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  • There may not be a generational player in the 2017 NHL draft, but that doesn’t mean the class is any less quality. There’s a lot of talent to be had when the fun kicks off on June 23 in Chicago.
By Daniel J. Friedman
June 04, 2017

Weak: That has been the main one-word description for the 2017 NHL draft class, which does not feature the same star power as the previous two boasted.

The thing is, most drafts don’t have a Connor McDavid. They certainly don’t have a duo as dynamic as McDavid and Jack Eichel in 2015 or Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine in 2016 atop the list—and that’s okay.

Indeed, the hockey world has been spoiled in recent years. Generational players are referred to as such because they tend not to come around very often and even when they don’t, it doesn’t make or break the collective. There’s still plenty of talent to be had in prospect pools–productive forwards, defensive wizards, brick wall-like goaltenders and so on.

The 1999 draft class was weak. Only eight or nine of the 25 players selected in the first round ever made some form of impact at the NHL level. Patrik Stefan, the first overall pick, amassed a paltry 188 points in 455 games and became a YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons.

But this year’s draft? It’s pretty solid. There are several quality building blocks for NHL scouts and front offices to browse through and select. And while centers Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier aren’t quite as good as some of the names mentioned above, they’re still really, really good.

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It’s also a strong year for goalie prospects, led by Boston University's Jake Oettinger, an NCAA starter as a true freshman this season who was not fazed in the slightest.

As is the case with most drafts, there will be future stars taken in later rounds that truly define scouting and player development staffs. Denis Smirnov, a winger at Penn State, led all NCAA rookies—including Arizona’s top pick in 2016, Clayton Keller, in scoring. Cole Guttman of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints averaged over a point-per-game and finished with just as many as Eeli Tolvanen, though the latter is ranked high-up on NHL Central Scouting’s list while the former didn’t even make the list.  

Only time will tell what actually becomes of the 217 players selected on June 23rd and 24th at Chicago’s United Center. For now, here are my rankings.

NOTE: This is not a mock draft, or in any way intended to be reflective of where players might be chosen. Prospects are listed in order based on a combination of factors that determine the likelihood of graduation to the NHL.  

Claus Andersen/Getty Images

1. Nico Hischier — C

2016-17: Halifax (QMJHL) - 57GP-38G-48A-86Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6'0" | WT: 179 | CSS Rank: 2NA

Scouting Report: He's fast, and an exceptional playmaker who possesses that "wow" factor on offense. He can also take care of business without the puck.
Plays Like: Henrik Zetterberg Potential: Line 1 C

2. Nolan Patrick — C

2016-17: Brandon (WHL) - 33GP-20G-26A-46Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’3” | WT: 198 | CSS Rank: 1NA

Scouting Report: He won't be a superstar, but will likely be a very good NHL player and more of a mid-tier No. 1 center. Extremely well-rounded.
Plays Like: Eric Staal Potential: Line 1 C

3. Elias Pettersson — C

2016-17: Timra (Allsvenskan) - 43GP-19G-22A-41Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’2” | WT: 165 | CSS Rank: 2EU

Scouting Report: His game evokes that of another shifty playmaker who lit up Allsvenskan named Filip Forsberg. Supposedly, he turned out alright.
Plays Like: Filip Forsberg Potential: Line 1 F
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4. Eeli Tolvanen — LW

2016-17: Sioux City (USHL) - 52GP-30G-24A-54Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5’10” | WT: 179 | CSS Rank: 8NA

Scouting Report: He's the best pure shooter in the draft and an electrifying talent. He isn't Patrik Laine, but who is?
Plays Like: Nikita Kucherov Potential: Line 1 W

5. Gabriel Vilardi — C

2016-17: Windsor (OHL) - 49GP-29G-32A-61Pts
Age: 17 | HT: 6’2” | WT: 192 | CSS Rank: 4NA

Scouting Report: He has the combination of size and skill that scouts crave. His skating needs some, but not too much, work. A good net-front presence.
Plays Like: Ryan O’Reilly Potential: Top-6 F

6. Kailer Yamamoto — RW

2016-17: Spokane (WHL) - 65GP-42G-57A-99Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5’8” | WT: 159 | CSS Rank: 17NA

Scouting Report: If he was three or four inches taller, we'd be talking about him as a top-10 pick. He's talented enough to be there, and elusive enough to overcome the size factor.
Plays Like: Mats Zuccarello Potential: Line 1 W

7. Timothy Liljegren — D

2016-17: Rogle (SHL) - 19GP-1G-4A-5Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’0” | WT: 192 | CSS Rank: 6EU

Scouting Report: He had an up and down season that saw his stock drop, but he's still got the most NHL upside of any defenseman in this draft until proven otherwise. Skates extremely well and can move the puck but his defense must get better.
Plays Like: Kevin Shattenkirk Potential: 1-2 D

8. Cody Glass — C

2016-17: Portland (WSHL) - 69GP-32G-62A-94Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’2” | WT: 179 | CSS Rank: 6NA

Scouting Report: His vision and hockey sense are impressive. Has strong awareness with and without the puck. Scouts want to see more competitiveness and a bulkier frame. Nothing time can't yield.
Plays Like: Ryan Kesler Potential: Top-6 C

9. Miro Heiskanen — D

2016-17: HIFK (Liiga) - 37GP-5G-5A-10Pts
Age: 17 | HT: 6’0” | WT: 174 | CSS Rank: 4EU

Scouting Report: Hard not to think of Ryan McDonagh while watching him play. Skating is superb and distributes the puck well. Won't always dominate a game offensively, but will almost always have an impact.
Plays Like: Ryan McDonagh Potential: 2-12 D
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10. Casey Mittelstadt — C

2016-17: Eden Prarie (USHS) - 24GP-13G-17-30Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’1” | WT: 201 | CSS Rank: 3NA

Scouting Report: Has a solid frame and plenty of skill. Sees the ice well. His skating is above-average, but could use some work. Don't know if he's the first-line player many think he will be, but a top-six forward role is certainly within his grasp.
Plays Like: Derek Stepan Potential: Top-6 C

11. Cale Makar — D

2016-17: Brooks (AJHL) - 54GP-24G-51A-75Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5’11” | WT: 179 | CSS Rank: 9NA

Scouting Report: Dynamic puck mover dominated Junior A. The hope is that his game will translate to the college level when he faces tougher competition.
Plays Like: Brian Campbell Potential: 1-4 D

12. Martin Necas — C

2016-17: Brno (Czech) - 41GP-7G-8A-15Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’1” | WT: 168 | CSS Rank: 5EU

Scouting Report: He's a good skater and a better playmaker. Reliable in all three zones. Has the potential to be a top-six forward at the NHL level.
Plays Like: Frans Nielsen Potential: Top-6 C

13. Nick Suzuki — C

2016-17: Owen Sound (OHL) - 65GP-45G-51A-96Pts
Age: 17 | HT: 5’11” | WT: 183 | CSS Rank: 10NA

Scouting Report: His skating is a bit choppy, but it's not bad, either. There's lots of skill in his game. Smart, all situations type-player. One of the best playmakers in this draft class.
Plays Like: Joe Pavelski Potential: Top-6 C

14. Owen Tippett — RW

2016-17: Owen Sound (OHL) - 60GP-44G-31A-75Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’2” | WT: 203 | CSS Rank: 7NA

Scouting Report: Shoots first, asks questions later. Not capable of much else if he's not scoring, so he needs to find the same role in the NHL that he currently fills in juniors.
Plays Like: Thomas Vanek Potential: Top-6 W

15. Antoine Morand — C

2016-17: Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) - 67GP-28G-46A-74Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5’9” | WT: 170 | CSS Rank: 53NA

Scouting Report: Small player, but he's one of the best playmakers in the QMJHL. Potential steal.
Plays Like: Tyler Johnson Potential: Top-6 C

16. Klim Kostin — C

2016-17: Dynamo (KHL) - 8GP-0G-0A-0Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’3” | WT: 196 | CSS Rank: 1EU

Scouting Report: Missed a lot of playing time with injuries, but has impressed when healthy. Prototypical power forward. Needs to show he can be engaged in the play more often.
Plays Like: Charlie Coyle Potential: Top-6 W

17. Erik Brannstrom — D

2016-17: HV71-U20 (SuperElit) - 19GP-9G-14A-23Pts
Age: 17 | HT: 5’10” | WT: 179 | CSS Rank: 9EU

Scouting Report: Mobile puck mover excelled on a pairing with Liljegren (7) for Team Sweden at the Under-18 tournament. Could be a Jared Spurgeon-type player, but has the offensive chops to be more productive.
Plays Like: Torey Krug Potential: 1-4 D

Cal Foote — D, Kelowna Rockets
Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

18. Cal Foote — D

2016-17: Kelowna (WHL) - 71GP-6G-51A-57Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’3” | WT: 209 | CSS Rank: 12NA

Scouting Report: The next product off the assembly line at Kelowna's defenseman factory. Like his father, Adam, he's a good two-way rearguard. There's some offense there, too, and he has a cannon of a slap shot.
Plays Like: Dion Phaneuf Potential: 1-4 D

19. Kole Lind — RW

2016-17: Kelowna (WHL) - 70GP-30G-57A-87Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’1” | WT: 176 | CSS Rank: 23NA

Scouting Report: Scoring winger got better as the season went on. Needs to bulk up, but he's got hands and a heck of a release.
Plays Like: Justin Williams Potential: Top-6 W

20. Jake Oettinger — G

2016-17: Boston U. (NCAA) - 35GP-2.11GAA-.927SV%
Age: 18 | HT: 6’4” | WT: 205 | CSS Rank: 1NA G

Scouting Report: Has the size and athleticism to be a star goaltender at the NHL level. Performed excellently between the pipes for Boston University as a true freshman.
Plays Like: Matt Murray Potential: No.1 G
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21. Joni Ikonen — C

2016-17: Frolunda (SHL) - 40GP-22G-19A-41Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5’10” | WT: 168 | CSS Rank: 17EU

Scouting Report: He's very smart and can get around the ice smoothly. His size might scare off a few teams, but that's becoming less and less of a detractor in today's NHL. Probably more of a winger than a center at the next level.
Plays Like: Jordan Eberle Potential: Top-6 F

22. Ryan Poehling — C

2016-17: St. Cloud State (NCAA) - 35GP-7G-6A-13Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’3” | WT: 185 | CSS Rank: 13NA

Scouting Report: He's competitive and has outstanding hand-eye coordination. Should have more of an impact next season than he did in his first taste of college hockey. Second line forward potential.
Plays Like: Travis Zajac Potential: Line 2 C

23. Aleksi Heponiemi — C

2016-17: Swift Current (WHL) - 72GP-28G-58A-86Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5’10” | WT: 143 | CSS Rank: 26NA

Scouting Report: Two-way pivot makes some passes that few players in this draft can, and has an accurate shot. Skating could use a bit of work, but doesn't require a major overhaul. Needs to bulk up.
Plays Like: Tomas Plekanec Potential: Line 2 C

24. Michael Rasmussen — C

2016-17: Tri-city (WHL) - 50GP-32G-23A-55Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’5” | WT: 203 | CSS Rank: 5NA

Scouting Report: Ranked much higher by a lot of scouts, but you'd like to see more production. Effective net-front presence, and has the tools to be a solid top-six forward in the NHL, but he's likely a tweener.
Plays Like: Nick Bjugstad Potential: Line 2 C

25. Conor Timmins — D

2016-17: Sault Ste Marie (OHL) - 67GP-7G-54A-61Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’1” | WT: 181 | CSS Rank: 18NA

Scouting Report: He's been pigeonholed as more of a two-way defenseman, but added a ton of offensive production to his repetoire this season. Could be a real strong prospect.
Plays Like: Cody Ceci Potential: 1-4 D

26. Nicolas Hague — D

2016-17: Mississauga (OHL) - 65GP-18G-28A-46Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’6” | WT: 214 | CSS Rank: 20NA

Scouting Report: Criticism of his skating is a bit exaggerated, and he has size, skill and strength. Which of those traits he places emphasis on at the next level is anyone's guess, but whatever the outcome, there's probably an NHLer here.
Plays Like: Colton Parayko Potential: 1-4 D

27. Fabian Zetterlund — RW

2016-17: Farjestad Jr. (SuperElit) - 40GP-16G-20A-36Pts
Age: 17 | HT: 5’11” | WT: 196 | CSS Rank: 40EU

Scouting Report: He can skate, has a great shot and playmaking ability. He also backchecks. Come to think of it, there isn't much he doesn't do. A potential steal in this draft.
Plays Like: Ryan Callahan Potential: Top-6 W

28. Henri Jokiharju — D

2016-17: Portland (WHL) - 71GP-9G-39A-48Pts
Age: 17 | HT: 6’0” | WT: 170 | CSS Rank: 19NA

Scouting Report: Player of the Game in the CHL Top Prospects Game is hardwired for the modern NHL. Smart, mobile puck-moving defenseman. Might not be a top-scoring blueliner, but will probably be a good complimentary option.
Plays Like: Dan Hamhuis Potential: 1-4 D

29. Joshua Norris — C

2016-17: USNTDP (USHL) - 61GP-27G-33A-60Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’1” | WT: 192 | CSS Rank: 34NA

Scouting Report: Best offensive player to come out of the NTDP this year. Skates pretty well, works hard. Plays a 200-foot game and is a jack-of-all-trades type of forward.
Plays Like: Brock Nelson Potential: Middle-6 C

30. Juuso Valimaki — D

2016-17: Tri-City (WHL) - 60GP-19G-42A-61Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 6’2” | WT: 201 | CSS Rank: 11NA

Scouting Report: His skating needs to get better, but he's been a productive defenseman at every level. Not sure if that's going to be his primary function in the NHL, but there's something here.
Plays Like: Zach Bogosian Potential: 1-4 D

31. Lias Andersson — C

2016-17: HV71 (SHL) - 42GP-9G-10A-19Pts
Age: 18 | HT: 5'11” | WT: 198 | CSS Rank: 3EU

Scouting Report: Probably more of a defensive forward. Offense is there, but not on a consistent basis. Regardless, he's a player most coaches would be happy to have in their toolboxes.
Plays Like: Mathieu Perreault Potential: Middle-6 C
Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

 

Rank Player Pos Team Age HT WT GP G A Pts CSS RK
32 Jaret Anderson-Dolan C Spokane (WHL) 17 5'11" 185 72 39 37 76 21 NA
33 David Farrance D USNTDP (USHL) 17 5'11" 187 64 7 30 37 46 NA
34 Mason Shaw C Medicine Hat (WHL) 18 5'9" 181 71 27 67 94 55 NA
35 Kristian Vesalainen RW Frolunda (SHL) 18 6'3" 209 26 1 5 6 7 EU
36 Pierre-Olivier Joseph D Charlottetown (QMJHL) 17 6'0" 161 62 6 33 39 27 NA
37 Sasha Chmelevski C Ottawa (OHL) 17 6'0" 187 58 21 22 43 43 NA
38 Nikita Popugaev LW Prince George (WHL) 18 6'6" 203 40 22 29 51 28 NA
39 Michael DiPietro G Windsor (OHL) 17 6'0" 192 51 0.917 2.35   4 NA G
40 Robert Thomas C London (OHL) 17 6'0" 187 66 16 50 66 22 NA
41 Urho Vaakanainen D JYP (Liiga) 18 6'1" 187 41 2 4 6 8 EU
42 Nick Henry RW Regina (WHL) 17 6'0" 190 72 35 46 81 25 NA
43 Matthew Strome LW Hamilton (OHL) 18 6'3" 201 66 34 28 62 33 NA
44 Filip Chytil C ZPS Zlin (Czech) 17 6'0" 179 38 4 4 8 11 EU
45 Grant Mismash LW USNTDP (USHL) 18 6'0" 183 65 26 35 61 24 NA
46 Isaac Ratcliffe LW Guelph (OHL) 18 6'5" 203 67 28 26 54 15 NA
47 Alexei Lipanov C HK MVD (MHL) 17 6'0" 170 11 0 3 3 13 EU
48 Shane Bowers C Waterloo (USHL) 17 6'0" 170 60 22 29 51 16 NA
49 Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen G HPK U20 (Jr. A Liiga) 18 6'4" 196 35 0.917 1.78   1 EU G
50 Maxime Comtois LW Victoriaville (QMJHL) 18 6'2" 201 64 22 29 51 30 NA
51 Noah Cates C Stillwater (USHS) 18 6'1" 170 25 20 45 65 121 NA
52 Jonah Gadjovich LW Owen Sound (OHL) 18 6'2" 201 60 46 28 74 39 NA
53 MacKenzie Entwistle C Hamilton (OHL) 17 6'3" 181 54 12 13 25 44 NA
54 Noel Hoeffenmayer D Ottawa (OHL) 18 6'0" 190 62 14 26 40 75 NA
55 Jake Leschyshyn C Regina (WHL) 18 5'11" 181 47 17 23 40 42 NA
56 Maxim Zhukov G Green Bay (USHL) 17 6'3" 181 31 0.913 2.25   9 NA G
57 Cale Fleury D Kootenay (WHL) 18 6'1" 201 70 11 27 38 62 NA
58 Jason Robertson RW Kingston (OHL) 17 6'2" 194 68 42 39 81 14 NA
59 Artyom Minulin D Swift Current (WHL) 18 6'2" 198 70 8 42 50 58 NA
60 Maxime Fortier RW Halifax (QMJHL) 19 5'10" 176 68 32 55 87 181 NA
61 Eemeli Rasanen D Kingston (OHL) 18 6'7" 205 66 6 33 39 32 NA
62 Marcus Davidsson C Djurgarden (SHL) 18 6'0" 192 45 5 4 9 12 EU
63 Ivan Lodnia C Erie (OHL) 17 5'10" 181 66 24 33 57 36 NA
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Rank Player Pos Team Age HT WT GP G A Pts CSS RK
64 Ostap Safin LW Sparta Prague (Czech U20) 18 6'4" 198 24 6 12 18 14 EU
65 Robin Salo D Sport (Liiga) 18 6'0" 185 54 1 15 16 20 EU
66 Olle Eriksson Ek G Farjestad Jr. (SuperElit) 17 6'2" 187 30 0.924 2.16   2 EU G
67 Stelio Mattheos C Brandon (WHL) 17 6'1" 194 69 26 35 61 38 NA
68 Alex Formenton LW London (OHL) 17 6'1" 159 65 16 18 34 29 NA
69 Jesper Boqvist LW Brynas (SHL) 18 6'0" 179 16 0 6 6 10 EU
70 Markus Phillips D Owen Sound (OHL) 18 6'0" 207 66 13 30 43 50 NA
71 Dylan Samberg D Hermantown (USHS) 18 6'3" 190 25 10 18 28 67 NA
72 Evan Barratt C USNTDP (USHL) 18 5'11" 187 63 18 38 56 65 NA
73 Joshua Brook D Moose Jaw (WHL) 17 6'2" 185 69 8 32 40 49 NA
74 Ian Scott G Prince Albert (WHL) 18 6'3" 168 50 0.895 3.69   3 NA G
75 Morgan Geekie C Tri-City (WHL) 18 6'2" 168 72 35 55 90 45 NA
76 Adam Ruzicka C Sarnia (OHL) 18 6'4" 209 61 25 21 46 37 NA
77 Ivan Chekhovich LW Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) 18 5'10" 172 60 26 33 59 71 NA
78 Alex D'Orio G Saint John (QMJHL) 18 6'2" 198 28 0.903 2.4   13 NA G
79 Adam Tilander D North Bay (OHL) 18 6'0" 190 64 6 29 35 96 NA
80 Cole Guttman C Dubuque (USHL) 18 5'10" 163 53 27 27 54 NR
81 Matthew Villalta G Sault Ste Marie (OHL) 18 6'2" 170 33 0.918 2.41   16 NA G
82 Max Gildon D USNTDP (USHL) 18 6'3" 187 61 11 22 33 54 NA
83 Lukas Elvenes RW Rogle Jr. (SuperElit) 17 6'0" 174 41 15 30 45 18 EU
84 Jarret Tyszka D Seattle (WHL) 18 6'3" 192 54 6 19 25 41 NA
85 Filip Westerlund D Frolunda (SHL) 18 5'11" 181 33 0 4 4 15 EU
86 Morgan Frost LW Sault Ste Marie (OHL) 18 6'0" 170 67 20 42 62 31 NA
87 Mario Ferraro D Des Moines (USHL) 18 5'11" 179 60 8 33 41 78 NA
88 Stuart Skinner G Lethbridge (WHL) 18 6'4" 207 60 0.905 3.26   5 NA G
89 Ivan Kosorenkov RW Victoriaville (QMJHL) 19 6'0" 181 68 34 29 63 186 NA
90 Pavel Shen F Mamonty (MHL) 17 5'9" 179 46 16 29 45 22 EU
91 Dylan Ferguson G Kamloops (WHL) 18 6'1" 192 31 0.922 2.74   8 NA G
92 Leon Gawanke D Cape Breton (QMJHL) 18 6'1" 181 54 8 24 32 200 NA
93 Dylan Coghlan D Tri-City (WHL) 19 6'2" 190 71 15 38 53 77 NA
94 Jacob Tortora LW USNTDP (USHL) 17 5'8" 161 51 18 20 38 165 NA
95 Ian Mitchell D Spruce Grove (AJHL) 18 5'10" 165 53 8 29 37 35 NA
96 Drake Rymsha C Sarnia (OHL) 18 6'0" 187 65 35 27 62 118 NA
97 Pavel Koltygin F Drummondville (QMJHL) 18 6'0" 192 65 22 25 47 83 NA
98 Austen Keating C Ottawa (OHL) 18 6'0" 170 67 22 41 63 115 NA
99 Sean Durzi D Owen Sound (OHL) 18 5'11" 185 60 2 36 38 124 NA
100 Denis Smirnov LW Penn State (NCAA) 19 5'10" 185 39 19 28 47 167 NA

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
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Double Bogey (+2)