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Prospect Profiles

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
As the 2011 NHL Entry Draft draws closer, the lack of consensus on just who the top ten draft picks may be has made it incredibly difficult to get a read on which players teams may have their eye on.

No matter where in the draft a team picks, there is no way to know just which players will be available. For example, Saint John Sea Dog's blueliner Nathan Beaulieu has drastically improved his chances of going in the top five - perhaps the top three - after an exceptional regular season and a postseason that saw his team win the Memorial Cup. At the start of the season, some scouts projected him to be mid-range first round pick at best.

At the moment Red Deer Rebels pivot Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is projected to go first overall but Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini, whose club has their second straight first-overall pick, says the team isn't locked in on a certain player as they were in 2010.

"This year it's different because I think there's more people in play," Tambellini told "You can talk to 30 teams and they may give you different answers in how they rank 1-5 in this year's draft, and they're all really good players. There's a lot of good depth, especially at the top. That's what's different about this draft."

With such the draft being so wide open, fans may be wondering how to even hazard a guess as what player their team will pick. One way to get a quick read on players is through NHL Central Scouting, which has broken down the top North American and European skaters and goalies. has taken their list and laid out what each player brings to the table.

The Flames pick 13th overall in the first round and given the breadth of talent among these players, any one of them could be a blue chip prospect for the organization. General Manager Jay Feaster has not given any clear indication if there is a specific position the club is looking to draft.

Have an opinion on who the Flames should pick in the first round? Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #FlamesDraft and see what others have to say.
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