The World U17 Hockey Challenge, held in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, British Columbia last month was another talent packed event and a must see on the calendar for both NHL and junior team scouts and management.
It serves as a first look at many of the world’s top hockey talents two or three years before they become eligible for the NHL Draft as well as a recruiting event for junior or teams. There was plenty of talent on hand for Future Considerations to get a sneak peek at.
2017 NHL ENTRY DRAFT ELIGIBLES
MAXIME COMTOIS, F, 6-1, 192, 1999-01-08 – TEAM CANADA RED
U17 STATS LINE: 6 GP 1 G 6 A 7 PTS 8 PIM
Was a regular at making an impact each shift and showed off an impressive blend of size, strength, speed and skill. This tournament all-star was dependable and executed a skilled pass or a net drives equally well as a lead offensive contributor.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Comtois just screams future top line NHL center to us. We like him as a Top-5 selection for 2017.
OWEN TIPPETT, F, 6-0, 182, 1999-02-16 – TEAM CANADA WHITE
U17 STATS LINE: 6 GP 5 G 3 A 8 PTS 0 PIM
This impressive sniper was also named one of three all-star forwards in the tournament. His shot with a hard to read release, high velocity and pin-point accuracy was dangerous but his ability to use his feet and mind to get to areas to utilize that big shot was impressive.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: This future NHL goalscorer has immense potential and in consideration for the Top-10 of 2017.
GABE VILARDI, F, 6-2, 185, 1999-08-16 – TEAM CANADA WHITE
U17 STATS LINE: 6 GP 4 G 3 A 7 PTS 0 PIM
The aggressive, dynamic puck handler is all about creating chances using his size, hands and creativity. A playmaker who holds the puck until the perfect time to deliver a pin-point pass to an open teammate. He can also score as he gets himself to open areas and has the shot to finish off the plays.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: At this point, Vilardi is in our Top-5 for the 2017 NHL Draft and someone we see potentially becoming a future top line NHL center.
MAX GILDON, D, 6-2, 179, 1999-05-17 – TEAM USA
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 1 G 2 A 3 PTS 6 PIM
The big rangy blue liner form the lone star state has a massive coverage range defensively, plays with a physical edge and makes a very strong breakout pass. Gildon can play in any situation, whether PP, PK or 5-on-5 and logs big minutes all while staying consistent in his efforts and decision making.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: With his size and the type of two-way game he plays his draft projection is that of a Top-15 pick for 2017.
SCOTT REEDY, F, 6-1, 187, 1999-04-04 – TEAM USA
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 6 G 3 A 9 PTS 0 PIM
This Minnesota commit is a skilled playmaker who skates well, displays high end vision and touch with the puck on his stick. He handles the puck well in tight areas, protecting it with his frame and hands and has a strong shot to finish off the play from anywhere in the offensive zone.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: With the flashes of dynamic game we see from him we like him as a first round talent for the 2017 NHL Draft.
KRISTIAN VESALAINEN, F, 6-3, 203, 1999-06-01 – TEAM FINLAND
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 4 G 4 A 8 PTS 4 PIM
A big physical power forward who can dominate a game with this size, puck skills and impressive shot. He plays the game the right way and wants to make a difference.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Due to his imposing size and the skilled game he plays his draft stock is likely as a top-15 pick in 2017.
EELI TOLVANEN, F, 5-10, 174, 1999-04-22 – TEAM FINLAND
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 9 G 1 A 10 PTS 0 PIM
A skilled and speedy forward who protects the puck well. Becomes the hunter when he is on the forecheck, battling to win possession. He has a tricky release and a nose for the net. Was named to the tournament all-star team and lead the event in scoring.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Due to his offensive upside his draft stock is likely as a Top-50 pick for 2017.
TIMOTHY LILJEGREN, D, 6-0, 190, 1999-04-30 – TEAM SWEDEN
U17 STATS LINE: 6 GP 3 G 2 A 5 PTS 6 PIM
The tournament all-star is an offensive minded blue liner who likes the puck on his stick. He will carry it up on the rush himself or defer to a streaking forward if he thinks they have a better chance. His smarts, awareness and vision make him a dangerous threat each time he touches the ice.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: We like Liljegren as a Top-5 prospect for the 2017 NHL Draft because of his high offensive ceiling.
2018 NHL ENTRY DRAFT ELIGIBLES
FILIP ZADINA, F, 6-0-187, 1999-11-27 – TEAM CZECH REPUBLIC
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 1 G 3 A 4 PTS 0 PIM
A swift skating forward with slick hands and a wicked shot. He has the ability to use his feet to separate from defenders and does not need much time or space to make a play. Drives to the net and uses high end vision and smarts to read the play and make the opportunity count. Has a very strong effort level on both sides of the puck. This dynamic 2018 eligible prospect finished second on his U17 team in scoring.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: We like him as a Top-five prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft at this point.
JOSEPH VELENO, F, 6-0, 180, 2000-01-13 – TEAM CANADA BLACK
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 1 G 3 A 4 PTS 6 PIM
The latest exceptional status prodigy is worth the hype says one Future Considerations evaluator who watch him at the U17’s. “He was all over the ice making brilliance happen. A real game breaker.” was the quote. It is his awareness and smarts that make him special. And it doesn’t hurt that he is offensively creative, has dynamite hands and often makes something out of nothing for himself or his line mates.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: From what he has shown us to date we like him to battle for the top spot in 2018.
EVAN BOUCHARD, D, 6-2, 179, 1999-10-20 – TEAM CANADA WHITE
U17 STATS LINE: 6 GP 1 G 5 A 6 PTS 4 PIM
This big bodied blue liner is a two-way catalyst who can move the puck, finding lanes from the blue line for an accurate pass of his booming shot. Defensively he plays with strong positioning and long reach which he utilizes to shut down attackers. He also shows a strong IQ and ability to read the play, knowing where to be to close off attackers. One of two defenseman named to the tournament all-star team.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: If he can continue to improve his game he has a real chance to be the top defensive prospect in 2018.
BRADY TKACHUK, F, 6-0, 176, 1999-09-16 – TEAM USA
U17 STATS LINE: 5 GP 2 G 3 A 5 PTS 4 PIM
Bloodlines are prevalent in another one of Keith’s offspring as Brady brings the same combination of toughness and skill to each and every shift. Understands the game on a high level and simply finds his teammates or the net, depending on the situation. Has skilled hands and offensive instincts that make him a threat every shift.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: We like this latest Tkachuk edition to challenge the top end of the first round in 2018.
ANDREI SVECHNIKOV, F, 6-0, 161, 2000-03-26 – TEAM RUSSIA
U17 STATS LINE: 6 GP 2 G 3 A 5 PTS 6 PIM
Brother to Detroit first round pick Evgeni Svechnikov, Andrei plays a game that is geared towards creating offensive chances for both he and his teammates whenever he is on the ice. He has very quick hands and takes the puck to high percentage areas of the ice, willing to battle traffic to get an opportunity. He utilizes his speed and dazzling moves to regularly beat defenders one-on-one.
DRAFT OUTLOOK: Svechnikov has the look of a top ten or higher talent for the 2018 NHL Draft.
With files from Justin Froese