2017 NHL Mock Draft: 3 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 16-31
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: May 12, 2017 with weekly updates every Friday leading up to draft day.
Calgary Flames: Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
- The Flames get the 5-11 183 lb Nick Suzuki. Suzuki had 45 goals, 51 assists, and 96 points in 65 games this season. Suzuki had 8 goals, 15 assists, and 23 points in 17 OHL Playoff games during the 2017 OHL Playoffs. Suzuki's defense has improved despite being undersized. Suzuki is an excellent skater with the offensive awareness and vision that you look for.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Callan Foote, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- The 6-3 209 lb Callan Foote or the 6-6 212 lb Nicolas Hague will be the options for Toronto at 17 with them needing defense. The son of Adam Foote had 6 goals, 51 assists, and 57 points in 2017. Foote has the offensive and defensive awareness to play in the NHL and dominated the 2017 CHL Prospects Game.
- Hague may be the only unanimous top 15 pick left, but I think Toronto will shy away from Hague since he has character concerns plus he got suspended from the 2017 OHL Playoffs. Mike Babcock head coach of the Maple Leafs is huge on character and I cannot see Toronto taking a defender with character concerns so they play it safe and get Adam Foote's son with this pick.
Boston Bruins: Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
- Jason Robertson is a 6-2 194 lb left winger who had 42 goals, 39 assists, and 81 points this season. Robertson is raw, but has the vision to be a playmaker and sniper in the NHL. Robertson has fallen out of the first round on a lot of NHL Draft Boards. One thing about Boston is they love OHL guys and they are not afraid to reach for someone.
- General Manager Don Sweeney has reached for prospects in the NHL Draft since taking over as Bruins GM starting in the 2015 NHL Draft when he had three first round picks at 13, 14, and 15. The other thing to consider here is their new head coach Bruce Cassidy has ties to the Kingston Frontenacs so the Bruins will have a better idea of what they are getting with Robertson then arguably any other team in the entire NHL.
San Jose Sharks: Ryan Poehling, LW, St. Cloud State
- The 6-3 185 lb Ryan Poehling has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing. I think San Jose could strongly consider taking the consensus top 20 prospect here and developing him as a left winger that could eventually find a role on San Jose's back 6 on either the Sharks or Barracuda at some point down the road.
St. Louis Blues: Lias Andersson, C, HV71 (Elitserien)
- Like the Red Wings, the Blues are one of these teams that goes after bigger players. The 5-11 198 lb Lias Anderson has done well at center with HV71. Andersson is the top skater available at this point with most scouts having a consensus top 20 grade on him.
New York Rangers: Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
- Nicolas Hague is a 6-6 212 lb defender with two-way ability. He got suspended for the 2017 OHL Playoffs and has character concerns which is why he fell to this pick. The Rangers feel like a team that will look past his character. I get this vibe that Toronto, San Jose, and St. Louis all put a higher emphasis on character than the Rangers which is why Hague falls to the Rangers here.
Edmonton Oilers: Kole Lind, RW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- Edmonton can take the best player available. The top two players are wingers in Kole Lind and Kailer Yamamoto. I would take Yamamoto here, but I feel like Edmonton would go for Lind since he has the ideal size the Oilers look for philosophically plus Edmotnon doesn't have any immediate need and can take the best player on their board.
- The 6-1 176 lb Kole Lind is a goal scoring right winger with 30 goals, 57 assists, and 87 points during the regular season this year. Lind had 6 goals, 6 assists, and 12 points in the 2017 WHL Playoffs. Lind may have the best shooting power and shooting accuracy of any right winger in the 2017 NHL Draft. He's a sound passer, but needs to improve defensively.
Arizona Coyotes: Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
- The Arizona Coyotes draft the top player available at this pick. Kailer Yamamoto has Conor Sheary's size and Nail Yakupov's speed. Yamamoto is easily the fastest prospect on tape I've seen since Yakupov in terms of his overall speed and its not even close. Kailer Yamamoto has lined up at left wing, center, and right wing on Spokane's top line in 2016-2017 and even Yakupov wasn't considered that versatile.
- Kailer Yamamoto would be a top 10 potentially a top 5 pick if he wasn't 5-8 159 lbs. His lack of size puts him in jeopardy of being a first round pick, but I honestly believe he's a top 10 talent when you watch his tape.
- Yamamoto had 19 goals, 52 assists, and 71 points in 57 games in 2015-2016. Yamamoto had 42 goals, 57 assists, and 99 points in 43 games this season.
- Kailer Yamamoto had 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, and a +/- ratio of 0 in the 2017 CHL Prospects game. The only thing Yamamoto really struggled with was winning face offs with his size at 5-8 159 lbs. Yamamoto is a future top 6 winger if you can develop him in the WHL and make sure he adds more muscle and plays a little more aggressive in terms of reacting and executing on face offs. Even with his lack of size, Yamamoto is fly as a mother when it comes to playing wing on either side in the NHL.
- Most scouts won't look past his size. I will because I think he's physically and mentally tough enough to play at the NHL level despite being extremely undersized. Teams like the Arizona Coyotes who pick at 7 and 23, the Tampa Bay Lightning at 14, the Chicago Blackhawks who pick at 26, and the Dallas Stars who could take Yamamoto with the first round pick from Anaheim are all candidates to draft Yamamoto in the first round based on historical data with teams taking undersized skaters.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Kristian Vesalainen, RW, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien)
- The 6-3 207 lb Kristian Vesalainen is versatile to play both left wing and right wing with his versatility. Vesalainen is a fantastic value pick here.
Montreal Canadiens: Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
- Maxime Comtois underperformed after entering the year a top 15 pick. Comtois falls to this pick because most have a top 30 grade on him, but at this point he's the only consensus first round pick remaining.
Chicago Blackhawks: Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)
- Chicago adds a future center to develop. Shane Bowers can go to Boston University for a year before signing his NHL contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Bowers entered the season as the third best USHL prospect.
St. Louis Blues: Matthew Strome, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL)
- The Blues get Matthew Strome the brother of Ryan and Dylan Strome here. Strome is more of a left winger than a center plus he has trouble skating which is why he falls through the 21-31 range at the end of the first round. He has the size the Blues look for at 6-3 201 lbs which is why I see Strome as a potential fit for the Blues here.
Ottawa Senators: Jonah Gadjovich, LW, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
- The 6-2 201 lb Jonah Gadjovich is a natural goal scorer. Gadjovich had 46 goals, 28 assists, 74 points, and a +35 +/- ratio. He could go anywhere from the first to third round, but he looks like he's a better sniper at times than Nick Suzuki who is a playmaker which is why Ottawa may consider Gadjovich here.
Dallas Stars: Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
- The 6-0 170 lb defenseman was a line 1 defenseman with Patrick Laine last year on Tappara in the SM Liiga league in Finland. He's a great two way defender and he is from Finland like Klingberg. Jokiharju is a guy who can pass the puck well, shoot it, or cause a take away with a turnover. Dallas needs a defenseman at 29 with the Ducks pick, and this is honestly the top player on the board.
Nashville Predators: Marcus Davidsson, C, Djurgardens I.F. (Elitserien)
- Marcus Davidsson is versatile enough to play center, left wing, or right wing. Davidsson seems like a player that Nashville would stash and develop.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (SM Liiga)
- Pittsburgh could get one of the two first round goalies here. They drafted a goalie in the second round last year that I had a first round grade on at 60 so here at 31 assuming the Penguins repeat they go after a defenseman who can develop and eventually help the Penguins block more shots down the road. I feel like Urho Vaakanainen may be a fit for Pittsburgh here at 31.
Other 2017 NHL Mock Drafts