2011 Draft Ranking Part 2
You can read the first portion of our draft ranking here
We’ve already covered our official 1-10, let’s plow forward and examine 11-20 on our way to covering all of 2011’s top 50 eligible players.
11. Sven Baertschi – LW – Portland (WHL) – 5’10 – 181lbs – Shoots L – Oct. 5, 1992
At the start of the season, Baertschi was pegged as a guy who would most likely go in the first 3 rounds of the draft. Capping off an impressive rookie season with an amazing playoff run, consensus has shifted to believing Baertschi would be a top 5 pick if he was a few inches taller. Baertschi is an impressive puck-handler in all facets of the game, both distributing, dangling, and shooting. He has the speed and stamina to continuously come at the opposing defensive units and displays a great amount of consistency in the spectrum of his offensive game. Couple his puck handling abilities with his already NHL-caliber vision, and you have an excellent play maker with a keen ability to surprise opposing goaltenders and defensive units with great stick-work. Improved consistently as the year wore on and will need to continue to work to round out both his physical game and his defensive zone coverage.
2010/11 WHL Statistics: 66GP – 34G – 51A – 85PTS – 74PIM – +23
12. Duncan Siemens – D – Saskatoon (WHL) – 6’2 – 192lbs – Shoots L – Sept. 7, 1993
While he may be one of the younger players ranked in the top 15, Siemens brings a ton of experience to the table with 148 WHL games already under his belt. Siemens is a huge, mobile defenseman that mixes the best of good one on one defensive ability with mobility and offensive awareness. Siemens has a great skating stride for his size and covers a good bit of area in a short amount of time. He’s extremely physical, will fight, but also commandeers the power-play and creates excellent outlets to his forwards. Extremely difficult to rattle, Siemens has been the beneficiary of playing on some really great Saskatoon teams with defensive experts like Stefan Elliot around to tutor him. He does have a tendency to make mental errors in his own zone and over-handle the puck in high-risk areas, but continues to improve as he ages. He has shown marked improvement year over year.
2010/11 WHL Statistics: 72GP – 5G – 38A – 43PTS – 121PIM – +40
13. Jamieson Oleksiak – D – Northeastern (NCAA) – 6’7 – 244lbs – Shoots L – December 21, 1992
You didn’t read the size wrong here, Jamieson Oleksiak rings in at a whopping 6’7 and 244lbs. What will surprise you the most with this youngster is how mobile he is for that size. While he doesn’t blaze up and down the ice, he’s extremely adept on his feet and proved at the combine that he’s a physical workhorse in every essence of the game. He’s extremely physical, has a huge wingspan that makes him nearly impossible to beat one on one, and at times, a really nasty edge to his game. The obvious comparison here is a Zdeno Chara or a Tyler Meyers type of a kid. At this time, he does appear to get rattled under pressure and can get caught chasing a bit, but these are coachable issues that should continue to work themselves out as he matures.
2010/11 NCAA Statistics: 34GP – 3G – 9A – 12PTS – 51PIM
14. Mark McNeill – C – Prince Albert (WHL) – 6’1 – 201lbs – Shoots R – Feb. 22, 1993
Mark McNeill plays a solid, pro-style game. He’s an excellent combination of everything you’d want out of a center: a good skater, plays with grit and pride, excellent defensively, and did a lot of great things at Prince Albert this year without a lot of help. McNeill has a blue-collar attitude on the ice and is really intimidating on the forecheck; he regularly opens up space for his linemates with his speed and physicality. He has been accused of battling with bouts of inconsistency this year, but again, he didn’t receive a ton of help on an offensively thin Raiders squad. McNeill has some untapped offensive potential which may sound crazy for a third year WHL forward, but I think talented players around him with a bit more maturity will give him additional confidence with the puck. Projects as a smart, hard-working center that can play both ways.
2010/11 WHL Statistics: 70GP – 32G – 49A – 81PTS – 53PIM – -4
15. Joel Armia – RW – Assat (SM-liiga) – 6’3 – 191lbs – Shoots R – May 31, 1993
Armia burst onto the Finnish Elite League scene at just 17 years old and had a remarkable year. Armia has all the foundations of a future power-forward at the NHL level. Right away he was mixing it up with players much older than him for Assat and did a great job of stepping up his game as the year progressed. He often struggles away from the puck, especially in the defensive zone, but isn’t afraid to mix it up down low and create havoc in the boards with his relentless pressure on offense. Doesn’t have the greatest tools in terms of highlight reel type flash, but has a good shot and a better nose for the net.
2010/11 SM-liiga Statistics: 48GP – 18G -11A – 29PTS – 24PIM +9
16. Mark Scheifele – C – Barrie (OHL) – 6’2 – 182lbs – Shoots R – March 15, 1993
I am personally a huge Mark Scheifele fan. If you love that prototypical, hard-working center, look no further. Scheifele was one of the only bright spots on a poor Barrie team this year, but continuously came to the rink with a smile and an impeccable work ethic. He played the game with a lot of pride and brought the same work ethic shift to shift when others would have quit. He’s the type of forward defensemen hate playing against as he never quits on a puck and pressures the opposing defense with quality forechecking and a great work ethic in front of the net. He has a decent shot, but his vision is his money-maker. Scheifele makes his teammates better and is adept at both ends of the ice. The big knock here is size, as he did get pushed around a bit this past year. He will need to bulk up to make it in the pro game. Another young kid that projects as a solid two-way center.
2010/11 OHL Statistics: 66GP – 22G – 53A – 75PTS – 35PIM – -22
17. Jonas Brodin – D – Farjestads (SEL) – 6’1 – 169lbs – Shoots L – July 12, 1993
Brodin is a 17 year old Swedish Elite League champion and that goes a long way to describing the pedigree this kid has. Brodin isn’t flashy in the traditional sense of the word, but his ability to command his troops into battle, especially as a 1993 birth year prospect, is uncanny. Brodin might have one of the best hockey IQ’s in this class, and although he’s not the biggest player available, he certainly has the strength to be able to compete against men. Brodin’s game is a great combination of a wash-rinse-repeat cycle; check the opposing forward, find open space, distribute the puck north. While that seems simplistic, it’s the basic essence of what is required of NHL defensemen. Brodin has the vision and the IQ to make an impact at the next level but will definitely need to bulk up to play consistently in the NHL.
2010/11 SEL Statistics: 42GP – 0G – 4A – 4PTS – 12PIM – +6
18. Rocco Grimaldi – C – USNTDP – 5’6 – 163lbs – Shoots R – Feb. 8 , 1993
If Rocco Grimaldi was 6’0 he’d be in the top 10 in this draft class, maybe even the top 5. However, that’s the story of Grimaldi’s life. At just 5’6, Grimaldi has the tools and attitude to be a scoring threat at the NHL level, but the size is what sets him apart from his peers. Grimaldi is an excellent skater, extremely strong, and exhibits both smarts and skills on the ice. He is a tenacious forechecker, has a solid shot, great passing ability, and is apt in his own zone. Committed to North Dakota for next season, this polarizing prospect will have the ability to prove at the next level that, despite his size, he can be an effective forward at the next level.
19. Matthew Puempel – LW – Peterborough (OHL) – 6’0 – 196lbs – Shoots L – Jan. 24, 1993
Puempel never got to really close the book on the 2010/11 OHL year, a hip injury just 55 games in sidelined him for the season and required surgery to fix. Had he continued on the pace he was on, he likely would have scored 40 goals this year and been near the top 10 of this ranking. Puempel is a great offensive talent. He’s a smooth, effortless skater, has excellent hands, great balance, and a wicked shot with an easy release. He’s a tenacious forward with a nose for high-traffic areas. His good hands make him prone to over-dangling at times and he does need some refining in his defensive zone .That said, he has great size and isn’t afraid to use it to get into good shooting lanes. Overall, it will be interesting to see how he rebounds from the hip injury, but the offensive tools are there to make him a great scorer at the next level.
2010/11 OHL Statistics: 55GP – 34G – 35A – 69PTS – 49PIM – -33
20. Zack Phillips – F – Saint John (QMJHL) – 6’1 – 178lbs – Shoots R – Oct. 28, 1992
Too much has been made of Phillips playing wing with Jurco and Huberdeau on the same line. In his own right, he is an extremely gifted talent and can play the game without those two on his line. Phillips does need to work on his skating. His hands and shot are good enough that if his skating can improve it will make him a real threat. His vision and hockey sense are keen and he did a great job of converting to wing this year and playing away from his natural position at center. Phillips is adept defensively and has a great penchant for distributing the puck through traffic and getting to those high-scoring areas. Needs to continue to bulk up to be effective at the next level.2010/11 QMJHL Statistics: 67GP – 38G – 57A – 95PTS – 16PIM – +48