Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 NHL Mock Draft: Picks 1-8

With the NHL Draft being next week, it's that time again for me to come up with a mock draft. Today, it will be picks 1-8, and given that there's not as much depth as in years past, it will also be predictions sure to go wrong.

1. New Jersey Devils- Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

New Jersey needs major help down the middle, and they have their pick of Patrick and Nico Hischier. Despite an injury-riddled season, Patrick is the most ready to step into the NHL right now. If the worst he can be is another Jonathan Toews, the Devils will gladly take it.

2. Philadelphia Flyers- Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

The more dynamic of the two, Hischier would be at worst, a year away because of his need to put on a little more weight. He would add to an already good offense that can always use another center to slot behind Claude Giroux.

3. Dallas Stars- Gabe Vilardi, C, Windsor (OHL)

Skating concerns aside, Vilardi checks off every other box, and with Jason Spezza nearing 35, it would be a good idea to start thinking about getting a center to slot behind Tyler Seguin. At worst, he's a year away, at best, he could step in right away.

4. Colorado Avalanche- Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)

Colorado needs defensemen...badly. Getting a puck possession player up front in Tyson Jost was a start, but now, they need help on a long neglected blue line. Miro Heiskanen is the safer pick, but Colorado may wish to swing for the fences, and that is what Makar's potential is right now.Smaller player, but plays bigger than his size.

5. Vancouver Canucks- Casey Mittlestadt, C, Eden Prairie (USHS)

Split time between Eden Prairie High and Green Bay of the USHL, Mittlestadt carries great offensive potential. A year away, since he's a Minnesota commit, he could down the line, form a dynamic duo with Brock Boeser once he makes the NHL.

6. Vegas Golden Knights- Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)

Because nothing will be known about the Golden Knights' roster until Wednesday, they can go in any direction. Glass could at his best, be the face of a franchise that provides offense in spades.

7. Arizona Coyotes- Elias Pettersson, C, Timra (Sweden 2)

The Coyotes really need more of a veteran presence, especially if Shane Doan decides to retire. However, looking further into the future, Pettersson would be a dynamic center that has top line potential...if he can put on some weight. A couple seasons in Sweden's top league will help.

8. Buffalo Sabres- Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK (Finland)

The last time the Sabres drafted a defenseman in the first round, they did pretty well, as Rasmus Ristolainen is their top guy now. The problem is that there's virtually little else on the blue line, and the pipeline in that section is not too great. Heiskanen at worst, would be a solid two-way player with better offensive upside than Ristolainen.

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