2011 NHL Mock Draft: Picks 11-20
June 19, 2011 1 Comment
Joel Armia, RW, Assat (FIN)
There are three players that Colorado could probably consider here, barring a draft-day surprise and that’s Armia, Sven Bartschi, and Duncan Siemens. While the hard-hitting WHL defenseman would be a great addition to Colorado’s young back end, this team needs more depth on the wings for their young centres, and the burly Finnish prospect replaces some of the size lost up front in the Erik Johnson trade. Does he have the same impact as a Chris Stewart? Maybe, maybe not, but Armia has a big 6’2″ frame that he’ll be able to fill out and he’s a goals-first kind of guy that Colorado will need with those playmakers at centre.
12. Carolina Hurricanes
Duncan Siemens, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
Carolina has to be thinking defense with the 12th pick. All signs point to Joni Pitkanen leaving the organization via free agency, and, after already hitting a home run with forward Jeff Skinner last year, the Canes need to shore up their blue line. A tricky decision will have to be made between two-way defenseman Duncan Siemens and towering shutdown defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. If the Canes are looking at Oleksiak, they could trade down three or four spots and he might still be available. However, based on all-around game, Siemens is more complete and has a better offensive upside.
13. Calgary Flames
Brandon Saad, W, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
The Flames bring a workman-like mentality to the ice and the fans laud having physical teams to smash the opposition and Saad fits the bill. He’d give the Flames two big wingers in the system (Greg Nemisz being the other), and he’s a menace on the forecheck, and has good speed and footwork to go with it. Saad has plenty of talent despite slipping from eighth to 19th in the final North American rankings, and along with just missing the 30-goal mark in his first OHL season (27 goals), he also brings an excellent two-way game to Calgary.
14. Dallas Stars
Zack Phillips, C, Saint John (QMJHL)
Expecting to lose Brad Richards on July 1, the Stars need replacement in the middle, and even though they have 2009 first rounder Scott Glennie ready to step in soon, Phillips is an outstanding forward who can both score goals and dish out assists. After winning a Memorial Cup and scoring five points in the process, the Stars will believe Phillips can step in within two years and help rebuild the Dallas organization. He’ll also be a physical presence when he fills out his 6-foot-1 frame. His skating is suspect, but expect it to improve by the time he becomes an NHL regular.
15 New York Rangers
Tomas Jurco, W, Saint John (QMJHL)
The acquisition of Tim Erixon, a former-first round pick of the Calgary Flames, may change what the Rangers target with this pick. While the Rangers have good young centres and hungry young wingers, the raw talent and hands that Jurco brings to the game is too much to pass on. If his game completely transitions to the next level, he’s a game-changer that creates his own space with silky smooth moves. If not, he’ll still be an especially talented piece that might fit on a line with Chris Kreider, a big body that can open up some space for him.
16 Buffalo Sabres
Sven Bartschi, LW, Portland (WHL)
Having fallen very far down the board, the Sabres are an organization that is not afraid to draft an undersized kid with tons of offensive ability. After having great success with guys like Tyler Ennis and Nathan Gerbe, Bartschi will fit right into the Buffalo organization — one that needs more scoring depth. The young Swiss’ 85-point season is plenty to catch the attention of Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff.
17 Montreal Canadiens
Mark Scheifele, C, Barrie (OHL)
Scheifele is a tall, lanky centre that would bring the right attitude to Montreal. Although it wasn’t great from a team standpoint, Scheifele was put in a great position personally this year in Junior, quickly becoming a central piece on a Barrie Colts decimated by loading up for an OHL Championship run in 2010. Scheifele is a player that wants to play each and every day, and along with that he’s got great two-way instincts and can get up and down the ice. When offered the opportunity to showcase his playmaking ability, Schiefele relishes those chances and could end up being a Jordan Staal type: Primarily used in defensive and checking situations, but offensively fluid when needed.
18 Chicago Blackhawks
Tyler Biggs, RW, USNTDP
Ranked as high as eighth overall by some outlets, Biggs is a massive power forward who has already filled out and can most likely step in within a few years. Attending Miami University next season, Biggs has the potential to be a dominant second- or third-line winger – in addition to someone who can play on special teams, both on the power play and penalty kill. Scouts continue to rave about his physicality and his ability to also put up points in crucial moments of the game.
19 Edmonton Oilers (from Los Angeles)
Jamie Oleksiak, D, Northeastern University
With the best centre available at number one overall in the draft, the Oilers can afford to pass on Adam Larsson, and the reason why is that a quality defenseman will slip at some point in the draft to 19. Another option at this pick might be Scott Mayfield, but if the 6’7″ Oleksiak is available, he provides the Oilers with exactly what they need: A big, shut-down body that can be physical against any and all forecheckers. Oleksiak has a very athletic background so don’t expect him to be a stereotypical slow-footed big man; he can move the puck and make his own way up and down the ice.
20 Phoenix Coyotes
Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert (WHL)
With Shane Doan nearing the end of his career, McNeill would be a great replacement. A power forward who put up 81 points for a weak Prince Albert Raiders team, McNeill could go anywhere from 10th overall to early in the second round (some teams are very high on him, while others think there’s too much need for improvement). Regardless, McNeill will be able to settle into a nice second- or third-line role, and once he gains a little more strength, he will be able to challenge for the top center spot on the Coyotes’ roster.
Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.