Dobber Hockey's Pre-season Rankings for 2011 Draft
A good read for top 15 for those interested.
However, i question the lack of Ambroz in the top 15.
1. D Adam Larsson (SkellefteŚ, Elitserien)
The 2010-11 season isnít even underway yet and Adam Larsson is already piling up the points. A season removed from a year in which he chased the U18 points record in the Elitserien, the 6í3, rearguard potted four assists in four games at a recent U20 tournament hosted by USA Hockey in Lake Placid.
Simply put, the Swedish phenom was ready to be fed 15 minutes a night at the NHL level last year. But just what makes him so special?
Beyond his commanding hockey sense and pinpoint-accurate outlet passes, Larssons Ďrecoverabilityí may be the best ever in a prospect. A puck can get behind him, bounce- whatever- and Larsson will have gotten it 80 feet up the ice and onto a teammate's stick before anyone else on the ice can comprehend thereís a scoring chance.
Blessed also with a laser wristshot that is as accurate from the face-off dots as it is from the blueline, Larssonís only rough spot is skating- particularly his acceleration. Itís possible that his legs are simply not strong enough to support the 220 lbs of bulk the youngster has already amassed. If he can fix that, Drew Doughty and Tyler Myers will no longer be the youngest folks on the Norris ballot.
2. LW/C Sean Couturier (Drummondville, QMJHL)
Quick, name the two players to lead the QMJHL in scoring a year before their draft year. And... go! Sidney Crosby is a given; he was the CHLís Player of the Year at 16. Mario Lemieux? No; while his 184 points are unthinkable today, Pat LaFontaine nailed 234 during the 1982-83 season. Guy Lafleur? Close. He was just four points off the lead the year before his draft year of 1971, although the draft age was 20 then and not 18.
Despite the staggering number of offensive talents that rounded out their game in the Q, only other player to do it is Sean Couturier. Ineligible to play in the Ivan Hlinka- he turned 18 last December- Couturier instead took part in Hockey Canadaís U20 team camp in early August, the only 2011-eligible forward invited. He simply did not look out of place, tallying 1-2-3 in two intrasquad games.
Couturier is as close to the perfect big man forward as can be. Lacking the innate psychosis of a player like Eric Lindros, Couturier is a dominant one-on-one talent who has improved his skating mechanics to become an excellent skater for someone of any size, let alone one that is 6í4 and 191 lbs. A wicked wrist shot perfectly matches a fine sense for the playmaking game, and Couturier is able to thread needle-perfect passes both backhand and forehand. A close comparable at this point would be mercurial Tampa talent Vincent Lecavalier.
3. C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer, WHL)
TCís top scorer both goal-wise and point-wise at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, with 5-2-7 in five games, itís almost a sure thing speedster center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will earn an invite to the U20 December camp. A silky-smooth skater who reaches top speed in the blink of an eye, Hopkins is a scorer who amasses his goals through pure shot volume rather than accuracy. However, he may be even more effective at passing the puck- see a team second-best 41 assists with Red Deer last season.
While John Tavares and Victor Hedman had the top two spots in the 2009 Draft wrapped up from even before the start of the season, Matt Duchene was equally as entrenched in the top three. It will likely prove as tough for any player to knock Hopkins from the #3 pole position this year. Although extremely slight at 6í0 and somewhere under 180 lbs, few of the WHLís elite rearguards have been able to contain him simply because they canít catch him.
That blurb on Couturier did fail to mention however his 96 points is the lowest total for anyone to lead the QMJHL in scoring and win the Jean Beliveau trophy. I do think he'll be a great player though but I agree with Larsson having a slight edge right now.