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The Official Site of the Edmonton Oilers experts mock the opening round

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers
The 2011 NHL Scouting Combine has wrapped up, the Stanley Cup Final is heading to Game 7 Wednesday night in Vancouver, and preparation for next week’s NHL Entry Draft continues across North America.

While it would seem that the 2010-11 schedule is quickly winding down for another season, the early-summer event plan is in full swing for many. All 30 NHL clubs are preparing to meet one last time to crunch data and review interviews, setting the stage for an action-packed few days at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Vital prospect information has been obtained throughout the season, but last-minute decisions and podium surprises are sure to iron a wrinkle into the cut-and-dry rankings posted by Central Scouting and other independent agencies.

With bombshells on the way, has assembled a team of experts to help dissect the likely events of Friday’s opening round: Website Content Coordinator Ryan Dittrick (yours truly), Reporter/Host Tom Gazzola, and Director of Website & New Media Marc Ciampa have boldly predicted the Top-30 picks.

The selection order for next week’s event will be settled once the Stanley Cup Final concludes tomorrow evening. Picks 1-14 were established back on April 12 at the NHL Draft Lottery in Toronto, while selections 15-28 have been set based on post-season elimination. For now, positions 29 and 30 have been assigned to Boston and Vancouver respectively based on points gained during the 82-game regular season.

Dittrick and Gazzola both agree that Red Deer Rebels centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be Edmonton’s choice with the No. 1 overall pick, but Ciampa insists the Oilers will take a defenceman, nabbing Swedish sensation Adam Larsson with the top selection.

Nugent-Hopkins concluded the 2010-11 season having scored 31 goals and 106 points in only 69 games for the WHL’s Rebels. In doing so, he also improved on his -4 rating from a season prior, amassing an impressive +29 mark this year.

Larsson played his second full season in Sweden’s Elitserien, producing one goal and nine points, along with a +12 rating in 37 games for Skelleftea. He also represented Sweden at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championship, scoring one goal and adding three assists to lead his club in production on the blueline.

Beyond No. 1, all three forecasters have predicted an assortment of forwards and defenceman in the Top-10, in addition to an even greater discrepancy as the round progresses. Which expert has it down?

The future of 30 NHL teams is at stake with each selection; so, too, are bragging rights for the web team. Let us know what you think, and check back next week to compare the outcome.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |
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