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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The 2011 NHL Entry Draft is now just a week away with the Habs set to draft with the 17th overall pick. Though the draft is not supposed to be full of high end talent, there are a lot of good players that will be available with that selection. We recently completed our HW Mock Draft, here are some of the names that we think are going to be picked around Montreal's turn.
Tomas Jurco, RW, Saint John (QMJHL):
A highly skilled offensive player who needs a lot of work on his overall game. He has speed to burn though he doesn't always get to the right places with it. As is often the case with the better offensive talents, he is prone to scoring droughts and inconsistency. He averaged a goal per game in the Sea Dogs' Memorial Cup victory.
Oscar Klefbom, D, Farjestad, SEL:
One of the safer picks that could be made at this point of the draft, he does basically everything well but nothing about his game stands out. Unlike a lot of defencemen in this draft, he's not a niche player which will endear him to a lot of teams. He is a pretty good skater for his size (6'4). Working against him though is the fact he saw limited playing time in Sweden's top league.
Mark McNeill, C, Prince Albert, WHL:
A strong centreman who's off-ice intangibles are as attractive to some scouts as his on-ice ones. He plays a gritty style while still being able to produce offensively, a mix that any team would covet. Like Jurco earlier, he is a good skater but also struggles with consistency at times.
J.T. Miller, LW/C, U.S. NTDP:
There are some that see him as a surefire 1st rounder while others think he could be had in the 3rd round. He is a good skater who plays hard at both ends of the ice and drives the net often. There are some questions about his overall hockey sense though. His performance at the World Under 18's (6 GP, 4-8-12) will likely vault him up the rankings.
Jamie Oleksiak, D, Northeastern, H-East:
He is the biggest player in the draft but certainly not the most physical. He is, however, a good skater for his size which makes him less of a risk than other blueliners that are that size. He won't be a big point producer but should be a quality defensive defenceman for a long time.
Zack Phillips, C, Saint John, QMJHL:
His point totals took off when he was paired with Jonathan Huberdeau, likely a top-5 selection. The big question for him is whether he is good enough to play at that level without a high end scorer playing alongside him or was the fact he was with Huberdeau the main reason for his scoring numbers. Unlike some of the others listed here, skating is not a particular strength for him.
Mark Schiefele, Barrie, OHL:
Schiefele benefited from playing on a simply terrible team as he was handed all the ice time he could handle and more. He is a strong playmaker and his defensive game is improving. However, he isn't particularly strong despite his 6'2 frame and will need to bulk up a lot before making the jump to the professional ranks.
One of these players is projected to be the Habs' first pick at the draft draft. Find out who as well as our thoughts for the entire first round (and Montreal's next pick at 78th overall) when our mock is revealed next week.
- Hidden Gems & Busts at the 17th Overall Draft Position posted by Matt Dilworth
- 2011 HW Mock Draft posted by B. La Rose
- HabsWorld 2011 Draft Central posted by M. Gauthier