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NHL Draft

NHL Draft

Mike G. Morreale's 2017 NHL mock draft

Nolan Patrick of Brandon, Nico Hischier of Halifax, Gabriel Vilardi of Windsor top three selections

by Mike G. Morreale @MikeMorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

The order used for this mock draft was based on League standings after close of play Wednesday. The Vegas Golden Knights, who will be assigned the same odds as the third-place team in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, were given the No. 3 pick in the mock drafts.

All 31 teams currently have their first-round pick; the last time each team entered the draft owning its first pick was 2005.

 

1. Colorado Avalanche - Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

Patrick (6-foot-3, 198 pounds) is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters despite missing 35 games with a groin/stomach muscle injury. The right-shot center is as dangerous a passer as he is a shooter, and has great hockey sense.

 

VIEW: Kimelman's 2017 NHL mock draft | NHL Central Scouting rankings

 

2. Arizona Coyotes - Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

The Switzerland-born left-shot forward (6-1, 176) has elite hockey sense, a nice scoring touch and underrated edge to his game. He excelled as an underage player for Switzerland at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with four goals and three assists in five games. He has been dominant for Halifax with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games.

 

3. Vegas Golden Knights - Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)

With their first draft pick, the Golden Knights could select a puck-possessing workaholic with skilled hands and outstanding awareness. A right-shot forward, Vilardi (6-3, 201) has excellent hockey sense and puck-handling ability, is very composed with the puck and able to influence the game in all three zones.

 

4. New York Islanders - Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)

Tippett (6-1, 202), the cousin of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Mitchell Stephens, is an exceptionally strong skater and shooter. He knows where to go on the ice to properly give or receive a pass and has an NHL-caliber shot and release.

 

5. Buffalo Sabres - Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)

He knows how to use his 6-foot-6, 215-pound frame to his fullest advantage. He has shown more confidence this season with 51 points (30 goals, 21 assists) in 46 games. Does a fine job getting to the dirty areas to provide screens and get deflections, and knows how to protect the puck with his reach.

 

6. Winnipeg Jets - Casey Mittelstadt, C, Eden Prairie (HIGH-MN)

The University of Minnesota recruit has elite puck skills, NHL quickness, and has excelled at every level. Mittelstadt (6-1, 201) was MVP of the USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game in September, had 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 16 games with Green Bay of the United States Hockey League early in the season, and now is the leading scorer for his high school team.

 

7. Detroit Red Wings - Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City (WHL)

The two-way defenseman has brought more assertiveness to his game in his second WHL season. Valimaki (6-1, 204) has 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 38 games and has shown more offensive drive and confidence in his game.

 

8. Dallas Stars - Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Sioux City (USHL)

He has plenty of speed, hockey sense and intensity to complement a solid skill set and NHL-caliber release. Tolvanen (5-10, 170), born in Finland, will attend Boston College in 2017-18. He leads Sioux City in goals (16), points (29), game-winning goals (four) and shots on goal (134) in 26 games.

 

9. New Jersey Devils - Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)

The versatile 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-shot center plays all three forward spots but is better in the middle because he has a constant motor and is an opportunist in the offensive zone. He has good hands and playmaking ability with a style of play that has been compared to Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron.

 

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

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.

 

11. Nashville Predators - Elias Pettersson, C, Timra (SWE-2)

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.

 

12. Florida Panthers - Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

The 6-2, 183-pound forward brings speed and smarts and seems to make things happen at the right time. He generates offense in clutch situations, and is close to being the complete package despite being the youngest player in the NCAA; he turned 18 on Jan. 3.

 

13. Vancouver Canucks - Lias Andersson, C, HV 71 (SWE)

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.

 

14. Los Angeles Kings - Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)

Makar (5-11, 179), winner of the 2015-16 Alberta Junior Hockey League and Canadian Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year, has continued his stellar play and development. He's a dynamic skater with quickness and elusiveness with or without the puck.

 

15. Carolina Hurricanes - Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frolunda (SWE)

Born in Helsinki, Vesalainen (6-3, 207) is a power forward with great offensive skills. He's a very mobile skater, smart, has a good feel for the game and is a hard working two-way player. He has split the season between Frolunda and HPK in Liiga, Finland's top professional league.

 

16. Philadelphia Flyers - Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)

An intelligent, two-way defender (6-0, 185) who can read the play well, has good vision and a strong skill set that includes skating, passing and an accurate shot. He is a reliable team player and has a sound defensive game.

 

17. Ottawa Senators - Martin Necas, C, Brno (CZREP)

Necas (6-0, 167) is an excellent skater with a fine set of tools. He was captain for the Czech Republic at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in August and had two goals and four assists in four games. He's fast, has great balance and has confidence in his ability to score and create opportunities. 

 

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

The 6-3, 213-pound son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote probably won't be the physical presence his father was, but plays all situations and uses his smarts, reach and strength to contain his opponent and gain position. 

 

19. Boston Bruins - Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)

Hague (6-5, 206) is a fluid skater and can move the puck extremely well, enabling his team to create a lot of offense. He also has five power-play goals, second on Mississauga. The left-shot defenseman also is tough in the defensive end.

 

20. Calgary Flames - Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle (SWE)

Liljegren (6-0, 191) missed two months because of mononucleosis earlier in the season but is a solid prospect with great upside. He's calm, smart and creative, and can move the puck with authority.   

 

21. St. Louis Blues - Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

Comtois (6-2, 199) is most comfortable at right wing, but can play any forward position; as a center he has won 50.4 percent of the 272 faceoffs he has taken. He can be used in all situations because of his size and speed. He is highly skilled but also highly competitive and plays the game with an edge.

 

22. San Jose Sharks - Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)

Suzuki (5-11, 187) has 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) and a plus-28 rating in 43 games, all improvements from the 20 goals, 38 points and minus-15 he had in 63 games last season as an OHL rookie. He's versatile, has high-end hockey sense and vision and is a gifted passer and underrated finisher.

 

23. Edmonton Oilers - Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane (WHL)

Yamamoto (5-7, 153) will create excitement. He's hockey-strong, can make contact and knock people off the puck, can protect it and win battles. Scouts like the fact he brings a game-breaker element to each shift.

 

24. New York Rangers - Filip Westerlund, D, Frolunda (SWE)

His hockey sense, puck control and intelligence stand out the most to scouts. Westerlund (5-11, 179) has poise and makes smart decisions. He averages 12 minutes per game on a strong Frolunda team.

 

25. Anaheim Ducks - Matthew Strome, LW, Hamilton (OHL)

Strome (6-3, 206) is bigger and stronger than his older brothers, forwards Ryan Strome of the New York Islanders and Dylan Strome of the Arizona Coyotes. The youngest Strome brother is strong down low and is skilled at using his body to protect the puck. He's very hard to check, has excellent hockey IQ and is a good finisher.

 

26. Pittsburgh Penguins - Nikita Popugaev, LW, Prince George (WHL)

The right-shot forward from Moscow has said he compares his style to Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin. Popugaev (6-5, 204) has developed his game well in his second WHL season, with 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists) in 48 games. He has an excellent combination of size and skill, and uses his reach very well.

 

27. Montreal Canadiens - Jesper Boqvist, C, Timra (SWE-2)

The left-shot forward has great speed with offensive skill. He had 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 19 games with Timra on loan from Brynas in the Swedish Hockey League, where he returned earlier this month. Boqvist (6-0, 179) is a very good skater with good first-step quickness and balance. He's a skilled puck carrier, and effective in traffic. 

 

28. Chicago Blackhawks - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, G, HPK Jr. (FIN)

Luukkonen (6-4, 196), often compared to Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, plays an effective butterfly style, is strong in the crease and can control rebounds. He won a gold medal with Finland at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, winning the final three games with a 2.00 goals-against average and .917 save percentage.

 

29. Minnesota Wild - Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland (WHL)

In his first season in North America, Jokiharju (6-0, 176) has performed very well, with 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 44 games. He's an excellent skater, elusive with the puck and can beat the forecheck with a pass or his feet. He had three assists in seven games to help Finland win the gold medal at the 2016 World U-18 Championship.

 

30. Washington Capitals - Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)

Ratcliffe (6-5, 196) is a prototypical power forward with a good scoring touch. He has 39 points (21 goals, 18 assists), a plus-10 rating and 53 penalty minutes in 44 games. 

 

31. Columbus Blue Jackets - Stelio Mattheos, RW, Brandon (WHL)

Mattheos (6-1, 190) picked up the offensive slack when Patrick was out because of injury. He was chosen No. 1 by Brandon in the 2014 WHL draft and is capable of doing a lot of things well. His 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 43 games this season already has surpassed the 13 goals and 30 points he had in 50 games as a WHL rookie last season.

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