2018 class shines at World Under-17s

Aaron Vickers2018 Draft Center, International Events

The World Under-17 Challenge is always an excellent sneak peek at what’s to come with the next wave of young hockey stars.

The tournament, which includes three Canadian entries and five international teams, offers an immediate showing of select members of a draft class more than 20 months prior to their draft day.

The 2016 World Under-17 Challenge, held in Sault Ste Marie from Oct. 30-Nov. 5, didn’t disappoint in showcasing the next wave of young talent available.

Here’s who impressed:

Bode Wilde, D, Team USA (U17), 6-2, 193, 1.24.2000
Wilde is a big-bodied defender who oozes pro potential. He plays a mature, polished brand of hockey, and provides his team with a calming presence on the backend. A true power play quarterback, Wilde has the ability to control the play with the puck on his stick, make crisp tape-to-tape passes, or unleash a howitzer from the blue line.

Draft Outlook: With the way Wilde thinks the game, and his performance on the ice, one would have to believe that he’ll be a top-10 pick in 2018. He’s fundamentally sound, aggressive, and with the ability to provide offense. The combination will surely make a lot of pro scouts take notice.

Jake Wise, C, Team USA (U17), 5-10, 185, 2.28.2000
Wise is an incredibly intelligent player with the ability to read and react to the play developing around him. He was an offensive catalyst for Team USA, providing them with a combination of goal scoring and playmaking ability. He works extremely hard with or without the puck, and is always looking to generate a scoring chance. Wise does a lot of the little things right.

Draft Outlook: Wise’s ability to play an extremely solid two way game will propel him up the rankings next year. Potential top-10 pick in 2018.

Andrey Svechnikov, RW, Team Russia (U17), 6-2, 185, 3.26.2000
Hands down one of the best players in the tournament, Svechnikov was a treat to watch every time he stepped foot on the ice. His elite offensive skills make him a legitimate threat to score on every shift, as he possesses a wicked wrist shot, explosive speed and dynamic set of hands. He’s an extremely gifted player.

Draft Outlook: Svechnikov’s potential is that of a top-5 pick in 2018. He has all the tools and work ethic to be a high profile pro in the coming years.

Ryan Merkley, D, Team Canada Red (U17), 5-11, 163, 8.14.2000
A high tempo, offensively gifted defender, Merkley provided his team with a big boost from the backend. He’s very confident in his game and can make plays by himself, rushing the puck up the ice with his explosive speed and making smart reads of the defense with his high hockey IQ and passing ability. He possesses a great point shot that always seems to find its way through traffic.

Draft Outlook: If Merkely develops some strength, and a willingness to dedicate himself to solid defensive play, he will be a sure fire top-10 pick in 2018.

Benoit-Olivier Groulx, W, Team Canada Red (U17), 6-1, 185, 2.6.2000
Groulx combines skill with grit and determination to be a very fun player to watch. He’s always has his feet moving, and thinks the game at a very high level. Groulx also shoots the puck extremely well, and has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. He’s extremely difficult to defend one-on-one and has all the tricks to beat defenders, and create offense.

Draft Outlook: The way Groulx plays the game he’s going to draw a lot of interest from pro scouts. He competes hard, and brings a lot of jam to the ice. Potential top-15 pick in 2018.

Jared McIsaac, D, Team Canada White (U17), 6-1, 200, 3.27.2000
McIssac has the confidence and a maturity of a player 10 years his senior. He makes great decisions with the puck on his stick, and has a little bit of flair to match. Offensively gifted, and stellar in his own end, the sky is the limit for McIssac.

Draft Outlook: Potential top-20 pick in 2018.

Tristen Nielsen, C/W, Team Canada White (U17), 5-9, 182, 2.23.2000
One of the most purely gifted offensive talents in the tournament, Nielsen has a nose for the net and an abundance of finishing ability. He has a great shot, and a smooth skating stride, and competes at a very high level. Nielsen can bring a physical aspect to the game combined with his relentless work ethic, and provides his team with a solid 200-foot game.

Draft Outlook: Potential top-25 pick in 2018.

Zack Malik, D, Team Czech (U17), 6-2, 160, 8.3.2000

Malik engages the opposition with strong physical play and is a perfect example of a solid two way defenseman. He takes care of business in his own end, limiting time and space for the opposition with his quick feet, and good awareness. His contributes in the offensive end with his ability to make a great first pass and help the transition game by causing turnovers.

Draft Outlook: Potential top-25 pick in 2018.

Adam Bokvist, D, Team Sweden (U17), 5-11, 166, 8.15.2000
One of the most impressive defenseman in the tournament, Bokvist provides his team with a steady presence on the blue line. Very agile, with active feet, Bokvist excels at carrying the puck on the breakout. He makes crisp, clean passes, and is very efficient in his decision-making.

Draft Outlook: Potential top-20 pick in 2018.

Lukas Wernblom, LW, Team Sweden (U17), 5-9, 155, 7.22.2000
Wernblom is an offensively dangerous player with quick feet who can make highlight reel plays regularly. Bit undersized, but has a willingness to go to the dirty areas, and play physical when the opportunity arises. Plays a lot bigger than his listed 5-9, 155.

Draft Outlook: Potential top-15 pick in 2018.

Ty Dellandrea, C/W, Team Canada Red (U17), 6-0, 180, 7.21.2000
Brings a perfect mix of skill and grit to the ice, Dellandrea has all the tools to be a pro in the very near future. Offensive instincts are off the charts, and he competes at a very high level, sacrificing his body to make a play.

Draft Outlook: Potential top-25 pick in 2018.

Article by Scott Palmer