Welcome to the 2017 Winging it in Motown Mock NHL Draft. All of these picks are made by me, Kyle. Hopefully it doesn’t make you that mad at me.
The Devils are on the clock!
...And the pick is in, because it’s a no-brainer.
- New Jersey Devils - Nolan Patrick (C) Easy pick. The Devils are in desperate need of skill, especially at center. Nolan Patrick is the bonafide top-pick in this draft.
- Philadelphia Flyers - Nico Hischier (C) Another bonafide top-pick. Hischier is an offensive talent, so this pick is a no-brainer for a team in need of center depth, or a possible top-six center of the future.
- Dallas Stars - Gabriel Vilardi (C) I am aware that the Stars are in need of help at defense, but they are very much in need of that right now — I don’t foresee any of the defensemen in this Draft ready to make that jump immediately. So because of that, I’ll predict they go with the big-bodied centerman seething with offensive skill.
- Colorado Avalanche - Miro Heiskanen (D) This team is a mess, and with so much talent up front, I imagine they’re going to make a push for defense in the Draft -- even by trading for one. Heiskanen is an all-around defenseman who could reach the NHL by next year if they develop him correctly.
- Vancouver Canucks - Owen Tippett (RW) Who knows what Jim Benning actually ends up doing, but adding a massive power-winger with offensive upside sounds an awfully like a move he’d make.
- Vegas Golden Knights - Casey Mittelstadt (C) Going with BPA here because we don’t know what the Golden Knights will look like going into the Draft. We know they’ve locked up a skill center in Vadim Shipachyov, so Mittelstadt will be yet another skill center they can develop for the future.
- Arizona Coyotes - Timothy Liljegren (D) Hard to see which way the Coyotes go, but with one of the strongest prospect pools in the league, they’ll likely reach for BPA. They have two top prospects in Anthony DeAngelo, and Jakob Chychrun, so adding a guy like Liljegren could put their blueline’s future over the top. They’re going to be one hell of a team if they manage to piece it all together.
- Buffalo Sabres - Cale Makar (D) Easy pick, in my opinion. I think Buffalo desperately needs to stock up defensive help. Makar is small, but his offensive numbers resonate across the chart for scouts, coaches, fans, etc. He won’t be in the NHL next season, but he could pan out to be a serious pain in the ass to play against in the future.
- Detroit Red Wings - Cody Glass (C) It’s difficult, because I really don’t think Liljegren or Makar fall to 9th, and because of that I decided to go for a center. Cody Glass is a dynamic two-way talent with an unconventional style of skating. He’s got just about everything you want — speed, reasonable size, skill, senses, and yes, the kid even has some sandpaper to his game. I think after another season in the juniors, Glass will be ready for the pros. But my reasoning here is that the Wings are in desperate need for star power. I think Glass has a real good shot at that. He’s one of this year’s more underrated prospects. Other names I like for the Red Wings if available on Draft day: Martin Necas, Cale Makar, Timothy Liljegren, Eeli Tolvanen
- Florida Panthers - Martin Necas (C) I think the Panthers would be smart to add an electric offensive center like Necas. If he pans out and finds a stride to his potential, the Panthers will then have the one-two punch of Aleksander Barkov and Martin Necas in their top-six.
- Los Angeles Kings - Michael Rasmussen (C) The Kings need help all over the damn place. I expect them to address taking a centerman with a large frame, and a blend of skill and nastiness. Rasmussen is a strong player with the size that EVERYONE IN HOCKEY fawns over. He’s an ideal player to plant in front of the net.
- Carolina Hurricanes - Nick Suzuki (C) A strong, young team gets stronger with a guy like Suzuki. After a dominant season in the OHL, he’s soared in Draft rankings. The Hurricanes have a solid set of defensemen with more on the way. Now that they have an actual starting goaltender, I’m willing to bet they’ll pick for skill.
- Winnipeg Jets - Nicolas Hague (D) My reasoning here is that the Jets brass loves big, powerful defensemen. Hague is massive and has a howitzer of a shot. Draws comparison to Dustin Byufglien in that regard. They’re strong upfront, so I think they’re going to commit to building up defense.
- Tampa Bay Lightning - Elias Pettersson (C) The Bolts have a lot of work to do with Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, and Jonathan Drouin entering contract years. Elias Pettersson is a tall, lanky center with exceptional skill and instinct. As we pointed out in our previous profile of him, access to NHL training and nutrition could put it all together for him.
- New York Islanders - Juuso Valimaki (D) The Islanders are yet another team that has a lot of work to do still. Who knows what happens with John Tavares, and losing Frans Nielsen has obviously made an impact — so they could go with a center, but I’m going to go with defense. Mathew Barzal will likely break into the NHL soon, so why not take a shot on a solid rearguard in Valimaki? It’s a safe pick for a team who can’t afford to go bold.
I’ll probably do another mock draft after the playoffs wrap up. By then, we’ll have a better handle at who’s hot and who’s not in terms of draft prospects.
If you’d like to get in on the fun, I invite everyone to whip up their own mock draft in the FanPost section. I’d love to read your picks!
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