Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 Top 31: 25 - 31

One of the problems with doing these lists annually is that I know I'm doing so missing some pieces of information that could cause players to move a fair bit. Player X isn't coach-able, Y will do whatever it takes to make it, Z has some personal problem. I think, for the most part, this stuff doesn't make a big difference as to where each player is ranked, but in the cases where it makes a sizable difference, I'm out of the loop and that's going to hurt the quality of the list. I hope that by nicking the types of players I think NHL organizations generally overvalue, I can post a list that at least makes for interesting conversation, but I do so knowing it's not without its drawbacks.

This year, I'm not going to bother with too many comments on the player's game and style. There are a number of lists detailing that information and I'm sure they do a better job than I would. Instead, I'll write some comments regarding particular players of interest and/or players where my ranking is a little different than the general consensus.

I believe 25th overall, more or less, represents the start of the next tier of talent in this draft, but I'm having a difficult time ranking these guys within the tiers, at least below the first tier. It's a bit of a cop out, but depending on the day I can make arguments for different players at different slots. I arbitrarily cut the list at 31, EDM's pick in the 2nd round, but in my mind the difference in player quality from 31 to 40 is somewhere between minimal and non-existent. Players with an * beside their name are the "late birthday" players I mentioned yesterday. I'll have another section tonight, with the top 9 posted Friday morning.

31 Ritchie*: Ritchie is the first of a few players here that I think represent risky picks, but I believe at this point of the draft it makes sense to select a more risky player provided he has enough upside to compensate the increased chance of a miss. I’d happily take 1 top 3/6F and 3 busts vs. 1 top 6/9F, 2 4th line players, and 1 bust, but others may disagree.

30 Nieto: There’s a not bad chance that Matt Nieto has fallen a bit further down the rankings he should. The year prior to this, he recorded a team-leading 29 points in 24 games for the NTDP, with a team leading +20. For comparison, some teammates were Brandon Saad (26 pts in 24 games, +15), Nick Shore (20 pts in 26 games, +14) and Rocco Grimaldi (20 pts in 32 games, -19). Nieto recorded 23 points in 39 games for Boston University this past, certainly not stunning offensive totals. A lot can change in a year, perhaps has hasn’t developed exactly as planned, but he did jump to college while some of the other US players either went to the CHL or stayed with the NTDP. He might be a bit of a sleeper.

29 Saad

28 Namestnikov

27 Connor Murphy: Murphy is a role of the dice, he offers an intriguing upside for a player this late but he’s had such injury problems it’s not all that surprising he isn’t considered a top 20 pick. His upside may be too enticing to ignore, it’ll be interesting to see who takes a gamble.

26 Prince: That is a lot of offense to let slide.

25 Miller

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