1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
“The Nuge” is quite simply the best player available in the draft. He is a highly talented center who plays a similar game to Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche. He is a little less of a goal-scorer than Duchene, but is primarily a playmaker. The knock on Nugent-Hopkins is his size. He is 6’0, but only around 160-165 lbs. If he is to make an NHL team out of training camp, he will need to add some muscle to his frame. Of all the players in the draft, RNH has the highest ceiling in terms of potential.
2. Adam Larsson
Larsson is the undisputed top defenseman of this year's draft. He is a very big, mobile, and talented kid who will immediately contribute to either Edmonton or Colorado’s blueline. He is a very smart player who can be especially lethal on the powerplay. In the NHL, Larsson will do it all. His strong two-way play will allow him to be the key cog for whichever team drafts him. Injury concerns and the uncertainty of drafting a European player (whether he will sign right away) could cause him to slip on draft day. He has potential to be a Norris Trophy (best defenseman in the NHL) contender for the next 10-15 years if he can stay healthy.
3. Gabriel Landeskog
The Kitchener Ranger forward can do it all. Many believe it is only a matter of time before he will bear the captain’s “C” for an NHL club. From what I hear, he has incredible leadership qualities to go with his feisty two-way game. He has the skills to play on the first line, but likely won’t dominate entire games offensively. Many see comparisons to Philadelphia Flyer’s captain Mike Richards, but I see him more like Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. Landeskog is NHL-ready and considered the most complete and well-rounded forward in the draft.
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