2017 NHL Mock Draft Final Mock: 7 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 16-31
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 23, 2017 with weekly updates every Friday leading up to draft day.
Calgary Flames: Erik Brannstrom, D, HV71 (Elitserien)
- Unlike Timothy Liljegren, Erik Brannstrom made Sweden's team in the 2017 World Junior Championships. Luckily for the Calgary Flames they have their pick of the litter between the two Swedish defenders at 16.
- Liljegren had 1 goal, 4 assists, and 5 points on Rogle B.K.'s Elitserien team in the SHL in 16 games in 2016-2017. Brannstrom had 1 goal, 5 assists, and 6 points on HV71. I think Brannstrom has the edge between those two defenders offensively and defensively. Calgary already has a strong pool of defensive prospects, but getting Brannstrom allows the Flames blue line to reload at will.
Previous Pick: Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Toronto Maple Leafs: Callan Foote, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- Toronto takes a defenseman here. The 6-3 219 lb Callan Foote is the top defenseman available.
- 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.
Previous Pick: Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
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: Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
- San Jose takes a defenseman here. The Sharks traded Marco Mueller to the Devils and lost David Schmelko to the Vegas Golden Knights. San Jose has three good defenseman short-term, but they need 3 other players. Valimaki is the top defender here and Tri-City Americans GM Bob Tory came on our podcast and raved about Valimaki's hockey IQ and decision making.
- The 6-2 201 lb Juuso Valimaki had 19 goals, 42 assists, and 61 points this season. This crafty offensive defenseman has great size and once he improves defensively, he could have a sound career in the NHL. Valimaki is a top 15 talent and a steal at 19 value wise.
Previous Pick: Ryan Poehling, LW, St. Cloud State
St. Louis Blues: 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 at 20, plus he fits with what the Blues want to do here.
Previous Pick: Lias Andersson, C, HV71 (Elitserien)
New York Rangers: Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle B.K. (Elitserien)
- The New York Rangers need defense. Timothy Liljegren is much worse than Jacob Chychurn was. Chychurn fell from 2 to 16 so here Liljeren falls to the New York Rangers at 21.
- First Liljegren is the only player left who has a realistic shot of going straight to the NHL even though he's not ready in my mind. Luckily for New York, Liljegren is the best player on the board at 21 plus he has a contract with Rogle B.K. that runs out after the 2017-2018 season so the Panthers can develop him for a year and then bring him up to the NHL in 2018.
- Liljegren had 1 goal, 4 assists, and 5 points on Rogle B.K.'s Elitserien team in the SHL in 16 games in 2016-2017. He entered the season as the challenger to Nolan Patrick to be the top pick in the 2017 NHL Draft before being surpassed by numerous prospects.
- Lots of people hyped up Liljegren to be the player who challenged Nolan Patrick to be the top prospect. I felt like Liljegren would bust when I first saw his tape back in August, but I feel a lot more confident in that statement now because Liljegren may fall out of the top 20 and if he does the Rangers can pick him up to add some more depth on the blue line because Liljegren may no have a high ceiling, but he's someone that can help Lundqvist win a Cup now.
Edmonton Oilers: Robert Thomas, C, London Knights (OHL)
- Edmonton can take the best player available. The 6-0 187 lb Robert Thomas had Thomas had 66 points in 66 games averaging 1 point per game making a significant contribution on the London Knights. Thomas also had 3 goals, 9 assists, and 12 points during the 2017 OHL Playoffs. Five scouting services have a first round grade on Robert Thomas now and with Edmonton looking at him he's someone they can develop since he's very good as a defender as well.
Arizona Coyotes: Ryan Poehling, LW, St. Cloud State
- The 6-3 185 lb Ryan Poehling has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing. Arizona takes Poehling at 23 since he's the top player on the board here as far as value goes.
Previous Pick: Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
Winnipeg Jets: 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, but he talked about the importance of Academics and seemed like he grew up since his last suspension. Winnipeg takes Hague here and pairs him with Logan Stanley giving Winnipeg two defenders that are 6-6 or bigger.
Previous Pick: Kristian Vesalainen, RW, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien)
Montreal Canadiens: Kole Lind, RW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- Montreal can take the best player available. Kole Lind is a top 25 talent and the clear cut best player available here.
- 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.
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: Daniel Bukac, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
- The 6-5 187 lb Daniel Bukac only has one year of experience, but the St. Louis Blues are the perfect team to draft him. He has incredible two-way ability. He just needs to gain more experience and bulk up. Bukac had 2 goals, 15 assists, and 17 points in 72 games plus the Brandon Wheat Kings have a track record for producing first round defensemen.
Previous Pick: Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
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: Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
- The Dallas Stars 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. Dallas took Miro Heiskanen at 3 so they can get a winger here at 29 wih Kailer Yamamoto here.
Previous Pick: Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
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 the 6-1 187 lb Urho Vaakanainen may be a fit for Pittsburgh here at 31.
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