Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 23, 2017.
Calgary Flames: Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL) A+ Grade
- Calgary takes a defenseman here. 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 16 value wise.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle B.K. (Elitserien) A- Grade
- The Toronto Maple Leafs need defense. Timothy Liljegren is much worse than Jacob Chychurn was. Chychurn fell from 2 to 16 so here Liljeren falls to the Toronto Maple Leafs at 17.
- 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 Toronto Maple Leafs 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 came off a bad year, but this isn't a bad pick because he's the top defenseman on the board.
Boston Bruins: Urho Vaakanainen, D, JYP (SM Liiga) C Grade
- I like this pick. At the same time its a huge reach so I give it a C grade here.
San Jose Sharks: Joshua Norris, C, USNTDP (USHL) F Grade
- Joshua Norris had 26 points on the USNTDP team in the USHL. Norris has NHL potential, but also will be at Michigan for two years while he develops. I had a second round grade on Norris which is why this pick gets an F grade.
St. Louis Blues: Robert Thomas, C, London Knights (OHL) B Grade
- 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 St. Louis taking him he's someone they can develop since he's very good as a defender as well.
New York Rangers: Filip Chytil, C, HC Plzen (Extraliga) F Grade
- I'm not even sure if Filip Chytil is the best player on his team. This is a horrible selection by the Rangers.
Edmonton Oilers: Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane Chiefs (WHL) A+ Grade
- The Edmonton Oilers 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 5-7 147 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 5-7 147 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. Edmonton is gonna be scary when they pair this kid with Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, or Leon Drasaitl.
Arizona Coyotes: Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) B Grade
- This is a good pick. Pierre-Olivier Joseph was garnering laste first round consideration.
Winnipeg Jets: Kristian Vesalainen, RW, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien) A Grade
- 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 24, plus he fits with what the Jets want to do here.
Montreal Canadiens: Ryan Poehling, LW, St. Cloud State B Grade
- The 6-3 185 lb Ryan Poehling has the versatility to play left wing, center, or right wing. I like him, but Klim Kostin and Eeli Tolvanen were way better value picks.
Dallas Stars: Jake Oettinger, G, Boston University A+ Grade
- The 6-4 218 lb Jake Oettinger has a 2.11 Goals Against Average and a .927 save percentage in 35 starts with Boston University. Some teams have a first round grade on him. Ben Bishop the goalie they traded for turns 31 in November and Oettinger is 18. This is a goalie that had first round tape and was by far and away the top goalie in the NHL Draft. You cannot blame Dallas for taking Oettinger here. With Dallas getting the top defender and top goalie in the 2017 NHL Draft, they may have a really bright future in 3-5 years if we can keep Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in Dallas for 3-5 years along with Ken Hitchcock.
Philadelphia Flyers: Morgan Frost, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) C Grade
- The 5-11 170 lb Morgan Frost had 20 goals, 42 assists, and 62 points in 67 OHL games. I had a top 40 grade on Frost so he's a slight reach at 27. He's still a way better selection than Joshua Norris and he defends well as a cross checker and penalty killer despite his size.
- He can hit like Crosby despite his size so that's why this pick may pan out down the road, plus Philadelphia can keep him in the OHL for two years to develop and then bring him up to the third line once they trade Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier. The Flyers gave the Blues Brayden Schenn to get this pick too which is why the Flyers get a C grade here despite getting B grade value with Frost here.
Ottawa Senators: Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL) A- Grade
- Ottawa adds a future center to develop. Shane Bowers can go to Boston University for a year before signing his NHL contract with the Ottawa Senators. Bowers entered the season as the third best USHL prospect.
Chicago Blackhawks: Henri Jokiharju, D, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) A- Grade
- 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. Chicago may have a use for Jokiharju in the NHL down the road.
Nashville Predators: Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) A+ Grade
- Tolvanen entered the preseason as my top USHL prospect so getting him here at 30 is Highway robbery. Excellent pick by Nashville to get Tolvanen who can be their James Neal type of player down the road.
St. Louis Blues: Klim Kostin, RW, UHC Dynamo Moscow (KHL) A+ Grade
- The 6-3 196 lb Klim Kostin is the top Russian prospect from the KHL. Some had Kostin as a top 10 prospect at the beginning of the year. The Penguins are morons for trading out of this spot and moving down 20 picks. However they won the last two Stanley Cups so you cannot really criticize them. You have to look at this from an objective lens and really credit the Blues here.