2011 NHL Mock Draft

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 · 3 comments

OK. Here we go. As always, this is just for fun. I'm a bit of draft geek, but do not profess to be an expert. I read all the guides, talk to scouts, writers, broadcasters....and watch some of the players. In the end, I take a stab. Enjoy...or rip to shreds.
(One obvious note: I did this mock draft assuming everyone will stay where they are in the first round. I think we all know there is zero chance of that happening. Should be fun to follow on Friday night. )

1. Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Centre - 6'1, 170
- I don't buy that there's a top 4 in this draft that could all go number 1. Most scouts have the Red Deer centre as the best prospect in the draft.

2. Colorado Avalanche
Gabriel Landeskog - Winger - 6'1, 207
- To follow up on what was said above, I believe there is a "next 3" in this draft. They're so close, teams might draft on need rather "best player available". The Avalanche are loaded with good young centres. They acquired Erik Johnson to lead their blue-line into the future, but had to part with power winger Chris Stewart. Landeskog fills a need, and he's ready to play right now.

3. Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau - Centre - 6'1, 168
- Ever since Dale Tallon took over as G.M. in Florida he has been very open about his desire to acquire a true number one centre. The QMJHL playoff, and Memorial Cup MVP has that potential.

4. New Jersey Devils
Adam Larsson - Defense - 6'3, 200
- Along with Brodeur, The blue-line used to be trademark of the Devils. 20 years after nabbing Niedermayer with the 3rd pick, the Devils draft another stud at 4.

5. N.Y. Islanders
Dougie Hamilton - Defense - 6'4, 193
- Tavares, Grabner, Niederreiter, Okposo, Bailey, Nelson, Cizikas. The Isles have a slew of good young forwards. Hard to look past the size and skill of Hamilton to help compliment Hamonic and de Haan.

6. Ottawa Senators
Mika Zibanejad - Centre - 6'2, 191
- The Sens need to develop a centre to compliment Jason Spezza. At this point of the draft there are 3 good ones on board. I'll go with one of the biggest climbers in draft. Heavy shot, good size and speed and didn't looked out of place playing with men in Sweden. If the Sens truly do like this player, they might be able to trade down and still nab him.

7. Winnipeg (Jets?)
Sean Couturier - Centre - 6'4, 195
- This team is crying out for a star down the middle. Couturier's stock took a big hit throughout the season, but that could be due to a late '92 birthdate. Over-scouting? Some have questioned his intensity, but he has the potential to be the best player in the draft.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets
Ryan Strome - Centre - 6'0, 183
- Looking to fill the void at centre, the Jackets took Johansen last year. They add to cupboard here. The Niagara centre had a 79 point improvement to record 106 points this season, tying him with Nugent-Hopkins for most points by a draft eligible player.

9. Boston Bruins (from Toronto)
Ryan Murphy - Defense - 5'11 176
- Said to be the most dynamic offensive player in the draft. The Stanley Cup Champs have to be happy to complete the Kessel trade by taking a player that could run a power play for the next 15 years. The doubters say he's too small and won't be able to defend well enough to excel at the NHL level. We'll see.

10. Minnesota Wild
Jonas Brodin - Defense - 6'1 165
- Played regularly with men in Swedish Elite League. Known for strong hockey sense, being a good skater that makes a good first pass. Would look good on a future blue-line with fellow prospects Scandella and Cuma.

11. Colorado Avalanche (from St. Louis)
Nathan Beaulieu - Defense - 6'2, 185
- After getting Landeskog at #2 to replace Stewart in the Johnson trade, the Av's fill the void left by including Shattenkirk in that same deal by taking the highly skilled Sea Dogs blue-liner. Just needs to fill out to compete at the next level.

12. Carolina Hurricanes
Sven Bartschi - Winger - 5'11, 175
- 85 points for Portland in the regular season and another 27 in 20 playoff games. Not the biggest player in the draft but has potential to be a solid 2nd line scorer.

13. Calgary Flames
Rocco Grimaldi - Centre - 5'6, 163
- Where to begin. The Flames prospect cupboard is almost bare. The Flames gave up on an undersized future superstar 11 years ago. Why not try and right that wrong and take a flyer on this 5'6 dynamo that has some scouts saying he's the "next" Marty St.Louis. Who was the G.M. in Tampa that won a cup with St.Louis? Oh yeah, Jay Feaster.

14. Dallas Stars
Mark Scheifele - Centre - 6'2, 177
- Brad Richards is on his way out. Time to start thinking about future point producing centres in Dallas. Barrie was awful this season, but Scheifele put up a solid 75 points. Seen as a bit raw with a lot of upside. Could be just scratching the surface.

15. N.Y. Rangers
Tyler Biggs - Winger - 6'2, 210
- Head Coach John Tortorella likes hard nosed players. Biggs is physically ready to play in the NHL right now and is seen as toughest most robust player in the first round of this draft. Decent skill. Loves to hit and drop the gloves. Son of pro journeyman Don Biggs.

16. Buffalo Sabres
Duncan Siemens - Defense - 6'3, 197
- Cue the "I can't believe he was available here" quote. Nothing flashy, just solid. Has mean streak on the ice to compliment his 6'3 frame. Willing to drop the gloves. Hard shot, great skater. Good pick here. With Myers and Gragnani, the Sabres blue-line is in good hands for years to come.

17. Montreal Canadiens
Joel Armia - Winger - 6'3, 191
- Played with men in the Finnish Elite League where he scored 18 goals. Also led Fins in scoring with 13 points at U-18's. The knock is his drive or "give-a-crap-o-metre". The Habs are banking that comes with maturity. Could be a home run pick.

18. Chicago Blackhawks
JT Miller - Winger - 6'1, 198
- Might lack scoring touch to put up big numbers at next level, but Miller is a power winger with good straight away speed and good skill. Has a great work ethic. Tenacious. Enjoys physical play. Led U.S. to gold medal at U-18's with team best 13 points.

19. Edmonton (from Los Angeles)
Joe Morrow - Defense - 6'1, 196
- Gritty Edmonton native enjoys the rough stuff and is one of the better skaters in the draft. Very good puck mover and used his skilled 'mates in Portland very well. Needs work in the defensive zone, but has the tools to run a power play and be a point producer at the next level.

20. Winnipeg Jets
Mark McNeill - Centre - 6'1, 204
- This Edmonton native could also entice the Oilers but the "Jets" are glad to get him here. 32 goals, 81 points with Prince Albert in the WHL. Big, good speed, smart...this winger has a lot of tools, but some scouts question his drive. Needs to show he "wants it" on a more consistent basis. Like Armia, that could come with maturity.

21. Ottawa Senators (from Nashville)
Nicklas Jensen - Winger - 6'2, 188
- With plenty of top prospects on the blue-line, the Sens opt for another skilled forward with their 2nd 1st round pick. In his 1st year in the OHL, the Danish winger had 29 goals and 58 points for Oshawa. Good agility for a big man. Already has an NHL shot and release. Needs to be more consistent to be an impact player, but it's all there waiting for him to take it.

22. Anaheim Ducks
Jamie Oleksiak - Defense - 6'7, 244
- Look up. Way up. 6'7 and just learning how to use his size to his advantage. Decent agility and puck handling for a man his size. A bit of a project, but could be "high reward" pick down the road.

23. Pittsburgh Penguins
Oscar Klefbom - Defense - 6'4 200
- The captain of Sweden's silver medal winning team at the U-18's also played in the Swedish Elite League as a 17 year old. Competes extremely hard and leads through his tenacity and physical play. Not the best skater but has good hockey sense and moves the puck well.

24. Detroit Red Wings
Alexander Khokhlachev - Centre - 5'10, 188
- Led all draft eligible OHL rookies with 34 goals and 76 points while playing just across the river in Windsor which showed his willingness to play in North America, huge for an Russian prospect these days. Average skater with very good puck skills. Plays with a lot of jam for smaller player. September birthday means he's one of the youngest players in the draft, which scouts often see as having more room to grow than some other prospects.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs(from Philadelphia)
Ty Rattie - Winger - 5'11, 170
- Had over 100 points in his combined 87 games this season with Portland in the WHL. Good skater and puckhandler and has great offensive instincts. Like many players his age strength is a question mark, but has a really good chance to be a top 6 NHL forward.

26. Washington Capitals
Vladislav Namestnikov - Centre - 6'0, 170
- The Caps never shy away from Russians. The son of former NHLer Evgeny Namestnikov and nephew of Slava Kozlov. 68 points in rookie season with London in OHL. Has speed, agility, vision, shot....but needs to put weight on and get stronger. Could have learned a thing or two about being more physical from the Hunters.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning
Connor Murphy - Defense - 6'3, 185
- His stock fell after missing most of last 2 seasons with stress fracture in his back, but jumped back on the radar at U18's. Scored O-T winner for U.S in the gold medal game. Big, mobile defenseman with a great shot. Injuries make him a tough read, but the upside is certainly there.

28. San Jose Sharks

Shane Prince - Winger - 5'10, 181
- Doug Wilson has great respect for players that his mentor Brian Kilrea has churns out. Knowing that size and strength is the knock, Prince tested quite well at the combine. One the ice, he had 88 points in 59 games before suffering a concussion towards the end of the 67's season. One of the best play-makers in the draft.

29. Vancouver Canucks

Boone Jenner - Centre - 6'1, 194
- Can play in all situations. Gives you a bit of scoring, jam and leadership. Could top out offensively as a 2nd line centre, but could have a good career as 3rd liner that can give you a bit of everything. Character player.

30. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston)
Matt Puempel - Winger - 6'0, 198
- Was on his way to 40 plus goals in Peterborough before hip surgery ended his season causing him to miss the U-18's. Was OHL rookie of the year in 09-10 with 33 goals. Seen as one of the best pure scorers in the draft. Needs to improve his skating to ensure he can get to the scoring areas at the next level.

67 years Ago

Monday, June 6, 2011 · 2 comments

I posted this 1 year ago today and felt I'd share it again:

I usually stick to sports on this blog but today I feel compelled to share one soldier's story to help drive home the sacrifice that thousands of Canadians made on the beaches of Normandy 67 years ago today.

Both of my grandfathers were there. I had the privilege of going back with my maternal grandfather in 2006, where I was honoured to help him lay a wreath as part of the official ceremonies.

As we walked around the beach I tried to remember what worried me when I was 19. It probably had something to do with having enough money for pub night at Lakehead, and and that baseball's work stoppage was costing my Expos a shot at a World Series.

After landing on and surviving Juno Beach with The North Shore(New Brunswick) regiment, 19 year old Noel Stephen Horan wasn't so lucky in the coming days. While volunteering to support The Royal Winnipeg Rifles he was captured by the SS Hitler Youth Division in the nearby village Putot de Besin. As we also visited that site four years ago, he recounted that the SS had he and his fellow prisoners lined up, on their knees, to be executed. A superior officer arrived at the last second to make them prisoners rather than casualties.

Private Horan would spend the coming weeks walking(with the occasional cattle car ride) across France to his new home in Germany. While making the journey he told me they would often duck for cover as allied planes would attack not knowing some of their own were with the enemy. He remembers his captors stopping the march only to execute the prisoner standing right in front of him. The Nazis apparently had figured out that prisoner was Russian, and according to my grandfather, these Nazi's didn't take Russians prisoner.

While being held in Germany, Private Horan would turn 20 on Christmas day. Four months later the war was over and Americans arrived to liberate he and his fellow prisoners. Standing about 5'11, he weighed 95 pounds. I'm happy to say he rarely missed a meal after that before leaving us in the fall of 2008.

Five years ago we not only visited Juno Beach, but every major Canadian battlefield from both the first and second world wars. If you ever have the time and means to take such a trip, you'll be hard pressed to do anything else in your life that will make you feel more proud to be Canadian. You'll also have a greater appreciation for why we can never pay homage to what happened 67 years ago enough.

$82.00 a ticket means MTS Centre is big enough

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 · 0 comments

At 15,015, Winnipeg's MTS Centre is the smallest arena in the National Hockey League. The most obvious way to make up for this shortfall is to charge more per seat, and that's exactly what True North has done. By setting the average ticket price at $82.00, that makes the MTS centre 3rd most expensive place to watch a club hockey game in the world. Second only to Toronto($115.96) and Montreal($86.44). Ottawa is 10th at $59.74.

(I left in Atlanta just for the sake of comparing it to Winnipeg)

Average Ticket Price
1. Toronto $115.96
2. Montreal $86.44
3. Winnipeg $82.00
4. Calgary $66.68
5. Vancouver $65.20
6. Edmonton $64.87
7. Minnesota $62.63
8. Philadelphia $60.89
9. Pittsburgh $60.04
10.Ottawa $59.74
11.Rangers $58.57
12.Islanders $58.44
13.Washington $55.57
14.Chicago $55.39
15.Boston $54.94
16.Florida $54.12
17.Detroit $51.73
18.Nashville $51.04
19.New Jersey $50.83
20.Los Angeles $50.05
21.Columbus $47.66
22.San Jose $45.71
23.Anaheim $44.44
24.Atlanta $43.59
25.Carolina $41.58
26.Colorado $40.62
27.St.Louis $40.57
28.Tampa $37.73
29.Buffalo $36.43
30.Phoenix $36.15
31.Dallas $29.68

Here is the order of teams in potential ticket revenue based on sell outs. These figures are on a per game basis.

Seating Capacity x Average Ticket Price

1. Toronto $2,182,251
2. Montreal $1,838,838
3. Calgary $1,286,190
4. Winnipeg $1,231,230
5. Vancouver$1,229,672
6. Philadelphia $1,189,607
7. Ottawa $1,144,200
8. Minnesota $1,131,348
9. Edmonton $1,092,345
10.Chicago $1,092,124
11.Pittsburgh $1,085,943
12.Rangers $1,065,974
13.Detroit $1,038,014
14.Washington $1,022,376
15.Boston $965,021
16.Islanders $948,714
17.Florida $922,204
18.Los Angeles $906,805
19.New Jersey $895,878
20.Nashville $873,447
21.Columbus $864,743
22.San Jose $802,759
23.St.Louis $776,915
24.Carolina $776,714
25.Atlanta $768,230
26.Anaheim $763,212
27.Tampa $745,469
28.Colorado $731,444
29.Buffalo $680,876
30.Phoenix $619,068
31.Dallas $550,029

It should be noted the fact the 15,015 seat MTS centre is the smallest rink in the league by about 2600 seats means fewer concessions sales. However, aggressive ticket prices is just another way to help offset that. We know the NHL starved fans will pony up now, but the million dollar question of course is: Can Winnipegers stomach paying some of the highest hockey prices in the world long term?




About this blog

Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.