2017 NHL Draft notes and analysis
The 2017 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, and here are some of my notes and analysis on what happened.
• The Devils taking Nico Hischier over Nolan Patrick is not surprising, however I still maintain that Nolan Patrick would have been the better fit on New Jersey. That is not a knock to Hischier by any means, as he remains a dynamic forward that is on track to have a great career with the Devils.
• Certainly, neither Hischier nor Patrick are on the level of McDavid or Matthews. That does not mean that they are not immediately serviceable NHL guys, though. Hischier seems to be a lock to make the Devils, and with the Flyers trading Brayden Schenn (we’ll talk about that later), Patrick seems to be heading towards making Philly’s roster as well.
• The Canucks made a fantastic pick with Elias Pettersson at No. 5. He has a ton of skill and scoring ability, and, in my option, he is a better player with more upside than Cody Glass and Michael Rasmussen.
• The Canucks also had the best draft on the surface out of any of the 31 teams. After Pettersson, the highlights of their draft included Lind, DiPietro, and Gadjovich. After a few rough years, this was a diamond for Jim Benning’s résumé.
• The Rangers took a reach with both Lias Andersson (#7) and Filip Chytil (#21). They still have the ability to transform into NHL-caliber players, despite the fact that they were taken a bit ahead of where they were ranked. There were certainly (seemingly) better players on the board for Gorton, though.
• Vegas took Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki with their first two first round picks in the draft. Having center depth is so important in today’s age. I like the way Vegas built their team in this draft. McPhee did a great job in round one.
• The Flyers got an impressive haul in exchange for Brayden Schenn. Jori Lehtera is not an outstanding player, but the two first round picks are super nice. One is conditional, but regardless, not many players in the league will garner two firsts in a trade. Ron Hextall saw an opportunity and jumped on it.
• To end the first round, the Predators took Eeli Tolvanen at 30 and the Blues took Klim Kostin at 31. In some mock drafts, both guys were slated to go in the top ten. This draft had a lot of movement (player wise) in it, but those picks are heists for Poile and Armstrong. Both will be fantastic players.
• The Blues got that pick for the Penguins. They moved up 20 spots and got Oskar Sundqvist for sending Ryan Reaves to Pittsburgh. It is a weird trade for sure, but it will not be back breaking for the Penguins. Rutherford wanted protection for his stars.
• The Islanders traded Travis Hamonic and a fourth round pick to Calgary on day two for a first and two seconds. This is a nice return for Hamonic, however Garth Snow needs to flip those picks for immediate help. Matt Duchene seems out of the question, but Alex Galchenyuk could be a fit. He would have a chance to play second line center behind John Tavares.
• The rest of the draft was pretty ordinary. Players obviously have the capability to rise and fall greatly after the second round, so there were a bunch of off the board picks. Two I liked were Ian Scott in Toronto and Ukko-Pekka Lukkonen in Buffalo. Both are goalies with a ton of upside.
• The state of the trade market is up in the air following the draft. There are still a bunch of names, such as Duchene, Scandella, Methot, E. Kane, and Galchenyuk, that were rumored to be moved but were not. There is always more talk than action in today’s gridlocked NHL. Maybe something will break due to the weak free agency list this year.
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