Fringe First Rounders in the 2017 NHL Draft

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KELOWNA, CANADA - MARCH 1: Nikita Popugaev #29 of the Prince George Cougars skates against the Kelowna Rockets on March 1, 2017 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

There has been a vast discussion on prospects that will be selected at the top of the 2017 NHL Draft. In this post, however, we will be taking a look at certain prospects that could be potentially taken in the late first or early second roundBe sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here.

With a debate taking place at the top of the NHL Draft between Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick, we’ll take a break from that argument in order assess which prospects could possibly sneak into the first round in June, or fall into the second round.

Timothy Liljegren 

The biggest name hockey fans could see slip all the way down to the second round is Swedish defenseman, Timothy Liljegren. While this is clearly a long shot, there has been recent scenarios where a defenseman regarded as a top talent dropping quite a few spots.

Last year Jakob Chychrun fell to the middle of the first round and could have gone later had the Arizona Coyotes not traded with the Detroit Red Wings. In 2014, another Swede Oliver Kylington was rated as a first round prospect in NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings. Kylington was later selected at 60th overall.

Liljegren’s criticism and potential collapse are closer to Chychrun’s, but it is still something to keep an eye on come June. Crazy things are known to happen at the draft.

Shane Bowers

The former 4th overall QMJHL selection and Boston University commit has shown flashes of greatness during international play and took it to another level with the Waterloo Black Hawks.

His offensive talent makes him interesting enough, but his power and two-way development are what could push him into the first round. Bowers can only become a better player as his shot becomes a lethal force due to his ever growing strength. He could be a potential target teams trade up for in the 2017 NHL Draft.

Nikita Popugaev 

Nikita Popugaev had a fantastic start to the year and then slowed down a bit after a trade to the Prince George Cougars. During that span of stellar point production, he exemplified a premium big-bodied goal scorer.

He is a crafty winger with some creative moves in the offensive zone but does not offer much more than that. The lack of completeness in his game is what hurts Popugaev’s chances to get into the first round, but from what is there a strong offensive threat could be intriguing to some teams in this weak draft.

Sasha Chmelevski 

Sasha has had great success the past two seasons. As an OHL rookie with the Sarnia Sting, Alexander Chmelevski burst onto the scene at the U17 Challenge and continued his incredibly intelligent and shifty style of hockey with the Ottawa 67’s.

A great skater with great hands, Chmelevski is a treat to watch with the puck. His frame does not shy him away from battling on the boards or making his presence known on the forecheck.

There is work to be done, as there is with the majority of the stock coming in, but there is still a strong enough base there to consider for the first round.

Michael DiPietro/Jake Oettinger

While I would not the biggest fan of drafting a goalie in the first round, the best options in this year’s NHL Draft are either Michael DiPietro and Jake Oettinger. The former from the Windsor Spitfires and the latter from Boston University. These two goalies have shown that they are the most mobile and cover the most net out of the goalie crop in June’s draft.

Jake Oettinger is the bigger body of the pair, but DiPietro can cover the crease just the same. Both move up and down well and can seal the bottom of the net shut.

MacKenzie Entwistle

MacKenzie Entwistle is another prospect that was a part of Team Canada’s U18 World Championship team. With them he really shined, scoring four goals and three assists in five games.

With the Hamilton Bulldogs, Entwistle had an okay season that could have gone a lot better . He is a gritty forward, but he can still produce and fuel offense with his effort on the forecheck. He lacks flashy offensive tools but can hold his own.

 

There are many other prospects that could find their way to the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Odd things tend to happen on the draft floor. These prospects, along with others such as Pierre-Oliver Joseph, David Farrance, and Ostap Safin, are ones to keep an eye on once the first round comes to a close this June in Chicago.

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