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NHL Draft

Nolan Patrick, Nico Hischier split No. 1 in mock drafts

Still no consensus selection from NHL.com experts on who Devils will choose with top pick

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The NHL Scouting Combine, which concluded Saturday, has done little to change the unpredictability of the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas. The NHL.com draft experts' latest mock drafts bear that out.

Deputy Managing Editor Adam Kimelman, Staff Writer Mike G. Morreale and LNH.com Staff Writer Guillaume Lepage found little consensus, starting with a split vote for who could be taken with the first pick.

Kimelman and Morreale believe it will be Brandon center Nolan Patrick, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American skater, and Lepage believes it will be Halifax center Nico Hischier, who is No. 2 on Central Scouting's list.

Those are the same opinions they held after the NHL Draft Lottery on April 29, which saw the New Jersey Devils win the No. 1 pick.

 

[RELATED: Kimelman's Mock Draft | Morreale's Mock Draft | Lepage's Mock Draft]

 

"They are both great players," Devils general manager Ray Shero said. "Patrick went through injury this year, but everybody knows he's a heck of a player and he's going to be very good. Hischier is a Swiss center with good size and talent. For us, these are two centers, two real good players. We're going to get one heck of a player and, at this point, that's what this franchise needs."

Each of the draft experts see the rest of the top five differently as well. Lepage and Morreale believe the Dallas Stars will select Windsor center Gabriel Vilardi at No. 3, and Kimelman sees them selecting Eden Prairie (Minnesota) center Casey Mittelstadt. Kimelman has Vilardi going No. 5 to the Vancouver Canucks, and Lepage and Morreale see Mittelstadt going fifth.

They do agree the Colorado Avalanche will take a defenseman at No. 4; Kimelman and Lepage believe it will be Miro Heiskanen from HIFK in Finland, and Morreale thinks they'll take Cale Makar from Brooks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Video: The guys discuss this year's draft class

A total of 37 players are tabbed in the three mock drafts, further showing the wide opinions.

The full order for the first round will be set after the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the losing team in the Final picking No. 30 and winning team getting the 31st selection.

The 2017 draft will be held at United Center in Chicago on June 23-24.

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