From the archives: October 2010
It's very early in the game for the 2011 NHL draft -- it's 240 days from today, after all -- and one scouting director noted last week, "At this point we're struggling to put together a list down to No. 30."
I guess that makes us a step ahead of the curve. We've already worked up a list of the top 50 prospects for the 2011 entry draft in Minnesota on June 24-25. With any early list, however, it's going to be fluid. For example, the players ranked from No. 30 to No. 50 aren't necessarily second-rounders. They could even fall into the fourth and fifth rounds depending on a number of future factors.
Where there is some consensus, however, is at the top. Most scouts will tell you that Sean Couturier and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are likely to be the top two picks, even though some of those same scouts will say Adam Larsson might be the best player in this draft. But right now he's not going No. 1 overall. The biggest reason? He's a defenseman.
Look at the trend from last year: eight of the top nine picks were forwards. The only D-man selected in that run, Erik Gudbranson, is headed back to junior for more development.
Some people think Larsson is a second coming of Drew Doughty. That could be ambitious, but he is definitely light years ahead of where Gudbranson was last season. Even so, it's still doubtful he's going to go much higher than Gudbranson did (No. 3 overall), largely because of the game's perceived future in the eyes of general managers. D-men just take longer to develop and not every GM has three, four or five years for a top pick to round into form.
That thinking informed our first round of rankings. We'll revisit this list each week in the draft blog and go deeper on some of the top prospects. In fact, if you want more than this early teaser, the blog has already kick-started coverage of the '11 draft class with in-depth profiles on some of the top prospects over the past few months. You can find a collection of all those profiles below, including most of the top names.
For now, however, strap in and take a look at our list of the top 50 draft prospects for 2011.
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