NHL Entry Draft 2011: Top Available Prospects Headed By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog

Edmonton is expected to select Canada native Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft from the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota.

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NHL Entry Draft 2011: Top Available Prospects Headed By Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog

As tonight’s first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft gets ready to take place, the Edmonton Oilers are on the clock and widely speculated to take center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Outside of that, however, and prospect lists begin to vary with the second overall selection — one belonging to the Colorado Avalanche. That means plenty of intrigue awaits fans from each franchise as they guess who their team might add.

Defenseman Adam Larsson is the next name on the list at ESPN.com in terms of best overall talent available, and they praise his skating and size. Other sites are high on right wing Gabriel Landeskog. But as Fox Sports’ Patrick Donnelly writes, even Nugent-Hopkins isn’t a sure thing headed into tonight: “Unlike last year, when Edmonton also had the first pick and selected forward Taylor Hall, there’s not a slam-dunk top choice in this group of prospects.”

SB Nation’s Jimmy Rixner
believes Nugent-Wilson will head to the Oilers, but has center/wing Jonathan Huberdeau headed to the Avalanche with the second pick. Rixner has Larsson headed to the New Jersey Devils at No. 4 overall, a scenario that he calls a “dream” for the Devils if it plays out that way.

The world will know soon enough as the fates of franchises are in play tonight and several young men will find themselves smiling as they hear their name called.

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NHL Entry Draft 2011: First Round Schedule, TV Times, Radio Information, Draft Order

The 49th NHL Entry Draft is slated for this evening and throughout the day tomorrow, coming at an ideal time with renewed interest in the league given the rebirth of the Winnipeg Jets and the new NHL deal with ESPN. As with any draft, there’s plenty of drama and intrigue as well as the excitement of adding new talent to each franchise. Without any further ado, here’s the lowdown you’ll need to know heading into the first round.

The draft is being held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota and the first round begins in less than an hour at 7pm ET/6pm CT. Rounds 2-7 play out tomorrow beginning at 11:30am ET and continuing throughout the afternoon. Television coverage is limited to those cable subscribers with access to Versus in the U.S. while TSN will carry it in Canada.

Additional radio coverage can be heard on NHL Radio. A press release from NHL notes that the station involves "XM channel 92 and Sirius Premier (formerly known as “The Best of XM”) channel 207." You can also keep track at NHL.com.

Here’s the official order for the first round:

2011 NHL Entry Draft First Round Order:
1. Edmonton Oilers
2. Colorado Avalanche
3. Ottawa Senators
4. New Jersey Devils
5. New York Islanders
6. Florida Panthers
7. Winnipeg Jets
8. Philadelphia Flyers (from Columbus)
9. Boston Bruins (from Toronto)
10. Minnesota Wild
11. Colorado Avalanche (from 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 (from Los Angeles)
20. Phoenix Coyotes
21. Ottawa Senators (from Nashville)
22. Anaheim Ducks
23. Pittsburgh Penguins
24. Detroit Red Wings
25. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Philadelphia)
26. Washington Capitals
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
28. San Jose Sharks
29. Vancouver Canucks
30. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston)

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NHL Entry Draft 2011 Preview: Edmonton Oilers Are On The Clock

Friday marks the beginning of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft from Minnesota, where the Edmonton Oilers have the first overall choice in this year's draft. It is widely believed that the Oilers will use the first pick on Canada native, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The young 18-year-old from British Columbia played this past season with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, in which he lead the league in assists, while finishing fourth in points scored.

Last season Edmonton also have the first overall selection, which they used on left-winger Taylor Hall. During his rookie campaign Hall netted 22 goals to goal along with 20 assists in 65 games played. He notched his first career hat trick on March 3rd in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After finishing the season 30-44-8, the Colorado Avalanche find themselves in the rare position of an early selection as they will have the second overall pick on Friday.

Another interesting team to follow is the new Winnipeg franchise, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers. The new Winnipeg team will be selecting seventh overall.

Among American players, the top overall player is likely Michigan State goalie John Gibson. At just 17 years old, the Pittsburgh native was a member of the United States Under-18 National team this past season, where he also picked up the Dave Peterson award, which is given to the top American goaltender as presented by USA Hockey.

As stated the draft begins on Friday at 6 CST on Versus and the NHL Network and will run through Saturday with seven rounds being selected.

The first 10 picks of the evening are as follows-

1. Edmonton Oilers

2. Colorado Avalanche

3. Florida Panthers

4. New Jersey Devils

5. New York Islanders

6. Ottawa Senators

7. Winnipeg (unnamed team as of now)

8. Philadelphia Flyers

9. Boston Bruins

10. Minnesota Wild

The Avalanche also own the 11th selection, while Edmonton also owns a second pick in the top 20, their second selection being the 19th pick.

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