The Colorado Avalanche have two selections in the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In SB Nation's NHL Mock Draft, the Edmonton Oilers unexpectedly took top defenseman Adam Larsson -- leaving the Avalanche with the second overall pick and top forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the board.
With the 11th overall selection (originally belonging to the St. Louis Blues, but sent over midseason along with Erik Johnson and Jay McClement), the staff at Mile High Hockey selected Jamie Oleksiak from Northeastern University.
Oleksiak is a enormous, though unpolished, defenseman that currently measures at 6'7" and 240 pounds -- but with room to grow. He's a long-term project with still-developing hockey skills, but has the potential to be a top pairing defenseman in the mold of Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara or the Buffalo Sabres.
In selecting Oleksiak, the Avalanche passed up more refined prospects such as forward Ryan Strome. With the top forward Nugent-Hopkins already in tow, the staff at Mile High Hockey looked for a high upside defensive prospect. Oleksiak may be less polished than other defensive talents, like Duncan Siemens, but his ceiling is much higher.
Then again, it is a mock draft. Next week's event is very unlikely to carry the same result.
You can find every pick from SB Nation's 2011 NHL Mock Draft in this StoryStream. For full coverage of the 2011 NHL Draft, stick with SB Nation's network of 34 hockey blogs, covering the draft from every angle. Also, stick with SB Nation's NHL Draft hub, where you can find all the latest player profiles and news surrounding the event, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. on June 24-25. For more on the Avalanche, visit Mile High Hockey.