2017 NHL Mock Draft – April 10th

Draft Order based on final NHL Standings following the Regular Season

1. – Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)
Skinny: Complete 3-zone center that already plays a pro-style game as an 18 year old. Does everything so well and has elite level hockey sense, equally gifted as a goal scorer and playmaker; Anze Kopitar style #1 center.
2. – Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
Skinny: Dynamic and offensively gifted center, has creative playmaking ability and soft hands to finish in tight. Elite level skater; more agile than fast and can quickly dart into open areas of ice to create separation.
3. – Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)
Skinny: Consistent and reliable center, Vilardi is a creative attacker and a workhorse on the puck. Possession beast with fantastic corsi metrics, fundamentally complete hockey player.
4. – Casey Mittelstadt, C/LW, Eden Prairie (USHS)
Skinny: Remarkably creative and dynamic, Mittelstadt is a shifty offensive minded forward with the slickest hands in this draft. Can create offense for himself and his teammates with fantastic one-on-one skills.
5. – Elias Pettersson, C, Timrå (SWE-2)
Skinny: Playmaking center with great smarts and offensive awareness, Pettersson has been impressive with a near point per game performance for Timrå where he’s routinely put his smooth hands and quick skating ability to use.
6. – Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
Skinny: Natural goal scorer with one of the best shots in the draft, Tippett doesn’t need much space to make his opponent pay with a deadly accurate and quick shot. Has the hockey smarts to get to the high percentage areas on the ice.
7. – Timothy Liljegren, D, Timrå (SWE-2)
Skinny: Smooth skating Swedish defenseman, had a slow start to his season but found himself in the 2nd half of this year; great hockey IQ and vision on both the breakout and in the offensive zone, sees the ice very well.
8. – Juuso Välimäki, D, Tri-City (WHL)
Skinny: Two-way Finnish defenseman with strong offensive upside, Välimäki is an intelligent and patient defenseman that focuses on making smart plays on both sides of the puck. Possesses a great point shot as well.
9. – Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
Skinny: Goal scoring winger with a high motor, Tolvanen is a dangerous blend of speed and skill that has the drive to work and compete all over the ice. Hallmark of his game is his NHL ready shot with deadly precision and a quick release.
10. – Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)
Skinny: Big and intelligent center with good all-around skills, Rasmussen consistently uses his 6’5″ frame to his advantage to shield the puck from defenders and get to the dirties areas of the ice; has a great nose for the net.
11. – Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)
Skinny: Well-rounded and intelligent hockey player, there isn’t much Glass doesn’t do well with a great work ethic in all three zones and an intelligent hockey mind; has quick hands and good vision, finished the WHL season with 94 points (32 G, 62 A).
12. – Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)
Skinny: Big and versatile blue liner, Hague is a tower of power on the Mississauga blue line standing at 6’6″ and has great offensive upside; not afraid to jump into the play on the rush and has a great point shot – a left-handed Dougie Hamilton.
13. – Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)
Skinny: Creative and intelligent center that models his own game after Patrice Bergeron, Suzuki is a smart 3-zone player and a remarkably hard worker, creates offense using his speed and quick hands, also has great offensive zone vision.
14. – Kailer Yamamoto, C/W, Spokane (WHL)
Skinny: Undersized but explosive forward, Yamamoto is not unlike another former Spokane Chief in Tyler Johnson – quick playmaking hands, high motor and a willingness to compete all over the ice, and speed for days – leads this draft class in scoring.
15. – Cal Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)
Skinny: Big right-handed defenseman that plays a different style from his dad, Adam. Cal is an intelligent and efficient blue liner with great instincts all over the ice, strong and efficient puck mover and has good offensive upside.
16. – Lias Andersson, C/LW, HV-71 (SWE)
Skinny: Smart and competitive two-way player, Andersson is the definition of a 3-zone player with a great defensive mind and the work ethic to compete for pucks, natural leader and can play in all situations.
17. – Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)
Skinny: Undersized but dynamic offensive defenseman, Makar made himself a known commodity at the U19s where he showcased his explosive skating ability, fantastic offensive zone vision, and a very capable shot.
18. – Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (FIN)
Skinny: Two-way defender with phenomenal skating ability, Heiskanen is a legitimate explosive skater on the blue line with good speed and great agility, can use his skating to move the puck or defend one-on-one against attackers.
19. – Martin Necas, C/RW, Kometa Brno (CZE)
Skinny: Creative and competitive Czech forward, Necas is a gifted puck handler and is equally efficient as both a playmaker and a goal scorer, owns good speed and has a shiftiness in his ability to skate away from checks.
20. – Klim Kostin, RW, Dynamo Balashikha (VHL)
Skinny: Russian power winger with good offensive instincts, Kostin is well equipped to play a North American style of game with his ability to shield pucks and work down low in the cycle game; has a good shot with both power and accuracy.
21. – Maxime Comtois, C/LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Skinny: Workmanlike and well-rounded player, Comtois plays the clichéd 200-foot game and does so with a motor that never stops running, is often the hardest working player on the ice and never takes a shift off.
22. – Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
Skinny: Youngest player in the NCAA and shows promise in all areas of his game, Poehling is a big and stocky center who is strong on his skates and controls the puck well, intelligent attacker that thinks the game well.
23. – Nikita Popugaev, RW, Prince George (WHL)
Skinny: Big offensive minded Russian winger, Popugaev stands tall at 6’6″ and uses that size to his advantage to over power his opposition; has trailed off since his trade to Prince George but draws some comparisons to Kovalchuk in how he attacks.
24. – Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)
Skinny: Intelligent two-way defenseman that shines on the defensive side of the puck, Vaakanainen thinks the game remarkably well and has the ability to consistently read and break up developing plays in the defensive zone.
25. (via MIN) – Erik Brännström, D, HV-71 (SWE)
Skinny: Undersized but competitive offensive minded defenseman, Brännström is an intelligent player with the puck and consistently drives possession when he’s on the ice; captained his HV-71 J20 team before his call up to the SHL.
26. – Joshua Norris, C, USA U-18 (USDP)
Skinny: Smart and competitive two-way forward, Norris is a stocky center who is strong on his skates and possesses a good hockey IQ in all three zones; has worked hard to become a consistent producer this season, this year’s Trent Frederic.
27. – Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, Frölunda (SWE)
Skinny: Versatile and big Finnish winger, Vesalainen is a player with a fantastic tool box that can perform well in so many facets of the game, production hasn’t come for him this year but he still demonstrates potential in the offensive side of the game.
28. – Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)
Skinny: Offensive minded goal scoring winger, Robertson is a straight line attacker that owns a good shot and a willingness to drive the net for scoring opportunities, plays aggressively in the offensive zone.
29. – Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C, Spokane (WHL)
Skinny: Intelligent center with a goal scoring touch, Anderson-Dolan is a solid skater with good straight line speed and knows how to find the soft spots in the defense; good offensive zone instincts and possesses a good, accurate shot.
30. – Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (H-EAST)
Skinny: Poised and intelligent netminder, Oettinger stands tall in the net at 6’4″ and knows how to use his size to his advantage; positionally sound and reserved in his movements, had a remarkable rookie season for Boston University.
31. (via WSH) – Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)
Skinny: Big power winger with a strong offensive upside, Ratcliffe uses his 6’5″ frame to his advantage to overpower his opponents on the cycle and has a good nose for the net; plays with an edge and isn’t afraid to drive to the scoring areas.

#25 – Arizona receives Minnesota’s 2017 1st Round pick, 2018 2nd Round pick and a conditional 2019 pick in exchange for F Martin Hanzal, F Ryan White and Arizona’s 2017 4th Round pick.
#31 – St. Louis receives Washington’s 2017 1st Round pick, a conditional 2019 2nd Round pick, F Zach Sanford, and F Brad Malone in exchange for D Kevin Shattenkirk and G Pheonix Copley.

For more from this writer, follow on Twitter @BHolmes_Hockey

2017 NHL Mock Draft – January 11th

With one of the biggest draft stages in the eye of public behind us in the 2017 World Junior Championships, it’s a perfect time to look forward to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in June to see where these top prospects may land. Before we get into the nitty gritty, a few notes:

– I think I speak for everyone in regards to Swiss center Nico Hischier when I say just very simply, “Wow.” The young center has been playing at a torrid pace for the Mooseheads this season, leading the QMJHL in points per game, and he really showed his stuff at the World Juniors for Switzerland. We saw the hallmarks of his game – speed, skill, and intelligence – in a performance that nearly single-handedly clinched the Swiss a semi-final berth. The World Juniors is not the end all for draft position, but couple what Hischier did with what he’s doing so far in Halifax, and he’s considered right up there with Nolan Patrick and Timothy Liljegren for that 1st Overall spot in June.

– Speaking of the World Juniors, how about Finland? That team just never really came together despite on paper having a very skilled, albeit young, roster. However, Sioux City winger Eeli Tolvanen was able to overcome his team’s adversity to put up a very impressive performance for Finland. The 17 year old winger led his team in scoring with a point per game pace, and reaffirmed why he’ll easily be a Top 10 pick in June. Elite package of skill and goal scoring ability, there’s no doubt about that.

– There are three defensemen listed below that were also apart of this year’s Finland team – Juuso Valimaki, Urho Vaakanainen, and Miro Heiskanen. None of them set the tournament on fire with their play, but that doesn’t take away from what they’ve done individually for their clubs this season. All three are very talented and composed blue liners, and I particularly admire what Juuso Valimaki has done in Tri-City this year. Out of all Finnish born defenseman in this draft, which there are 4 alone that could go in the 1st Round, the one with the most offensive punch is easily Valimaki, and in a league that moving towards skill, speed, and puck possession, I see him as a prized commodity in today’s NHL.

– As it always is, the top defensemen in this draft is quite a debate. There’s a clear #1 in Timothy Liljegren, but after that you won’t find a real consensus 2nd best defenseman in this draft among all scouts and writers. My personal favorite is Steelheads defenseman Nicolas Hague, who I can describe best as a left handed Dougie Hamilton. 6’6″ defensemen with his offensive punch are hard to find, and I imagine NHL clubs salivating at the chance to have him on their blue line.

– One defenseman that really exploded up the draft rankings was Brooks Bandits defenseman Cale Makar in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Makar has a somewhat smaller frame at 5’10”, but he turned a lot of heads with his offensive firepower at the U19’s where he captained the Canada West team. He’s a lock to go in the 1st Round, the question is just where. I’m of the opinion that NHL clubs will favor more versatile and sizable options first, but his raw skill could easily propel him to the mid-teens in June. The Calgary native is committed to play for UMass Amherst in the NCAA next year.

Draft order based on NHL Standings as of January 11, 2017

1.  – Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)
Season Stats: 6 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 P, +4, 8 PIM
2.  – Timothy Liljegren, D, Timra (SWE-2)
Season Stats: 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, -2, 2 PIM
3.  – Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)
Season Stats: 33 GP, 26 G, 28 A, 54 P, +17, 14 PIM
2017 WJC (SUI): 5 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 P, -1, 2 PIM
4.  – Casey Mittelstadt, C/LW, Eden Prairie (USHS)
Season Stats: 13 GP, 10 G, 15 A, 25 P, 2 PIM
5.  – Gabriel Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)
Season Stats: 22 GP, 14 G, 17 A, 31 P, +13, 8 PIM
6.  – Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City (WHL)
Season Stats: 44 GP, 29 G, 19 A, 48 P, -9, 44 PIM
7.  – Nicolas Hague, D, Missisauga (OHL)
Season Stats: 38 GP, 14 G, 17 A, 31 P, +7, 66 PIM
8.  – Cal Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)
Season Stats: 42 GP, 3 G, 27 A, 30 P, +13, 24 PIM
9.  – Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
Season Stats: 23 GP, 16 G, 11 A, 27 P, +9, 8 PIM
2017 WJC (FIN): 6 GP, 2 G, 4 A, 6 P, -1, 2 PIM
10.  – Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga (OHL)
Season Stats: 39 GP, 33 G, 19 A, 52 P, +11, 20 PIM
11.  – Kristian Vesalainen, LW/RW, HPK (FIN)
Season Stats: 9 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, -1, 0 PIM
2017 WJC (FIN): 6 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 P, -4, 0 PIM
12.  – Elias Pettersson, C, Timra (SWE-2)
Season Stats: 27 GP, 12 G, 15 A, 27 P, +6, 8 PIM
2017 WJC (SWE): 6 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, +1, 0 PIM
13.  – Klim Kostin, RW, Dynamo Balashikha (VHL)
Season Stats: 9 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, -1, 4 PIM
14.  – Juuso Välimäki, D, Tri-City (WHL)
Season Stats: 35 GP, 12 G, 26 A, 38 P, +2, 24 PIM
2017 WJC (FIN): 6 GP, 2 G, 0 A, 2 P, +1, 6 PIM
15.  – Kailer Yamamoto, C/W, Spokane (WHL)
Season Stats: 35 GP, 25 G, 29 A, 54 P, +13, 20 PIM
16.  – Nikita Popugaev, RW, Prince George (WHL)
Season Stats: 43 GP, 23 G, 30 A, 53 P, +4, 14 PIM
17.  – Lias Andersson, C/LW, HV-71 (SWE)
Season Stats: 24 GP, 5 G, 4 A, 9 P, +9, 16 PIM
2017 WJC (SWE): 7 GP, 3 G, 0 A, 3 P, +2, 6 PIM
18.  – Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (FIN)
Season Stats: 23 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, -5, 12 PIM
2017 WJC (FIN): 6 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 P, -2, 4 PIM
19.  – Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (FIN)
Season Stats: 25 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 P, +8, 2 PIM
2017 WJC (FIN): 6 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, -2, 0 PIM
20.  – Maxime Comtois, C/LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Season Stats: 41 GP, 13 G, 17 A, 30 P, -7, 48 PIM
21.  – Erik Brannstrom, D, HV-71 (SWE)
Season Stats: 18 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, +2, 2 PIM
22.  – Robin Salo, D, Sport (FIN)
Season Stats: 32 GP, 1 G, 9 A, 10 P, +2, 8 PIM
23.  – Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)
Season Stats: 40 GP, 20 G, 33 A, 53 P, +23, 22 PIM
24.  – Artem Minulin, D, Swift Current (WHL)
Season Stats: 41 GP, 7 G, 25 A, 32 P, +9, 12 PIM
25.  – Jesper Boqvist, C, Timra (SWE-2)
Season Stats: 19 GP, 3 G, 9 A, 12 P, E, 0 PIM
26.  – Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State (NCHC)
Season Stats: 19 GP, 4 G, 3 A, 7 P, -4, 8 PIM
27.  – Martin Necas, C/RW, Kometa Brno (CZE)
Season Stats: 30 GP, 6 G, 7 A, 13 P, +2, 4 PIM
28.  – Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)
Season Stats: 32 GP, 12 G, 31 A, 43 P, 8 PIM
29.  – Matthew Strome, LW, Hamilton (OHL)
Season Stats: 39 GP, 20 G, 15 A, 35 P, +7, 38 PIM
30.  – Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University (H-EAST)
Season Stats: 16 GP, 1.94 GAA, .930 SV%
31.  – Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)
Season Stats: 40 GP, 22 G, 30 A, 52 P, +25, 8 PIM

No 1st Round Picks have been dealt.

For more from this writer, follow on Twitter @BHolmes_Hockey