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NHL Draft

Mock Draft: Cale Makar moves up to Stars at No. 3

NHL.com's Mike Morreale has defenseman improving one pick from previous projection; Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier remain 1, 2

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

NHL.com staff writer Mike G. Morreale projects the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas:

 
1. New Jersey Devils -- Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

Patrick (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) is the ideal center the Devils have been seeking; he has elite hockey sense and an underrated shot. He knows how to use his size and reach, is experienced and has an edge to his game. The Canadian Hockey League Top Prospect Award winner feels he will be NHL ready by September.

 

2. Philadelphia Flyers -- Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

He has elite skill, skating and hockey sense combined with a compete level that allows him to be effective in any style of game. Hischier (6-1, 178) was 10th in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 games this season and was named CHL rookie of the year.

 

3. Dallas Stars -- Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)

The right-handed Makar (5-11, 187), No. 9 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, had 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists) in 54 games and was named the Canadian Junior Hockey League Defenseman of the Year. Committed to the University of Massachusetts next season, Makar has 135 points (35 goals, 100 assists) in 111 Alberta Junior Hockey League regular-season games.

 

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

He not only made the team in Finland's top division but had a big role, earning key minutes on the power play and penalty kill. Heiskanen (6-1, 172), a left-handed shot, is a smooth, effortless skater with a good understanding of the game. He had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 37 games as a 17-year-old in a men's league.

 

5. Vancouver Canucks -- Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)

Glass (6-2, 177) is a right-handed top-line center capable of playing all situations. He has good hands and playmaking ability and is an opportunist in the offensive zone. He ranked seventh in the Western Hockey League with 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 69 games.

 

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

The 6-3, 202-pound right-handed shot is an excellent addition to the development pipeline for the expansion Golden Knights. With elite hands and ability to create in traffic when nothing is available, Vilardi had 61 points (29 goals, 32 assists) in 49 games.

 

7. Arizona Coyotes -- Casey Mittelstadt, C, Eden Prairie (HIGH-MN)

Mittelstadt (5-11, 199) has elite skills and assets to consistently impact and produce results at any level. He averaged 2.40 points in 30 high school games and was named Mr. Hockey as the best senior player in Minnesota. He had 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 24 games for Green Bay of the United States Hockey League.

 

8. Buffalo Sabres -- Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle (SWE)

Liljegren (5-11, 188), a right-handed shot, is an exceptional skater, has a great feel for the game and can quarterback a power play. His offensive game may be more developed than his defensive game, but he's very capable of finding the open man off the transition. Liljegren had five points (one goal, four assists) in 19 games for Rogle, where he'll likely play in 2017-18.

 

9. Detroit Red Wings -- Eeli Tolvanen, RW, Sioux City (USHL)

Tolvanen (5-10, 189), who came to North America from Finland as a 16-year-old, has speed, smarts and skills. He has a great work ethic, is energetic and has a high compete level. The Boston College recruit, who plays bigger than his size, led Sioux City with 54 points (30 goals, 24 assists) in 52 games.

 

10. Florida Panthers -- Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)

He's arguably the best shooter and one of the better skaters of this draft class, and the Panthers need more at right wing in their pipeline. Tippett (6-0, 202), who has Phil Kessel-like potential and can play either right wing or left wing, is a natural goal-scorer who is extremely dangerous when attacking with speed. He had 75 points (44 goals, 31 assists) in 60 games.

 

11. Los Angeles Kings -- Lias Andersson, C, HV 71 (SWE)

Andersson (5-11, 200) is an excellent skater with speed and good first-step quickness. A left-handed shot, 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 is a European scout for the Kings.

 

12. Carolina Hurricanes -- Elias Pettersson, C, Timra (SWE-2)

The left-handed shot centered the top line for Timra in Allsvenskan, Sweden's second division, and gained experience playing with and against men. A forward with great offensive instincts and a good understanding of the game, Pettersson (6-2, 164) had 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) in 43 games for Timra.

 

13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg Jets) -- Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)

There's a lot to like about a 6-5, 221-pound left-shot center with good hands and skill around the goal. He had 55 points (32 goals, 23 assists) in 50 games prior to sustaining a season-ending wrist injury Feb. 1. He was a steady contributor 5-on-5 and on the power play, and occasionally saw time on the penalty kill.

 

14. Tampa Bay Lightning -- Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)

Suzuki (5-11, 183) was one of the more consistent prospects all season from an offensive standpoint. He was fifth in the Ontario Hockey League with 96 points (45 goals, 51 assists) and tied for fifth with 14 power-play goals. He was an offensive leader on a team ranked among the top 10 in the CHL all season and consistently produced against tough competition.

 

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

After missing some time last season because of injury he rebounded well in 2016-17. Valimaki (6-1, 211), a left-handed shot, finished seventh among WHL defensemen with 61 points (19 goals, 42 assists) and eighth with 22 power-play assists in 60 games. He was assertive and capable of dictating play with more confidence this season.

 

16. Calgary Flames -- Callan Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)

Foote (6-4, 215), the son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote, probably won't be the physical presence his father was, but plays all situations, logs a lot of minutes and uses his smarts, reach and strength to contain his opponent and gain position. The right-hand shot had 57 points (six goals, 51 assists).

 

17. Toronto Maple Leafs -- Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frolunda (SWE)

Born in Helsinki, Finland, Vesalainen (6-4, 209) is a power forward with great offensive skills. He's a very mobile skater, smart, and is a good physical presence. He has a good feel for the game and is a hard-working two-way player.

 

18. Boston Bruins -- Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

The 6-2, 176-pound forward brings speed and smarts and seems to make things happen at the right time. The left-handed shot, who had 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 35 games, generates offense when needed. The 18-year-old was the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season.

 

19. San Jose Sharks -- Martin Necas, C, Brno (CZREP)

A smart, mobile playmaker who confidently can move the puck through traffic. Necas (6-1, 178), a right-hand shot, had 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 41 games. He was the captain for Czech Republic at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in August and had six points (two goals, four assists) in four games to help his country win the gold medal.

 

20. St. Louis Blues -- Klim Kostin, C/LW, Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Kostin (6-2, 207) remained No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters despite missing most of the season after having shoulder surgery in January. He has a good combination of size, mobility and puck-handling skills. He's effective in traffic and hard to knock off the puck.

 

21. New York Rangers -- Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)

Hague (6-5, 207) is a fluid skater and can move the puck extremely well, enabling his team to create a lot of offense. The left-handed shot is tough in his own end, and can quarterback a power play. He had 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) and six power-play goals in 65 games.

 

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

Yamamoto (5-7, 146) knows how to create excitement. Despite his stature, he's strong, can make contact and knock opponents off the puck, can protect the puck and can win battles. Scouts like the fact he can bring a game-breaker element every time out, has no fear and has plenty of push-back.

 

23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota) -- Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (H-EAST)

Oettinger (6-4, 218), No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies, plays simple, efficient and is technically sound. He went 21-11-3 with a 2.11 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 35 games. The 18-year-old was the second-youngest player in NCAA hockey.

 

24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus Blue Jackets via Vegas Golden Knights) -- Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)

Robertson (6-2, 195) got better as the season progressed. He had 81 points (42 goals, 39 assists) in 68 games. He has great hockey sense, a strong feel for the game and is an excellent finisher.

 

25. Montreal Canadiens -- Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

Comtois (6-2, 206) is most comfortable at right wing but can play any forward position and can be used in all situations because of his size and speed. He is effective on faceoffs, is highly skilled and also plays with an edge. The left-hand shot had 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 64 games.

 

26. Chicago Blackhawks -- Erik Brannstrom, D, HV 71 (SWE)

The left-handed shot compensates for his lack of size (5-9, 179) with excellent hockey sense, a good shot and strong puck-handling and passing skills. Brannstrom had six points (one goal, five assists) and a plus-10 rating in 35 games in the SHL. He's often compared to former NHL defenseman Kimmo Timonen, but also has a playing style reminiscent of Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug.

 

27. St. Louis Blues (from Washington Capitals) -- Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)

Vaakanainen (6-1, 188) might be considered the sleeper of the first round. He's No. 8 on Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters, is mobile, good at handling the puck and capable of finding the open man in transition. He's very reliable in the defensive zone and doesn't shy away from getting physical.

 

28. Ottawa Senators -- Robert Thomas, C, London (OHL)

Thomas (5-11, 192) is a highly intelligent player who is impactful at both ends. The right-handed shot is a gifted passer who sees the ice extremely well and can be trusted to play in any situation. He had 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games. 

 

29. Dallas Stars (from Anaheim Ducks) -- Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)

A strong power-forward type who displays good hockey sense and a soft touch around the net. Ratcliffe (6-6, 200) has good size and can make plays on the rush while using his strength and reach to be a threat on the cycle. He had 54 points (28 goals, 26 assists) in 67 games.

 

30. Nashville Predators -- Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo (USHL)

Committed to Boston University for next season, the left-handed shot from Halifax, Nova Scotia, had 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 60 games. Bowers (6-1, 178) plays hard at both ends and manages his skating with a good change of pace.

 

31. Pittsburgh Penguins -- Kole Lind, RW, Kelowna (WHL)

Lind (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) is considered a game-breaker with good speed and elusiveness. He had 87 points (30 goals, 57 assists) in 70 games, has a deceptive shot, and is a solid passer with good vision. He could develop into a consistent secondary scoring option.

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