2017 NHL DRAFT MOCK (11-20)
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.
11. RW Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City (USHL), 5’10, 170
Tolvanen’s blend of skill and speed are both too good to pass up. The diminutive winger is headed to Boston College in the fall and he’ll have a chance to blossom with one of the best NCAA programs in the country. Tolvanen was the second-best young player in the USHL this season to projected top-two pick in 2018 in Andrew Svechnikov, and his ceiling is among the highest in this class. (Scott Wheeler)
12. C Elias Pettersson, Timra (Allsvenskan), 6’2, 160
The Hurricanes have a nice assortment of young talent coming up at most positions, so they opt to go for a prospect who has great upside and helps add more center depth to their organization. Pettersson is very raw, but produced extremely well in his league with production comparable to other young Swedish stars in Forsberg and Wennberg. (Joseph Aleong)
13. D Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City (WHL), 6’2, 205 (via WIN)
There’s polish needed in his skating game, but there’s plenty for Vegas to like in Valimaki. He plays a strong, minute-munching, two-way, game. There’s not a lot of high-end offensive flash or dash to his game, but just makes the right play consistently. Valimaki is a good, poised, smart player who is not flashy, but consistently makes the right play and helps his team win games. (Justin Froese)
14. C Lias Andersson, HV-71 (SHL), 5’11, 200
The Lightning have often gone the high-skill winger route in the last few years and Andersson gives them some added depth down the middle. His experience in pro hockey lends itself well to a fairly quick transition to North America and he projects as an everyday NHL player in his early 20s. Given his complete skill set, it’s not out of the question to expect Andersson to blossom early on in the NHL. (Scott Wheeler)
15. D Urho Vaakanainen, JYP (Liiga), 6’0, 185 (via NYI)
Vaakanainen spent the past season excelling at a pro level, proving he can move the puck well, showing great sense of special teams play and withstanding the challenges of defensive zone coverage with an unexpected maturity. His puck possession stats were better than those of more seasoned Liiga peers while his inclusion in both the U18 and U20 squads showed how highly regarded he is by the Finnish program. (Chapin Landvogt)
16. C Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City (WHL), 6’6, 215
The Flames enjoy a number of young forwards who are already impact players at the NHL level. With this in mind, they’ll be extremely happy to add a 6-foot-5 center who has displayed such a strong nose for the net. Rasmussen will clearly need time to develop, and improved footwork will be key in determining what type of NHLer he can be. If he puts it all together, Rasmussen could be just the kind of player every team craves. (Chapin Landvogt)
17. D Cal Foote, Kelowna (WHL), 6’4, 210
This season, the Maple Leafs showed great team potential on offense that should be an even bigger problem for their opponents in the near future. But it’s difficult to have a success in the NHL without top D-line and Foote helps satisfy that. He reads the game with amazing hockey sense and two years in Kelowna has helped build a strong two-way game that will satisfy many needs in Toronto. (Anton Vasyatin)
18. C Robert Thomas, London (OHL), 6’0, 185
The Bruins are excited to get a player that arguably has top-10 potential in this draft. Thomas has everything you want in a center. He’s an extremely smart playmaker who plays a responsible 200-foot game and works his butt off every shift. Expect Thomas to have a huge breakout year next season and join the pros sooner rather than later. Boston is still set at center, but it never hurts to be strong down the middle. (Janik Beichler)
19. RW Kristian Vesalainen, Frolunda (SHL), 6’3, 210
San Jose is in need of some youth up front, and Vesalainen can check many boxes at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. This frame fits the mould perfectly. He’s a solid winger who excels in the offensive zone, adequate speed and natural act for the net. Vesalainen is a great move at this point in the draft that fits the Sharks’ voids up front in the near future. (Jake VanBesien)
20. LW Isaac Ratcliffe, Guelph (OHL), 6’6, 200
Because of their relative depth at all positions, and a desire to add more size upfront, Ratcliffe represents a good option. Ratcliffe displays good finishing abilities around the net and on nights he can be very difficult to stop. To reach his potential, he will need time development so the mechanics can be synchronised altogether, but it’s not like the Blues can’t afford to be patient with their young studs. (Simon Rouillard)