Commentary

NHL draft: Top 50 prospects

Sean Couturier, Adam Larsson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins head 2011 draft class

Originally Published: January 18, 2011
By Gare Joyce | ESPN Insider
Couturier/Larsson/HopkinsGetty Images, AP PhotoCouturier, Larsson and Nugent-Hopkins represent the cream of the draft crop.

As you know if you've followed our coverage in the NHL Draft Blog, draft stock is a volatile thing. And it's made particularly erratic by the fact that teenagers are seldom known for their consistency. One night some of the players in the 2011 NHL draft class could look like surefire top-10 picks. The next? Off the board entirely.

That's the challenge that NHL scouts and general managers face when evaluating the draft talent pool every year: Is a prospect a one-night wonder or a future franchise cornerstone? And that's the same approach we've taken in assembling our Top 50 prospects for 2011.

In constant consultation with the scouts and GMs whose careers hinge on honest and thorough evaluations, we've constructed our second prospect player rankings of the season. And as you can see by comparing it with our first effort from late October, there has been plenty of movement.

What has been constant however is the upper tier of prospects. Though Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers was named the top North American Skater by the NHL's Central Scouting Service (and we politely disagreed) the top trio has remained rather static. The order of their selection may vary on draft day, but from what we've heard and seen, Sean Couturier, Adam Larsson and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins comprise the clear-cut upper crust in this draft.

After that? Well, that's when things get interesting. Take a look for yourself.


To see all of the top 50 prospects for the 2011 NHL draft and get all of Insider's draft coverage, including regular updates in the NHL Draft Blog, sign up today.

Gare Joyce is a contributing writer for ESPN The Magazine.