The 2017 NHL Draft is a week away and as the days count down many still cannot confirm where prospects will end up on the draft board. As the days roll by I will be taking a look at the possible picks in the first round and providing insight into each pick and the potential prospects that will be taken there.
2017 NHL Draft: Round One Mock
1st Overall (New Jersey Devils): Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
Patrick is a first line talent who possesses the power in his game to make him the favorable selection for the first overall selection in the upcoming draft. Although there are some injuries to take into account, it is nothing that Patrick should not be able to get over.
2nd Overall (Philadelphia Flyers): Nico Hischier, C, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
The Flyers are taking what could be the best player in this draft class; a shifty center who can turn the defense on their heels even during the most innocent plays. Hischier is skilled yet aggressive when on the attack.
3rd Overall (Dallas Stars): Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK, Liiga
Heiskanen is the best all-around defenseman in this draft. He is responsible and poised when carrying the puck and when in his own zone he is able to position himself perfectly before there is a threat.
4th Overall (Colorado Avalanche): Elias Pettersson, C, Timra IK, Allsvenkan
The Avalanche will be adding a flashy forward with pure offensive skills. Pettersson has incredible hands and playmaking ability which draw fans out of their seats. He has room to grow. Coming over from Sweden he will be able to work on his physical game in the SHL or in the AHL.
5th Overall (Vancouver Canucks): Gabe Vilardi, C, Windsor Spitfires, OHL
Vilardi brings scoring and size to the Canucks prospect system. He has strong hands and smooth skating stride. Vilardi showed that he can score at an impressive rate with Windsor during their regular season and Memorial Cup run.
6th Overall (Vegas Golden Knights): Casey Mittelstadt, C, Green Bay Gamblers, USHL
Going sixth overall in the NHL Draft after just coming out of high school is impressive in itself, but the skill and vision that Mittelstadt possesses justify it. Quick, agile, smart with the puck, he is a very dangerous player to play against. Had it not been for his weigh-in scores at the combine, Mittelstadt had a good chance to go in the top three, and still does.
7th Overall (Arizona Coyotes): Cale Makar, D, Brooks Bandits, AJHL
The Coyotes have multiple forward prospects in their pipeline with offensive firepower and added a couple of strong defensive prospects at last year’s draft in Jakob Chychrun and Anthony DeAngelo, but besides that, there is not much excitement on the backend. Makar would not only add speed and skill to their blueline but playmaking ability and a deadly shot that is taken often.
8th Overall (Buffalo Sabres): Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle, SHL
Liljegren is shaping up to be this year’s Jakob Chychrun. He has had an immense drop off in the rankings due to injury and some flaws pointed out in his defensive game. Under the right tutelage, he could be a top-pairing defenseman in the NHL. The Sabres hire of Phil Housley could be a huge help to Liljegren, should this selection come true.
9th Overall (Detroit Red Wings): Cody Glass, C, Portland Winterhawks WHL
Glass is a fantastic two-way center who is reliable at both ends of the ice. He can carry an offense and can help kill penalties. He is strong on the face-off dot as well.
10th Overall (Florida Panthers): Martin Necas, C, Kometa Brno, Extraliga
Necas carries a heavy shot that goes well with his quick hands. He uses his teammates well to set up open spaces and create chances. Necas has the skill and creativity to produce from plays created by himself.
11th Overall (Los Angeles Kings): Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL
The Kings would be adding a special sniper with this pick. Tippett works extremely will below the dots in the offensive zone and has great intuition when coming in off the rush. He knows what do to in every situation.
12th Overall (Carolina Hurricanes): Klim Kostin, RW, Dynamo Moscow, KHL
A big-bodied power winger, Kostin should have some added value to his draft stock after announcing at the combine that he would be coming to North America next season, which brings up a strong possibility of playing in the AHL.
13th Overall (Winnipeg Jets): Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City Americans, WHL
Like most defensemen in this draft, Valimaki is a good skater who often comes in on the rush. He is strong with the puck and feeds teammates with strong passes.
14th Overall (Tampa Bay Lightning): Ryan Poehling, C, St. Cloud State, NCHC
Poehling played his most impressive hockey for Team USA where he was at his best as a two-way center. He plays both sides of the ice with strength and commitment.
15th Overall (New York Islanders): Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound Attack, OHL
The Islanders continue their trend of snagging standout offensive prospects with this selection in Nick Suzuki. He has some of the best hands in the draft and is a scoring machine.
16th Overall (Calgary Flames): Erik Brannstrom, D, HV71, SHL
Erik Brannstrom is the best defenseman in the draft after the big three. Some may be hindered away by his small stature, but he has the quick feet and shot that Heiskanen, Liljegren, and Makar all share.
17th Overall (Toronto Maple Leafs): Callan Foote, D, Kelowna Rockets, WHL
“The son of former Avalanche Stanley Cup winner Adam Foote, Callan is big, strong and ridiculously smart. He was Kelowna’s stopper when matched up against opposing top lines and was an integral component to its lethal power play.” – The Draft Analyst
18th Overall (Boston Bruins): Robert Thomas, C, London Knights, OHL
“Thomas is a smart two-way, instinctive center. He is a solid skater and bursts from a standing position, possessing the leg strength to accelerate quickly and good lateral quickness. He’s a solid puck handler, who can pull off a deke to create an offensive chance.” – Future Considerations
19th Overall (San Jose Sharks): Pierre-Oliver Joseph, D, Charlottetown Islanders, QMJHL
A solid reliable defender who can play a transition game. He moves puck well and can position himself well in the defensive zone.
20th Overall (St. Louis Blues): Scott Reedy, C, USNTDP, USHL
“An athletic and offensively skilled power center. Always seems to be in the right position to capitalize on opportunities” – Future Considerations.
21st Overall (New York Rangers): Grant Mismash, RW, USNTDP
Mishmash is a strong two-way winger/center. He makes plays in front of the net using his size, and opens up space for teammates. He also has a strong shot.
22nd Overall (Edmonton Oiler): Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland Winterhawks, WHL
“Two things this Finn can do well are skate and handle the puck, but his defensive zone play was quite good considering he was a first-timer in North America. Don’t sleep on this kid — he seems to relish challenges when the spotlight shines brightest.” – The Draft Analyst
23rd Overall (Arizona Coyotes): Joni Ikonen, C, Frolunda J20, Superelit
Ikonen is a fast skater who has uses agility to get around the opposition. He also posesses a quick shot and release.
24th Overall (Columbus Blue Jackets): Urho Vaakanainen, D, JyP, Liiga
Another strong transition defender in this draft. He has a great first pass and fantastic vision. Vaakanainen cuts down angles well when coming back in the zone.
25th Overall (Montreal Canadiens): Nikita Popugaev, LW, Prince George Cougars, WHL
“A big, lanky, offensively minded winger. A massive and skilled player who shows offensive prowess and underrated skills without the puck. Gets from Point A to Point B in good time, but has some work to do on his stride. Has surprising agility for a kid his size.” – Future Considerations
26th Overall (Chicago Blackhawks): Conor Timmins, D, Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds, OHL
“Timmins can look like a rather boring player and isn’t going to excite a lay observer. However, his hockey sense drives a ton of value to his game. He doesn’t have “wow”-caliber skating or puck skills, but he’s one of the smartest defensemen in the CHL.” – ESPN
27th Overall (St. Louis Blues): Nicholas Hague, D, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL
Hague has a huge body that brings power to the blueline with his shot and with his strong play in the defensive zone.
28th Overall (Nashville Predators): Michael Rasmussen, C, Tri-City Americans, WHL
Rasmussen is a skilled forward with a wide frame that brings a dangerous offensive threat to every game. He has room to grow into a great two-way center.
29th Overall (Ottawa Senators): Josh Norris, C, USNTDP
“A promising high-energy offensive forward who plays a responsible two-way game. Has decent feet and can change pace, slowing down or speeding up in a few short strides. Good patience with the puck and selects his shots and passing lanes well.” – Future Considerations
30th Overall (Dallas Stars): Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo Black Hawks, USHL
Bowers is a very smart forward that has a tight grasp on the competition and how to succeed in the offensive, defensive, and neutral zones.
31st Overall (Pittsburgh Penguins): David Farrance, D, USNTDP
“A transitional offensive minded defenseman who skates very well and has skilled hands. A quick and agile skater. Slick stick-handling abilities. Thanks to his skating and puck-handling abilities, he can escape forechecking pressure. Sees the entire sheet of ice as he carries the puck up ice and into the offensive zone.” – Future Considerations