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Get To Know Central Scouting's Top 10 Prospects

The Golden Knights will pick No. 6 overall at the 2017 NHL Draft

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Entering the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo this week, the Golden Knights will begin the team's final push toward the first Entry Draft in team history.

Scheduled for June 23-24 in Chicago, the Golden Knights will pick No. 6 overall in the first round, and are currently scheduled to pick once in each of the draft's seven rounds.

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Heading into the NHL Draft, here is a countdown of the players Central Scouting has ranked 1-10.

1. Nolan Patrick

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 198

Date of Birth: September 19, 1998

Hometown: Winnipeg, MB, CAN

Current Team: Brandon Wheat Kings

Often a linemate of Reid Duke, Patrick has ridden the No. 1 ranking throughout the 2016-17 season, despite injuries limiting him to only 33 games. Although he doesn't have the game-breaking speed of other recent No. 1 picks, his all-around acumen is unquestioned, as is the likelihood that he'll play in the NHL next season. Projects as a franchise center.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 33
Goals: 20
Assists: 26
Points: 46
Penalty Minutes: 36

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2. Nico Hischier

 

 

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 179

Date of Birth: November 22, 1998

Hometown: Naters, SUI

Current Team: Halifax Mooseheads

One of two players considered to have a realistic chance of being selected No. 1 overall, Hischier is considered a franchise player who'll be a cornerstone of whatever team selects him, as well as the highest rated Swiss player ever. After scoring 86 points (38g, 48a) in 57 games this season, Hischier is considered likely to be playing in the NHL this season.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 57
Goals: 38
Assists: 48
Points: 86
Penalty Minutes: 24

 

3. Casey Mittelstadt

 

 

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 201

Date of Birth: November 22, 1998

Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN, USA

Current Team: Green Bay Gamblers

The highest ranked American in the draft rankings, Casey Mittelstadt is an explosive offensive force, although he doesn't necessarily project as an NHL player this season. He's currently planning on joining the University of Minnesota as a freshman next season, having transitioned from Minnesota high school to the American juniors (USHL) during this past season

2016-17 Stats (Combined, 2 teams)

Games Played: 49
Goals: 34
Assists: 60
Points: 94
Penalty Minutes: 10

 

4. Gabriel Vilardi

 

 

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 192

Date of Birth: August 16, 1999

Hometown: Kingston, ON, CAN

Current Team: Windsor Spitfires

A winner of the Memorial Cup this past week, it's worth noting that Vilardi led the Canadian Hockey League champions in scoring this year, despite being only 17-year-old and playing against several 19 and 20-year-old opponents. An all-around player who excels in every area of the rink, Vilardi won't turn 18 until this August.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 49
Goals: 29
Assists: 32
Points: 61
Penalty Minutes: 12

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5. Michael Rasmussen

 

 

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 203

Date of Birth: April 17, 1999

Hometown: Surrey, BC, CAN

Current Team: Tri-City Americans

A true power center, Michael Rasmussen already stands 6-foot-5 and weighs more than 200 pounds, despite not turning 18 until last month. As he blossoms into an NHL player, he projects to get even larger, although his offensive game is a little less polished than some of the other top prospects. It must also be noted that he's a graduate of the Okanagan Hockey Academy in British Columbia, where Golden Knights amateur scout Bruno Campese was previously employed.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 50
Goals: 32
Assists: 23
Points: 55
Penalty Minutes: 50

 

6. Cody Glass

 

 

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 179

Date of Birth: April 1, 1999

Hometown: Winnipeg, MB, CAN

Current Team: Portland Winterhawks

A center with projectable size, Glass excels on both sides of the puck. Part of Glass' story is the tremendous improvements he's made over the past 12 months, more than tripling his 27-point (10g, 17a) 2015-16 season by racking up 94 (32g, 62a) in 69 games.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 69
Goals: 32
Assists: 62
Points: 94
Penalty Minutes: 36

 

7. Owen Tippett

 

 

Position: Right Wing

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 203

Date of Birth: February 16, 1999

Hometown: Peterborough, ON, CAN

Current Team: Mississauga Steelheads

Of no relation to Arizona Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, Owen Tippett is the top ranked winger in the draft. And at 6-foot-2 and more than 200 pounds, with a scoring touch that saw him pot 44 goals in 60 games, might be as well prepared as anyone outside the top two ranked players to immediately hop in and play at the NHL level.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 52
Goals: 30
Assists: 24
Points: 54
Penalty Minutes: 26

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8. Eeli Tolvanen

 

 

Position: Right Wing

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 179

Date of Birth: April 22, 1999

Hometown: Vihti, FIN

Current Team: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)

A native of Finland, Tolvanen's style is a solid blend of North American and European hockey. He starred for Finland at the World Juniors this winter, scoring six points in six games and won a gold medal at the U-18 tournament last season. At the same time, he's been in North America since he was 16-years-old with the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers and is ticketed to begin his freshman year with Boston College this fall.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 52
Goals: 30
Assists: 24
Points: 54
Penalty Minutes: 26

 

9. Cale Makar

Position: Defenseman

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 179

Date of Birth: October 30, 1998

Hometown: Calgary, AB, CAN

Current Team: Brooks Bandits (BCHL)

The top ranked defenseman eligible for this year's draft, Makar is considered more of a long-term project than a ready-to-go NHL player. He's ticketed to begin his freshman year with UMass-Amherst this fall, after spending the past three seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League, which is a tier below major junior. Just note that while Makar will be a freshman next season, elite prospects rarely spend four full years in college, having the ability to turn pro whenever they and their NHL club wishes.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 54
Goals: 24
Assists: 51
Points: 75
Penalty Minutes: 18

 

10. Nicholas Suzuki

 

 

Position: Center

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 183

Date of Birth: August 10, 1999

Hometown: London, ON, CAN

Current Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Perhaps nobody in the Draft plays a faster and cleaner game than Nick Suzuki. The OHL's Most Sportsmanlike player this season, Suzuki isn't large at 5-foot-11, 183 pounds, but what he lacks in brawn he makes up for in bravery and by not being afraid to go to the greasy areas to put up points.

2016-17 Stats

Games Played: 65
Goals: 45
Assists: 51
Points: 96
Penalty Minutes: 10

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