The 2011 NHL Entry Draft was another very solid draft, which was very tough once again to put my top 10 together. There are quite a few players who just missed the cut.
Zibanejad has become a great trigger-man for the Rangers on the powerplay. Not that great defensively for a center however.
Arguably Edmonton’s best defender. Klefbom has really emerged as an excellent #2 defenseman over the past three seasons, despite some struggles this year.
What a wonderful 7th round pick spent by Steve Yzerman. Palat is a great second line LW who can give you about 50 points per season. Pure consistency throughout Palat’s career.
Another player who has really come on to the scene in the past few seasons. Rakell has become a great scoring threat for Anaheim. I am hesitant to put him higher due to his ridiculous 18% shooting percentage last year, where he scored 33 goals. He is a career 12% shooter. He is a very effective 5 on 5 player as well. 28 of his 33 goals came at 5 on 5 last season.
Landeskog is a solid player who you can rely on for 50-60 points per season. I wouldn’t have taken him second overall however. Looking at his draft season in Kitchner, he only had 66 points in 53 games. Given that is not horrible, but I believe Colorado took him so high for his “leadership qualities” which I am not a fan of.
10.) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
I am a Nugent-Hopkins fan and feel bad he has been in such a bad spot in Edmonton. He has become a third line center which is not a good way to spend a first overall pick. I still feel RNH is a very solid contributor.
9.) Jonathan Huberdeau
Huberdeau is a very solid top-line winger. Injuries have plagued him a little bit throughout his young career unfortunately. When healthy, he has been fantastic alongside Sasha Barkov.
8.) John Gibson
Gibson is a very solid goaltender and I am glad Anaheim is finally fully trusting him. His .921% career save percentage makes it easy for me to slide him in here.
7.) Brandon Saad
One of the best 5 on 5 wingers in the NHL. Of his 118 goals in the NHL, 104 of them are at even strength. He has a career corsi% of 54.7% which is fantastic.
6.) Vincent Trocheck
Trocheck has been a great second line center for Florida behind Barkov. He is fantastic defensively and can give you 20-25 goals and about 50 points.
5.) Dougie Hamilton
Hamilton is a fantastic offensive defenseman. He is effective at both 5 on 5 and being a quarterback on the powerplay.
4.) Sean Couturier
Many people have been very high on Couturier for a very long time. I am one of those people. Couturier is a top Selke candidate each season. He is having his offensive breakout this season alongside Giroux and Voracek. I believe this is his year to take home the Selke Trophy.
3.) Johnny Gaudreau
One of the best offensive wingers in the NHL. Gaudreau is an elite skater and playmaker which has made him one of the NHL’s top scorers in the past four seasons. His ability to draw penalties and stay out of the box is one of my favorite things about him. I love watching Gaudreau and his creative abilities.
2.) Mark Scheifele
Scheifele has been a huge breakout player in the past three seasons. He has become an elite, top line center in the NHL. He is a great producer at 5 on 5 and can hold his own defensively.
1.) Nikita Kucherov
Fun fact: In NHL 13, I always used to do GM mode with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kucherov was a 4 1/2 green star player and I had no idea who he was. He would always become like a 95 overall however. So when he broke into the league, I had always kept a close eye on him. He did become the NHL’s best winger. Kucherov dragged his corpse of a team around the ice last year, almost making the playoffs. He has continued his success this season playing with Steven Stamkos in the middle. The two of them have been the top scoring duo in the NHL this season. He has arguably and even deadlier shot than Stamkos himself, who has been considered to be one of the best pure shooters in the league. Imagine being so good that you turn Steven Stamkos into a playmaker.