A look at 10 possible sleeper picks at the 2011 NHL entry draft, to be held Friday and Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.:
Viktor Arvidsson, LW, Skelleftea (Sweden-Jr.): A diminutive forward at five foot eight, Arvidsson is a great skater with offensive upside. His flair and skillset have the ability to bring fans out of their seats. Ranked as the 20th international skater by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.
Zakhar Arzamastsev, D, Novokuznetsk (KHL): Strong defensively, but with limited offensive skill, Arzamastsev skates well for his size. Ranked as the 18th international skater.
Daniel Catenacci, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): A mid-season slump saw the Greyhounds forward drop in the draft rankings but he is still one of the best skaters available. At five foot nine, size is a concern because of his gritty style. Ranked as the 37th North American skater.
Rocco Grimaldi, C, U.S. under-18 team (USHL): Speaking of diminutive, the five-foot-six Grimaldi will likely be the smallest player taken in the draft. The team that selects him could wind up with one of the most skilled players available. An explosive skater, Grimaldi also brings a great work ethic to the table. Ranked as the 32nd North American skater.
Konstantin Komarek, LW, Lulea (Sweden-Jr.): The Austrian-born winger made a smooth transition to a higher level of hockey this season. During Lulea’s semifinal series, Komarek found himself on the first line and brings a hard-working game every night. Ranked as the 55th international skater.
Patrik Noren, D, Leksands, (Sweden-2): In a draft heavy on Swedish talent, Noren could be a nice late-round pick. He plays a reliable game and has some offensive upside. Noren sees the ice well and the fact that he already has two years of pro experience is a plus. Ranked as the 45th international skater.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, C, Gatineau (QMJHL): Another small but skilled forward, Pageau is the type of player that found himself playing in nearly every situation for the Olympiques. Pageau is not afraid of the high traffic areas of the ice, despite his size (5-9, 163 pounds). Unranked by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.
Jonathan Racine, D, Shawinigan (QMJHL): Racine will not wow teams with his offensive skill, but he brings a physical game and could become a good depth player. Ranked as the 67th North American skater.
Ryan Tesink, C, Saint John (QMJHL): A Memorial Cup champion with the Sea Dogs, Tesink doesn’t get the same fanfare as fellow draft-eligible forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Tomas Jurco. He’s reliable defensively, a strong skater, has the ability to play an energy game and was a fixture on the Saint John penalty kill. Ranked as the 47th North American skater.
Andy Welinski, D, Green Bay, (USHL): A slow start to the season with the Gamblers didn’t help his draft status but he continually improved as the season progressed. The six-foot defenceman is strong in his own zone and takes away time and space from opposing forwards on the rush. Ranked as the 48th North American skater.