Posted: Thursday June 23, 2011 4:19PM ; Updated: Friday June 24, 2011 3:41PM
Adrian Dater
Adrian Dater>INSIDE THE NHL

My 2011 Mock Draft: Round 1

Story Highlights

Expected No. 1 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins projects as a skilled playmaker

NHL blueliners are trending bigger, so 6-7 Jamieson Oleksiak stands out

The Oilers (1 and 19) should grab the best goalie in the draft: John Gibson

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Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is hailed for his great vision and puckhandling, led the WHL with 75 assists in 2010-11.
Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is hailed for his great vision and puckhandling, led the WHL with 75 assists in 2010-11.
Leon T Switzer/Icon SMI

Welcome to my first mock draft for SI.com. Webster defines "mock" as: To treat with contempt or ridicule. To disappoint the hopes of. So, apologies in advance if the accuracy rate of the following 30 predictions ends up resembling that of the Florida Panthers' power play. After all, there is talk of significant draft day dealing that will skew the order of selection and give me an out. In fact, the jockeying has already begun with today's blockbuster trades by the Flyers of Jeff Carter (to Columbus for Jakub Voracek and the Jackets' first- and third-round picks) and Mike Richards to LA for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a second-round selection.

Without further ado, your 2011 NHL first round mock draft, ladies and gentlemen:

1. Edmonton Oilers

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

This kid is one of many in this draft who has a great name and it's going to be of the hockey household variety before long. He's from Burnaby, B.C., the same town from which Joe Sakic hails, and he seriously looks like a skinny, 18-year-old version of Colorado's revered former captain. Ultimately, he may not make Edmontonians forget The Great One, but he's got shifty, slippery, crafty moves with the puck, and he seems to have an element of being able to step up his game. At some point, he'll just be known by the initials RNH. (Central Scouting's take)

2. Colorado Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog
Leon T Switzer/Icon SMI

Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL)

Colorado could use another big, strapping Swede on its front lines again -- until Peter Forsberg's next NHL comeback, anyway. But seriously, this kid is being compared to guys like Brenden Morrow and Mike Richards, and that's just the kind of player the Avs need -- especially since their trade of Chris Stewart to St. Louis last spring. The Avs are especially thin at left wing, but the rugged Kitchener captain would change some of that. (Central Scouting's take)

3. Florida Panthers

Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Saint John (QMJHL)

None other than Scotty Bowman told SI.com the other day, "I've seen this kid, and he's a heck of a player." Huberdeau had a heck of a playoff run while leading Saint John to the Memorial Cup title and taking MVP honors. A guy like him would help out Florida's bottom-ranked power play, and he's said to be good at the other end of the ice, too. (Central Scouting's take)

4. New Jersey Devils

Adam Larsson
Adam Larsson
Sergei Grits/AP

Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (SEL)

Niedermayer and Stevens are long gone, so rebuilding the defense with this smooth-skating Swede would be a good start. Having played against pros during the last two years, he's readier than most to jump right into the NHL. But is it just me or are his offensive numbers a little underwhelming? One goal and eight assists in 37 games for Skelleftea last season are not exactly Bobby Orr-esque. (European Scouting's take)

5. New York Islanders

Ryan Strome, C, Niagara (OHL)

A 106-point season for Niagara boosted his stock a bit. The Islanders need help at center, so the 6-foot, 185-pounder would be a nice fit some day, perhaps on a line with John Tavares. Rome, NY wasn't built in a day, but Strome would help the beleaguered Isles in their rebuild. (Central Scouting's take)

6. Ottawa Senators

Sean Couturier
Sean Couturier
Leon T Switzer/Icon SMI

Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL)

Ottawa's once-potent offense has seen desertion and attrition in the last couple years, and Couturier would help up the middle. There have been some concerns about his skating, but he proved he can score at the junior level -- with 96 points each of the last two seasons. (Central Scouting's take)

7. Winnipeg To-Be-Nameds

Mika Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden (SEL)

Welcome back to the 'Peg, first of all. Second, you'll enjoy watching this good-sized Swede as the years progress. He might be the best skater in the draft, both in speed and power. He opened many scouts' eyes with a strong showing for Sweden in the under-18 World Junior championships with seven goals and 13 points in nine games. (European Scouting's take)

8. Philadelphia Flyers (via Columbus)

Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener (OHL)

The Flyers' big trades notwithstanding, this team could use someone who has the fast-skating, offensive skills that Murphy can provide from the blueline. Let's face it, Chris Pronger isn't getting any younger, and Philly's power play was exposed in the playoffs without him. Murphy would help fix that for the future. (Central Scouting's take)

9. Boston Bruins (via Toronto)

Dougie Hamilton
Dougie Hamilton
Leon T Switzer/Icon SMI

Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL)

Another member of our 2011 All-Name Team, this 6-4 blueliner should fit in well with Boston's big, hard-hitting system. He also put up a strong 58 points for Niagara last season. (Central Scouting's take)

10. Minnesota Wild

Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)

The Wild desperately needs scoring after finishing in the bottom half of the league in goals in each of the last 10 seasons. That's a decade's worth of popgun offense. A 38-goal, 95-point producer for Saint John, Phillips will help remedy that matter. (Central Scouting's take)

 
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