The 2011 Draft Class, So Far

Jonathan Willis
October 20 2011 11:32AM

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been very good early in the 2011-12 season, but he isn’t the only player from his draft class making an NHL splash. After the jump, a quick recap of the players selected in 2011 currently playing in the NHL.

1st overall: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Nobody in Edmonton needs a long write-up on the performance of Nugent-Hopkins; he’s been very good early, posting four goals and an assist over five games and averaging more than 17:00 per contest. Between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, he’s been one of the Oilers’ most effective offensive weapons in the early going.

2nd overall: Gabriel Landeskog

Colorado’s selection has also played very well, recording two goals and an assist through six games. His 13 hits is also the second-highest total on the team. He’s also played in all situations for the Avalanche, picking up a hair under 2:00 per game on both the power play and the penalty kill.

4th overall: Adam Larsson

Unlike the other players on this list, Adam Larsson doesn’t boast flashy offensive totals. Even so, he’s been really impressive. Larsson has been averaging more than 24:00 per night, the highest total of any defenseman on the team. According to the Devils’ blog In Lou We Trust, Larsson has a plus-8 scoring chance rating through four games – and while he’s been given a lot of time in the offensive zone, he’s also played against high-end players.

8th overall: Sean Couturier

One of the things that Sean Couturier was known for before he made his major-league debut was his penalty-killing. Even so, it is a rare thing for an 18-year old rookie to play major minutes on an NHL penalty kill. Couturier is one of the rare exceptions – he’s averaging 4:27 per game killing penalties for the Flyers. That’s not the only thing he’s done well, either; he’s been on the ice for more defensive zone faceoffs than any other forward on the team, and has a plus-4 rating and three points through five games.

The Rest

Those four aren’t the only 2011 draft picks to make their NHL debut this season, but others have struggled. Mika Zibanejad, the sixth overall pick, is having a hard time of it in Ottawa – he has yet to hit the 15:00 mark in any game, has one assist and no goals in six contests as well as a minus-3 rating (despite cushy minutes, the Senators have been heavily outshot and outscored while he’s been on the ice). In Winnipeg, Mark Scheifele has been unable to generate offense despite playing carefully sheltered minutes – including three offensive zone starts for every defensive zone start – and the Jets have also been heavily outshot with him on the ice. Finally, in Chicago,43rd overall pick Brandon Saad surprised many by making the team out of camp, but was sent down after two games.

Even with the disappointing results posted by that trio, the 2011 class is off to a strong start as a group.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 20 2011, 11:43AM
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For what was considerd a weaker draft class, RNH/Landeskoog/Larson/Couturier all look like they'll be top 4/top 6 or better as rookies. That's impressive.

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#2 yuv
October 20 2011, 11:52AM
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If RNH was in the 2010 draft class I wonder where he would have been drafted? Hall, RNH, Seguin, or Hall, Seguin, RNH?

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#3 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
October 20 2011, 11:53AM
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Wow put those 4 on the Oilers and we would be heading to Post season Soon! Larsson would of been such a huge score if ST could of found a way. The truth is though that our D is doing much better than I expected this year so I am a happy camper!!!

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#4 ItsTheBGB
October 20 2011, 11:53AM
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THE NUUGGGEEEE FOR PRIME MINISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#5 Quicksilver ballet
October 20 2011, 11:58AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

For what was considerd a weaker draft class, RNH/Landeskoog/Larson/Couturier all look like they'll be top 4/top 6 or better as rookies. That's impressive.

In hindsight, maybe getting two of those kids wouldn't have been such a bad idea afterall.

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#6 TonyDanzaPervo
October 20 2011, 12:00PM
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ItsTheBGB wrote:

THE NUUGGGEEEE FOR PRIME MINISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People who say NUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGEEEE whenever RNH touches the puck should be shot.

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#7 Pinto
October 20 2011, 12:05PM
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I am wishing we woulda traded up for Couturier, would have been fairly pricey but worth it.

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#8 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 20 2011, 12:17PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

In hindsight, maybe getting two of those kids wouldn't have been such a bad idea afterall.

... No one said it was a bad idea.... they said it was an unrealistic idea.

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#9 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 20 2011, 12:31PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

I assume attempts were made. It is hard to say how good the offers were because they didn't go public (to my recollection).

It's interesting the Couturier fell that far. Wasn't he the #1 assumption for a long time?

What about the others in the top ten? how are their non NHL careers going?

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#10 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 20 2011, 12:32PM
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Hey Jonathan, off topic:

What's going on with the Nation Pool? Is there going to be a webpage for it? Count me in as one who would love to see an updating page here on the site.

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#11 Shredder
October 20 2011, 12:52PM
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@TonyDanzaPervo

Are you kidding me? Try it out...it's fun. The guy has some incredible talent, although it's obvious he's better with Hall on the ice...but that's because Hall is a superstar...he's just not recognized as one yet...Nuge will be too...NNNNUUUUUUGGGGGE!

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#12 Smokey
October 20 2011, 01:41PM
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Hey TDPervo, let people do their nuuuuuuuge chant. Its a little too Vancouvery to me to, but people are just excited... I wish the Nation could find a better nickname for the Hoppy but we have not. I think the Nuuuuuge is here to stay.

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#13 Archaeologuy
October 20 2011, 02:03PM
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I couldnt believe that Couturier fell to 8th, Philly must have felt like they won the lottery.

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#14 Dan the Man
October 20 2011, 02:26PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I couldnt believe that Couturier fell to 8th, Philly must have felt like they won the lottery.

I wonder in the Blue Jackets would have traded that pick if the knew Couturier was going to still be there?

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#15 Lochenzo
October 20 2011, 03:06PM
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Oiler's D has played well overall. Gilbert and Smid look like a good pairing. Potter has been the biggest surprise for me. Hope he keeps it going. Good to see Ryan Whitney back, but be patient with him. It's been almost a full calendar year and it's not easy mentally to come back from a freak injury. It takes a few games to get it in your head that your ankle won't randomly pop again.

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#16 ItsTheBGB
October 20 2011, 03:25PM
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TonyDanzaPervo wrote:

People who say NUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGEEEE whenever RNH touches the puck should be shot.

Yeah but Gregor said if we only do it after a great play it's okay.

Gregor is god.

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#17 Archaeologuy
October 20 2011, 03:37PM
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@Dan the Man

No kidding.

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#18 Redfern
October 20 2011, 03:45PM
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Anyone hear the play by play guy say that Couturier scored for 'a case of Tasty Cakes'... awesome. I didn't know Philly was offering contracts that way, mmmmmmmmm.

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#19 billylikestodrinksoda
October 20 2011, 04:07PM
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Shredder wrote:

Are you kidding me? Try it out...it's fun. The guy has some incredible talent, although it's obvious he's better with Hall on the ice...but that's because Hall is a superstar...he's just not recognized as one yet...Nuge will be too...NNNNUUUUUUGGGGGE!

If i wanted to try something like that out I'd move to Vancouver. No thanks. We are better then that.

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