With Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, NHL Central Scouting has released their final draft rankings, meaning the 2017 NHL Draft is inching closer by the day.
The NHL Central Scouting Service has released their final rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft in June. The prospects ranked are broken down into four categories: North American skaters, European skaters, North American goalies, and European goalies.
Compared to their midterm rankings, there are not many surprises in terms of risers and fallers. The number one ranked prospect in each category remains the same in three out of four rankings. Here is a look at the four categories.
North American Skaters
Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are still the top two ranked North American skaters according to Central Scouting. With Patrick dealing with an injury, Nico Hischier has taken some of the spotlight away from Patrick. Hischier has been able to make some impressive plays this season. His speed and passing skills have led some to believe that he will go first overall.
Jason Robertson has turned heads with his play in the OHL. The Kingston Frontenac carries a quick releasing shot and is strong on the puck. He has put up some really impressive numbers, scoring 42 goals and 39 assists in 68 games. His scoring ability should allow him to be taken earlier than expected in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Matthew Strome is already 6’3″ and 200 lbs but he has room to grow. His size and strength make him an intriguing selection as a power forward, but there is work to be done with his skating. Strome took a hit dropping him from 19th to 33rd in the final rankings.
The top three skaters remain the same as the midterm rankings for European forwards and defensemen with Klim Kostin, Elias Petterson, and Lias Anderson filling out the first three spots. Klim Kostin stays at the top after a standout showing during the 2016 U18 World Juniors and U17 Challenge. He is a big-bodied winger that has the hands and quickness to get around any defender.
Alexandre Texier shot up the Euro rankings coming from 39th, all the way to 16th. Playing in France with Grenoble, Texier has had a great season for a 16-year-old playing in France with grown men. He has great vision and playmaking ability while able to hold his own in the defensive zone.
Ostap Safin went from 9th to 14th among European Skaters, but in his scenario, Safin did not necessarily fall, but he was surpassed by better skaters. Safin is a powerful centerman with a dangerous shot. Could add depth to any team’s center position.
North American Goalies
The North American goaltender ranking has changed the most out of the rest of the Central Scouting rankings. Jake Oettinger is the new number one after he had a tremendous season with Boston University. He surpassed Keith Petruzzelli and Ian Scott. Oettinger moves very well for his large stature.
Dylan Ferguson was able to work with Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Connor Ingram in Kamloops and it helped him climb from 17th to 8th. Ingram and Ferguson ranked 2nd and 3rd in save percentage in the WHL, respectively.
Cayden Primeau did not fall far, but he did drop from 4th to 7th among North American goalies. Primeau moves really well in the crease and covers a lot of net with quick reflexes. His spot in the final rankings may seem arguable, as he was just named to Team USA for the U18 Worlds.
Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Olle Eriksson Ek stay in the top two spots for European goalies. Both take up space in the crease and show great progression in covering the top and bottom of the net
Adam Ahman was not ranked in Central Scouting’s midterm rankings, but now he has slotted in at number three. He posted a 2.30 GAA and .927 sv% in 34 games with HV71’s junior squad.
Previously ranked third was Daniil Tarasov. Tarasov is now ranked 10th after not playing during the 2016-2017 season. He previously had a stint with Tolpar Ufa of the MHL. There is finished 9 starts with 2.55 GAA and a .918 sv%. Tarasov was also seen with Russia at the 2016 U18 World Juniors. He played in 5 games with a 2.11 GAA and .921 sv%.
Things could still change until then, and team personnel could have their own opinion on draft prospects, but one thing if for sure, The 2017 NHL Draft is right around the corner now that Central Scouting has released their final rankings.
KELOWNA, CANADA – OCTOBER 25: Nolan Patrick #19 of Brandon Wheat Kings skates against the Kelowna Rockets on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)