2011 NHL Entry Draft
2011 NHL Entry Draft Hats
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2011 NHL Entry Draft

Pittsburgh's influence will be felt at 2011 Entry Draft

Monday, 11.22.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Brandon Saad wasn't born when the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated the second of back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1992.

However, the residue of those championships and the players who made it all possible ultimately had a profound impact on Saad and a few other Pittsburgh area hockey players.

"There have been a bunch of stars in Pittsburgh, including Mario (Lemieux) and Sid (Crosby), and they all helped in really promoting the game in this area," Saad told NHL.com. "As I got older, more people from the area began paying more attention to the sport, and for guys like me, we just had a lot of fun with it."

Saad was like any other adolescent growing up in Gibsonia, Pa., playing baseball, soccer, football and, of course, hockey. He had a special gift for the latter, once starring for Pine Richland High School in the Penguins Cup championship at Mellon Arena. Now he's become one of the more intriguing prospects for the 2011 Entry Draft while playing for the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

Wide-open race for top spot at 2011 Entry Draft

Friday, 11.19.2010 / 2:00 PM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The 2011 Entry Draft might be seven months away, but after getting a look at NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rakings Tuesday, a few brave souls at NHL.com have decided to dust off the crystal ball and project the opening round at Xcel Energy Center, to be held June 24 in St. Paul, Minn.

While the ratings certainly will change by the time Central Scouting releases its mid-term report in January, who doesn't enjoy a good mock draft? So, let the debating begin.

Unlike last season, when it was a two-player race for No. 1 between Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall and Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin, there figures to be a three-way battle this season among Drummondville Voltigeurs center Sean Couturier, Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and defenseman Adam Larsson, who stars for Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Elite League.

Couturier, Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins and Biggs among the best 2011 NHL Entry Draft prospects

Tuesday, 11.16.2010 / 11:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The initial stage of projecting which draft-eligible prospects are considered to be future NHL stars was accomplished Tuesday when NHL Central Scouting released its preliminary rankings for the top levels of North American junior hockey.

"This is our first list in which we assign numbers to players and are forced to get off the fence and decide who is No. 1 and No. 2, No. 17 and No. 18," Director of Central Scouting E.J. McGuire told NHL.com. "There's a little bit of fun pressure involved, but the purpose of these lists hasn't changed. We're out to serve the 30 NHL teams. And as much as this process has evolved into a news event, we're not trying to make that much of a splash. We've also put the disclaimer out that our mid-term release (Jan. 10) and even this list, is subject to refinement."

Central Scouting ranked the top 25 skaters and top goaltenders for each of the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League and United States Hockey League, which includes the United States National Team Development Program.

Larsson, Armia, Shalunov lead European rankings

Tuesday, 11.16.2010 / 11:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The preliminary European list ranks prospects by country, and Larsson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound defenseman, tops the Swedish list. Many scouts believe Larsson, who turned 18 on Nov. 12, could be among the top three picks at the 2011 Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., on June 24.

"He's a complete package," NHL Director of European Scouting's Goran Stubb told NHL.com. "Now in his second season as a regular in one of the top senior leagues in Europe, he's going to play a big role."

Larsson is the third-youngest player ever to enter the Swedish Elite League -- at age 16 -- after Calle Johansson and Victor Hedman. In 49 games last season, he had 4 goals and 17 points with Skelleftea AIK, in addition to helping his country to a bronze medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship.

Hudon picked Choate for hockey and academics

Monday, 11.15.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

In his tenure as coach at one the most respected New England prep schools in the United States, Pat Dennehy of Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Conn., has had the opportunity to instruct his fair share of young and gifted athletes from Quebec.
With all due respect, not one of those players -- several of which went on to play collegiately at an NCAA Division I or III school -- fit the profile of Dennehy's most recent Canadian catch; Philippe Hudon, one of the top prospects for the 2011 Entry Draft.

"We've had some tremendous kids from that province but none had as high a profile as Philippe," Dennehy told NHL.com. "I know Phil and his family have gone through tremendous scrutiny to choose this path and I think they really relied on their beliefs as a family that, while hockey certainly is important, so is an education and mind."

Hockey has been Jacobs' passion from early on

Friday, 11.12.2010 / 9:52 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Colin Jacobs grew up in the heart of Dallas Cowboys country, but his dream wasn't to be the next Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith. Instead, Mike Modano and the Dallas Stars were his team, and at the rate Jacobs is going, he could see Modano in his NHL element in the not-too-distant future.
Jacobs, a native of Coppell, Texas, grew up about 20 minutes north of Irving, where Cowboys Stadium used to stand, and his home rink is in Valley Ranch, where the Cowboys' offices are.
Today, Jacobs' office is in Seattle, where the top 2011 Entry Draft prospect plays for the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. In his second WHL season, Jacobs, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound center, has 6 goals and 16 points in 17 games.

There's nothing soft about Landeskog's game

Monday, 11.08.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"My dad used to play, and he was a big, physical defenseman and he gave me advice. He said, 'It's not bad to play physical, and it's an asset to your game.' I started young and came along with it and have been using (that physical approach) to my advantage now."
-- Gabriel Landeskog

Gabriel Landeskog of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers isn't your typical swift-skating Swede. He comes with a lunch pail, packs plenty of power and knows the English language as well, if not better, than most Europeans playing professionally today.
"I studied English since third grade and my ambition was to always play in North America, so I guess I always paid extra attention in class and watched movies and listened to music in English," Landeskog told NHL.com.
Off the ice, the 6-foot, 207-pound left wing, a native of Stockholm, oozes confidence -- his blonde hair and stern grin provide a glimpse of what could be a very marketable asset, too.

Peterborough's Puempel could be class of OHL

Friday, 11.05.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The season-long game of one-upmanship between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin became the focal point of the Ontario Hockey League season in 2009-10, as Windsor Spitfires left wing and Plymouth Whalers center tied for the league scoring title and became the top two picks at the 2010 Entry Draft.

When Hall was picked first by the Edmonton Oilers, it marked the fourth straight year an OHL graduate was the first player picked in the NHL draft. Can someone from the league make it a five in a row? NHL.com examines who some of the top 2011 Draft-eligible players could be:

Austen Brassard -- A late-season trade sent him from the stacked Windsor Spitfires to the Belleville Bulls, where the 6-foot-2, 191-pound right wing earned top-line ice time.

MacGregor remembers what sold him on Hall

Tuesday, 11.02.2010 / 9:33 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

"That was certainly one of the most interesting experiences how it boiled down to those two particular players and how deep (Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini) asked us to dig down and find out about these young men. As an organization, we wanted to set a path in a new direction for our team, so it was important for us to make what we felt was the right decision." -- Stu MacGregor on choosing between Hall and Seguin

That collective sigh of relief following Taylor Hall's first NHL goal Oct. 28 wasn't only emanating from the Edmonton Oilers' front office.
Stu MacGregor, who has run Edmonton's draft table as the team's head amateur scout the last three seasons, also was breathing much easier. Particularly after putting in so many trips, conducting countless interviews and working sleepless nights deciding who ultimately would be the top pick in the 2010 Entry Draft.
MacGregor, the married father of an 18-year-old son, dedicates an average of 21 days on the road each month to scouting and creating reports on the top draft-eligible prospects each season. Based out of his home in Kamloops, B.C., he covers junior and college teams in western Canada and the United States and also travels to several international events each season.
It certainly isn't easy work.

Couturier headlines talented draft class in QMJHL

Monday, 11.01.2010 / 9:00 AM / 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The last time the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League produced as many as four first-round Entry Draft picks was 2007, when forwards Jakub Voracek, Logan MacMillan, Angelo Esposito and David Perron were taken among the top 26 selections.

There's a good chance that mark will be equaled, if not surpassed, on June 24, when the opening round of the 2011 Entry Draft is held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Heck, don't be surprised if as many as four players are selected from the same team -- the Saint John Sea Dogs. There's also center Sean Couturier of the Drummondville Voltigeurs. He's collected 50 goals and 127 points in 126 games over two seasons and is considered the can't-miss prospect from the QMJHL.

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