The 2011 NHL Draft is just right around the corner and the final intrigue and mystery surrounding team's intentions is building to an all-time high. As we've been discussing non-stop on Defending Big D the past few weeks, there are a number of players likely available at #14 for the Stars to have their pick from - any of which would be a welcome addition to the organization and likely a very needed injection of top-end talent and potential.
What's also been discussed is the possibility of trading down, especially if more than a few of the so-called "middle round" talent is still available at #14. The first is too deep for the Stars to force themselves to stay pat and not listen to offers, especially if dropping down 3-4 spots allows them to add an extra draft pick or not - something that could be important since the Stars do not have a 3rd round pick.
Mike Heika caught up to GM Joe Nieuwendyk, who revealed the following when asked about the possibly of trading up:
``I think moving down is a more realistic possibility,'' Nieuwendyk said. ``Our guys feel that after a certain point in this draft there are a number of good players and you'd be happy with acquiring any one of them. We don't have our third round pick, so trying to get an additional pick is something that will definitely be discussed.''
Obviously, this isn't exactly a startling reveal by the Stars' GM and is more of a confirmation that he does in fact have a firm grasp of the situation. This all depends on exactly what the Stars are looking at when their pick at #14 comes up and just what teams are going to try and offer Dallas for the chance to jump up a few spots.
The best scenario for this to happen would be for a top ten pick to inexplicably fall, with a few players the Stars covet still available. This gives Nieuwendyk a chance to hold his pick at high value, grab a few extra mid-round picks and still have a great chance at getting the player the Stars wanted all along.
This all hinges on just what player falls as well. Is it worth more to this organization to pass up a potential top-10 talent, add a few more draft picks, while still finding a way to pick a player the Stars still coveted? Perhaps no players "drop" exactly, but enough talent remains to allow the Stars to make the move without sacrificing a chance at a one-in-a-kind talent.
This is what makes the draft so much fun.
After the jump, we take a look at what most of the final mock drafts are saying. Hint: They feel the same way we do.
With exception of a few, most mock drafts are split between Mark McNeill and Joel Armia:
|THN||Joel Armia||No comment.|
|NHL.com (Deven Persaud)||Joel Armia||Big (6-foot-3) forward with great hands could be an eventual replacement for the departed James Neal|
|NHL.com (Mike Morreale)||Joel Armia||The 6-3, 191-pound forward had 18 goals, 29 points in 48 games as a rookie in top Finnish league|
|Rotoworld||Mark McNeill||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.|
|NHL.com (Adam Kimelman)||Mark McNeill||Stars could be in the market for a big-time center, and McNeill has big-time potential|
|NHL.com (Steve Hoffner)||Mark McNeill||Center had a big year, posting 81 points in 70 game|
|TSN||Mark Scheifele||A great skating, two-way centreman. Sceifele can create offence, he can play all areas of the game. He's a top player.- Craig Button|
|MyNHLDraft||Jamieson Oleksiak||No comments|
If you take a look at each mock draft, you'll see just how convoluted the draft becomes after the first six or seven picks as there is hardly a consensus as to just where players like Joel Armia, Mika Zibanejad and Jamieson Oleksiak will land. Some have them as top-15 picks while others have Oleksiak and Armia falling well into the 20's.
The mocks back up the theory that a trade down is a definite possibility. They also show that many "experts" believe the Stars are going to be looking at a center over a defenseman, unless of course a player like Duncan Siemens happens to fall.
DBD took Siemens in the SBN Mock Draft and everyone felt it was a miracle he made it to 14-- and TSN has Siemens not being drafted until 27th. So, who knows what is going to happen tomorrow night.
More so than any other recent draft, even the drama surrounding Cam Fowler last year, it appears that this year is shaping up to be one of the more exciting drafts in recent memory.
Not long now...