Patrick tops forward group of Draft eligibles

Austin Broad2017 Draft Center, NCAA, OHL, QMJHL, WHL

Photo by Vincent Éthier | LHJMQ Média

The 2017 NHL Draft is fast approaching with the first round set to kick-off at United Center in Chicago on June 23. Future Considerations has spent the season in rinks spanning the globe in preparation for Future Considerations’ 2017 NHL Draft Guide.

And, according to Future Considerations, these are the top-ranked forwards the 2017 draft has to offer:

Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), 6-3, 198, 09-19-1998
Patrick, the top-ranked forward and top-ranked skater in Future Considerations’ Final ranking for the 2017 NHL Draft, had a tough season in regard to injury issues. The Brandon Wheat Kings center, however, was phenomenal in the 33 games he did play. Patrick scored 20 goals and added 26 assists for 46 points this season for the Wheat Kings. “He is the all-around package, he brings a steady presence to both ends of the ice,” said Justin Froese, Future Considerations’ head Western Canadian scout. “His elite IQ allows him to highlight opponents’ weaknesses and create plays that other players cannot see.” Froese referred to Patrick as the “Swiss-Army Knife,” saying he possessed all of the necessary tools to be a successful NHL player.

Nico Hischier, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), 6-1, 175, 01-04-1999
Hischier, the No. 2 skater in Future Considerations’ Final ranking for 2017, had an excellent season for the Halifax Mooseheads. Hischier was excellent offensively, scoring 38 goals and adding 48 assists for 86 total points in 57 games played and was named both the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year and Canadian Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year for his outstanding performance. Hischier is an excellent two-way player, blending offensive flash and a very responsible defensive game. He showed both on the international stage at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he had four goals and three assists for seven points in five games.

Gabe Vilardi, C, Windsor Spitfires (OHL), 6-2, 192, 08-16-1999
Vilardi, fourth in Future Considerations’ Final ranking and the third-ranked forward, finished off a strong season with the Windsor Spitfires by scoring 29 goals and adding 32 assists for 61 points in 49 games. Vilardi also added two goals and four assists in Windsor’s seven playoff games. “He is a smart, skilled forward,” Future Considerations’ scout Dylan Galloway said. “He creates offense through his combination of elite vision and passing ability.”

Casey Mittelstadt, C, Eden Prairie (USHS), 6-1, 200, 11-22-1998
Mittelstadt, fifth in Future Considerations’ Final ranking and the fourth-ranked forward, had an amazing year for Eden Prairie High in Minnesota. Serving as team captain, Mittelstadt scored 21 goals and added 43 assists in 25 games played. He is a highly skilled offensive player, as evidenced by his 239 career points in 114 career USHS games. Mittelstadt, who is committed to the University of Minnesota next season, also took his game to the next level and dominated play while suiting up for the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League. During USHL competition, Mittelstadt scored 13 goals and added 17 assists for 30 points in 24 games.

Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL), 6-2, 203, 02-16-1999
Tippett, sixth in Future Considerations’ Final ranking and ranked fifth amongst all forwards, scored 44 goals and added 31 assists for 75 points in 60 games this season. He also added 19 playoff points in 20 playoff games in helping Mississauga reach the OHL Final before ultimately losing to the Erie Otters. “Tippett is a speedy forward who possesses all the offensive tools, and he has an NHL-caliber shot,” said Galloway. “He uses is combination of size and smarts to help him create space and get into the best scoring areas on the ice.”