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johnmatisz

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Top pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was one of six Ryans drafted this weekend. This increased the draft odds of all players named Ryan currently in minor hockey by 0.06%.

The bizarre trades have simmered, mock drafts have been demolished, scouts have hit the links, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has his cake and eats it too.

That’s the aftermath of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and all of its wackiness.

While the first surprise of the day was Ryan Strome — not Sean Couturier — going to the Isles, it certainly was not the last. It was a draft to remember for everyone involved, whether you were in Minnesota or watching from home (how could you forget the hours and hours the first-round dragged on for?).

With everything in place for the time being, there are many ways to break down the draft list. We’ve skimmed the fat and compiled a plateful of interesting findings.

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Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland has excelled at finding hidden gems late in the draft.

The general managers who will step up to the podium tonight and Saturday to announce their club’s newest asset will vary in excitement. There are some who are known to be predictable and stale, and others who typically take unorthodox routes and love taking risks.

Detroit Red Wings’ GM Ken Holland is surely the flag waver of the latter group, as Detroit is infamous for its sleeper picking. They’ve developed otherwise unforeseen aptitudes into legitimate everyday NHLers and, on a few occasions, long-time superstars. Their scouts dig deep into the junior hockey ranks in order to discover that uncapped, unheralded kid who has the right components of the game on lock.

While tonight’s first has been predicted as an “anything can happen” round after the top five have left the stage, the second to seventh rounds will be even more scrambled. There’s bound to be a handful of GMs in Minnesota right now who are sitting in their hotels and being told by their scouting staff that so-and-so is a talent that cannot be continually ignored.

Here at Houses of the Hockey, we’ve compiled a three-player list of potential sleeper picks for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

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MISSISSAUGA, CANADA - MAY 21: Jordan Binnington stops Steele Boomer in the 2011 CHL Matercard Memorial Cup

The goaltending pool for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is said to be one of the weakest in recent memory. There is only one — maybe (just maybe) two — netminders who is considered first-round quality.

Anyone with substantial knowledge of the game knows that goalies tend to be the toughest to project. Their hot and cold nature renders scouting backstoppers a difficult task. Another factor to keep in mind is the effect supply and demand has on drafting decisions. If a particular franchise is desperate for a young, high potential netminder to filter through their system, don’t be surprised if any of these guys go long before they’re projected to.

Without further adieu, let’s dive into a handful of draft-eligible goalies that could very well make their mark on the NHL sooner than we think.

John Gibson (G) – US National Development Team
Manning the crease for the US National Development Team over the past two seasons worked wonders for Gibson. He stopped pucks off the sticks of some of the top American-born prospects in practice every day and got comfortable suiting up for a well-respected program. In his draft year, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania product posted a very cool .926 save percentage in 39 appearances. His goals against average wasn’t too shabby either, finishing up with 2.38. As a freshman in high school, Gibson was cut from the varsity hockey squad. Now an athletic 6’3”, 205 pounder, Gibson won’t be getting disregarded at the amateur level ever again.

Expect J. Gibson to go 22-27

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The Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have it made. They’re set; they’re primed to take one of the much talked about top-5 prospects available in this year’s draft. From there, the consensus opinion across the hockey world is that there is a pool of a solid 40 prospects who make up the final 25 spots of the first-round.

While some will certainly be selected ahead of others, there’s still the possibility of a projected late first-rounder to go just after the top-10 have been called. With that in mind, let’s look at what exactly NHL teams are getting themselves into tomorrow.

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The Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders have it made. They’re set; they’re primed to take one of the much talked about top-5 prospects available in this year’s draft. From there, the consensus opinion across the hockey world is that there is a pool of a solid 40 prospects who make up the final 25 spots of the first-round.

While some will certainly be selected ahead of others, there’s still the possibility of a projected late first-rounder to go just after the top-10 have been called. With that in mind, let’s look at what exactly NHL teams are getting themselves into come Friday.

Read the rest of this entry »