Top 20 Americans for the 2011 Draft

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by AmericanDream, Jun 23, 2011.

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  1. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    I usually do a top 30 to 60 list every year involving all players eligible for the NHL draft, and another top 30 list of just US players. I havent seen the amount of games this year that I have had in previous years so I wont do an overall top 30-60, so instead I will focus on the top 20 American players eligible for the 2011 draft.

    I am pretty much listing these guys in the order that I feel they should get drafted, so I pretty much am going by overall talent and progression. This list has nothing to do with a mock draft and I am not a big stat follower as well. It isnt a perfect science, but it is just my opinion where I see these kids going in the draft. I also am throwing a draft range next to them as this is a ballpark window where I see them at.

    Keith Allen of USA Today feels that as many as 8 Americans can go in the first round this year, and I am pretty much right there with him as no less then 6 and no more then 9 will go in the first round.

    Here is my list, thanks

    1. Rocco Grimaldi F - USNDP - (10-20)
    Easily my favorite player for this draft! This dynamo is clearly in the top 2-3 as far as most skilled and gifted players in this draft. We all know his size concerns, but as most scouts and gm's are finding out, this isnt a concern, it could be a benefit. He is so sturdy and strong on his skates, and he has always had to learn how to battle each game and not coast on their size like bigger players have. Grimaldi is a tireless wrecking ball that isnt afraid of traffic. He may try to do too much at times, but there really is nothing to knock the kid on outside of size with the passion, heart, and skills that he poses.

    Future - First Line NHLer

    2. Jamie Oleksia D - Northeastern (10-20)
    Like Grimaldi there is so much to like from Oleksiak. Oleksiak is a dual citizen who has an American father and has played for the US and in the US the past 4-5 years. He is a 6'7 240lb behemoth that can actually skate and pass the puck. If McIlrath can go top 10 last year, there is really no reason why Jamie cant do the same with an even more enticing overall package then McIlrath.

    Future - Top Pairing Dman

    3. Tyler Biggs F - USNDP (15-25)
    Biggs has been a player that has gone up and down on peoples lists the past year. There are a lot that say Biggs wont be a scorer at the NHL level, and though who knows how that turns out, it really isnt that big of an issue with the overall package Biggs gives you. The kid is pro ready right now. Physically and mentally. He is as strong as an ox on his skates and is not afraid to seek and destroy anyone on the ice. He is very similar to Keith Tkachuk at the same age, but I dont know if he will equal the goal scoring of Walt. Still a very safe prospect that someone will grab in the 15-20 range.

    Future - 2nd - 3rd line winger

    4. J.T Miller F - USNDP (15-25)
    Like Biggs, Miller has size and strength that many scouts love. He also has solid hands and vision as well. He doesnt project as an elite scorer, but many have compared him to a young Ryan Kesler and that makes sense. Kesler didnt light the world on fire at 18 either, but the traits and intangibles that he did have made him a solid NHLer in any capacity which is similar to Miller. If Miller raises the bar in scoring like Kesler did, then the future will be extremely bright for the future Fighting Sioux.

    Future - 2nd -3rd line winger

    5. Connor Murphy D - USNDP (20-30)
    The thing with Murphy is we really havent seen his full potential. Injured for the better parts of 2 plus seasons, this kid is that extreme wild card pick that many services have as a late first rounder as it stands. Imagine if this kid played all year long? Possible top 10 pick with his size, skating, and ability. I dont think he will be an offensive force or a pure shutdown dman, Connor has that perfect combination of skill and grit that will make him a very capable two way defender. We need a few healthy years out of coming up, but the sky is the limit for this ultra talented rearguard.

    Future - 2nd pairing dman, possible top pairing

    6. Brandon Saad F - Saginaw (15-25)
    I might be a bit down on Saad and you might ask why someone who could go top 15 is behind Murphy who is a top 20 and beyond pick, but it is my list so back off!! I think Saad has all the skills in the world to be a top 10 pick and the scouts know this. They also know his drive and mental toughness are lacking at times. The kid cant coast on talent alone, he needs to work and fight for things. He reminds me of a Drew Stafford almost to a T; so gifted but takes too many nights off though some has to be due to injury.

    Future not sure, 1st line forward if puts it together

    7. Shane McColgan - F Kelowna (20-45)
    Shane is still a player that I think someone is going to surprise everyone and pick very high. Shane had health issues for much of the beginning of the year which really took a toll on him and his performance. It isnt easy trying to come back from mono or illnesses similar to that. McColgan absolutely destroyed the WHL in the playoffs, something that gm's didnt take lightly. If there is a team drafting in that 20-30 range looking for a homerun with plenty of depth in their system (Detroit perhaps) this is the kid. Ultra skilled yet on the smaller side, McColgan does bring an edge to the game that was missing in previous years.

    Future 1st line star/2nd line star or nothing imo

    8. Stefan Noesen - F Plymouth (25-40)
    Noesen is one of those kids that has risen very highly this year due to a combination of grit, skill, and size. He was also one of the more consistent performers night in and night out in the OHL. You know what you are getting from this kid each and every game, and though he doesnt have the sexy outlook scoring wise of some others, his style of game makes him almost a lock as an NHL player someday. The kid has heart and is a leader all things that will make his transition to the pros even easier to handle.

    Future 2nd line winger at peak, 3rd line player career

    9. Scott Mayfield - D Youngstown (25-40)
    Many of these players are going to get that 25-45 range because that is where many will honestly fall. Mayfield is no exception. He once was looking like a top 15 pick, but playing huge minutes on a crappy USHL team might have hurt his ranking some. The great thing is he is a 6'4 mobile defensemen with offensive skills. And he is also heading to Denver where I feel he will blossom into that two way star we think he can be. Very much a low risk high reward player imo, the kid does many things right to carve out a nice NHL career.

    Future 2nd pairing dman peak, 4th-5th dman

    10. Joseph LaBate - F Holy Angels (25-45)
    I really like the way this kid plays the game. I also love the huge 6'4 frame that he will have plenty of time to fill out at Wisconsin next year. Joseph is being compared to Nick Bjugstad in certain regards and that is very much positive. Still very raw and growing, LaBate could turn out to be a 6'5 220lb power forward in the NHL, and what team wouldnt want that?

    Future 2nd -3rd line power forward peak, or career AHLer/NHL 4th liner

    11. Mario Lucia - F Wayzata (25-45)
    Mario is another of those US highschoolers (like LaBate) that has size, skill, and so much promise. It is hard to jusge these highschool kids, but Lucia brings a power game and solid frame to the ice already. He may not top out as a high end scorer, but the kid should be a safe bet to make the pros in some capacity imo. Hopefully headed to Notre Dame this fall, Lucia has all the skills to be a very high end player one day. Son of University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia.

    Future 3rd-4th line NHLer

    12. Matt Nieto F - Boston University (25-40)
    Matt is another one of those skilled forwards that dropped on many scouts lists this year. To be fair, playing for BU isnt the easiest thing to do as a true freshman, and Nieto had some ups and downs. He did finish the season strong which should put him back in the first round possible contingent. There is a lot to like from Nieto, a player that reminds me a lot of Jason Zucker. Responsible on both ends of the ice, with exceptional vision and offensive ability. Needs to grow some, but has 3 more years of college hockey to do so.

    Future 2nd line winger at peak , 3rd liner/AHLer

    13. Colin Jacobs F - Seattle (30-45)
    Colin was once a top 5 pick for this draft two years back. His play in the WHL has cemented the fact that this kid is tough and unafraid to fight for his teammates. Saddly I think he sacrificed his offensive abilities over those other intangibles. Colin has much more ability then the 20 goal 20 assist year he did produce and that is what frustrates many. Hopefully next year he comes out of his shell and takes up much more of the offensive load for Seattle.

    Future 3rd line at peak , 4th line AHLer

    14. Adam Clendening D - Boston University (30-45)
    Adam is an ultra skilled defenseman who like Nieto found it hard to get an early rhythem as a freshman. Adam did show off his high end vision and skills this year. He has all the makings of a top pairing power play quarterback in the NHL. But his lack of size and grit will make his overall play a question. Positive signs are in Chicago with Nick Leddy and his play in the NHL. Clendening has the skill to be a solid NHLer, the rest needs to catch up however.

    Future top pairing power play qb , or bust

    15. Seth Ambroz F - Omaha (35-50)
    Ambroz was another of those highly touted Americans from 2 years ago that has dropped (Ambroz, Saad, McColgan, Jacobs, Nieto. etc). I dont blame all of it on Ambroz and a lack of skill, I actually think Ambroz learned how to play on both sides of the ice, sacrificed his personal numbers to be a part of a team, and actually comes out an overall better player for it. He may never be what we all hoped he would become, and going to Minnesota could further dampen that, but Ambroz still has an amazing skill set and package that most scouts covet. The kid actually plays physical, and dont listen to the people that only see you tube videos, Ambroz plays very physical every game.

    Future possible 1st line power forward , or 4th liner/AHLer

    16. Reid Boucher F - USNDP (35-50)
    All this kid has done is score at every level and tournament he has been at. He continually gets underrated on here and continues to get underrated on my list as well. I know his 5'9 frame scares some people off, but the results cant be hid. This kid is a scorer and a clutch one at that. I think we have only seen the beginning from Reid Boucher, and I think he will find his way into the NHL at some point over his career.

    Future 2nd line winger peak, 4th liner/AHLer

    17. Vincent Trocheck F - Saginaw (40-55)
    Vince was a skilled forward that played with a lot of edge this season. Vince drops on many lists because of size and many who feel he will not be an elite scorer. I think he has the traits to be a very pesky two way forward that can carve a nice NHL career out of his abilities. He still has room to grow, and if he does get a bit tougher and stronger, then this kid could be a real sleeper.

    Future 2nd line winger peak, 4th line energy player/AHLer

    18. Shane Prince F - Ottawa (40-50)
    Prince is a player that I have been up and down on a lot this year. There was plenty of points this year where I felt he was a top 30 lock. As it stands now I just dont know. The kid has the offensive skills to be a very high end pick, but he fizzled out a bit towards the end of the year and the playoffs which makes me rethink a few things. It will be a tough road to climb for the smaller Prince, but he does have the heart and passion to overcome it. He is another extreme wildcard here that could turn out to be a great NHLer.

    Future 2nd liner or bust

    19. Michael Mersch F - Wisconsin (40-65)
    The very underrated Mersch has quietly gone about his business this year and has produced at a very high and unexpected pace this year for Wisconsin. He really does play a power two way game and has all the traits to be an NHLer. His skating has room to grow, and though not a sniper per se, the kid does find the back of the net. He could be the best player to come out of the NCAA this draft if he continues to impress.

    Future 3rd-4th line NHLer -peak , AHLer


    20. Robbie Russo D - USNDP (45 -65)
    Robbie has dropped a bit on many lists as well this year and we all might regret ranking him as low as we have or currently are. Russo is such a smooth skating defender that he almost makes the transition game look too easy. He gets knocked a bit for a lack of physicality and that his offensive numbers should have been better. But from January on, I think this kid was the best defender for the US and that includes Connor Murphy. I might have Russo way too low, but as it stands, the ball is in his court next year to prove us wrong.

    Future reliable 4th-5th dman

    That is my top 20, and man was that tough! There will be around 20 Americans taken in the first 60-65 picks this year, with a possible record setting second round number. This was harder to rank then I thought.

    Just missing the cut: All of these kids should get drafted at the 50-140 range

    Nick Shore - F - Denver
    Jake McCabe - D- USNDP
    Andy Welinski - D - Green Bay
    Sean Kuraly - F - Indiana
    Mike Reilly - D - Shattuck St Mary
    Zac Larraza - F - USNDP
    Keegan Lowe - D - Edmonton
    Colton St Clair - F -Fargo
    Michael Paliotta - D - USNDP
    Colin Sullivan - D - Avon Farms
    T.J Tynan - F - Notre Dame
    Steve Fogarty - F - Edina
    Adam Reid - F - USNDP
    Max Everson - D -Edina
    Austin Czarnick - F - Green Bay
    Matt Killian - D - Delbarton
    Garret Haar - D - Fargo
    Craig Duinick - D - Windsor


    I did not include goalies as John Gibson and Matt McNeely are the top 2 goalies for the US imo. Gibson is a possible 1st round pick, with McNeely a possile top 4 round pick as well.

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  2. cleverusername

    cleverusername Registered User

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    The upside about Nieto and Clendening is that they got a lot better as the season went on because they were earning more playing time. Parker never really has been a fan of giving freshmen icetime unless he sees something he really likes, so it was nice to see these two rise up.
     
  3. IkeaMonkey*

    IkeaMonkey* Guest

    Still gotta disagree with the last line. His "physical" side is not "on" every game. I've seen him skirt in a number of games.

    Good "future" prediction though.
     
  4. Rabid Ranger

    Rabid Ranger 2 is better than one

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    I still see Ambroz as at least a 2nd round pick. Some team is going to bank on being able to light a fire under him.
     
  5. IkeaMonkey*

    IkeaMonkey* Guest

    Probably. I just hope it's not Washington anywhere in there.
     
  6. HockeyGuy1975

    HockeyGuy1975 Registered User

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    Thanks for making the list, Dream.

    I would also add Chase Balisy. You have mentioned him on a number of occassions and maybe you inadvertantly left him off the honorable mention list. I would like to see him get drafted. If Tynan gets drafted (which I don't see happening), then I have to think that Balisy goes ahead of him.

    I think your too low on Nieto and Prince. I would project both ahead of McColgan, Ambroz, and Lucia. I watched a bunch of BU games this season and I was almost always impressed even in games he didn't put up any points. Consistency is an issue, but that is often the case with young kids. I think he projects to be a Flippula-type of player. I also think Prince is a better prospect than some of the guys you have ahead of him.

    You are overrating the tiny and the large guys. :laugh: Grimaldi and McColgan (tiny) and Biggs, Ambroz, Oleksiak, and Mayfield (large).
     
  7. S E P H

    S E P H @SEPH_WHL

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    Good read! Surprised you have McColgan over Noesen.
     
  8. mnwildfan79

    mnwildfan79 Registered User

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    :shakehead

    Garth Snow, is that you?
     
  9. massivegoonery

    massivegoonery Registered User

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    Nieto is slippery, I like him a lot.
     
  10. Grant McCagg

    Grant McCagg @duhduhduh

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    20 Americans in the top 60? I'd say that's probably a little high.

    These guys are questionable top 60 picks....may go a little later

    McColgan
    Labate
    Ambroz
    Boucher
    Mersch
    Jacob

    I don't see all those guys going in the second round..perhaps one or two of them, but certainly not all six. McColgan will likely be a third or fourth rounder.

    We'll know by noon tomorrow...but I'd guess about 15 Americans are selected in the top 60. Not sure you can consider both Lowe and Oleksiak to be American... one grew up in Canada and the other was born in Canada...can't have it both ways. :)
     
  11. cagney

    cagney cdojdmccjajgejncjaba

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    The depth is good and there were some nice surprise risers, but there are a lot of guys I expected much more from.
     
  12. Stanleyjub

    Stanleyjub Registered User

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    1st Round:

    Rocco Grimaldi
    Brandon Saad

    2nd Round:
    John Gibson
    Connor Murphy
    Stefan Noesen
    Scott Mayfield
    Mario Lucia
    Matthew Nieto
    Reid Boucher
    Adam Clendening
    Robbie Russo

    3rd round:
    Seth Ambroz
    Vincent Trocheck
    Joseph LaBate
    Nick Shore
    Colin Jacobs
    Shane McColgan
    Mike Reilly
    Sean Kuraly
    Michael Mersch

    =also 20 :)
    Based on my mock draft these will be taken in first three rounds :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  13. HockeyGuy1975

    HockeyGuy1975 Registered User

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    And Tynan goes Round 3 Overall 66. Congrats to him.

    Glad to Clendening and Nieto go early in the second round.

    EDIT: John Gaudreau goes Round 4 Overall 104. This has to be a surprise. Kid is smaller than Grimaldi, but perhaps as talented.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  14. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    all I can say is wow! this is one dissapointing draft for USA Hockey. All the experts within USA Hockey and other scouting services and writers including Kevin Allen all expected a pretty huge 2nd and third round from USA Hockey. That really didnt happen. I never even heard half of these names getting drafted from European countries and some of the lessor known OHL and QMJHL kids over some of the higher ranked US kids.

    this usually goes in cycles for USA Hockey where they have one or two good drafts followed by a weak one or two, but this is crazy considering the draft we just had last year.

    On a positive note, 5 Americans were taken in the first round, and most if not all were taken ahead of where most mocks and scouting service mocks had the first American going. All 5 Americans getting drafted before pick #23 isnt too shabby.

    And to many of those kids that went the CHL route over the USNDP and NCAA hockey, maybe they might be second guessing that right now. Most of them have fallen off pretty hard.

    The USNDP is the savior again, and those questioning this program need not look further then the results from this draft.

    As for Seth Ambroz and Shane McColgan I really have no clue why a team isnt taking a pick on them. St Croix dropped very hard from Edmonton but TJ Tynan rose up very high with a smaller stature as well, so not sure whats going on here.

    John Gaudreau is a great kid and glad to see him getting picked, very crafty player. Still waiting for McColgan, Ambroz, Everson, Killian, St Clair, Duinick, Balisy, etc to get picked.

    I also cant believe how low LaBate went, this kid is going to be a steal, and Vancouver will really be happy they selected him where they did.
     
  15. IkeaMonkey*

    IkeaMonkey* Guest

    St Clair wasn't even close to the same after his leg injury. I heard he impressed at the combine, but man, he was not half the player after he came back.
     
  16. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    to be fair, I did say top 65.

    I was also going by what many in USA Hockey were predicting as well as some very knowledgable writers were stating as well.

    I consider the player a part of the country they represent, not where they are born. All of Lukas Sutter, Keegan Lowe, and Jamie Oleksiak represented the US previously, so therefore I put them as Americans. If I went the other way, then Sean Couturier would be American as he was born here....not doing that.
     
  17. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    that may be true, but you cant draft just off an injury, the kid was easily one of the most gifted players in the USHL asd I figured he would go no later then the 4th round.

    this is a very shocking draft for USA Hockey that really does bother me considering all the high end kids we had barely 2 years back.

    the 2012 draft looks like a monster draft for USA Hockey, but the way this has gone I dont think I can be that optimistic right now with how many players faded in a years time of the draft.
     
  18. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    yeah it wasnt easy and looks even more foolish now with the fall of McColgan, but as I stated I made this list off of projection and talent, and I firmly believe McColgan has the skills to be a better player then Noesen, just not sure he gets the chance to sadly at this point.

    pretty shocked that Michael St Croix went as low as he did as well. The trio of RNH, McColgan, and St Croix was an amazing group of skilled undersized players that only RNH goes high in the draft from the WHL?? I think the Rangers got a stud in St Croix, and whoever gets McColgan will as well.
     
  19. IkeaMonkey*

    IkeaMonkey* Guest

    Having seen the kid about 70 times... I don't agree at all. His shot is a laser and he plays tough, but he didnt even have the wheels PRE injury. His hockey sense is merely average if not lower. He's a good kid and a good leader, but he's not much of a prospect.
     
  20. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    YEAHHHHHH!!

    AMBROZ and McColgan finally picked!!!

    how the mighty have fallen. both 5th round picks with Columbus and the Rangers taking them respectively.

    I love what the Rangers have done getting St Croix and McColgan, they might have landed two kids that can produce as steals in the 4th and 5th rounds.

    has to be tough to swallow for these two kids that were predicted as top 10 talents barely a year and a half ago.
     
  21. ecemleafs

    ecemleafs Registered User

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    we'll just take both of them ;)
     
  22. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    his offensive skills were better then anyone from the USHL outside of maybe Gaudreau for his draft class imo. you have seen him more then me, but I always came away impressed with St Clair. He is one of those kids that will go to college and could turn out into a Joe Pavelski type two way star....nobody thought much of Joe Pa either in his draft year, and the same will hold true with St Clair imo.
     
  23. IkeaMonkey*

    IkeaMonkey* Guest


    If you are taking team USA out of the equation, I guess I could get behind that.
     
  24. AmericanDream

    AmericanDream Adopted Canadian

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    that is what I meant, not including team USA.

    oh well, no point in arguing over any of this as it seems plenty to be upset with for USA Hockey this draft.

    though draft rankings are meaningless, I hope many of these kids step up and truly prove a lot of people wrong within a year or two.

    I like the way Merrill stepped up this year and stated how he should have been a top 20 pick.

    I like how Drew Shore and Jeremy Morin played amazingly the past year as well making them look like steals...

    anything can happen and where you got drafted means nothing, lets hope these kids step up and become pro players which is the major point in this whole thing.
     

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