2011 NHL Mock Draft: SB Nation's Hockey Blogs Simulate First Round

We've run through the entire first round of the NHL Draft, mock style. Scroll down for a full glimpse at our picks, made by SB Nation's network of team hockey blogs.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Toronto Maple Leafs Select Brandon Saad With No. 30 Pick

With the 30th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Stanley Cup Champion (lol) Toronto Maple Leafs delegation from Pension Plan Puppets selects Brandon Saad, a left wing from the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.

Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Alright, maybe that's a little misleading. Saad only played one year with Saginaw before the draft, as his late birthday hindered his ability to play with the US National Team Development Program this past 2010-11 season. In his time with the USNTDP, though, he won a World Championship and developed himself a reputation as a power forward who's strong on the puck.

Saad is also an extremely capable skater, and he should project to be a capable top six winger in the NHL.

Read more about the pick at Pension Plan Puppets

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Vancouver Canucks Select Joe Morrow With No. 29 Pick

With the 29th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Vancouver Canucks delegation at Nucks Misconduct selects Joe Morrow, a defenseman from the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League.

Joe Morrow, D, Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)

Morrow is swift skating, big defenseman, weighing in a 200 pounds on his 6'1" frame. He's the 12th ranked skater in North America according to Central Scouting, and while he doesn't exactly put up a lot of offense, he's a very capable defensive defenseman with a lot of physical strength and the ability to beat players one-on-one, whether he's defending the break or battling in the corner.

He scored six of his nine goals on the power play, so while he's not a huge offensive contributor, he can do so on the man advantage. Here's how Nucks Misconduct justified the pick:

Again, the chance Morrow slips to 29th are slim. But if the stars align and he does - and also assuming he develops accordingly - he would join a prospect corps that includes Yann Sauve, Chris Tanev, Lee SweattKevin Connauton, Patrick McNally and Adam Polasek (for fun, let's chuck Ryan Parent in there too). Tanev and Sweatt are the best bets to make the jump next, but Morrow's development would put him alongside McNally and Connauton as long-term offensive blueliner prospects.    

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: San Jose Sharks Select Boone Jenner With No. 22 Pick

With the 22nd pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our San Jose Sharks bloggers at Fear The Fin select Boone Jenner, a center from the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League. 

Boone Jenner, C, Oshawa Generals (OHL)

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via Getty

Jenner is one of those guys that just puts it all together. He's got a nice build and has shown sizable improvement year-to-year so far in his junior career, a sign that he's going to keep getting better as he reaches the professional ranks. He's a strong two-way player and he's got strong vision, which you've likely read about half the players in this draft. 

If there's any knock against Jenner it's his skating, but again, he's shown the ability to improve his game and he has every other piece of the puzzle so far, so he should be a solid player in the NHL when he gets there.

Here's how Fear The Fin justified the pick:

San Jose has never had an issue with drafting players who are lacking in the skating department, and if Jenner is available in the latter stages of the first round, I don't think there's any doubt he will receive consideration from the organization. Adjectives such as "big body", "tough on the puck", "two-way presence", and "competitiveness" are commonly used to describe the 18 year old center-- furthermore, he has been compared to Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richardsand told Buzzing The Net, "I like to play like [Philadelphia Flyers centre Mike Richards]. He's a great role model. If I can be compared to him, that would be great." 

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Tampa Bay Lightning Select Oscar Klefbom With No. 27 Pick

With the 27th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Tampa Bay Lightning bloggers at Raw Charge select Oscar Klefbom, a defenseman from Farjestads BK in the Swedish Elite League.

Oscar Klefbom, D, Farjestads BK (SEL)

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via svenskafans.com

Klefbom is a bit of a raw talent, and he's ranked 6th in the draft among European skaters by Central Scouting. He's a big guy, and rare in this draft in the fact that he doesn't need to add much bulk to his 6'3" frame, and also in the fact that he plays with a bit of an edge in his game. The European players with that attribute tend to already call North America home, unlike Klefbom, who's still in Sweden.

He's a great skater for his size and he has a pretty nice shot as well, although he leaves a bit to be desired as a power play quarterback. 

Here's how Raw Charge justified the pick:

In several different mock-drafts that you can come across on the web, Klefbom doesn't drop this far in the draft order. You can find him selected top-20 in some instances... So seeing him on the board this late gave weight to his selection.

Yes, it's another Swedish defenseman. No, I'm not the one here at Raw Charge who has the Swedish Fish craze, that's Cassie. The reason Klefbom is the selection is his size (6'4") and the fact he's another offensive defensiveman who can be groomed to play in the 1-3-1.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Washington Capitals Select Scott Mayfield With No. 26 Pick

With the 26th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Washington Capitals delegation at Japers' Rink selects, from the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League, defenseman Scott Mayfield.

Scott Mayfield, D, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

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via Getty

Mayfield was ranked 15th among North American skaters in Central Scouting's midterm rankings, but after a bit of an offensive dip in the second half of his season with the Youngstown Phantoms, he fell to the 24th position in their final rankings. But of course, he's a defenseman, and he does things well that defensemen do well: uses his body well, skates well and is calm with the puck. It helps that he's not too bad with the puck at the power play, too.

Read more about Mayfield and the pick at Japers' Rink.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Toronto Maple Leafs Select Zack Phillips With No. 25 Pick

With the 25th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Toronto Maple Leafs delegation at Pension Plan Puppets selects, from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, center Zack Phillips.

Zack Phillips, C, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

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via Getty

Phillips shunned the NCAA and UMass to play in the QMJHL, and after winning the QMJHL title and the Memorial Cup this past year, I'm sure he's fine with that decision. Phillips is a two-way center with good vision and a nose for the net, according to scouts that have watched him play, and it obviously doesn't hurt that he was the linemate of Jonathan Huberdeau, who's expected to go in the top five of the draft this year. 

Read more about the pick at Pension Plan Puppets

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Detroit Red Wings Select Jonas Brodin With No. 24 Pick

With the 23rd pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Detroit Red Wings delegation at Winging It In Motownselects, from Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League, defenseman Jonas Brodin.

Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (SEL)

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via farjestadsbk.se

Brodin's a two-way defenseman that's praised all around by scouts for his hockey smarts. He's a brilliant student of the game and it shows in his play. He's another player that's a little bit undersized at 6'1", 172 pounds, and when he comes over to the much more physical North American game, he'll have to get on a fast track when it comes to bulking up and using his body more.

But that's teachable. It's hard to teach calmness with the puck and hockey intelligence, and Brodin has that. 

Here's how Winging It In Motown justifies the pick:

Overall, it seems like Brodin's strongest asset at this moment is his skating ability and his knowledge of the game. Some of the profiles of him indicate that he's lacking a physical presence, but at 17 years old he has plenty of time to mature physically and develop that aspect of his game. Will he be a good fit in the Detroit system? Who knows. He has to get drafted first.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Pittsburgh Penguins Select Rocco Grimaldi With No. 23 Pick

With the 23rd pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Pittsburgh Penguins delegation at Pensburgh select center Rocco Grimaldi, from the US National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League.

Rocco Grimaldi, C, USNTDP (USHL)

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Grimaldi is a tiny little guy, as you can see in the photo, standing at just 5'6" and 163 pounds. But as you expect, what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed and work ethic. He'll step up despite his small stature, can play physical and can score and dazzle with the best of them.

 Western College Hockey Blog says that Grimaldi is tops among USNTDP prospects in this draft, and that each time writer Chris Dilks saw him during his teenage years, he continued to impress. His size has yet to hinder him as he's moved up the ranks -- from Select 15's to U16's and U17's, etc. 

Here's how Pensburgh justifies the pick:

Any player who's still on the board at #23 has some question mark or limitation- for many it is work ethic, physical maturity (as in putting on weight or strength) or drive.  Grimaldi has that in spades.  In the NHL today, some of the best offensive players include Martin St. Louis, Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere and Tyler Ennis- all players who look like they couldn't get on roller-coasters compared to their contemporaries.

But all of those little players, to a degree, have an edge, are excellent skaters and think the game well, all combined with having great hands and skill.   Grimaldi seems to have that pedigree.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Anaheim Ducks Select Alexander Khokhlachev With No. 22 Pick

With the 22nd pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Anaheim Ducks bloggers at Battle of California pinch-hit for the Anaheim Calling guys and selected, a left wing from the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.

Alexander Khokhlachev, LW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

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via AP

Another Russian who has a really long name and North American experience under his belt, Khokhlachev scored 76 points in 67 games this past season with the Spits. He's another offensive wonder that has a little bit of an issue with his size, but that's part of the deal when you have a player coming over from Europe with limited experience on the smaller rink this side of the Atlantic.

Khokhlachev, whose name will not be written in this post again since it causes brain pain, has only played one year in North America, and with a late 1993 birthday, he's one of the youngest players in the 2011 draft.

Read more on the pick at Battle of California. You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Ottawa Senators Select Tomas Jurco With No. 21 Pick

With the 21st pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Ottawa Senators delegation at Silver Seven selects Tomas Jurco, a forward from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Tomas Jurco, F, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

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via Getty

Jurco is notorious for his abilty to dazzle in the shootout, but the product of Slovakia is more than just a pretty face for the NHL to slap on a poster. Flat out, this guy is one of those guys with offensive skill -- no more, no less. He can dazzle with the moves, place an accurate shot and seems to be adapting to the North American game rather nicely.

Here's what Silver Seven said about the pick, their second in this draft:

Ottawa's most glaring hole is that they don't have any top line wingers in their system. As of today there isn't anyone who can be legitimately called a top-3 forward prospect, though many have that hope for Bobby Butler. Officially standing 6'2" and weighing 187lbs at the NHL combine, Jurco posted some impressive strength numbers: Top 3 for grip strength, Most Bench Press reps (tied with three other players) and Top 6 for Seated Medicine Ball throw.

It's not at all surprising, then, that Jurco has a tendency to get in front of the net and not be dislodged. He is also known to be quite fast, and his stickhandling skills cause rave reviews, as you'll soon read. In short, he is fast, strong, and skilled -- everything the Senators need.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Phoenix Coyotes Select Vladislav Namestnikov With No. 20 Pick

With the 20th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Phoenix Coyotes bloggers at Five For Howling select Vladimir Namestnikov, a center from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

Vladimir Namestnikov, C, London Knights (OHL)

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via OHL

Namestnikov's strongest asset is his last name, which allows him to stand out relative to the North American players he goes head-to-head with in the OHL, thanks to the deep penetration of jersey letters into his arm pits. He's also a fast skater, and if you ask scouts that have seen Namestnikov play, that's usually the first thing you'll hear about.

He's a little undersized for his tall frame, but he's only been in the OHL for one year, so that's presumably something he can improve upon.

Here's how Five For Howling justified the pick:

He's a solid two way player that can dangle and pass extremely well, but also gets back on defense and isn't a liability at all. He's also played well digging for pucks in the corners and upping his physical game since coming to North America. Another plus is that he's a center which the Coyotes are certainly short on positionally.     

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Edmonton Oilers Select Matt Puempel With No. 19 Pick

With the 19th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Edmonton Oilers bloggers at The Copper & Blue select Matt Puempel, a left winger from the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. 

Matt Puempel, LW, Peterborough Petes (OHL)

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via Getty

Puempel, ranked the 28th North American skater in the final rankings from Central Scouting, has been a phenomenal two-year career on a horrible team in the OHL, the Petes. He put up 69 points in 2010-11, a year after being named the OHL's Rookie of the Year in 2009-10. He's a bit of a rarity in the top portion of this year's draft in that he's more of a pure goal scorer than a well-rounded player.

Matchsticks & Gasoline writes that Puempel doesn't want to be labeled as a one-dimensional player, but he has some work to do on his defensive game before that becomes a reality.

Here's how The Copper & Blue justified the pick:

At this point it is obligatory to talk about what a well-rounded player the seemingly one-dimensional prospect is. I will not bore you with such nonsense. Matt Puempel is a goalscorer. The hockey gods put him on this earth to score goals and, for his entire career since bantam, that's what he's done. He's put the puck on the net, and a reasonable percentage of the time the puck has therefore gone in the net. He will sometimes pick up an assist off a rebound or because defenses are so petrified by his shooting that they forget he can pass the puck, but he is a shooter through and through.    

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Chicago Blackhawks Select Jonathan Miller With No. 18 Pick

With the 18th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Chicago Blackhawks bloggers at Second City Hockey select, from the US National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League, center Jonathan Miller.

Jonathan Miller, C, USNTDP (USHL)

Miller_large_medium

via Tom Sorenson & Hockey Wilderness

Miller, who also goes by J.T., has committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2011-12 campaign. He's a two-way forward that's responsible anywhere on the ice, can use his body well and is very solid when it comes to dishing the puck. On the flip side, he isn't the most consistent of players, and that's something he'll have to work on in college and, eventually, in the pro ranks.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Montreal Canadiens Select Mark Scheifele With No. 17 Pick

With the 17th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Montreal Canadiens delegation at Eyes On The Prize selects Mark Scheifele, a center from the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. 

Mark Scheifele, C, Barrie Colts (OHL)

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via Getty

Scheifele is a tall center that played on a somewhat weak Colts team in 2010-11, but it's easy to say he's the most exciting player they have. He put up 75 points in 66 games with Barrie on the year, and those are numbers that look to improve, and they should translate to the professional level as well. He's a little on the smallish size and can definitely afford to pack some muscle onto his tall frame, but hey, he has the tall frame, and you can't teach that.

Here's how EOTP justified their pick:

Standing between 6'2" and 6'3", depending on which site you look at, Scheifele already brings something clearly missing in the Habs lineup to the table, a big right-handed center. His lanky 173 lb frame will certainly beef up through development.

If Lars Eller isn't up to the task, perhaps this Kitchener, ON native will be the answer to the missing piece of the puzzle up front in the Canadiens future.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Buffalo Sabres Select Tyler Biggs With No. 16 Pick

With the 16th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Buffalo Sabres delegation at Die By The Blade selects, from the US National Team Development Program, center Tyler Biggs.

Tyler Biggs, C, US National Team Development Program (USHL)

Biggs-web_medium

via USHL.com

Biggs is one of the few players who has shunned Canadian Major Junior stardom for a chance to play in the USHL and American college system. He was a second round pick in the Ontario Hockey League draft, but decided instead to join the USNTDP before committing to Miami University in Ohio. Not a bad choice.

Western College Hockey Blog sees Biggs as a contributor in the NHL, at worst a third or fourth liner with some touch, at best an established NHL scorer. 

Here's how Die By The Blade justifies their pick:

Biggs plays much like his name suggests, big. He is a physical player that likes to be in front of the net and could be shifted over to center, where the Sabres need some help in the prospect pipeline. Biggs was ranked fifth among North American skaters in the midterm Central Scouting rankings, but dropped all the way to 22nd when the final rankings came out.    

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: New York Rangers Select Joel Armia With No. 15 Pick

With the 15th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our New York Rangers delegation from Blueshirt Banterselects, from Porin Assat of SM-Liiga in Finland, right winger Joel Armia.

Joel Armia, D, Porin Assat (SM-Liiga)

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via Getty

Armia is a skilled 17-year-old forward playing with the big boys in Finland's top league, SM-Liiga. He scored 18 goals tihs past season and he's the fourth-ranked European skater according to NHL Central Scouting, dropping a few spots from his second-place ranking at the midterm.

At 6'3" and 187 pounds, he's a pretty big kid that will probably fill in to his frame a little more over the next few years.He could stand to use that size to his advantage more in the defensive end of the ice.

Here's how Blueshirt Banter justified the pick:

Aside from Chris Kreider the Rangers don't have any other pure goal scorers in the farm system. Armia fixes that problem instantly. If he reaches his potential, he will be a lethal goal scorer for the Rangers for years to come. The Rangers haven't had a plethora of those players in recent memory, and Armia and Kreider could pair up to be one of the most dangerous one-two punches in the NHL.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Dallas Stars Select Duncan Siemens With No. 14 Pick

With the 14th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Dallas Stars delegation at Defending Big D selects, a defenseman from the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League, Duncan Siemens.

Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)

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via Getty

Siemens is a 6'2" defenseman from Saskatoon who was ranked 10th by NHL's Central Scouting in their final rankings. He's another one of these big defensemen that can move their feet as well, and as a result, he can keep up with the much smaller, speedier forwards that he faces. 

For the Stars, he fills an organizational need, and that's why DBD has selected him.

Nearly every scouting report lists him as a nasty player who is "not fun to play against", who won't hesitate to drop the gloves and is willing to do anything necessary to make the plays in his own end. He's stated over the course of this past season that he wants teams to fear him when he's on the ice, telling NHL.com that he wants to model his game after Scott Stevens.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Calgary Flames Select Mark McNeill With No. 13 Pick

With the 13th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Calgary Flames delegation at Matchsticks & Gasolineselects, from the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League, center Mark McNeill.

Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

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McNeill is a well-rounded, two-way center that put up 81 points in 70 games with Prince Albert this past season. He's known for his well-roundedness, mostly: an ability to put the puck in the net, the ability to use his size effectively and responsibility in all three zones of the ice. 

Here's how M&G justified this pick:

Mark McNeill is probably the closest thing to a complete, well-rounded player that could be available to the Flames with the 13th overall pick. While there's no question that the Flames need to draft for offence, this organization is not one that selects its prospects based on goal-scoring prowess alone, as Arik mentioned above.

McNeill is the first player I've looked at thus far who has been evaluated positively when it comes to strength, skill, and skating/speed and the fact that he has been described as defensively responsible, tough to play against, and is accustomed to playing in all situations with the Prince Albert Raiders is all the more encouraging. The fact that he models his game after Ryan Getzlaf doesn't hurt either.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Carolina Hurricanes Select Ryan Strome With No. 12 Pick

With the 12th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Carolina Hurricanes delegation at Canes Country selects, a center from the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League, Ryan Strome.

Ryan Strome, C, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

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via Getty

Strome scored 106 points in the 2010-11 season with Niagara, and a lot of scouts expected his season to wind down after a furious start to the year. It didn't. Strome kept a hot pace all year long, and when you add his scoring acumen to his top-notch skating and crisp vision, you have a dangerous prospect.

For Canes Country, the decision to draft Strome was an easy one

After all my previous talk about wanting to draft a defenseman, the bottom line is that when push comes to shove it is just too difficult to turn down a player who you think is absolutely the best still standing, regardless of position.

That was the case for us when we saw Ryan Strome's name still off the board when it came to the Hurricanes turn at number 12.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Colorado Avalanche Select Jamie Oleksiak With No. 11 Pick

With the 11th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Colorado Avalanche delegation at Mile High Hockey selects, from the Northeastern University Huskies in Hockey East, defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.

Jamie Oleksiak, D, Northeastern Huskies (Hockey East)

Oleksiak-web_medium

via USHL.com

Oleksiak is a pretty well-rounded defenseman with a year of college under his belt, something that's rare for most draft eligible players. He is just an absolutely huge man, listed a 6'7" and 240 pounds, but despite the size, he's actually quite mobile and can move the puck effectively.

Here's how Mile High Hockey justified the pick:

In real life, there's little chance of the Avalanche drafting a player like this (they'd be much more inclined to go with Siemens here, if available). But this isn't real life. This is fantasy world, and in our fantasy world, we like them big and rough. Or something to that effect.    

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Minnesota Wild Select Mika Zibanejad With No. 10 Pick

With the 10th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Minnesota Wild bloggers at Hockey Wilderness select, a center from Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League, Mika Zibanejad.

Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (SEL)

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via Wikipedia

Zibanejad has had quite the few weeks in the run up to the 2011 NHL Draft. He's been projected all over the board in this draft, and some people are saying he could potentially go as high as the top five at this point. If you ask our Calgary Flames blog, Matchsticks & Gasoline, he deserves the praise. Lighthouse Hockey, our Islanders blog, seems to agree as well

Our Oilers blog, the Copper & Blue, interviewed Zibanejad last November, and the center called him "big and strong with decent speed and a good shot. He also said that he's the kind of guy that "gives it his all," which is kind of obvious when you're a first round draft pick in the NHL -- at least, usually

Here's how Hockey Wilderness justified the pick:

I love the fact that Zibanejad fully understands his role as a powerforward and has become very accomplished at it. He may not be as flashy as prospects like Ryan Strome or Jonathan Huberdeau, but Zibanejad plays with tons of fire and knows that hits and battles along the boards wins pucks. He knows he has a good frame to give the hit and to screen the goalie. His understanding of the game and his role will make him a very successful NHL player, in any role.    

Read more at Hockey Wilderness.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Boston Bruins Select Ryan Murphy With No. 9 Pick

With the 9th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Boston Bruins delegation at Stanley Cup of Chowder selects, from the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, defenseman Ryan Murphy.

Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

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via Getty Images

Murphy is a pretty small, under-6-foot-tall defenseman from Kitchener, and his offensive game is what makes him. He's a power play quarterback, can skate with the best of them in the OHL and is good on the breakout. He lacks some skill in his own end, and surely some of that has to do with his size. 

Here's how Stanley Cup of Chowder justified their pick:

Murphy is a mobile undersized defenseman, who is listed between 5'10" and 5'11" and 166 lbs and 176 lbs (depending what you read). The 18-year-old blue liner has great offensive ability and likes to jump up into the play. According to scouts, Murphy's skill set makes him a tremendous asset on the power play. The biggest knocks on Murphy seem to be his defensive zone play and lack of size.

Read more on the pick at Stanley Cup of Chowder, and learn more about Murphy at SB Nation's In Lou We Trust.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Columbus Blue Jackets Select Sven Bartschi With No. 8 Pick

With the 8th pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets delegation from The Cannon selects, from the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League, left winger Sven Bartschi.

Sven Bartschi, LW, Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)

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via Getty Images

The Swiss native is already familiar with Columbus prospect Ryan Johansen, having played with him in Portland, and the rookie Bartschi led the WHL in first-year scoring this past season. The Cannon thinks he'll be a great addition that'll add depth on the wings, something that Columbus needs after addressing the center position.

"By bringing in Bartschi, we give the Jackets a talented scorer who is willing to drive to the net, playing a much "bigger" game than his 5'10 180lb. frame. With experience playing with Ryan Johansen this year, the Jackets have had plenty of time to get a good look at the Swiss winger, and we suspect they like what they've seen. He's got a fantastic gift for "finishing", quick hands, and one hell of a shot. Most importantly, you can't teach scoring instincts, and that's one thing Sven has in spades."

Read more over at The Cannon. You can also find a draft profile on Bartschi over there as well. 

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Winnipeg Selects Nathan Beaulieu With No. 7 Pick

With the seventh pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Winnipeg delegation from Behind The Net Hockeyselects, a defenseman from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, Nathan Beaulieu.

Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

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via Getty

The first pick of the new Atlanta Thrashers is another Sea Dog and another Memorial Cup champion. Beaulieu had a huge year in Saint John, putting up 45 points from the blueline and his plus-44 rating is just huge. He's a quick guy and can obviously score at a high level.

Read more on Beaulieu at our Blue Jackets blog, The Cannon, and read more about the pick at Behind The Net Hockey.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Ottawa Senators Select Jonathan Huberdeau With No. 6 Pick

With the sixth pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Ottawa Senators delegation at Silver Seven selects, from the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, center Jonathan Huberdeau.

Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

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via Getty

Ranked third among North American skaters by Central Scouting, Huberdeau is coming off a huge season with the Saint John Sea Dogs that saw him take home the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as Memorial Cup MVP. The best player on Major Junior hockey's best team in 2010-11. Not too shabby.

Silver Seven agrees, and here's why they think Huberdeau would be a perfect addition to the Senators organization.

First off, he'd be the top offensive prospect drafted since Jason Spezza was selected in the 2001 draft. Huberdeau would become the first truly offensive prospect in the Senators development system in ages, and will have the opportunity to play NHL hockey as early as the 2011-12 season if he can impress the new coach enough in the process. Whether or not he plays next season, he will spend the better part of the next decade under the tutelage of Spezza himself as a leading offensive pivot on the Senators, if he can translate his junior-level success into professional hockey.

Read more about the pick at Silver Seven. For more on Huberdeau, check in with player profiles at SB Nation's The Cannon and In Lou We Trust.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: New York Islanders Select Dougie Hamilton With No. 5 Pick

With the fifth pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our New York Islanders delegation at Lighthouse Hockey selects Dougie Hamilton, a defenseman from the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League.

Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

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via Getty Images

Hamilton is a tall 6'4" defenseman, and he might be a bit early of a pick with the No. 5 selection. But that's not enough to keep our Isles bloggers at Lighthouse Hockey away from him, as they love his two-way game and his Hulk-like frame. They don't think the Isles will actually take a defenseman based on recent history, but that's not stopping them from fake-picking him.

That said, a team has 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies: You need twice as many forwards, period -- so reading a trend from just a few years of data is a bit of a stretch. The Islanders moved up twice to take Calvin De Haan at #12 two years ago. They passed on Luke Schenn -- who was the consolation prize for teams who couldn't get the three defenseman who went ahead of him -- when they needed picks and believed in a young center. They passed on Victor Hedman when some guy named John Tavares was available. Last year's selection of Nino Niederreiter was part of a league-wide run on forwards before Cam Fowler and, heh, Dylan McIlrath were selected.    

Read more about the pick over at Lighthouse Hockey. Learn more about Hamilton with this profile from our Columbus Blue Jackets blog, The Cannon. 

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: New Jersey Devils Select Sean Couturier With Fourth Overall Pick

With the fourth pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our New Jersey Devils delegation at In Lou We Trust has selected Sean Couturier, a center from the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. 

Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL)

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Here's how In Lou We Trust justifies their pick:

"There's a lot to love about Couturier as a player and prospects like him don't come around often unless you're picking high regularly in the draft.  The main goal for the New Jersey Devils in this draft is to select an excellent talent they normally don't have access to.  Couturier fits that bill to a "T." He's not just an offensive dynamo, he has a big body, he uses that body well, and he plays defense. Defense on top of offense! 

He's used in all situations in Drummondville and he's proven that his production is no mere fluke.  This combination is simply tantalizing and far too much to pass up because he might not be an all-world #1 center or that his skating isn't as good as his hands, vision, or awareness.   It's because of this combination of what experts have seen along with the numbers that we selected him at #4 in the SBN mock draft."

Read more about Couturier at In Lou We Trust. You can also learn more about the Devils No. 4 overall pick in our Mock Draft with player profiles here at SBNation.com and at our Blue Jackets blog, The Cannon.

That's it for the draft on this Friday. We'll have two more picks, from the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators, on Saturday. 

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Florida Panthers Select Gabriel Landeskog With No. 3 Pick

With the third pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Florida Panthers delegation at Litter Box Cats selects, from the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, winger Gabriel Landeskog.

Gabriel Landeskog, RW, Kitchener Rangers (OHL)

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Awkward. via AP

Landeskog enters the draft and immediately has the size to play in the NHL, and unlike many other skaters of European decent, this Swede has groomed his game in Ontario, so there's no necessary adjustment period to the North American style of play. Landeskog is ready for action in the pro ranks, and he's even been compared to another former Kitchener Rangers captain that's had a nice NHL career so far.

Here's Litter Box Cats, justifying their pick:

His play is similar to that of current NHL All Star Mike Richards, and if Landeskog is selected by the Panthers, he will likely be groomed into a leadership role along with current veterans in the lineup, as well as a few of the upcoming prospects, such as Erik Gudbranson or Garrett Wilson.

Florida has long had a need for a gritty, high-intensity scoring forwards with strong leadership qualities and Landeskog is definitely just that. If selected he would be given an honest chance to crack the lineup for 2011-12, but knowing [general manager Dale] Tallon's desire to transition his current crop of prospects into the NHL the "proper" way (i.e. not rushed), one could reasonably expect to see Landeskog spend a season elsewhere for further maturation.

Read more about the pick at Litter Box Cats. You can learn more about Gabriel Landeskog around SB Nation, via draft profiles at our Minnesota Wild blog, Hockey Wilderness, and our Columbus Blue Jackets blog, The Cannon.

The New Jersey Devils, via In Lou We Trust, are on the clock.

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Colorado Avalanche Select Ryan Nugent-Hopkins With No. 2 Pick

With the second pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Colorado Avalanche delegation at Mile High Hockeyselect, from the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

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via Getty Images

Nugent-Hopkins is the top ranked skater in the 2011 NHL Draft class, and it seems as though our Avalanche bloggers are quite happy that he fell to them. With the first overall pick, our Edmonton Oilers at The Copper & Blue selected defenseman Adam Larsson, claiming that he's the best pllayer in the draft.

But just read the folks at MHH, and they seem to like their fate

But, the folks at Copper and Blue threw us a curve. They've surprised everyone by taking defenseman Adam Larsson at #1. While center is the position the Avalanche need the least, there is no way we could pass up a player many consider to be the most talented player in the draft...especially one from Burnaby. Also, we like hyphens. So, welcome to the club, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. And we mean literally, because today we're shipping out Paul Stastny, Joey Hishon and Marek Svatos for Tyler Bozak to make room for you.

Read more about the pick at Mile High Hockey. You can learn more about Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all around SB Nation, via this profile here at SBNation.com or another at our Blue Jackets blog, The Cannon

That's it for Thursday, the first day of our mock draft. (Sorry about the late posting, too. Technical issue stopped it from going up as scheduled earlier.) We'll be back with two picks on Friday, as the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils are on the clock.  

You can find every pick from our 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: Edmonton Oilers Select Adam Larsson With First Overall Pick

With the first pick in SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft, our Edmonton Oilers delegation at The Copper & Blue have selected Adam Larsson, a defenseman from Skelleftea HC in the Swedish Elite League. 

Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea HC (SEL)

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via Getty Images

Larsson is a big, hulking defenseman, the top-ranked European skater according to Central Scouting and the top-ranked defenseman in the 2011 draft class. He wasn't a consensus pick by any stretch, and wasn't the overall No. 1 pick by Central Scouting, so it wasn't a slam dunk for the gang over at The Copper & Blue this year.

Last year, it was a different story with Taylor Hall. This year, they've opted to go with Larsson over the slightly-favored Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Why? We'll let them explain.

Larsson will be a top pairing defenseman, capable of playing both ends of the ice, in all situations, for the next 10 to 12 years. He will be a cornerstone for the Oilers franchise for more than a decade. As the best player available in the draft that is simply too much to pass up. The 69 of you who asked for Larsson back in September, you get your wish.    

Read more on their reasoning and discuss the decision with Oilers fans over at The Copper & Blue. Learn more about Adam Larsson via draft profiles here at SBNation.com and at our Blue Jackets blog, The Cannon.

Next up on the clock, we have the our Colorado Avalanche delegation from SB Nation's Mile High Hockey.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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2011 NHL Mock Draft: SB Nation's Hockey Blogs Set To Simulate First Round

It's that time of year again, and beginning today, SB Nation kicks off our 2011 NHL Mock Draft, with help from our fantastic network of 30 team blogs. Each blog will make a selection on behalf of their teams, and two picks will be announced each day as we work through the first round of the draft.

Things will wrap up for us on June 23, the day before the actual 2011 NHL Draft in St. Paul, Minn. Our schedule will be dictated by the NHL's drafting order. It's not yet complete thanks to the ongoing Stanley Cup Finals, but that's just a minor hold-up with regards to the final two picks.

Here's how things look at present.

1. Edmonton Oilers, 2. Colorado Avalanche, 3. Florida Panthers, 4. New Jersey Devils, 5. New York Islanders, 6., Ottawa Senators, 7. Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers, 8. Columbus Blue Jackets, 9. Boston Bruins (via Toronto), 10. Minnesota Wild

11. Colorado Avalanche (via St. Louis), 12. Carolina Hurricanes, 13. Calgary Flames, 14. Dallas Stars, 15. New York Rangers, 16. Buffalo Sabres, 17. Montreal Canadiens, 18. Chicago Blackhawks, 19. Edmonton Oilers (via Los Angeles)

20. Phoenix Coyotes, 21. Ottawa Senators (via Nashville), 22. Anaheim Ducks, 23. Pittsburgh Penguins, 24. Detroit Red Wings, 25. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Philadelphia), 26. Washington Capitals, 27. Tampa Bay Lightning, 28. San Jose Sharks, 29/30. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston) and Vancouver Canucks.

June 9: Edmonton, Colorado
June 10: Florida, New Jersey
June 11: NY Islanders, Ottawa
June 12: Winnipeg, Columbus
June 13: Boston, Minnesota
June 14: Colorado, Carolina
June 15: Calgary, Dallas
June 16: NY Rangers, Buffalo
June 17: Montreal, Chicago
June 18: Edmonton, Phoenix
June 19: Ottawa, Anaheim
June 20: Pittsburgh, Detroit
June 21: Toronto, Washington
June 22: Tampa Bay, San Jose
June 23: Toronto/Vancouver, Vancouver/Toronto

And with that, the Edmonton Oilers, via our delegation at The Copper & Blue, are on the clock.

For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25.

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