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pilldoc

HF.net NHL Mock Draft 2017

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Good Morning Everyone,

 

Listed below is the Official Draft Order for those members who were interested in participating.  The 2017 NHL Draft will be held in about 2 weeks on June 23rd.  I tried to honor the requests to the best of my ability.  If other members wish to join this group of HF.net's "GM"s to draft a team or two let us know, we can make adjustments to the list.

 

Here are the rules:

  1. The draft window will be about 6-8 hours. (of course, there will be flexibility but try to stay on schedule possible).  We do allow and understand tolerances for work schedules and family events. 
  2. Try to make the pick as realistic as possible. (Don't purposely let a Patrick or Nico drop to #24 or #25, there of course, will be some surprise drops)
  3. There are NO TRADES. (we all know trades can happen, but it is too complicated for all parties involved)
  4. @hf101 and @pilldoc will try to have a running draft order on the https://www.hockeyforums.net/1/2017-mock-nhl-draft/ page so everyone knows who has been picked.  A sidebar table will also be visible on the Activity Page.  I will also list it below.
  5. After you have made your selection, please use the @(mention members name) function to notify the next person on the draft order that they are now the clock.
  6. Have fun with it.  Remember there is no right or wrong answer here.  If you disagree with someone's pick then discuss it and make a case why you think the pick is not in the best interest of that team.
  7. Please use this thread exclusively for your picks and discussion.
  8. When making your selection, please include a gm or scout-like quote about that player stating why you selected him.
  9.  

We would like to officially start this on Sunday or Monday, but we can start earlier if some are ready to go sooner

 

Remember the Draft is in 13 days so we would like to be finishing up the day of the draft..

 

Thank You Again to everyone who is participating! 

Edited by pilldoc

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I am leaving at 9am to go to the Columbus zoo with the grandbabies for much of the day but will be following this on the phone, but would like to go ahead and do the first pick now because we will be on the road at nine.

 

WITH THE FIRST PICK IN THE DRAFT, The New Jersey Devils take:

 

NOLAN PATRICK

Image result for nolan patrick pic

  With apologies to anyone else, the combination of size and speed along with vision makes this an easy pick for me. New Jersey has stated publicly that the need for centers is the number one thing they plan to address this offseason and it begins right here with this kid.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

I am leaving at 9am to go to the Columbus zoo with the grandbabies for much of the day

 

Have fun at the zoo! Our family loves zoos and aquariums,

 

With regard to the pick ....it was either Nolan or Nico for the Devils,  Hard to argue against either one.

 

@jammer2 you and the Philadelphia Flyers are now on the clock.

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1 hour ago, pilldoc said:

 

Have fun at the zoo! Our family loves zoos and aquariums,

 

With regard to the pick ....it was either Nolan or Nico for the Devils,  Hard to argue against either one.

 

@jammer2 you and the Philadelphia Flyers are now on the clock.

To me it had to be Patrick based off the Devils desire to improve their center play. With no offense to Nico, I believe he will settle in on the wing at least short term if not permanently. Patrick is the best true center in the draft and fits the Devils number one need to a tee.

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I'm going to be out and about till 12 PM PST which is around 3 PM EST so I hope this doesn't screw things up. If need be and everyone feels this is too late have someone draft for me, I'll understand.

 

I don't think there's any way someone could be wrong choosing Patrick #1, I was hoping he'd last until TO's pick:VeryCool:.

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43 minutes ago, hobie said:

I'm going to be out and about till 12 PM PST which is around 3 PM EST so I hope this doesn't screw things up. If need be and everyone feels this is too late have someone draft for me, I'll understand.

 

 

You draft at #17.  I will be shocked if we get that far today.  You are good to go.  No Worries. :)

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I will be out at my niece's dance recital today, but I will try my best to keep up with the picks for the teams I chose.

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11 minutes ago, FD19372 said:

I will be out at my niece's dance recital today, but I will try my best to keep up with the picks for the teams I chose.

 

You pick after me ....hoping that happens sometime later this afternoon or early evening.  Have fun.... I have to go to my niece's dance recital next Saturday.

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Just now, habsguy26 said:

Hey guys really sorry, will be back at 5pm est to make my selections. 

 

Currently, it is @jammer2 selection with the 2nd pick.  We do this in order just like a real draft, although we have more time on the clock for each selection as members have work, etc as needed.  

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Just now, hf101 said:

 

Currently, it is @jammer2 selection with the 2nd pick.  We do this in order just like a real draft, although we have more time on the clock for each selection as members have work, etc as needed.  

 

Just realized that after I posted. Will keep my eyes peeled at work for notifications. BTW thanks for giving me Vegas, will be fun making their first pick :)

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2 minutes ago, habsguy26 said:

 

Just realized that after I posted. Will keep my eyes peeled at work for notifications. BTW thanks for giving me Vegas, will be fun making their first pick :)

 

Great! (you are welcome)... I kind of threw darts and randomly assigned members to various teams. ;) 

Edited by pilldoc
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ahhh, ok....in the biggest non-surprise ever, the Flyers take Nico Hischier with the 2nd overall pick. Hope it works out this way in real life also!!

 

 

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Dallas is in an interesting position where they can draft the top defensemen in this year's draft, draft the 3rd best forward or trade the pick and move down a few positions.  I wouldn't be surprised to see if the Stars move down a few positions.  But with this selection, the Stars pick the defensive center, Gabriel Vilardi from the Memorial Champion Winsor Spitfires who is said to play a similar defensive style to Patrice Bergeron.  

 

Image result for gabriel vilardi

 

Vilardi is a decent skater with good balance and power in his stride. He has great balance and protects the puck well down low on the cycle, and can fight through checks and take the puck to the front of the net. He uses his long reach and excellent puck handling skills to extend plays along the boards and in front of the net.  Vilardi also has a good and accurate wrist shot with a quick release and has shown a willingness to play all 3 zones.  With a little more seasoning Vilardi has the skills to become an #1 center in the NHL.

 

 

 

 

@pilldoc you are on the clock with the 4th pick of the draft

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The Avs are a hot mess right now.  Many of their fans are still fuming over the idea that they lost out on the lottery and dropped to 4th overall after the Devils / Flyers / and Stars.  Many experts feel that whom they choose in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft could depend on how the Avs handle the off season especially considering this is an atypical off season with the Vegas expansion draft just a few short days away.

 

In no particular order they are not particular deep down the middle, had a hard time scoring last year and they need help on the blueline.  In essence they need help all around.  Moving forward it is critical for the Avs to protect the right players before the draft.

 

The top two needs the Avalanche have:

  •  A No. 1 defenseman, one ready now, or one ready for that role in the near future.
  • A right-handed shooter for the top six.

 

Two kinks in the Avs off season is that defenseman Francois Beauchermin is 36 and has a 4.5 million dollar contract with the dreaded NMC.  He must be protected per the NHL rules unless the Avs can convince him to waive his NMC and from what I read he has no such idea.  Another potential kink for the Avs is what to do with Zadorov who is a pending RFA.  it’s in Colorado’s best interest to sign Zadorov before the Expansion Draft. However, as with any good Russian player, Zadorov has stated he’ll defect to the KHL if he doesn’t get a juicy enough contract.  Colorado has 2 defensemen who meet exposure requirements: Tyson Barrie and Barberio.  I’m sure the Avs really do not want to lose Barberio so do they protect him along with Erik Johnson and Beauchermin (who is required to be protected). 

 

It is rumored that the Avs might be considering trading Duchene for a high level defensive prospect.

 

To further add insult to injury, the Avs must expose either Pickard or Varlamov. Varlamov is coming off major surgery for a recurring groin injury.  Doubtful he would be picked up so I’m guessing they expose Pickard.

 

Finally, the Avs are extremely weak down the middle and was dead last in goals scored with only 165 total goals.  Think about that…we as Flyers fans complain about the lack of scoring from the Flyers, the Flyers had 60 more goals than the Avs!

 

With so many potential needs what do the Avs do at the draft??  As I stated above, I believe a lot will depend on the off season and what the Stars do one pick before the Avs.   As much as the Avs need defense, the also need some offensive punch.  I foresee the Avs picking in the top 5 again next year.  With an early indication that there are some great defensive prospects for next years draft, the Colorado Avalanche will go in the direction of offense for the 2017 draft. 

 

Going off the board, with the 4th overall pick, the Colorado Avalanche pick......(from the Owen Sound Attack)......

 

Nick Suzuki (Center)

 

Suzuki_TW_CHL_0468.jpg

 

 

Suzuki is a player that has been criminally undervalued in this year’s draft. He had 119 points, including playoffs, in the OHL this season. That is more points than anyone that is expected to go in the top 10 in the 2017 draft.

 

Suzuki projects as a top-six forward with the upside of a number-one center. He does need to fill out but that’s just a matter of time. He makes his linemates better thanks to the skill he brings. If you need a goal, he’ll get that for you. If you need dynamic playmaking, he can do that too. If you need a defensive stop, he’s good for that as well. His total package makes his floor very high.

 

Does he need to fill out a bit, absolutely, but being one of the youngest players in this years draft, he certainly has room to grown another inch or two and fill out his frame.  He is favorably compare to Flyers center Claude Giroux in the way he plays the game. Another comparison that is thrown around a lot is Joe Pavelski and Suzuki projects as the type of player who can excel in all situations like Pavelski does for the Sharks.

 

The key to Suzuki’s game is his combination of amazing hockey sense and non stop motor. I saw NHL.com’s Mike Morreale recently say, “Suzuki plays the game like he’s got red bull flowing through his veins,” and I think that’s a very accurate statement. Suzuki isn’t the world’s quickest skater, but he has great agility and it allows him to really whirl around the offensive zone like a Tasmanian devil.

 

Strengths

  • Hands
  • Hockey IQ
  • Speed
  • Tireless worker

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

  • Size and strength
  • Puck protection (though many scouts don't see this as an issue)

“A smart offensive center that thinks the game at a fast pace and makes very good decisions on a consistent basis. Though he may not be the biggest player on the ice, Suzuki plays a thick, sturdy game and is hard to knock off the puck, especially when he has his feet moving. He’s an excellent skater that knows his own game well. Skilled with the puck and has a high level of hockey sense. This blend of talent and work ethic is hard to come by, invaluable in the long run.” –

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Suzuki considers himself a playmaker but his coach, Ryan McGill, thinks of him as much more than that saying, “He’s definitely underselling himself when he tells you he’s more of a playmaker because he’s an all-around player, a 200-foot guy who kills penalties, takes faceoffs, and on top of that is the smartest player on the ice,” McGill told NHL.com.

 

Suzuki is an undersized dynamic offensive player who uses his speed and playmaking ability to impact the game. While slightly undersized he is not shy to play physically and go to the net or dig for pucks in the corner. Suzuki thinks the game fast and has the hands and feet to match which makes him a projectable NHL player. Suzuki has a motor that won’t quit on plays and he is a reliable back checker as well making him an effective two-way player. Suzuki made a strong impression as a rookie year scoring 20 goals for the Owen Sound Attack and had a strong showing to start his draft year at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament for Canada with a goal and three points in four games, this season his offensive totals have exploded with 45 goals and 95 points. Despite being a short player, he is strong on the puck, has speed and skill to burn and is a smart player, he will play in a top six role in the NHL when he is ready.” –

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Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has preached speed and skill, and Nick Suzuki is oozing with both. Suzuki matches the future direction of this team perfectly, and is going to develop into a great player

 

As someone wrote .... Suzuki is going to be a special player. I wouldn’t be surprised if he came off the board in the top five

 

@FD19372 you are now on the clock!

 

 

Edited by pilldoc
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Vancouver Canucks - Elias Pettersson, C

 

With the 5th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, the Vancouver Canucks select Elias Pettersson, Center, Timra IK, Hockeyallsvenskan. 

 

 

Elias-Lindholm-2013WM20_Standard.jpg

According to 

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Strengths:

-speed and acceleration

-puck control and finesse

-reliable two-way player

 

Weaknesses:

 -physical size

 -still a very raw talent, has yet to prove himself on any big stage

 

 

The Canucks have to think about life after Henrik Sedin, although they certainly have other holes to fill. Pettersson has the definite potential to be a very good Top 2 NHL center. Bo Horvat very well could be that player, but they still need quality, young speed and skill at that position. Pettersson will most likely need to take a few years and continue developing in the Swedish Elite League, and he will be playing there next season.

 

According to nhl.com, he had 19 goals, 22 assists and a +15 plus/minus in 45 games. 

Petterrsson is a left handed shot with great offensive instincts and a solid understanding of the game. He was #2 on Central Scouting's final ranking of international skaters.

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2 hours ago, pilldoc said:

The Avs are a hot mess right now.  Many of their fans are still fuming over the idea that they lost out on the lottery and dropped to 4th overall after the Devils / Flyers / and Stars.  Many experts feel that whom they choose in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft could depend on how the Avs handle the off season especially considering this is an atypical off season with the Vegas expansion draft just a few short days away.

 

In no particular order they are not particular deep down the middle, had a hard time scoring last year and they need help on the blueline.  In essence they need help all around.  Moving forward it is critical for the Avs to protect the right players before the draft.

 

The top two needs the Avalanche have:

  •  A No. 1 defenseman, one ready now, or one ready for that role in the near future.
  • A right-handed shooter for the top six.

 

Two kinks in the Avs off season is that defenseman Francois Beauchermin is 36 and has a 4.5 million dollar contract with the dreaded NMC.  He must be protected per the NHL rules unless the Avs can convince him to waive his NMC and from what I read he has no such idea.  Another potential kink for the Avs is what to do with Zadorov who is a pending RFA.  it’s in Colorado’s best interest to sign Zadorov before the Expansion Draft. However, as with any good Russian player, Zadorov has stated he’ll defect to the KHL if he doesn’t get a juicy enough contract.  Colorado has 2 defensemen who meet exposure requirements: Tyson Barrie and Barberio.  I’m sure the Avs really do not want to lose Barberio so do they protect him along with Erik Johnson and Beauchermin (who is required to be protected). 

 

It is rumored that the Avs might be considering trading Duchene for a high level defensive prospect.

 

To further add insult to injury, the Avs must expose either Pickard or Varlamov. Varlamov is coming off major surgery for a recurring groin injury.  Doubtful he would be picked up so I’m guessing they expose Pickard.

 

Finally, the Avs are extremely weak down the middle and was dead last in goals scored with only 165 total goals.  Think about that…we as Flyers fans complain about the lack of scoring from the Flyers, the Flyers had 60 more goals than the Avs!

 

With so many potential needs what do the Avs do at the draft??  As I stated above, I believe a lot will depend on the off season and what the Stars do one pick before the Avs.   As much as the Avs need defense, the also need some offensive punch.  I foresee the Avs picking in the top 5 again next year.  With an early indication that there are some great defensive prospects for next years draft, the Colorado Avalanche will go in the direction of offense for the 2017 draft. 

 

Going off the board, with the 4th overall pick, the Colorado Avalanche pick......(from the Owen Sound Attack)......

 

Nick Suzuki (Center)

 

Suzuki_TW_CHL_0468.jpg

 

 

Suzuki is a player that has been criminally undervalued in this year’s draft. He had 119 points, including playoffs, in the OHL this season. That is more points than anyone that is expected to go in the top 10 in the 2017 draft.

 

Suzuki projects as a top-six forward with the upside of a number-one center. He does need to fill out but that’s just a matter of time. He makes his linemates better thanks to the skill he brings. If you need a goal, he’ll get that for you. If you need dynamic playmaking, he can do that too. If you need a defensive stop, he’s good for that as well. His total package makes his floor very high.

 

Does he need to fill out a bit, absolutely, but being one of the youngest players in this years draft, he certainly has room to grown another inch or two and fill out his frame.  He is favorably compare to Flyers center Claude Giroux in the way he plays the game. Another comparison that is thrown around a lot is Joe Pavelski and Suzuki projects as the type of player who can excel in all situations like Pavelski does for the Sharks.

 

The key to Suzuki’s game is his combination of amazing hockey sense and non stop motor. I saw NHL.com’s Mike Morreale recently say, “Suzuki plays the game like he’s got red bull flowing through his veins,” and I think that’s a very accurate statement. Suzuki isn’t the world’s quickest skater, but he has great agility and it allows him to really whirl around the offensive zone like a Tasmanian devil.

 

Strengths

  • Hands
  • Hockey IQ
  • Speed
  • Tireless worker

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

  • Size and strength
  • Puck protection (though many scouts don't see this as an issue)

“A smart offensive center that thinks the game at a fast pace and makes very good decisions on a consistent basis. Though he may not be the biggest player on the ice, Suzuki plays a thick, sturdy game and is hard to knock off the puck, especially when he has his feet moving. He’s an excellent skater that knows his own game well. Skilled with the puck and has a high level of hockey sense. This blend of talent and work ethic is hard to come by, invaluable in the long run.” –

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Suzuki considers himself a playmaker but his coach, Ryan McGill, thinks of him as much more than that saying, “He’s definitely underselling himself when he tells you he’s more of a playmaker because he’s an all-around player, a 200-foot guy who kills penalties, takes faceoffs, and on top of that is the smartest player on the ice,” McGill told NHL.com.

 

Suzuki is an undersized dynamic offensive player who uses his speed and playmaking ability to impact the game. While slightly undersized he is not shy to play physically and go to the net or dig for pucks in the corner. Suzuki thinks the game fast and has the hands and feet to match which makes him a projectable NHL player. Suzuki has a motor that won’t quit on plays and he is a reliable back checker as well making him an effective two-way player. Suzuki made a strong impression as a rookie year scoring 20 goals for the Owen Sound Attack and had a strong showing to start his draft year at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament for Canada with a goal and three points in four games, this season his offensive totals have exploded with 45 goals and 95 points. Despite being a short player, he is strong on the puck, has speed and skill to burn and is a smart player, he will play in a top six role in the NHL when he is ready.” –

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Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic has preached speed and skill, and Nick Suzuki is oozing with both. Suzuki matches the future direction of this team perfectly, and is going to develop into a great player

 

As someone wrote .... Suzuki is going to be a special player. I wouldn’t be surprised if he came off the board in the top five

 

@FD19372 you are now on the clock!

 

 

 

:PostAward2: :plus1: :56ce4e56dc2e8_HighFiveSmileys:

 

Pilldoc: that was excellent and engrossing! 

 

In fact about the only way I could "find fault" was that you 

"stole" :lol: Suzuki before I could snag him for the Kings. 

 

I think Nick Suzuki may deserve higher prospect ranking, 

and I think he'd be better for my team than other prospects 

ranked higher and thought more likely King drafts. 

 

:toast:

 

P.S. Who wrote "Suzuki is going to be a special player.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he came off the board in the top five" / 

predicted you or someone would draft him this early? :D

 

 

 

 

 

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Building an entire team from scratch is no walk in the park but the good news for Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee and co. is, the Expansion Draft will be loaded with talented players. Unfortunately for them though, they have the lowest pick in the NHL Entry Draft for a first year expansion franchise since 1979 and many consider this to be a weak draft class. 

 

To compete in the uber competitive Pacific, Vegas will need to build a strong core from the middle of the ice. There should be a ton of young defencemen available in the Expansion Draft, and as @pilldoc noted the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has a ton of talented blueliners that will be available to lottery teams (assuming Vegas doesn't make the playoffs year 1). For these reasons, I believe the Golden Knights will choose the best centre available with their first ever draft choice.

 

With the 6th overall pick, The Vegas Golden Knights are pleased to select...... from the Tri-City Americans, Michael Rasmussen.

GP:50 G:32 A:23 P:55 PIM:50

 

When you first look at Rasmussen's scouting profile, one thing that immediately sticks out is his NHL ready size at 6'5, 205lbs. He was brilliant in his limited action this year as he battled a wrist injury in the later part of the season, but when healthy, Rasmussen is a force to be reckoned with. Has a great shot, is impossible to move from in front of the net, and scouts rave at his ability to quickly get around the ice despite his huge frame. He has great vision on the PP and is "dominate" below the goal line as he owns the area behind the net. His size allows him to go where others won't and he rarely loses a battle for the puck. 

 

Strengths:

- Size, Strength, Skill

- Quick feet

- Excellent puck protection

- Leadership

 

Weaknesses:

- Injury prone?(103GP out of possible 164)

- Could improve defensively. 

 

NHL Comparison: Vincent Lecavalier 

 

 

@AJgoal and the Arizona Coyotes are on the clock.....

 

Edited by habsguy26
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@pilldoc

 

IMHO the Avalanche are almost a mortal lock to go defense, preferably someone who makes the team and plays top four minutes right now. I agree that Suzuki is an intriguing choice but I truly believe it will be either Makar or if not certainly Heiskanen (if he makes it past Dallas). The Avalanche have forwards but are dead and barren on the back end, Barrie, Johnson and nothing else.

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3 minutes ago, yave1964 said:

@pilldoc

 

IMHO the Avalanche are almost a mortal lock to go defense, preferably someone who makes the team and plays top four minutes right now. I agree that Suzuki is an intriguing choice but I truly believe it will be either Makar or if not certainly Heiskanen (if he makes it past Dallas). The Avalanche have forwards but are dead and barren on the back end, Barrie, Johnson and nothing else.

 

You know I was really thinking about Makar.  Saw how he has risen steadily.  I was kind of thinking outside the box.  Currently speculation is from most sources is that Vilardi is the pick the Avs are targeting, but for the purposes of this Mock, Vilardi was already taken. 

 

You are absolutely right when you say the Avs are barren on the back end.  Most of what I read has Heiskanen going to the Avs if Dallas passes on him.  The other interesting name I was considering was Timothy Liljegren who, by some, is favorably being compared to Erik Karlsson or Drew Doughty.

 

I know Suzuki is a very off the board choice and I probably drafted him a wee bit higher than were he goes, but I read raving reviews about him and though it would make for some interesting discussion.  In a draft class were #3 thru #10 is being highly debated, I figured why not..

 

Like the Flyer trying to move MacDonald, the Avs are in a similar, but not quite as dire situation, with Beauchermin.  they would very much like to move him. 

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Wow, wow, wow. Just goes to show how up in the air everything after 2 is. My top 5 after Patrick/Hischier are all still on the board.

 

With the number seven pick in the Hockeyforums.net 2017 NHL mock draft, the Arizona Coyotes are pleased to select Miro Heiskanen, Defense, HIFK, Finnish Liga.

 

 

After drafting forwards high (Domi, Strome) and acquiring some young forward talent via trade (Duclair, Crouse) in recent years, Arizona will gladly snap up whom I believe to be the top defenseman in the draft in Heiskanen. While OEL is still the class of their defense, it's time to get some high-quality youth coming in behind him to grow with what could be a strong forward group in the next few years.

 

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 174 lbs

Shoots: L

 

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Heiskanen is elite skating defenceman with plenty of speed and mobility. Already playing against men in Liiga he is an excellent puck mover and transition defenceman. His offensive ceiling is not too high and he may never quarterback the powerplay but he has good hockey sense, is ahead of his years in his defensive play. Heiskanen needs to add some bulk to his slight frame to be effective in North America but he is already proven at the pro level and may have a shorter path to the NHL than some other draft eligible defencemen.

 

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An elite two-way defenceman in the making, Miro Heiskanen has a toolbox bursting at the seams. Very smooth skater whose general agility and athleticism is excellent and on display every shift. A confident puck mover with no issues running a play himself and starting a transition up-ice. Solid creativity and impressive puck skills. Always makes the high percentage play and doesn’t put teammates in dangerous or vulnerable positions. Willingness to play a physical game is not an issue, as he is often seen throwing the body. Defensively very diligent and proactive, keeping the opposition to the outside and cutting off open and common lanes.

 

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A two-way rearguard that plays with strong mobility, speed and awareness…possesses excellent lateral agility and straight ahead speed…starts and stops very quickly and possesses a very smooth overall stride…carries the puck confidently up the ice and into the offensive zone…has impressive vision…makes very good passes, finding his teammates quickly and without hesitation in all three zones…takes quick, accurate wrist shots from the point…good foot speed enables him to keep gaps close….not afraid to use his body to separate the puck from an opponent or rub out an attacker along the wall… keeps his man to the outside…struggles with a lack of strength…displays pretty strong awareness defensively making quick stick checks to interrupt plays and then quickly turning the play back up ice…a minute muncher who shows high level intelligence and decision making…a potential top four blueliner displaying high end poise, puck skills and skating ability.

 

@pilldoc, the Buffalo Sabres are now on the clock.

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Welcome to the Sabres Draft 2017 Edition!

 

The Sabres ended the 2016-17 campaign with a disappointing finish placing them 26th overall in the standing.  Again, as in previous years, the lottery did them no favors. Though they did not win out in the lottery, they will be able to draft a very highly touted prospect to go along with the current young bucks they have on the the team. (Eichel / Reinart / Ritolainen / Nylander).  This will be the 1st Draft for the newly named GM, Jason Botterill. The Sabres hold the eighth overall pick (the same spot they were in a year ago) and assuming they don't make a trade, they have plenty of options with their first selection.

 

The newly named GM will have to try to find a player who can have an impact on the team sooner rather than later while balancing the value of an eighth overall pick with a team that has five strong pieces of a top-6 set of forwards. Buffalo’s biggest weakness, of course, has been its defense.   With the signing of Viktor Antipin from the KHL, the Sabres have a young KHL All-Star with puck handling skills.  He certainly will probably see some time on the 2nd PP unit behind Ristolainen.  

 

With the expansion draft looming over every GM's head, the Sabres are no different when it comes to making difficult decisions on whom to protect and whom to expose for Vegas to cherry pick their team.  Tyler Ennis seems to be the odd man out as the Sabres with protect O'Reilly / Kane / Okposo / Mousoln (which are the no brainers) / Foligno (needed for his toughness and energy) / Larsson / and Girgensons (deserves another chance with a new coach).  Like I said, that leaves Ennis the odd man out at this point.  If that happens, the Sabres would definitely like to fill his spot with an up-side offensive player.

 

There definitely will be some tough choices for Botterill on draft day.  Does he continue to go defense to bolster up the blue line or does he go out and draft a winger to play along either O'Reily or Eichel.

 

So it comes down to 3 potential players the Sabres will draft (based on the results of this Mock Draft): (D) - Timothy Liljegren / (C) - Casey Mittelstadt / and (RW) Owen Tippett.

 

With the 8th pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, the Buffalo Sabres select from the Mississauga Steelheads ......

 

(RW) Owen Tippet

 

Owen-Tippett-4.jpg

 

Buffalo needs a solid defenseman but to pass on Tippett would be silly. Tippett will be the next best forward available  (with all due respect to Casey Mittlestadt) and Buffalo seems to develop their forwards well, Tippett had 75 points in 60 games for the OHL Steelheads in the 2016-2017 season.

 

Tippett is a pure goal scorer with the ability to create chances out of nothing. His speed and quick release makes him a threat at any point off the rush and in the offensive zone. His size is another advantage that he brings to his game and he will be a force for any team – an offensive facelift for those looking to add a sniper.  Pairing him with Eichel and Nylander will give oppents nightmares for years to come.

 

Yes, I know the Sabres need defense, but with the addition of Viktor Antipin from the KHL, this opened the door for Botterill to draft a gifted offensive player.  As mentioned before, next years draft is supposed to be stocked with defensive prospects.

 

Owen Tippett loves to shoot the puck, and more often than not, his shots find the back of the net.  Even pairing him with O'Reilly will give the Sabres a top line for years to come.

 

Tippett states "When I was a kid I just kind of shot pucks in the driveway whenever I could, whenever I got home from school,...I kind of have a shoot-first mentality."

 

Again, You can make the argument that the Sabres need to add defensive depth desperately, however, they also need scoring wingers.  Evander Kane, Kyle Okposo, and 2016 first round pick Alex Nylander aren't enough. There's no such thing as having too many players who can put the biscuit in the basket, just look at the Pittsburgh Penguins and their scoring depth.

 

Coincidentally enough, Tippett and Nylander were teammates in Mississauga. Tippett, like most players in this draft, won't be ready for the NHL next year. However, there is no reason why he shouldn't be with the Sabres in 2-3 years from now.

 

Arguably the best shot in the 2017 draft class, Tippett is a pure goal scorer. He has a lethal shot, it is quick, hard, and accurate and he is able to disguise his release very well. Besides taking a high volume of shots, Tippett is also a big player that uses his size, each and strength to protect the puck, win board battles and provide a strong net presence. The other asset to his game is his above average skating, his breakaway speed and acceleration gives him separation ability and like all components of his game he uses all his skill to support his goal scoring tendency.” –

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Strengths

  • Skating
  • Size
  • Offensive prowess
  • Shooting ability

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

  • Defensive play
  • 200-foot game
  • NHL Potential

Tippett’s goal scoring touch alone will make him a valuable asset to NHL clubs. If he can pick up his play in his own zone, the young forward could develop into a full-time NHLer sooner than some expect. Don’t be surprised to see him in a top-six forward role by the time he hits his prime

 

 

But does Tippett make sense with the eighth overall pick? Botterill needs to get some players in the organization that can play with Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly for years to come.

 

I say the answer is yes.

 

@WingNut722 you and the Detroit Red Wings are now on the clock!

 

Edited by pilldoc
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