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NHL Draft

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier head prospects game

Team captains among participants in showcase of 40 top 2017 draft-eligible players

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Brandon center Nolan Patrick and Halifax center Nico Hischier, the top two players on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters, will serve as captains when the 2017 Sherwin-Williams Canadian Hockey League/NHL Top Prospects Game is held at Videotron Centre in Quebec City on Monday.

The 22nd annual event will showcase 40 of the top players eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, including 28 players ranked among the top 31 and considered potential first-round choices.

"The CHL Top Prospects Game always provides an opportunity for NHL personnel to see the top prospects go head to head and display their skills and assets," director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "This is a best-on-best game in a draft year in which many prospects have yet to differentiate and separate themselves from the congested field of prospects.

"Many scouts are hoping that these prospects will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase themselves and leave an impression."

Patrick (6-foot-3, 198 pounds), No. 1 on the midterm list with eight goals and 17 points in 11 games for Brandon of the Western Hockey League, will captain Team Don Cherry. Patrick missed 35 games this season because of a groin injury but returned Jan. 13.

The alternate captains for Team Cherry will be left wing and No. 15 Maxime Comtois (6-2, 199) of Victoriaville in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and right wing and No. 4 Owen Tippett (6-1, 202) of Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League.

Hischier (6-1, 176), No. 2 on the midterm list with 33 goals and 67 points in 39 games in the QMJHL, will captain Team Bobby Orr. The alternates are defenseman and No. 11 Nicolas Hague (6-5, 206) of Mississauga (OHL) and center and No. 6 Michael Rasmussen (6-6, 215) of Tri-City (WHL). Hischier led all 2017 draft-eligible players with four goals and seven points in five games for Switzerland at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Patrick will be joined on Team Cherry by center and No. 3 Gabriel Vilardi (6-3, 201) of Windsor (OHL) and center and No. 31 Jake Leschyshyn (5-11, 184) of Regina. Leschyshyn is sure to receive attention in Quebec City since his father, Curtis, a defenseman, was selected by the Quebec Nordiques with the No. 3 pick in the 1988 draft and spent the first seven of a 16-season NHL career in Quebec. Jake Leschyshyn has scored 17 goals and 39 points in 44 games in his second full season with the Pats of the WHL.

Hischier will be joined on Team Orr by center and No. 8 Cody Glass (6-2, 180) of Portland (WHL) and defenseman and No. 9 Juuso Valimaki (6-1, 204) of Tri-City (WHL).

Prince Albert goaltender Ian Scott (6-3, 174), No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American goaltenders, will represent Team Cherry and is the top-rated player at his position on each roster.

Since the first Top Prospects Game in 1996, 13 players who have played in the game have gone on to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, including eight of the past 10: Connor McDavid (2015, Edmonton Oilers), Aaron Ekblad (2014, Florida Panthers), Nathan MacKinnon (2013, Colorado Avalanche), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011, Edmonton Oilers), Taylor Hall (2010, Edmonton Oilers), John Tavares (2009, New York Islanders), Steven Stamkos (2008, Tampa Bay Lightning) and Patrick Kane (2007, Chicago Blackhawks).



(NHL Central Scouting midterm ranking for skaters/goalies in parenthesis)



Coach: Simon Gagne

GOALTENDERS: Ian Scott (2), Prince Albert, WHL; Stuart Skinner (9), Lethbridge, WHL

DEFENSEMEN: Callan Foote (12), Kelowna, WHL; Antoine Crete-Belzile (66), Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL; Henri Jokiharju (22), Portland, WHL; Pierre-Olivier Joseph (42), Charlottetown, QMJHL; Artyom Minulin (49), Swift Current, WHL; Jarret Tyszka (33), Seattle, WHL

FORWARDS: Maxime Comtois (15), Victoriaville, QMJHL; MacKenzie Entwistle (35), Hamilton, OHL; Jake Leschyshyn (31), Regina, WHL; Ivan Lodnia (37), Erie, OHL; Antoine Morand (54), Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL; Nolan Patrick (1), Brandon, WHL; Isaac Ratcliffe (20), Guelph, OHL; Adam Ruzicka (27), Sarnia, OHL; Nick Suzuki (16), Owen Sound, OHL; Robert Thomas (28), London, OHL; Owen Tippett (4), Mississauga, OHL; Gabriel Vilardi (3), Windsor, OHL



Coach: Guy Chouinard

GOALTENDERS: Michael DiPietro (7), Windsor, OHL; Alex D'Orio (8), Saint John, QMJHL

DEFENSEMEN: Nicolas Hague (11), Mississauga, OHL; Jacob Paquette (90), Kingston, OHL; Markus Phillips (62), Owen Sound, OHL; Eemeli Rasanen (57), Kingston, OHL; Conor Timmins (26), Sault Ste. Marie, OHL; Juuso Valimaki (9), Tri-City, WHL

FORWARDS: Alexander Chmelevski (38), Ottawa, OHL; Alex Formenton (24), London, OHL; Morgan Frost (29), Sault Ste. Marie, OHL; Cody Glass (8), Portland, WHL; Nico Hischier (2), Halifax, QMJHL; Kole Lind (21), Kelowna, WHL; Stelio Mattheos (23), Brandon, WHL; Nikita Popugaev (18), Moose Jaw, WHL; Michael Rasmussen (6), Tri-City, WHL; Nate Schnarr (32), Guelph, OHL; Matthew Strome (19), Hamilton, OHL; Kailer Yamamoto (17), Spokane, WHL

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