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NHL Draft

Mock Draft: Cody Glass moves up to Golden Knights at No. 6's Guillaume Lepage has center rising two picks from second projection; Nico Hischier, Nolan Patrick still 1, 2

by Guillaume Lepage @GLepageLNH / Staff Writer staff writer Guillaume Lepage projects the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas:


[MOCK DRAFTS: Kimelman | Morreale]


1. New Jersey Devils -- Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

The Devils haven't selected first since moving to New Jersey in 1982 and will pick the most complete forward in the draft. Born in Switzerland, Hischier (6-foot-1, 178 pounds) impressed in his first season in North America with his speed and skill. He led Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rookies with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 games. Hischier will add depth at center for the Devils and his intelligence on the ice should allow him to make an impact in the NHL next season.


2. Philadelphia Flyers -- Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

The Flyers won't complain about having Patrick fall to them at No. 2. Although he is not the greatest skater, Patrick (6-2, 198) compensates for it with his ability to handle and protect the puck. His vision makes him dangerous, as evidenced by his 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games. He also will add toughness to the lineup.

Video: Robby Glantz on Patrick and Hischier's skating


3. Dallas Stars -- Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)

A center with size (6-2, 202), Vilardi is not the fastest skater but has a knack for making those around him better. His work ethic, determination and touch around the net will be a welcome addition to the Stars. Vilardi had 61 points (29 goals, 32 assists) in 49 games this season.


4. Colorado Avalanche -- Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (FIN)

The Avalanche need a good, two-way defenseman and Heiskanen (6-0, 172) fits the bill perfectly. He opened a lot of eyes at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in seven games and was named the tournament's best defenseman.


5. Vancouver Canucks -- Casey Mittelstadt, C, Eden Prairie (HIGH-MN)

Mittelstadt (5-11, 199) had 72 points (23 goals, 49 assists) in 30 games with his high school team and averaged 1.25 points per game in 24 games with Green Bay of the United States Hockey League. His best assets are his high-end agility and puck-handling skills.


6. Vegas Golden Knights -- Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)

Glass (6-2, 177) has an enticing mix of speed and smarts on the ice. He had 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 69 games, tied for the fourth-highest total among 2017 draft-eligible players in the Canadian Hockey League. His explosive style allows him to create scoring chances on nearly every shift.


7. Arizona Coyotes -- Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)

His intelligence helps make up for his lack in size (5-11, 187). Makar is very mobile and uses his high-end skating ability to get the play moving toward the offensive end. He was sixth in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and first among defensemen, with 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists) in 54 games.


8. Buffalo Sabres -- Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)

The 6-foot, 202-pound forward has the natural instincts of a scorer; his 44 goals this season ranked fifth in the Ontario Hockey League. Opposing defenders have to keep an eye on Tippett, an excellent skater who is able to make his way through traffic and get to the net. Tippett already has an NHL-caliber shot.


9. Detroit Red Wings -- Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)

At 6-5, 221 pounds, Rasmussen's size makes him an attractive prospect; he's the prototype of a classic NHL power forward. Rasmussen is able to use his size to put the puck in the net and set up his teammates. He had 55 points (32 goals, 23 assists) in 50 games this season.


10. Florida Panthers -- Martin Necas, C, Brno (CZE)

Necas is not the biggest forward available in the draft (6-1, 178), but sets himself apart with his offensive flair and hockey IQ. He battles for loose pucks and has good vision, allowing him to find teammates and create scoring chances. Necas had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 41 games in the top Czech league.


11. Los Angeles Kings -- Elias Pettersson, C, Timra (SWE-2)

Pettersson (6-2, 164) gained a lot of experience playing against men in Allsvenskan, the second division in Sweden, and had 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 43 games. He has excellent hands and a fluid skating stride, allowing him to create separation from defenders, as well as a high-end wrist shot.


12. Carolina Hurricanes -- Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)

What Suzuki gives up in size (5-11, 183) he makes up for in offensive ability. He was fifth in the OHL with 96 points (45 goals, 51 assists) in 65 games and is a dynamic forward who plays with no fear and is relentless in the corners.


13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg Jets) -- Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle (SWE)

Liljegren (5-11, 188) came into this season considered by some scouts to be the top defenseman in the draft. However, he missed the first two months with mononucleosis and had trouble finding his rhythm upon his return. He has above-average skills as an offensive-minded defenseman and has a very high ceiling. Liljegren has been compared to Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.


14. Tampa Bay Lightning -- Klim Kostin, C/LW, Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Kostin (6-2, 207) played eight games in the Kontinental Hockey League before season-ending shoulder surgery in January. When healthy, he's shown himself to be a puck-possession monster, which fits how the Lightning like to play. Kostin has energy and is a tireless worker.


15. Vegas Golden Knights (from New York Islanders) -- Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City (WHL)

The Finnish defenseman has an intriguing mix of speed and mobility that allows him to join the offensive attack. He had 61 points (19 goals, 42 assists) in 60 games, seventh among WHL defensemen. In addition to his vision and ability to quickly transition from defense to offense, his size (6-1, 211) makes him an imposing figure protecting his net.


16. Calgary Flames -- Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frolunda (SWE)

Vesalainen was considered by some scouts to be one of the top players in the draft at the start of the season, especially because of his large frame (6-4, 209). However, his lack of production with Frolunda, scoring six points (one goal, five points) in 26 games, has been a cause for concern in terms of his ability to transition to the NHL.


17. Toronto Maple Leafs -- Callan Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)

Intelligence and vision are the calling cards of this massive (6-4, 215) defenseman. He can shut down opposing forwards because of his strong positioning and also can contribute offensively, as his 57 points (six goals, 51 assists) in 71 games indicate.


18. Boston Bruins -- Lias Andersson, C, HV 71 (SWE)

An excellent two-way forward who plays a smart game in all three zones, Andersson (5-11, 200) already is a very responsible player who shows good maturity and leadership and plays a mistake-free style. He has some skill offensively, with 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 42 games, but it's his work without the puck that sets him apart.


19. San Jose Sharks -- Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)

The Sharks are getting older at every position, especially on defense, and Hague (6-5, 207) is a big body who can anchor their defense in the near future. His long reach causes problems for opposing forwards, and he has the skill to be useful on the power play. He had 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 65 games.


20. St. Louis Blues -- Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Sioux City (USHL)

The Finland native is an offensive machine, using his strong wrist shot and lightning-quick release to finish with 54 points (30 goals, 24 assists) in 52 games in his second season in North America. He is small (5-10, 189) but quick, and has the ability to back off defenders with his acceleration.


21. New York Rangers -- Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

The youngest player in the NCAA this season -- he turned 18 on Jan. 3 -- Poehling stood out with his creativity and knack for generating scoring chances at the most important moments. He protects the puck well and his defensive game improved as the season went along. Poehling (6-2, 176) had 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 35 games.


22. Edmonton Oilers -- Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)

Robertson, who won't turn 18 until July 22, is one of the youngest players eligible for the draft as well as one of the most intriguing. He had 81 points (42 goals, 39 assists) in 68 games on the lowest-scoring team in the OHL; of Kingston's 179 goals, Robertson (6-2, 196) scored 23.5 percent of them, and had a point on 45.2 percent of them. His offensive ability is undeniable, though his skating remains a question mark.

Video: Will it be Nolan or Nico taken first overall?


23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota Wild) -- Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (NCAA)

As a freshman this season Oettinger (6-4, 218) started 35 of Boston University's 39 games. Known for his mental strength and calm demeanor in the crease, he had a 2.11 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.


24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus Blue Jackets via Vegas Golden Knights) -- Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane (WHL)

If he were a bit bigger, Yamamoto (5-7, 146) probably would be a top-10 pick. With 99 points (42 goals, 57 assists) in 65 games, the doubts about his game have nothing to do with production, but rather his ability to adapt his game to play in the NHL. His speed and skill would suggest he should be able to do it.


25. Montreal Canadiens -- Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo (USHL)

A player who excels in all three zones, Bowers has built a reputation as a tireless worker who can handle the rough stuff in the corners. With his strength and size (6-1, 178), Bowers protects the puck well and uses his vision to create in the offensive zone. He had 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 60 games.


26. Chicago Blackhawks -- Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

Joseph (6-2, 163) is a calm, solid defenseman who can kick-start the offense and is an excellent puck-mover on the power play. He stands out due to his hockey sense and intelligence. He had 39 points (six goals, 33 assists) in 62 games.


27. St. Louis Blues (from Washington Capitals) -- Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)

Ratcliffe is a prototypical power forward because of his size (6-6, 200), touch in the offensive end and physical play. He had 54 points (28 goals, 26 assists) in 67 games, an improvement from the 13 points (five goals, eight assists) he had in 46 games last season as an OHL rookie.


28. Ottawa Senators -- Kole Lind, RW, Kelowna (WHL)

His intelligence and hockey sense are remarkable. Lind (6-1, 185) had a consistent season, knows where to go on the ice and has no trouble finding his teammates, as his Kelowna-best 87 points (30 goals, 57 assists) in 70 games attest.


29. Dallas Stars (from Anaheim Ducks) -- Conor Timmins, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

The right-shot defenseman (6-1, 183) has a natural instinct to his game that allows him to jump into the play and create offensively. He improved throughout the season and eventually became Sault Ste. Marie's offensive driver from the back end with 61 points (seven goals, 54 assists) in 67 games.


30. Nashville Predators -- Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

Expectations were raised after he had 60 points (26 goals, 34 assists) in 62 games in his first season in the QMJHL, but he regressed this season with 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games. However, his rookie season gave an indication of his potential. Comtois (6-2, 206) also can play center.


31. Pittsburgh Penguins -- Robert Thomas, C, London (OHL)

Thomas (5-11, 192) had 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games, but it's his defensive game and puck-possession skills that make him stand out. It appears as though Thomas has yet to reach his full potential, but the Penguins have the luxury of giving him time to develop.

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