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2017 NHL Draft My Top 45 Rankings Version 2.0

  1. Nolan Patrick – 6-2, 199 – C – He plays a heavy game and gets better as the game goes on. Good on draws. Good stick on defense. Works hard in the corners. Excellent passer. Smooth skater gets in on the net quickly.
  2. Nico Hischier – 6-1.5, 178 – C – He has a fast stick. He can score down low with a good backhand. Great one-timer. Very good speed. Plays big. Plays solid defense. He can deke around multiple players to get to the net by himself for a scoring chance.
  3. Casey Mittelstadt – 5-11.5, 199 –C –  U of Minnesota commit. Has some jets and great stick moves. Can score tough goals in the crease too. Has scored some highlight reel goals in the USHL.
  4. Timothy Liljegren – 5-11.5, 188 – D – Good speed. Gets to loose pucks quickly. Can make the cross-ice pass. Plays point on the power play like a boss.
  5. Klim Kostin – 6-2.5, 207 – RW – He gets there with good speed. Can sometimes make one too many moves in traffic. Can make a nice pass in traffic. Defensive awareness is there.
  6. Eeli Tolvanen  – 5-11, 189 – LW – Big-time scoring potential.Fast and great poise, again, like the u18 in the 2017 WJC. Shifty skater. Pro slapper and wrist shot. Fills the lane well.
  7. Gabriel Vilardi – 6-3, 201 – C – Has breakaway ability. Good passer. Can score in the high slot. Great hands.
  8. Elias Pettersson – 6-2, 164 – C/W – Draws penalties when he turns the corner on a defender. Will get stronger down the road. Great speed and wrist shot off the wing. Plays better on a larger ice surface right now.
  9. Juuso Valimaki – 6-1.5, 211 – D – He’s a good skater with very good positioning. Stays back on defense first. Effortless passer. A mature kid. Great hockey I.Q. Has game speed. Safe clears.
  10. Miro Heiskanen– 6-2, 172 – D –  Paired well with Olli Juolevi. Played safety valve at times in Elimination game. Breaks up scoring chances with good stick work. Good one-timer. Can play the point. Does a nice shot-pass.
  11. Owen Tippett – 6-0.5, 203 – RW – Has a terrific shot. He’s good at getting deflections. Smooth skater. Capable of going around players. Can snipe the small holes left by the goalie. Tough kid who can take a hit.
  12. Cody Glass – 6-2, 178 – C – A big point producer. Sharp passer. Wins puck battles. Sneaks behind the defense or blasts by them at speed. Gets open down low where he’s deadly.
  13. Cale Makar – 5-11, 187 – D – Had a five-point game this year. Puts shots right on net. Excellent passer. Leads the rush well after playing strong defense. Wrist shot has some juice and he can put it top shelf even in coverage. UMass Amherst commit.
  14. Ryan Poehling – 6-2, 177 – C – Good hustle. Gets after it in the offensive zone. Good hockey I.Q.
  15. Urho Vaakainainen – 6-2, 188 – D – Brings puck up the ice with his head up. Slick and accurate passer. Has an extra gear when going up ice. Can make fast, sharp turns to lose opposition to help make a pass up ice.
  16. Martin Necas – 6-1, 178 – C – Have only seen him on video so far. Fast, in on the action. Not afraid to play down low. Skilled passer. He has great closing speed to get to the net.
  17. Isaac Ratcliffe – 6-6, 200 – LW – He’s scoring buckets of goals. A beast in the crease. You have to chip the puck away from him or else. You will lose the physical battle. Has some good dekes for a big man. Hard wrist shot. Gets to loose pucks quickly.
  18. Kristian Vesalainen – 6-5, 209 – Wing – He got a nice goal, clutch to break a third period tie in the 2017 WJC. Part of the gold medal team in last year’s U18s.
  19. Kailer Yamamoto – 5-7.5, 146 – RW – He’s highly skilled. Good stick on defense. Can turn a steal into a scoring chance with his speed and shooting ability. Plays center too. Lays the body on the opposition. Makes great passes. Leads the rush like a pro.
  20. Lias Andersson – 5-11, 201 – C – Had two goals in the 2017 WJC. He has a shiftiness in his skating combined with great stick and puck skills makes him dangerous. Dangerous on the PK and the PP. Scores goals down low because of his good hands.
  21. Cal Foote – 6-4, 215- D – Love his long reach. Keeps pucks alive in offensive zone and turns them into points. Good skater. Has an edge. Active stick. Great first pass. Tied up Hischier in the Top Prospect Game. Covers for his partner well.
  22. Michael Rasmussen – 6-5.5, 221 – C – Dangerous goal scorer. Deadly in the paint. A weapon on the power play. Can get rebounds and deposit them quickly in the back of the net. Quick trigger on his one-timer. Good hands in the crease.
  23. Nicolas Hague – 6-5.5, 207 – D – Has a lot of power on his point shot. Long reach. Knows when to pinch in. Heavy wrist shot too.
  24. Jason Robertson – 6-2 – 196- LW – Can score nice goals in the tough area down low. He can muscle it in. Very fast release. Doesn’t need a lot of room to get a nice shot on goal.
  25. Nick Suzuki – 5-11 – 183 – C – Good speed. Looks like a goal scorer. Good hands. Two-way guy. plays the PK. Has a knack for getting short-handed goals.
  26. Robert Thomas – 5-11.5, 193 – C – Has excellent speed and good shiftiness and stick moves to get up the ice by himself. Can be a weapon short-handed or at 5-on-5. Good on the give-n-go. Strong along the wall. Good in the face-off circle.
  27. Shane Bowers – 6-1.5, 178 – C – Good foot speed. Works well in traffic. Will wait for goalies to commit during scoring chances. Complete player. Reads plays for offense.
  28. Matthew Strome – 6-3.5, 207 – LW – Very accurate one-timer. He can score in traffic. Excellent stick and puck control. Not the best skater, trails the play well and always has his stick down ready to shoot. Accurate passer.
  29. Jake Oettinger – 6-4, 204 – G – Smooth lateral movements. Eats rebounds. Takes good angles. Has to work on closing the 5-hole better. Good on breakaways, doesn’t panic. Nice easy movements on low shots. Directs rebounds to his players well. Sees in traffic. Decent play in the Beanpot.
  30. Noel Hoefenmayer – 6-0, 190 – D – He’s an offensive defenseman who does some backchecking as well. He knows when to pinch and he’s come on like gangbusters late in the season for the Ottawa 67’s.
  31. Kole Lind – 6-1, 185 – RW – Can make the accurate pass and scores on a wicked back hand at times. Does everything with a fast release. Doesn’t waste time.
  32. Alexey Lipanov – 6-0, 169 –C – Fast down the ice. Will block shots. Makes smart plays on defense. Amazing hard angle goal vs. Canada West. Very fast. Elusive to checkers.
  33. Ivan Lodnia – 5-10.5 – 176 – RW – Nice fake of a pass in offensive zone and then ripped a nice wrist shot in the net in International play. Excellent stick handler. Showed speed on the wing. Good passer. Plays well in the defensive zone. Holds the puck well.
  34. Evan Barratt – 5-11, 182 – C – NTDP- PA kid, fast, has a good work ethic. Good attitude on and off the ice. Penn State commit. Almost a point-per-game center. Solid skills.  Good around the net. Excellent passer. Super competitive. Solid pass when Hischier lost his stick and setup an important goal. Best U.S. face-off artist. Beat Hischier on some draws.
  35. Max Gildon – 6-3, 192 – D – NTDP – Wisconsin commit. Born in Plano, Texas. Picked for the All-American Prospects Game. Smooth skating defenseman. Can skate out of trouble. Good first pass. 1,2 or 3. Athletic frame to build on. Great one-timer on the power play. Great strong shot. Good breakout efficiency. Plays PK.
  36. Keith Petruzzelli – 6-5 – 174 – G – Good positioning. Big body hard to go even high on him. Must get him moving. Bad stick clear on eventual goal in AAP game. Good post to post. Good positioning.
  37. Stuart Skinner – 6-4, 207 – G –  Fast up and down. Good in the splits. Aggressive on odd-man rushes. Made saves look easy. Made a nice save while moving. Closed up five hole well. Reads the play well. Doesn’t overreact.
  38. Michael Pastujov – 6-0, 199 – C – NTDP – Florida born, 3 liner with the NTDP at times. He fights for the puck. He’s fast. Passes well. Gains offensive zone quickly. Draws defenders to him. Gets into the o-zone well, draws defenders, and can make a nice pass to setup teammates. Tenacious on defense. Smart. Nice U18 goal in the crease. Could win a few more puck battles.
  39. Luke Martin – RD – 6-2.5, 221 – D- NTDP – University of Michigan. Big, strong defenseman. Tough, will drop the gloves. One of the best shot blockers in the country. Knows when to jump into the play. Skates well. Passes well. Will produce some points. Good gap control. Played physical on defense.
  40. Grant Mismash – 6-0, 181 – C – North Dakota commit – 16 PIMS in Hlinka. Offensive player. Solid on the power play. Can be a scorer or playmaker. Excelled at Shattuck. Physical player as well. Never gives up on defense. Followed up a shot and got a nice crease goal in AAPG.
  41. Erik Brannstrom – 5-9, 179 – D – Fast up the ice. Quick wrist shot. Took a lot of shots. Long wrist shot goal against Russia was sweet. Fast release. Found an open spot on the ice. Pro one-timer. Not afraid of contact.
  42. Joni Ikonen 5-11 – 177 – C – Good playmaker who can make that nice pass to setup a teammate in the slot. Plays well with high-end talent.
  43. Sasha Chmelevski – 5-11 – 188 – C – NTDP – Sweet skating style needs more power in his stride Two-way. Nice backhand shot on net. Quick zone entry. Reads the play well. Scored down low on Miller. Smart player. Great goal in a small scoring area. Controls the puck well in the corner.
  44. Henri Jokiharju – 6-1, 188 – D – Excellent hand-eye coordination. Streaky. Shifty with the puck. Fast accurate point shot that gets through to the net. Excellent puck retrieval. Can really fire off an accurate pass with speed.
  45. Dayton Rasmussen – 6-0, 198 – G – Very fit, very strong athlete. Was recovering from a concussion at the combine so he was restricted from using the bike. He still shined. Great glove hand. Really battles. Good side to side speed.

Nico Hischier before the NHL Combine. Photo by Sportsology.

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