June 21st, 2011 by

2011 NHL Draft Preview

Could Ryan Murphy be the newest Boston Bruins defensemen?

As the Bruins and their fans continue to celebrate the Bruins Stanley Cup Championship, the coaching staff and front office have now flipped the page to the 2011-12 Boston Bruins as the 2011 NHL Entry Draft begins Friday night.

The Boston Bruins will have picks 9 (1st round) 40 (2nd round) 81 (3rd round) 121 (4th round) 151 (5th round) and 181 (6th round) in this year’s draft. The Bruins, who had two first round draft picks at the start of the season, sent their first round pick (30th overall) to Toronto in the Tomas Kaberle deal.

Here is a brief look at the top 10 prospects in this year’s class according to TSN, and who I think the Bruins may take with the ninth overall pick.

Name: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Team: Red Dear Rebels (WHL-Canada)
Position: Center
Height/Weight: 6-1 170lbs

Nugent-Hopkins has been picked by many experts to be the number one overall pick in this year’s draft and join a group of talented young forwards in Edmonton. Nugent-Hopkins led the WHL is assists (75) and was fourth in points (106). The only knock on Nugent-Hopkins is in order for him to succeed in the NHL; he’s going to need to bulk up in order to compete with NHL defensemen.

Name: Adam Larsson
Team: Skelleftea HC (SEL- Sweden)
Position: Defensemen
Height/Weight: 6-3 200lbs

Larsson only had nine points in 37 games for Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League, but it’s his stay at home physical play that has gotten him ranked this high. Larsson has represented Sweden in the past two World Junior Championships, and led the team in points by a defenseman in the tournament as Sweden took home the bronze medal in 2010.

Name: Jonathan Huberdeau
Team: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL- Canada)
Position: Center
Height/Weight: 6-1 168lbs

Huberdeau finished third in the QMJHL with 105 points. Huberdeau dominated the playoffs with 16 goals, and was named the 2011 Memorial Cup MVP after his Saint John Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup. Huberdeau set franchise records with the Sea Dogs in points, and assists. Scouts have said his hands and playmaking ability have him NHL ready.

Name: Gabriel Landeskog
Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL- Canada)
Position: Left Wing
Height/Weight: 6-0 207lbs

Landeskog suffered an ankle injury in the World Junior Championship and the injury shortened his season to just 53 games, but the Stockholm Sweden native still managed to lead Kitchener with 36 goals, and a plus-27 rating. Experts and scouts have said Landeskog is a guaranteed future NHL Captain. He is the first ever European born player to captain the Kitchener Rangers.

Name: Sean Couturier
Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL-Canada)
Position: Center
Height/Weight: 6-4 195lbs

With 96 points in 58 games for Drummondville, Couturier was named QMJHL MVP. Couturier also had 96 points during the 2009-10 QMJHL season. Labeled as a top two-way-center Couturier has been compared to Jason Allison, but with better defensive skills. Couturier was the youngest and only draft-eligible-player on team Canada during the 2011 World Junior Championship where he won a silver medal.

Name: Dougie Hamilton
Team: Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL-Canada)
Position: Defensemen
Height/Weight: 6-4 193lbs

Hamilton finished fourth in the OHL in defensemen scoring with 58 points in 67 games. Hamilton comes from an athletic family as both his parents have Olympic gold medals. Scouts Say Hamilton is excellent at breaking the puck out of the zone, and hitting the outlet passes. He is smart with the puck, and is not afraid to throw his big body around.

Name: Ryan Strome
Team: Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL-Canada)
Position: Center
Height/Weight: 6-0 180lbs

In his second season in the OHL, Strome enjoyed a league best 79-point-improvement, and was voted Most Improved Player. Strome also tied with Bruins prospect Ryan Spooner for the Best Stickhandler Award. Strome’s 106 point season was good enough for third in the OHL. Strome, who still needs seasoning in the OHL, is expected to be a point-per-game player in the NHL.

Name: Ryan Murphy
Team: Kitchener Rangers (OHL- Canada)
Position: Defensemen
Height/Weight: 5-11 176lbs

The smallest defensemen in the class, but the most talented offensive defensemen is Ryan Murphy. Murphy led all defensemen and set an all-time Canadian record with 13 points in the Under-18 Championship for Team Canada. Murphy was first in the OHL in defensemen scoring with 79 points (26 goals). Murphy’s size and weight is what hurts him the most. Murphy has been compared to a smaller, but more offensively talented Mike Green.

Name: Mika Zibanejad
Team: Djurgarden (SEL- Sweden)
Position: Center
Height/Weight: 6-2 191lbs

Zibanejad the top European forward registered nine points in 26 games for Djurgarden after being called up from the Sweden Junior league. Zibanejad really showed his talents during the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge when he represented Team Sweden. Zibanejad ripped through the tournament with nine points (five goals) in six games as he helped Sweden take home a bronze medal.

Name: Jonas Brodin
Team: Farjestad (SEL- Sweden)
Position: Defensemen
Height/Weight: 6-1 165lbs

Brodin didn’t put up much offensive numbers in the SEL, but his skills in his own end, and talent on the penalty kill is what will get drafted in the early parts of the first round. He has been compared to a young Niklas Lidstrom, but his offensive game needs to improve in order for him to come close to that honor.

With the ninth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, the Boston Bruins select…

By the way things look with the first eight picks, I am expecting the Bruins to draft Ryan Murphy if he is still there. With the depth the Bruins have at both the NHL and AHL levels at the forward position, a defenseman may be the way to go.

Although Murphy lacks size you want in a defensemen, he has tremendous talent. In his time in the OHL, Murphy has been a power play expert, quarterbacking the Kitchener Rangers power play. With it looking like Marc Savard may never suit up for the Bruins again, Murphy could be that power play spark the black and gold so desperately need.

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