The 2011 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, and all that is left now is to break down how well teams did with their selections. Early analysis -- call them NHL Draft grades, NHL Draft winners and losers, whatever you like -- indicates that those in the know think the New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils all made smart selections Friday and Saturday.
Let's break it down team-by-team"
New York Rangers
ESPN gave the Rangers a B- for their overall draft, during which they selected center Jonathan Miller with their first pick, 15th overall. Of the Miller selection, ESPN said the Rangers "stepped up and got their man in Miller, who is a great combination of sandpaper, skating and grit."
-- See SB Nation's Blueshirt Banter for more about the Rangers.
New Jersey Devils
ESPN gave the Devils a B, even though they the Worldwide Leader refers to New Jersey's draft as "a one-player draft."
From ESPN analyst Gare Joyce:
"Adam Larsson, though, is the one player that the Devils wanted and needed, more so than any of the forwards in play. I doubt he'll be a Calder finalist next season, but he will play a significant role."
This pick has been universally praised, and Pro Hockey Talk summed up the feelings on this pick by saying "Could this be the steal of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft?"
-- See SB Nation's In Lou We Trust for more about the Devils
New York Islanders
ESPN gave the Islanders a B+, and seemed especially happy with the team's first two picks, center Ryan Strome fifth overall and defenseman Scott Mayfield 34th overall. ESPN's Joyce said:
"Ryan Strome will be 1 or 1A with John Tavares -- you can't write off the idea that he either eclipses Tavares or prompts JT to move to the wing. Scott Mayfield is great value at No. 34. The Islanders have stocked the depth chart with forward prospects and needed to address the blue line. It's fairly likely that Mayfield will be more useful than a couple of defensemen who went in the first round."
Pro Hockey Talk added:
"International Scouting Services had Strome ranked as the 2nd best playmaker in the entire draft and within minutes, pundits were already dreaming about Strome making sweet music with John Tavares on Long Island."
-- See SB Nation's Lighthouse Hockey for more about the Islanders