via (St. Louis) Sven Baertschi (LW). The Avalanche pick for the second time in the round as a result of the trade that brought Erik Johnson
from the Blues but they had to part with Kevin Shattenkirk
and Chris Stewart
to do so. Bartschi came into the season as a fairly unknown prospect from Switzerland, but quickly established himself as a prolific scorer for the Portland Winterhawks. In 66 games, he potted 34 goals and added 51 assists to go along with 74 penalty minutes. Bartschi has excellent hands, vision on the ice and is definitely a natural goal scorer. A touch on the small side, however, he doesn't seem afraid of contact at all and goes to the traffic areas to create offense. He could be the next Milan Hejduk
as he knows how to sneak past people into open areas. A bit more muscle and experience and he should to be quite the player.
Duncan Siemens (D). The fourth ranked defenseman in the 2011 entry draft is Duncan Siemens, one of the youngest players at this year's event. Scouts are very pleased with the puck-moving and skating ability of the big six foot, three inch WHL standout. Siemens registered an impressive 43 points this year for Saskatoon, while amassing 121 penalty minutes along the way. The WHL standout Siemens offers teams a solid player at both ends of the rink. Although Duncan is most noted for his physicality, scouts have praised the youngster for his superlative skating ability. He projects to be a steady blueliner who will not rack up enough points to be anything more than a four-five defenseman in deep fantasy pools.
Mark Scheifele (C). Calgary was slated to pick here last season but dealt their pick to Phoenix. Now they get a chance to grab a talented center. At the IIHF U18 World Championships this past year, Scheifele showcased how dangerous he can be as he led Canada in goals with six in seven games. His first season in the OHL with the Barrie Colts was no different as he helped carry a lackluster team with 75 points in 65 games. His playmaking and work ethic is exceptional, which helped improve the play of his linemates throughout the season.
Scheifele will return to junior hockey as he needs to add muscle to his frame.
Mark McNeill (C). When one first looks at McNeill, many will be quick to point out his size. He is a very strong forward who is only going to get stronger. He plays a great perimeter game, and is very good around the net. McNeill was also one of the fastest skaters at the CHL Top Prospects game. Another major asset for the team that drafts McNeill is that he is a gritty player with the composure to not let it get him into penalty trouble. McNeill should develop into a very reliable power forward. The 18-year-old went from a 24 point season in 2009-10 to 81 points this past season.
15. New York Rangers
Vladislav Namestnikov (C). Namestikov is a deceptively quick forward who is building himself a reputation of being a solid two-way forward with great vision and anticipation. Perhaps his greatest asset however, is his playmaking ability. His above-average level of patience gives him the extra time needed on the ice to make the right play. The only knocks on the 18 year-old is that he has shown some patches of inconsistency and lacks the physical capability to immediately make the jump to the pro level. His first season in North America was good with 30 goals and 68 points. He will definitely benefit from being a London Knight as the Hunter brothers certainly know how to develop NHL players.
Joel Armia (RW). Armia is a pure goal-scorer who possesses an accurate shot with a quick release. Even though he is big, he has very good hands and has the ability to dangle with the puck in the offensive zone. His skating has improved a lot this season in Finland, which has helped his game and confidence as well. However, Armia is not a player who has developed his physical tools yet. Also, his decision making and defensive play need work. The Finn is still pretty raw, but a winger with his size and skill is an attractive package. The Sabres have a good-top six in the forward department so they can wait for Armia to develop.
Boone Jenner (C). While Jenner may not be the most offensively gifted forward in this year's draft, he is one of the few prospects with no major flaw to his game. He is a natural leader that does all the little things well, and will do whatever it takes to win. He is very strong on his skates, and despite the knocks on his offensive ability, he managed to put up 66 points in 63 games this past season with the Oshawa Generals. He is a safe pick with a little upside as he knows how to play in both ends of the rink. The Canadiens could use a goal scorer as they potted only 216 goals last season, fifth least in the NHL, but they will be hard-pressed to get a good scorer at this stage of the draft and even if they did, he would still be years away from contributing.
Zack Phillips (C). Phillips is an average skater who lacks explosiveness, but he has an outstanding hockey sense that has helped him develop into one of the most opportunistic scorers in this year's class. The Saint John Sea Dog drives hard to the net and has the hands to be able to consistently score goals from that close range. He will have to improve his skating if he plans to successfully make the jump to the NHL. He will get a chance to go back to junior and continue to develop his skills as the Blackhawks are set at forward at the present time. He should be a top-six forward when he is ready as he does possess some outstanding skills.
(via Los Angeles) John Gibson (G). The Oilers really need a netminder in their system and they likely will use their second first round pick to grab the top goalie in the draft. Gibson led Team USA to gold at the World U-18 Championships, where he had a 2.34 GAA and a .926 save percentage in six games and was named the best goaltender of the tournament. The 17-year old has great size, which makes his ability to move comfortably around the net even more impressive. He is very technically sound and rarely finds himself out of position. Scouts have also taken a liking to Gibson's calm demeanor and love his size at six foot, three inches and 205 pounds. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native has committed to playing at the University of Michigan starting this fall.
Tomas Jurco (RW). There are many forwards in this year's class who can fly, but it is difficult to find one who not only possesses the speed, but who also has the stickhandling ability and moves to accompany it. This combination of talent gives Jurco the ability to be a game-breaker on any given night. The only problem with the Saint John Sea Dog is that he has a strong tendency to go through dry spells. If he can find consistency to his game, he will be a game changer at the top level. Jurco played six games for Slovakia at the Under-20 World Junior Championship and managed to score once. He will get another chance next season and should star at the age of 19.