NHL

McKenzie: Nugent-Hopkins tops TSN's Top 10 draft rankings

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Bob McKenzie
4/12/2011 8:15:31 PM
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There's a new name atop the leaderboard in TSN's Top 10 rankings, draft lottery edition.

Red Deer Rebel centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has knocked Swedish defenceman Adam Larsson from the top spot.

TSN surveyed 10 NHL scouts last week to get an up-to-date consensus on where things currently stand for the prospects vying to be No. 1 overall in the 2011 NHL entry draft.

Nugent-Hopkins received six of 10 first-place votes, with a pair of Swedes, Larsson and Kitchener Ranger captain Gabriel Landeskog, getting two apiece.

Larsson, who received five first-place votes to be No. 1 on TSN's Mid-Season Top 30 rankings in early January, is now No. 2 on the Draft Lottery edition of the rankings, just ahead of the No. 3 man, Landeskog.

At this point, they appear to be the only three prospects getting serious consideration to be the first overall selection in the draft.

Saint John Sea Dog centre Jonathan Huberdeau is No. 4, with a bullet, having moved up from No. 9 on our mid-season list. There's a lot of buzz about Huberdeau's dynamic offensive play and the longer his team plays, the more buzz there will be.

Drummondville centre Sean Couturier, who went from being tied for No. 1 (with Larsson) in September to No. 4 on the January list, has now slipped ever so slightly from No. 4 to No. 5.

While there has been much talk about Couturier's fall from grace, the scouts we talked to suggest reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. While it's true he doesn't appear to be the mix to legitimately challenge for first overall, two of the 10 scouts we surveyed still had him in their top three, seven of 10 have him solidly in the top 5, including four scouts who still ranked him ahead of Huberdeau.

Niagara Ice Dog offensive centre Ryan Strome remains at No. 6 and is considered a threat to be a Top 5 selection in June.

Strome's Ice Dog teammate, defenceman Dougie Hamilton, is No. 7, down two spots from our January list. Hamilton is the seventh and final prospect who was on every scouts' Top 10 ballot.

Kitchener Ranger offensive defenceman Ryan Murphy is No. 8 this around, down just one slot from the TSN mid-season evaluation.

Saskatoon Blade defenceman Duncan Siemens jumped from No. 11 to No. 9 on this list.

The 10th spot goes to Swedish centre Mika Zibanejad, who was No. 19 in January.

Siemens and Zibanejad's inclusion in the top 10 came at the expense of Saginaw winger Brandon Saad and U.S. Under-18 power forward Tyler Biggs, who were eighth and 10, respectively, in January.

Both Saad and Biggs received some Top 10 consideration this time around but not enough to keep Siemens and Zibanejad from moving up.

TSN's final rankings for the 2011 NHL entry draft will be released in the week leading up to the June 24th draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Photo: Red Deer Rebels)

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(Photo: Red Deer Rebels)
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