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Experts Talk: Ranking the top European skaters in the 2017 NHL Draft

Check out what the top NHL Draft analysts are saying about this year's prospects

by Brian Born @BrianBorn /

As the 2017 NHL Scouting Combine continues in Buffalo, get to know what the NHL Draft analysts are saying about the top three European skaters according to the NHL 's Central Scouting rankings, who hope to achieve their NHL dream on June 23. 

1. Klim Kostin, LW/C, Dynamo Moscow, Russia
HT: 6-3 WT: 196
Shoots: Left
DOB: 5/5/99 (18)
Penza, Russia

"Kostin is a big, strong, mobile power forward who plays a physical game. He is a strong skater with good speed, very good hockey sense and is an excellent competitor." Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting.

"Kostin is a big strong powerful offensive winger with a high skill set and excellent skating ability. The Russian factor should play heavily in his draft status as the CHL first overall pick in 2016 refused to report to the Kootenay Ice which should raise some red flags. Kostin has also been plagued by inconsistency, at times showing flashes of dominant upside drawing comparisons to the likes of Evgeni Malkin, and also going through uninspiring stretches where he is difficult to find in the game and has little to no impact." Peter Harling, Dobber Prospects

"Shoulder surgery has ended what's been a challenging draft season for the Russian forward." Jeff Marek, Sportsnet

"A big (6-3, 196), strong left-shot forward with very good puck control and skating ability. He knows how to use his size and strength when skating toward the net and has good drive and determination. He's expected to miss about three months because of a shoulder injury." - Mike Morreale,

"Surgery ended his nightmare season, but Kostin is enough of a known quantity thanks to earlier international duty. He's a big, powerful kid with loads of talent." - Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

" Kostin is one of the most exciting prospects out there thanks to his combination of power and skill. He was a little too aggressive against Team OHL in Hamilton, but coaches will always tell you they'd rather pull a guy back rather than have to push him to be tougher." - Ryan Kennedy - The Hockey News

2. Elias Pettersson, C, Timra, Sweden-2
HT: 6-2 WT: 161
Shoots: Left
DOB: 11/12/98 (18)
Sundsvall, Sweden

"A fast, speedy star, he had a sensational season for Timra in Sweden's second division, consistently producing offense despite the fact he's playing with and against much older players." Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting.
"Playing in Sweden he's been lights out, but internationally it's a different story where he's struggled, most recently at the world juniors. The team that drafts him will have to be patient, but he has the tools to make their patience pay off." - Jeff Marek, Sportsnet

"Pettersson (6-1, 156) is gaining plenty of experience with and against men in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second division, where at 18 he leads Timra with 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 27 games. He has good vision and hands and is considered more of a playmaker. He can play wing or center, and can effectively run a power play." - Mike Morreale,

"A creative forward who possesses very good hands and can beat opponents in 1-on-1 situations with his slick hands and puckhandling skills. He can make quick turns in different directions with the puck and keeps his feet moving. " Dennis Schellenberg, Hockey Prospectus

"He's been snakebitten throughout the tournament, but Canada better hope Pettersson doesn't find his luck in the semifinal, because the kid has looked very dangerous. One of the top European prospects for the 2017 draft, Pettersson is very smart and very talented. He's part of a deadly Swedish forward syndicate and if he gets hot, watch out." Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News

"Playing in Sweden he's been lights out, but internationally it's a different story where he's struggled, most recently at the World Juniors. The team that drafts him will have to be patient, but he has the tools to make their patience pay off." - Jeff Marek, Sportsnet

"His biggest gift is that he has an incredible understanding of the game. He sees the game from every angle and he is ahead of you all the time, so he always knows what to do with the puck. He finds solutions in the offensive zone that only he can see." - Roger Forsberg, former coach in Timrå IK

3. Lias Andersson, C, HV 71, Sweden
HT: 5-11 WT: 198
Shoots: Left
DOB: 10/13/98 (18)
Smogen, Sweden

"He is a really skilled, two-way forward with great moves with the puck. He shows very good attitude, works hard both ways, has smooth hands and is very effective in the offensive zone as he can both shoot and create scoring chances for linemates." Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting.

"Had a production dip after the WJC, but has been on fire of late putting up big points in the SHL." Jeff Marek, Sportsnet

"An excellent skater with speed and good first-step quickness. He's always on the move and can create scoring chances with his mobility, good hands and grit. His father, Niklas Andersson, played 165 NHL games and now is an amateur scout in Europe for the Los Angeles Kings." Mike Morreale,

"Andersson is a competitive two-way forward who excels at both ends of the ice due to his very high hockey smarts. He understands the game mentally on a high level and makes smart decisions." Dennis Schellenberg, Hockey Prospectus

"He's quick, fast, determined and skilled and can play all three positions up front. A Swiss (or Swedish) Army knife-type player who's very adaptable and coaches will love." - Craig Button, TSN Director of Scouting

"A late '98 birthday, Andersson is an excellent two-way player who excels in every part of the rink. Can completely drive a line with the way be attacks the game. Not sure if he'll ever have elite skill, but is such a valuable player." - Jeff Marek, Sportsnet

"Work ethic and consistency elevate him above peers. Does it all. Natural leader." - ISS (International Scouting Services)

Check out what the experts are saying about the top North American prospects.

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