2017 NHL DRAFT MOCK
The New Jersey Devils are on the clock.
After winning the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, the Devils will have the first overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft. They will be followed by the Philadelphia Flyers at No. 2, and the Dallas Stars at No. 3.
Future Considerations asked a few of our evaluators, who have been in the rinks all season scouting 2017 eligible prospects, to give their input on who they think NHL teams will be looking to add to their prospect pool in this first round mock draft.
1. C Nolan Patrick, Brandon (WHL), 6’2, 200
The New Jersey Devils end the Nolan vs. Nico debate by going with the 6-foot-2 center from Brandon. Despite the concern with durability, the Devils see Patrick as their first franchise-type center since the days of Kirk Muller. Although not always a showmanship style of play, Patrick has few weaknesses, possessing all the tools and IQ to develop into a top end two-way stud as a pro. This is not only a today move, but one that should pay dividends 5-10 years down the road. (Justin Froese)
2. C Nico Hischier, Halifax (QMJHL), 6’1, 175
The Philadelphia Flyers could not be more thrilled to pick the top player on their board in the skilled Swiss forward. This offensive group has some talent, but lacks speed and a dynamic playmaking presence outside of Claude Giroux, so the addition of Hischier’s abilities will be very refreshing for the club. Hischier will come in and battle for a scoring line role in training camp, and look to be one of the franchise’s all-time leading scorers a decade from now. (Mike Barrett)
3. C Gabe Vilardi, Windsor (OHL), 6’3, 205
While there is the temptation to select a defenseman in this slot, the Dallas Stars end up going with the best player available in Vilardi. With Jason Spezza on the back nine of his career, the Stars see Vilardi as the heir apparent down the middle. Vilardi brings an exciting blend of size and skill in the offensive zone and is a handful to contain on the cycle. The Stars see a center who can line up against the opposing team’s top line while also helping ease the scoring burden of the Benn/Seguin duo. (Donesh Mazloum)
4. C/W Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie (USHS), 6’1, 200
Needing a boost at the blue line and on the right side up front, the Colorado Avalanche are needing someone who can make an impact sooner than later. Mittelstadt is the best prospect available at fourth overall. With struggling power play and finishing at the bottom of the standings a year ago, this makes sense for the Avalanche. Colorado needs a top end wing, highly mobile and highly skilled and has the tools to play alongside their guns like Nathan MacKinnon. (Jake VanBesien)
5. D Miro Heiskanen, HIFK (Liiga), 6’0, 170
The Canucks are torn between Heiskanen and Glass. The top priority is a top-six center, but Heiskanen is too talented to pass up on. Especially after the departure of Nikita Tryamkin to the KHL, the Canucks don’t mind adding another defenseman in the top five, who might be one of the most NHL-ready players in this class. Heiskanen and fellow Finn Juolevi will be an excellent foundation for Vancouver’s defense for years to come. (Janik Beichler)
6. D Cale Makar, Brooks (AJHL), 5’11, 180
With their first-ever selection in the NHL Draft, and with the top four centers already off the board, Vegas uses their first first-round pick to grab a player who can be their top puck moving d-man moving forward. Makar is a dynamic player with excellent offensive capabilities and plays well at both ends of the ice. He showcased these skills at every level and event he played at this past season. Makar will be able to anchor Vegas’ PP and blue line for many years to come. (Austin Broad)
7. D Timothy Liljegren, Rogle (SHL), 6’0, 190
Last year, the Coyotes pounced on Chychrun after his draft stock fell late in the season. This year, they do the same in snatching another defenseman in Liljegren who was regarded as the second-best player in the entire draft class just one year ago. In Liljegren, the Coyotes take their shot on one of the most gifted defensemen in the draft class, solidifying an evolving defense-core to insulate inbound blue chip forwards like Strome and Keller. (Scott Wheeler)
8. C Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound (OHL), 5’11, 185
With some of the best blueliners already taken, the Sabres will have to set their sights on the best prospect remaining in Suzuki. Suzuki is a reliable two-way center who is poise in possession of the puck and who can add to Buffalo’s already talented crop of forwards. Coming from an outstanding season of 96 points, including 45 goals, Suzuki has too much to provide for the Sabres to pass on. With that being said, he now joins a stacked club with the likes of Eichel, Nylander, Reinhart and Asplund. (Simon Rouillard)
9. C Cody Glass, Portland (WHL), 6’2, 180
The Red Wings surprise some people with taking the big two-way center from Portland over Tri-City’s Valimaki, but they feel there are defensemen, which is an organizational need, later in the draft who they could scoop up. There’s no passing on this skilled, smart center. Glass, who had a standout season and rocketed up the draft charts as the season went on, will add strong center depth to an organization that is heavy on wingers. (Dan Stewart)
10. RW Owen Tippett, Mississauga (OHL), 6’2, 200
With this pick, the Panthers are not only selecting the best player available to them, but also fulfilling an organizational need of a scoring winger down the right side. Tippett, a standout with the Steelheads this season, can provide speed and reliable scoring with his NHL-caliber shot and undervalued passing while playing a little farther down the Panthers line up. His addition can help take some scoring pressure off of their young stars. (Dylan Galloway)