Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be 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.
Now that the order of 29 of the first 31 picks have been determined, I will be releasing my 2017 NHL mock draft.
1) No trades except for those that have already been made by NHL teams.
2) A two-round Mock draft will be done in four parts. The first part comes out today. More parts will be added in time.
3) Clicking the Player’s name will bring you to a full scouting report.
4) For Picks 27-30, we will assume that the team with home ice advantage will win each of the three series. Mocks will be updated as each series end, if that changes the draft order.
So with that out of the way, I present the LWOS 2017 NHL Mock Draft.
2017 NHL Mock Draft Second Round
#32 Colorado Avalanche: Jason Robertson, Left Wing
Previous Pick: Miro Heiskanen
If rumours are to be believed, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic is taking his team on a massive rebuild. Every player with the exceptions of Nathan MacKinnon, Tyson Jost, and Mikko Rantanen could be acquired for the right price. This means the Avalanche’s areas of strength and areas of need could change extremely quickly. After getting a possible top defenceman in the first round, they look at best player available here. Robertson is a power forward who plays for the Kingston Frontenacs. He led his team in scoring by miles, and scored nearly one-third of the team’s game winning goals. His size and strength are real assets, while his skating, specifically his first step, may need a little bit of work.
#33 Vancouver Canucks: Filip Chytil, Centre/Left Wing
Previous Pick: Timothy Liljegren
The Canucks got a future power play quarterback with their first round pick. They address their second major need in round two. Vancouver is in desperate need for a centre with skill. In Chytil they get that skill. He has a heavy wrist shot. He gets that shot off-quickly as well as accurately, with a lightning quick release. Chytil can also play the role of play maker. He can create openings with his skating, and has the stick handling ability to control the play. He is also a very good passer.
#34 Vegas Golden Knights: Maxime Comtois, LW/RW/C
Previous Pick: Casey Mittlestadt
This will be a big week for the Golden Knights who make their picks in the expansion draft just days before the NHL Draft. Building via the draft will be a clear goal for George McPhee and staff. It seems clear that with the expansion draft rules the Knights should start out with some decent goaltending, and some good young defencemen. Skilled forwards will be at a premium though, especially younger ones. For the second straight pick the Golden Knights look at adding a talented forward. A sniper, Comtois has a very quick release that can handcuff opposing goaltenders. He also has the soft hands to beat a goalie in close to the net. Comtois can score goals with deflections, rebounds, and by quickly burying a pass in tight. He can also drive the net off the rush, or when working in the offensive zone.
#35 Arizona Coyotes: Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Defence
The Coyotes added a forward and a defenceman in the first round. They have an excellent stable of young forwards including Dylan Strome, Clayton Keller, Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, and more. Here they add a two-way defenceman in Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Joseph is a very good skater, and is mobile in both directions and covers a lot of ice. Joseph’s mobility makes him very difficult to beat one-on-one, and his active stick allows him to play a strong defensive game. He is also a smart player, who can quarterback the play from the point. He has very good vision, and the passing skills to be a play maker.
#36 New Jersey Devils: Kole Lind, Right Wing
Previous Pick: Nolan Patrick
The Devils got Patrick in the first round, a player whom they hope will eventually be their number one centre. In round two they take a winger that compliments his game. Lind is equally adept at both scoring goals and setting them up. He has an excellent wrist shot. He also has an outstanding slap shot and one-timer. Lind has a knack for finding the soft spot in the defensive coverage and ripping his shot by the goaltender. Solid stick handling and good puck protection skills allow Lind to extend plays and helps his teammates get open. When he gets an opening, Lind is able to feather a pass through a tight opening and land it on an linemates tape.
#37 Buffalo Sabres: Grant Mismash, Centre/Left Wing
Previous Pick: Cale Makar
The Sabres come to the draft with a new general manager in Jason Botterill, formerly an assistant in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have had great success in finding talented wingers on the second day of the draft. He knows he has talented centres in Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart to build around, and takes Mismash to eventually play on one of their wings. Mismash is a goal scorer. He has a tremendous wrist shot. If it isn’t already NHL caliber, it is awful close. The release is lightning quick. His shot is heavy, as he is able to transfer tremendous power and flex into his stick. It is also deadly accurate. Mishmash has the hockey IQ to settle into open spots on the ice when his teammates have the puck, getting ready to unleash his shot. He is also strong on the cycle.
#38 Detroit Red Wings: Robin Salo, Defence
Previous Pick: Elias Pettersson
The Red Wings are another team heading into a full scale rebuild. They grabbed forward help in the first round, and look to address the defence by taking Robin Salo. He makes smart plays with the puck on his stick. He starts the transition game with a strong first pass, and picks his spots on when to join the rush. Salo is poised with the puck at the blue line, reacting well to pressure, and setting up teammates from the point. Salo is extremely smart in his own zone. He has very good positioning, and maintains excellent gap control. He reads the play well, and seems to anticipate where the puck could be going a step ahead of others on the ice. Salo could use some work on his skating though.
#39 Dallas Stars: Michael DiPietro, Goaltender
The Stars would love to take another defenceman here, but the way the draft falls that just is not possible. They could also use a strong goaltending prospect, and take DiPietro, who recently led the Windsor Spitfires to the Memorial Cup. DiPietro is slightly undersized compared to most of the goalies who have been drafted in recent years. He makes himself look bigger by coming out of the crease far and cutting down angles. Excellent skating ability allows DiPietro to play out of his net while getting back quickly on dekes, as well as moving across the crease laterally. DiPietro is also calm and composed in net.
#40 Florida Panthers: Nikita Popugaev, Left Wing
Previous Pick: Owen Tippet
Dale Tallon is back in charge of the Panthers. He loves big, talented forwards, and finds one sitting on the board here. Popugaev has outstanding size, measuring in at 6’6″. He combines this with excellent stick handling to be very tough to defend one-on-one. Add in good hockey sense and a strong wrist shot, and Popugaev has many of the attributes that teams will be looking for in a power forward prospect. He is particularly adept on the power play, where the Warriors seemed to run everything through him, but is not getting the same looks on a stronger Prince George team. Popugaev had proven that he has the vision and passing skills to set up others in these situations. Popugaev is mainly a goal scorer, though.
#41 Los Angeles Kings: Alexei Lipanov, Centre
Previous Pick: Martin Necas
The Kings need an injection of skill. They got some by adding Necas in the first round, and grab some more with Lipanov in round two. The Russian centre has very good speed and the quick acceleration to reach that speed quickly. He challenges defenders on the rush, and forces them to back up or be beat to the outside. He also has excellent agility and edge work. Lipanov is a smart player, who sees the ice very well and can complete a tape-to-tape pass through a tight opening. He has the stick handling ability to extend plays and keep control of the puck down low, waiting for a teammate to get open and make that pass. He can also score with an accurate wrist shot and quick release.
#42 Carolina Hurricanes: Marcus Davidsson, Centre
Previous Pick: Michael Rasmussen
The Hurricanes have an outstanding prospect group, especially on the blue line. While they also have a lot of young forwards and took one in the first round, they see a talented young centre as the best player available and grab Davidsson. An excellent two-way centre, Davidsson does all the little things well. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and pressures defencemen into making turnovers. Davidsson can hit a teammate with a quick pass, drive the puck to the front of the net, or fire an excellent wrist shot on goal. He has the soft hands to score goals in tight. His shot is accurate but could stand to be a bit more powerful. His wrist shot and snap shots also feature a quick release. He is relentless in chasing down pucks in all three zones, and has the skating to be able to get to loose pucks quickly.
#43 Winnipeg Jets: Max Gildon, Defence
Previous Pick: Nick Suzuki
The Jets are another team with a number of talented young forwards. After having Nick Suzuki fall into their lap in the first round, getting a solid young defenceman with this pick is a priority. Gildon has the size and skill to play a physical game in his own end. Forwards need to have their head up when they head down his end of the ice. He is also good in the corners and clearing the front of the net. Offensively, his slap shot and one-timer are very heavy, and he can be a real threat from the point. However, he could stand to improve accuracy. Gildon is also a good passer. He starts plays with a strong first pass. He is also decent in controlling the puck at the blue line, and finding open seams to get it to a teammate.
#44 Philadelphia Flyers: Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Centre
Previous Pick: Nico Hischier
The Flyers have been building up their defensive prospects, and goalie prospects for years. Even after getting a talented centre in the first round, they look to take the most talented forward available in round two. Anderson-Dolan is a very good skater. He has an outstanding first step, and great acceleration, as well as top end speed. Anderson can beat defencemen one-on-one. Once he gets a step on a defender, he can cut to the inside, drop his shoulder and drive the net. Anderson-Dolan also uses his excellent skating to get in quickly on the forecheck, pressuring defenders into mistakes and creating turnovers. Once he does get a turnover, he uses his strength on the puck to protect the puck down low, and extend possession. More a goal scorer than a playmaker, Anderson-Dolan still shows some decent vision and passing skill.
#45 Tampa Bay Lightning: Jesper Boqvist, Centre/Left Wing
Previous Pick: Eeli Tolvanen
The Lightning have done very well in recent drafts, using a philosophy of always looking for the most skilled player on the board. They do the same here. Boqvist combines excellent skating ability, with the quick hands to make stick handle in a phone booth. His dekes, feints, and puck protection make him a real handful for defenders. When Boqvist gets a step on a defender, he drives to the net looking to make a play. He is also a strong play maker, using his vision to find open teammates, and his lateral agility to open up passing lanes. He can score goals in tight, but must work on his shot to score from further out.
#46 New York Islanders: Ian Mitchell, Defence
Previous Pick: Kristian Vesalainen
The Islanders have an excellent group of forward prospects, and some solid goaltenders. They could use a puck moving devenceman in the system and grab Ian Mitchell here. Mitchell is very good at starting the transition game. He can skate the puck out of dangerous areas and avoid the forecheck, before making a crisp pass to a teammate. He is especially effective at going for the long home-run pass to a streaking forward behind the defence. Mitchell is also effective at leading the rush himself. He can quarterback the play from the blue line, with the poise to control the puck, and the vision to make strong passes. He can also walk the line to open up shooting and passing lanes. Mitchell does need some work on his shot.