in 74 games. This year, he produced 3 goals, 26 points and a plus-3 rating in 79 regular-season contests. He led all Tampa defensemen with 23 assists, was second in points and fourth in plus-minus rating this season. Hedman has also averaged 91 blocked shots in two seasons.

It's been a tough grind, but Hedman admits he continues to learn on the fly and is more comfortable now than when he first broke into the League.

Hedman was asked to offer some advice for fellow countryman and highly-regarded 2011 draft prospect Adam Larsson what he might be up against following the Entry Draft in June. Hedman was the second overall choice by the Lightning in the 2009 Entry Draft. Larsson is expected to go in a similar spot, if not earlier this June 24 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

"Obviously, I wanted to come over (to North America) as soon as possible," Hedman told NHL.com. "As soon as I got drafted I wanted to come over and learn the game fast and that's the big key. I think, coming over from Europe and learning how to play on the smaller rinks and getting used to playing a lot of games and try to be on a high level was important."

It appears as though Larsson, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated European player, will likely return to Sweden to play for Skelleftea in the Elitserien next season.

"I don't know him personally, don't know him as a guy, but he seems very calm and poised out there so I don't think it'll be a big problem for him playing hockey in North America," Hedman said. "He's very good with the puck too, can play at both ends of the ice. He has to listen to what the experienced guys have to say to him and get in as much as possible, but still not change his game and learn."

Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 8:11 AM

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

Where are they now?

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs in full swing, let's not forget those up-and-coming performers in the Canadian Hockey League and overseas who are looking to make an impression in the junior hockey ranks.

Several players atop the NHL Central Scouting's final release of North American and European skaters are either still in the mix or done for the season. Among those players with nothing else to look forward to than the NHL Entry Draft in June are Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kitchener's Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Murphy and Sweden's Adam Larsson of Skilleftea. Those still preoccupied with postseason play are Niagara's Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton and Saint John's Jonathan Huberdeau, Nathan Bealieu, Zach Phillips and Tomas Jurco.

Here are some quick hits on the playoff performances of a few of top 2011 draft-eligible prospects across the globe. The number preceding each player is their ranking on the final list of either North American or European skaters.

Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Murphy's Kitchener Rangers were eliminated from the OHL playoffs in the first round by the Plymouth Whalers.  No. 9 Murphy finished as the team's scoring leader with 11 points, including 9 assists, in 7
Gabriel Landeskog at the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto
playoff games. No. 2 Landeskog finished tied for the team lead in goals (6) with Jerry D'Amigo (Maple Leafs) and was second to Murphy in points (10).  

Adam Larsson's Skelleftea lost the the Swedish Elite Championship after falling to Farjestad in five games. Larsson, who may have been dealing with a shoulder injury, had just 1 assist and a -3 rating in the series. He had only 4 assists with 12 penalty minutes in 17 postseason games.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins saw his season come to an end on Saturday when his Red Deer Rebels dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to the Medicine Hat Tigers in the second round of the WHL playoffs. The Rebels failed to hold a 4-1 third-period lead on the way to losing a five-game series. After putting up two points per games against the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round, No. 1 Nugent-Hopkins could only muster two assists against the Tigers, to go along with a minus-5 rating. He finished with 4 goals, 11 points and a minus-3 rating in 9 playoff games.

Would a poor playoff performance hurt Nugent-Hopkins' chances of hearing his named called first at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota on June 24? Don't forget, depite coming in at No. 34 on the final 2010 North American list, it was fantastic postseason effort by Kitchener's Jeff Skinner that elevated him in the eyes of the Carolina Hurricanes at last year's Entry Draft in Los Angeles.

After opening the series with two straight wins, Sean Couturier and the Drummondville Voltigeurs dropped the next four games to lose their series against Gatineau in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs. Couturier, rated No. 6, led his team with 6 goals, and finished tied for the team-lead with 11 points, in 10 playoff games.

Jonathan Huberdeau might just be the most dominant draft-eligible postseason player right now. No. 3 Huberdeau has 10 goals and 11 assists in nine games as the Saint John Sea Dogs are moving on to the third round of the QMJHL playoffs after defeating the Victoriaville Tigres 4-games-to-1. No. 15 Zack Phillips has 7 goals, 16 points; No. 20 Tomas Jurco has 4 goals, 12 points; and No. 5 Nathan Beaulieu, a defenseman, has 11 points and a plus-7 rating. Meanwhile, Victoriaville's Phillip Danault, rated 27th, had a team-leading 15 points, including 5 goals, and a plus-4 rating in 9 playoffs games this spring.

Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton of the Niagara IceDogs are in the third round of the OHL playoffs after eliminating the Oshawa Generals in five games. The IceDogs will face the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in the Eastern Conference Finals -- the teams have combined for a 16-1 record in the playoffs so far. Strome, who jumped from No. 19 at mid-term to No. 8 on the final North American ratings, has 6 goals and 10 points in 9 postseason games. No. 4 Hamilton, a defenseman, has 3 goals, 14 points and a plus-10 rating in the same number of contests.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 2:01 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Road to St. Paul 2011 Entry Draft Blog

Ennis saw Nugent-Hopkins' talent early

Tyler Ennis a loyal Buffalo Sabre, but there's another team very close to his heart -- the Western Hockey League's Medicine Hat Tigers.

He spent four seasons with the Tigers, including 43 goals in his final two seasons there. He still wears a spandex Medicine Hat shirt under his Sabres jersey, and is following them now in the WHL playoffs. The Tigers beat the Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round, and took a 3-0 lead on the Red Deer Rebels in the second round before losing 1-0 on Wednesday.

Red Deer is the home team of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Central Scouting's top-rated North American forward for the 2011 Entry Draft. Ennis remembered playing against Nugent-Hopkins in the WHL. It was during the 2008-09 season, Ennis' final season, while Nugent-Hopkins was a 15-year-old call-up to Red Deer.

Ennis said it was obvious right away what kind of talent Nugent-Hopkins had. "Sick passes, sick plays with the puck," Ennis recalled for NHL.com.

Ennis, an Edmonton native, had some advice for his hometown NHL team, which holds the first pick in June's Draft.

"He'd be my pick if I was making it," he said.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
Posted On Monday, 04.11.2011 / 11:30 AM

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

Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin advises top prospects

Boston Bruins rookie forward Tyler Seguin knows what it's like to play the waiting game following the release of NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible North American and European players.

Seguin experienced it just last year. He moved from No. 2 to No. 1 on the final list and was later selected second overall by the Bruins at the Entry Draft in Los Angeles.

Seguin was asked on Sunday that if he could sit down all the top prospects in one room to offer some advice, what would it be?

"I'd tell them to just relax, take it all in and have fun with it," he said. "That's all you can do. Obviously, you're going to get a little nervous before the Draft. I obviously was, but the overall experience comes and goes so quickly that you just need to take it all in and have fun with it. It's going to be a life-changing experience for all of them."

It's pretty hard to fathom that last year at this time, Seguin was playing for the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers in the playoffs. Now, he's with the Bruins, preparing for the rival Montreal Canadiens in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"There are so many positives I've taken from this season," Seguin said. "I have grown as a player and matured as a person. I came in here and found new best friends and it's been a whirlwind and a great experience. I'm happy to get the playoffs going and to see how far we can go.

"As far as the NHL play … the physical grind, the speed, all that stuff is so much better," he added.

That being said, those draft eligible stars certainly have a lot to look forward to, and obviously prepare for.
Full Story ›|Email & Share Options ›|Comment › |Print ›
First | Prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7-10 | Next | Last