Well the Stanley Cup Finals are not even under way, and the experts are already making their calls for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
The NHL's top draft experts submitted their picks for 2011 almost two weeks ago. While they are unanimous that the Edmonton Oilers will take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, they each have different choices for the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens will have the 17th pick in the first round this year, barring any trades made at draft time.
Mike Morreale feels that Phillip Danault, a left winger out of Victoriaville, is a perfect fit for Montreal. Danault slipped four, spots from the mid term to final position, in the North American Skaters by Central Scouting Rankings.
"A lanky forward with a smooth skating stride and pretty good tenacity. Has taken a major step forward offensively this season," was how The Scouting Report saw him in their mid-season review.
A February feature on Danault from NHL.com
"The phrase, 'I want 20 of those guys on my team,' gets overused, but it not only applies to Boone, he can be the poster boy for it. Boone does what it takes to win," is how Central Scouting's Chris Edwards sees him. "He blocks shots, wins battles along the boards and is an outstanding forechecker. He wants to be first to the puck every time. He's solid on his skates and fights through checks on his way to the net.
Steven Hoffner is going with the Saint John Sea Dogs' second leading scorer in the regualr season, Zack Phillips. The Sea Dogs are in the final for the Memorial Cup, so we can get a better look for ourselves at the 6'1 centre.The New Brunswick native has 24 points (9 goals) in 17 playoff games, finished 15th on the CSR and ranks 29th on the ISS Risers and Fallers for May.
"Zack has great vision and is strong on the puck. He's a solid center and has come a long way in a short time," said Sea Dogs coach Gerrard Gallant. "He kind of reminds me of an Adam Oates-type of player … he's strong on the puck down low and in the corners and has nifty hands."
This of course is just the tip of the iceberg as more mock drafts, including our own here at SBNation, will begin to pop up An excellent tool I came upon, to keep better track of them all, is the mock draft database.
In the meantime, I'll let you guys debate our your thoughts on the draft, as I'm still looking through scouting reports and stats to get a better idea of who to take.