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2011 NHL Mock Draft: USA Today Mock Projects Gabriel Landeskog To Avalanche

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If the Mock Drafts have proven anything, it's that there is no consensus amongst scouts. Adam Larsson, Jonathan Huberdeau, and even Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have all be linked to the Colorado Avalanche in recent mocks.

Add another name to the fire, as the USA Today predicts Colorado will select winger Gabriel Landeskog with the second overall selection.

Like Edmonton, they have another first-rounder they can use to address the blue line later on, so they opt for the forward who is most ready to come in and contribute right away.

Landeskog does fill a need as a strong, physical winger that the Avalanche are certainly missing on their current roster. He is a powerful winger with strong defensive skills who is likely to start in the NHL next season. He is a physical specimen and many see him as a future NHL captain. Landeskog projects as a 20-25 goal scorer in the league, with a limited ceiling and below average stick skills. He should be a valuable player next season, but is already at or near the peak of his physical growth.

Should a team like Colorado draft for need at #2 overall, instead of taking a player with more upside? That draft strategy certainly has its doubters -- specifically surrounding Landeskog.

If Colorado was to select Landeskog this high, it would be the safe pick. That may not be the best move for a team that needs an influx of talent.

With the 11th overall selection, USA Today sees Colorado selecting defenseman Oscar Klefbom. Klefbom is a work in progress, but shows above average skating ability. He'll likely need several years of seasoning in the minors to develop his below-average hockey sense, but has the potential to be a mid-pairing defenseman in several years.

Klefbom wouldn't be a bad project pick, but the Avalanche are more likely to select one of the more refined defensemen ranked higher, such as Duncan Siemens or Dougie Hamilton (if the New York Islanders decide to pass on him). Even Jamie Oleksiak -- a similarly raw defensive project -- would be a more logical choice for a team desperate for size on the blue line.