The Minnesota Wild has plenty of talented young defensemen.
Its prospect list includes four young defensemen that earned plenty of quality experience in the NHL last season. The Wild have already traded away one defensive prospect for a forward this offseason.
I do not think the Wild will select a defenseman in the first round, but here are the top defensemen available for the 2011 Entry Draft anyway.
No. 1 – Adam Larsson, Skelleftea (Sweden) – The 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound Sweden native is one of the best skaters in this year’s draft with excellent speed and mobility. He handles puck really well and is a surprisingly hard hitter. He is a future top pairing defenseman. Last season’s stats: one goal, eight assists, nine points and 41 minutes in 37 games played.
No. 2 – Dougie Hamilton, Niagara (OHL) – The 6-foot-4-inch, 187-pound Ontario native is a big defenseman that uses his size well. He is a physical one-on-one defender. He is a two-way defenseman with good puck moving skills, outlet passer and decision maker with the puck. Last season’s stats: 12 goals, 46 assists, 58 points and 77 penalty minutes in 67 games played.
No. 3 – Nathan Beaulieu, Saint John (QMJHL) – The 6-foot-2-inch, 174-pound Ontario native is an offensive defenseman. He is a good skater, puck mover, has a good shot and is poised with the puck. Last season’s stats: 12 goals, 33 assists, 45 points and 52 penalty minutes in 65 games played.
No. 4 – Ryan Murphy, Kitchener (OHL) – The 5-foot-10-inch, 166-pound Ontario native is an offensive defenseman. He may be the most dynamic defenseman in the draft. He is all about offense with good ice vision, power play skills, skating and mobility. He has a great shot and excellent passing ability. He will have problems in the defensive zone with big forwards. Last season’s stats: 26 goals, 53 assists, 79 points and 36 penalty minutes in 63 games played.
No. 5 – Scott Mayfield, Youngstown (USHL) – The 6-foot-4-inch, 197-pound Missouri native is a two-way defenseman. He plays physical and aggressive without taking too many penalties. He is controlled, calm and poised on the ice. He is a smooth, strong skater that makes crisp passes. He is a future power play quarterback. He is committed to the University of Denver. Last season’s stats: seven goals, nine assists, 16 points and 159 penalty minutes in 52 games played.
Others of note: Rasmus Bengtsson, Rogle (Sweden-2); Jonas Brodin, Farjestad (Sweden); Oscar Klefbom, Farjestad (Sweden); Joseph Morrow, Portland (WHL); Connor Murphy, USA Under-18 team (USHL); Jamieson Oleksiak, Northeastern (Hockey East); Stuart Percy, Mississauga St. Michael’s (OHL); Mike Reilly, Shattuck St. Mary’s (Minnesota High School); Duncan Siemens, Saskatoon (WHL); Andy Welinski, Green Bay (USHL).