Hey yalls, everyone excited for tomorrow as much as I am? The 2011 NHL Draft has already been put as one of the most important in franchised history, so it explains why I've been having nightmares of Bryan Murray going up to the podium and announcing Jamie Oleksiak as his pick. Don't ask why.
Just some quick notes before I go ahead with my mock draft. The schedule for next season was released today, and the Ottawa Senators start off their season in new coach Paul MacLean's old barn, Detroit. This is great news for me as so when Detroit beats Ottawa 7-5 again next season, the pain from my friends and co-workers will be early, no later.
Ottawa also has a brutal strech in the first quarter of the season, going 9 of 10 on the road November 11th to December 3rd. It will be an early test to see what they truly are, that's for sure.
As well, in the draft this weekend, watch out for Max Friberg. Played in the J20 this past season and absolutely blew and tore it apart with Skvode. There are whispers of Patric Hornqvist in his game, and will likely go late second round to early third round pick. Ottawa bound? As well, Expressen released a story today where NHL scouts saw Jonas Brodin (the guy I wrote about about a month ago) going in the Top 10. (!) I had a feeling he would sky-rocket up the rankings, and he absolutely has.
Now, the final Mock Draft! This will be what I think will happen, without trades, and no explanation since every player has been picked and skewered by every hockey expert there is! Here we gooo...
5. New York Islanders: Ryan Murphy (Kitchener Rangers, OHL)
6. Ottawa Senators: Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener Rangers, OHL)
7. Winnipeg Jets/Falcons/Moose/Whiteout: Sean Couturier (Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL)
11. Colorado Avalanche: Joel Armia (Assat, SM-liiga)
13. Calgary Flames: Jamie Oleksiak (Northeastern University, NCAA)
14. Dallas Stars: Jonas Brodin (Farjestad BK, SEL)
16. Buffalo Sabres: Sven Bartschi (Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
18. Chicago Blackhawks: Alex Khokhlachev (Windsor Spitfires, OHL)
19. Edmonton Oilers: Joe Morrow (Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
21. Ottawa Senators: Zack Phillips (Saint John Sea Dogs, QMJHL)
26. Washington Capitals: Vlad Namestnikov (London Knights, OHL)
29. Vancouver Canucks: JT Miller (USNTDP, USHL)
30. Toronto Maple Leafs: Boone Jenner (Oshawa Generals, OHL)
Some notes now. There will be trades. A lot of them. My belief is that Ales Hemsky gets dealt to Flyers (yes, another move) for the 8th pick. Philly can afford Hemsky's paltry contract for just one more year. Secondly, Winnipeg makes a move for a Top Five pick, and they get it. Garth Snow is notorious for moving down, and Winnipeg will want to grab Couts before Ottawa get a chance at him (although he's not the guy Ottawa wants). As well, the Toronto Maple Leafs will move their 25th pick.
The reason I see Lando falling to 6th is because this is a Draft where the Top Five GM's need to make a risky move, and the fact that the Top Five ceilings are higher than Gabriel's prompts them to do that. And I'll make a bold statement now, I think Ottawa trades up to 14th and gives Dallas 21st and a 3rd round pick.