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2011 In Lou We Trust NHL Mock Draft Version 1: The Top Ten Picks

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Thought this deserved it's own post, as it is more comprehensive than just a mock draft. The guy actually takes team needs into consideration and really adds some good analysis on the Devils Pick @ # 4

http://www.inlouwetrust.com/2011/4/20/2112357/2011-in-lou-we-trust-nhl-mock-draft-version-1-the-first-four-picks

Well, last Tuesday the unthinkable happened. The New Jersey Devils got a little luck. With the odds stacked against them (3.6% chance) the Devils won the NHL's draft lottery jumping up 4 slots from pick #8 to pick #4. Shocked Devils fans raced to In Lou We Trust to share their joy with others as we all ponder who will be available on June 24th when the Devils are ready to make their selection. In the comments section of the post John Fisher summed up the feelings of most of Devils nation when he said:

The Devils played out of their minds in the second half of this season, they didn’t tank even when mathematically eliminated, and they get the 4th overall pick.

Feels good, man.

And he is 1000% right. Listen, I would have been happy with the 8th or 9th pick, but there is an additional level of satisfaction for doing things the right way and seeing some reward from it.

The Devils could have gone into tank mode like the Pittsburgh Penguins do every so often, but they fought until the end of the season, even winning a meaningless game on the last day of the season which dropped them from the #6 slot to the #8 slot.

Now, we shall all experience something that hasn't happened to the Devils in two decades. A top 5 entry draft pick. Earlier in the week I had put together my top 9 players I thought the Devils should draft. Now, with our slot at #4 set in stone, I will offer you a much more detailed mock draft.

After the jump I will speculate on what I think the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers will do on June 24th and what I think the Devils should and hopefully will do with their 4th selection. I tried to look at the selections of the teams above the Devils from as many viewpoints as I could without having a day-to-day knowledge of the team's needs/situation. Items like cap concerns (remember, no bonus cushion next year), organizational depth, and selecting the 'best player available' were all factors that went into my decision. Can you guess the top 4 before you read ahead?

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I really appreciate the thought and all of the research he went into building his case for Couturier. I agree with him that the Devils should be able to get Couturier or Larsson which is awesome and I thought he made a good point that if for some reason they are both off the board, NJ could trade back to 6th and still get a solid prospect while adding more assets.

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Before wary of good players on bad teams. If Larsson is on the board and he is not the pick I will be very disappointed.

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Before wary of good players on bad teams. If Larsson is on the board and he is not the pick I will be very disappointed.

I think you need to worry about players who put up slightly above average numbers on bad teams, because they're in better situations, pp time and such, than they'd get on good teams.

On the other hand, players who put up dominant numbers in bad teams may actually deserve extra credit for being dominant with less help than other players.

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In my opinion everybody in there would be a good pick, but my top pick would be Larsson. I watched aqlot of sweden's games at the world juniors and he is good.

If Lou can pick Larsson, I hope he will!

Murphy and Hamilton look interesting also...

Edited by Devs3cups

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May look stupid but I want to ask what type of Defense man is Larsson ?? Offensive Defense man or more of a 2-way Defense-man who puts up great offensive numbers ?

I can't find an accurate description of his style on the internet (Also a little bit lazy :moose: )

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Is there any chance someone could post the Devils section of the article?

I have tried to read it about 20 times now and every time the site crashes IE when i am reading it, so far i have got down to the end of florida, and i am starting to get pi$$ed off.

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New Jersey Devils:

And now, the team all of you actually care about. I am not going to do much buildup to the pick, as I think it should be pretty easy:

The New Jersey Devils, with the #4 selection in the 2011 NHL Draft ....select Sean Couturier.

Could Adam Larsson be the pick here? Sure. In fact, it was tough for me to bypass a potentially great defensive player for a forward. I grew up with the core unit of Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermeyer, Ken Daneyko and others being the leaders of the Devils. Defense was always first. But I think a pick of Couturier would be best option for the New Jersey Devils.

Before I go on, I implore you to read the profile Derek Zona did on Couturier a little over a week ago here. He also had a follow up piece here that talks about concerns that Couturier isn't ‘physical enough'.

First, let me add two quick notes to the work Derek did. In his article Derek talks about Couturier's success in the faceoff circle with a 54.4% faceoff winning percentage. One thing I looked at was Couturier's success over the past few years to see how he has developed. As you can see each year in the QMJHL he has added a ton of faceoffs and he has steadily improved (2%) his winning percentage showing that he is in fact that good at taking faceoffs.

Second, while Couturier was only 5th in the QMJHL in scoring remember that he missed 10 games during the year because of the World Junior Championships. His point per game average (as Derek noted) was 1.66 which was second in the league to Philip-Michael Devos who split the year playing for Gatineau and Victoriaville. It's important to note the difference in ages of the two players here. Devos, an overager in the Q was born in April of 1990 while Couturier was born in December of 1992. So there is a 2 ¾ year difference between the two.

Derek put together quite a compelling argument for Couturier to be the top pick in the draft. Let me add some fuel to that fire.

1. His value to Drummondville.

If you want to get a sense of how much Couturier meant to his team when he was playing in the World Junior Championships let me show you.

During his absence in the regular season, Drummondville averaged a goal less and gave up a goal more without him. Additionally their special teams play-especially their power play-dropped off a cliff compared with their full season averages. Drummondville was only able to win two games in regulation during this period, one of the wins coming against Baie-Comeau who was the worst team in the Q.

2.Plus/Minus Comparison to Huberdeau

One of the things I have read a few times is how people say that Couturier and Huberdeau's stats were similar. Not true. Huberdeau, while a great offensive player who I am not trying to take anything away from, had the benefit of playing for the loaded Saint John Sea Dogs. Was Couturier's +55 more impressive than Huberdeau's +59? Yes, here is why:

The SJS had a +159 goal differential this year while Drummondville was a +69. Adjusting for special teams goals for/against the even strength goal differential for SJS was +131 and Drummondville was +46. Again, not taking anything away from Huberdeau, but how can you not be impressed by Couturier's plus/minus when looking at the adjusted goal differential.

3. Scoring in all situations.

Besides being a main driver behind Drummondville's ES and PP success, Couturier also added 4 goals and 4 assists while the team was shorthanded. His 8 shorthanded points ranked second in the Q this past season. The leader had 10 points and played 10 more games than Couturier.

4. Scouts' Quotes:

NHL.com:

"At his size, he'll be hard to pass up in the draft. He possesses a very good work ethic and he's out there for every important faceoff. He's very responsible in the defensive aspect of the game -- a rare quality for such a young player in junior hockey."

"Sean has excellent puckhandling and playmaking ability; he sees the ice and reads the play very well . . . He's extremely smart and gets himself into good scoring position. He plays a solid two-way game and is very responsible defensively."

Bruins2011draftwatch.blogspot.com on his drop in CSS Rankings:

He's simply too big, talented and promising to take a major nosedive as other highly-touted prospects have done in the past. He's not the best skater, but let's be frank: it's not a major flaw and is correctible with some work on mechanics.

One final thing I wanted to point out, as I am sure it may come up a few times in any talks about Couturier before the draft, is the fact that he plays on a home rink that has dimensions of 190X 85 as opposed to the standard 200 X 85. From his home/road point splits over the past three seasons you can see that there are no drastic differences in his production. So when you hear someone say ‘Well he played on a shorter rink, which helped to hide his lack of skating ability" remember that his production didn't change from his home/road games.

And last but certainly not least, a video produced by the QMJHL website in advance of the CHL top prospects game.

But Tom, what about Adam Larsson?

I like what I have read about Adam Larsson. I wouldn't mind it if the Devils drafted Larsson. If it was up to me, Couturier is the pick. That said, if Couturier and Nugent-Hopkins are gone I would select Larsson.

If Larsson, Couturier and Nugent-Hopkins are gone? Uh-oh (said in the Scooby-Doo voice)

That would be the only time I would listen to offers for the 4th pick. I see value in Huberdeau or Landeskog but if there is a team (Ottawa?) that wants to move up I think a trade might work for both teams. The 6th pick in this scenario mean that Landeskog, Huberdeau or defenseman Dougie Hamilton and Nathan Beaulieu would still be available.

I don’t think it will come to that though. I expect Couturier to be available at #4 with the ‘worst case scenario’ being Larsson. There is agreement among scouts that Couturier might not be an elite player at the NHL level but even if he isn't he will be an NHL player. I don't really like comparisons, because I feel they unfairly label a player to live up to certain expectations they may not be able to, but since Couturier has said this himself I am OK with him playing the role of Jordan Staal for the Devils. If that is his future, sign me up.

Bonus Question:

Should the Devils trade up to get Couturier?

I don't think they would have to, but if they got wind that the #2 or #3 pick was up for grabs then I think they should part with one of their second round picks and possible more to secure Couturier. Now a lot of people probably think that this position seems odd for someone who loves to accumulate picks/prospects. I believe that any good organization, sports or otherwise, succeeds not just by accumulating valuable assets but having the guts to utilize them and possibly overpay for something you really believe in. If the Devils believe in Couturier and the cost isn't extremely prohibitive than they should do all they can to acquire him. Even if it takes two additional picks down the road or another asset I would hope the Devils make the push to ensure he is in red and black for years to come.

That is also why I love being a Devils fan. We know that if Lou Lamoriello is in position to make a strong move he does it. We also know that if he thinks Dougie Hamilton is the best player available and he can trade down, he will. Though I think it is unlikely the Devils trade down. When Lamoriello stated to Tom Gulitti that his scouts would be happy about the lottery win as ‘they (the scouts) get a better player than they would have at 8th, I have a feeling the Devils are keeping the pick. I for one, hope the pick is Sean Couturier.

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Jonathan Huberdeau,enough said!

Yeah I saw this guy play at least three times because I live in QC, and I can tell this guy is realy good with the puck. Nice shot, good hands, nice skating, passing etc.

And he is a good scorer.

Would be a realy good pick!

Edited by Devs3cups

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My First choice would be Couturier since this guy seems to be developing at a good rate and he is also something we need.These days a big strong center that can make his line mates better and also give you some serious help on the PP as well as your PK is something that is really rare.

Anyway I got a lot of confidence in whatever choice Conte and Lou will make.

Edited by SS-SS

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So excited for this years Draft. I would love to see Sean Couturier in a Devils jersey. Good puck-moving centers are a rarity and we can greatly benefit from him. That would give us 3-4 excellent centers in Zajac, Elias, Josefson, and Couturier.

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Yeah I saw this guy play at least three times because I live in QC, and I can tell this guy is realy good with the puck. Nice shot, good hands, nice skating, passing etc.

And he is a good scorer.

Would be a realy good pick!

He's a very flashy player with excellent puck skills and hockey sense.I think they said his only knock was he needs to add more weight.As of right now i would chose him over Couturier

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