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.