Top 10 NHL Draft Prospects and Reports

1. Nolan Patrick – RHC – 1998-09-19 – 6’3 / 198 lbs
Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
GP: 33 G: 20 A: 26 PTS: 46

Highly intelligent center whose confidence with the puck and deceptive distribution skills allow him to be a key possession player. Patrick is a strong skater with an underlying power component which will be much more noticeable – Draisaitl like – with added strength. He’s a strong defensive zone player who anticipates and attacks, closing on attacking forwards in what often results in a turnover and transition up ice. One of the more intriguing elements of Patrick’s game comes in his ability to create space, elude defenders, and get his elite level shot off, a good sign that he could be a high end scorer at the next level. One area for growth in Nolan’s game is consistency, maintaining a high energy dominance from shift to shift and game to game. – Brennen York

Fantastic all around player, powerful stride and quick feet, fantastic shot and competes hard. Not overly physical but is smart positionally and transitions flawlessly from defense to offense. Uses his frame to get to the dirty areas and can make his teammates better. Quick release on his shot and as a great IQ in all three zones. Nolan is an already established forward at his level and his the best player on the ice. Not the prettiest skater but he has great agility. Maybe a bit more grit in his game, but nothing not to like for Patrick, A perfect top six centerman who can fit anywhere into a lineup and produce, will be a quality NHL player for a very long time. – Jeff McCarthy

2. Nico Hischier – LHC – 1999-01-04 – 6’0 / 179 lbs
Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
GP: 57 G: 38 A: 48 PTS: 86

Dynamic offensive threat whose ability to exploit soft passing lanes coupled with his elite level puck skills has made him one of the most promising offensive prospects in the draft class. He’s a high end skater, elusive, quick and possesses breakaway speed, and his ability to maneuver the offensive zone creates space for both himself and wingers, inevitably resulting in offensive opportunities. He’s a capable defensive zone player who attacks with speed, and does a good job jumping on turnovers and creating odd man chances up ice. Hischier projects similar to Henrik Zetterberg in both the consistency aspect of the game, and ability to make high skill plays in order to set up teammates. An area for growth with Nico is diversifying the attack up ice as he tends to rely a little too heavily on skating the puck deep when there are opportunities to get a shot off on the rush. – Brennen York

3. Gabriel Vilardi – RHC – 1999-08-16 – 6’2 / 192 lbs
Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
GP: 49 G: 29 A: 32 PTS: 61

Offensive two way player who boasts a Mark Schiefele-like skill set in his ability to impact the game in a number of ways. He’s a big center who plays a highly competitive game which allows him to be successful below the goal line and in the cycle when it comes to battling against bigger bodies and working the puck to the net front. He’s a skilled possession player with strong distribution skills, as well as a deceptive shot which he has the ability to utilize off the rush. In terms of looking at the complete prospect package, Vilardi has the pedigree and tools to be considered an elite prospect in this years draft. There are no glaring holes in his Vilardi’s game, but continuing to develop in Windsor and growing into a more mature player will inevitably elevate his game. In terms of offense, becoming more diverse off the rush and utilizing his shot to create chances from distance. – Brennen York

Vilardi’s season did not start off as he had hoped, starting with last summers knee injury just before the Ivan Hlinka Tournament as well as an emergency appendectomy in November which forced him to miss some games, after he played through it for a game beforehand. Although he mostly plays on the right side, we have also saw him in the middle for a fair bit as well. Many scouts have knocked him for his skating, but the argument against this is the fact that his first three steps and explosiveness are quite intriguing, whereas it is his top end speed that is not overly impressive. Vilardi has shown the willingness to initiate in battles along the boards as well as front of either net, and although his positioning in the defensive zone can be improved, he has proven that he is willing to put in the work to defend. He makes great reads in all three zones and his hockey sense and awareness is top notch. With great vision and play-making skills, he also has a lethal shot with a quick release in tight and is great at scoring goals in tight. Vilardi will most likely end up playing on the wing in the NHL, being a top six guy with size and who can win puck battles in front of the net and boards. – Chance Szott

4. Miro Heiskanen – LHD – 1999-07-18 – 6’0 / 174 lbs
HIFK (Liiga)
GP: 37 G: 5 A: 5 PTS: 10

Miro Heiskanen has emerged as the top defender in the 2017 class, and for good reason, He’s an all situations defender who excels in providing offense from the blue line as he possesses a highly accurate shot and the ability to make intelligent puck distributions while maintaining mobility. He’s a slick skater who demonstrates great edgework both along the blue line and while battling for loose pucks. A t the next level, Heiskanen is likely relied upon in more of an offensive role, something that with added confidence and strength, he will likely flourish with. Projecting offensive totals for a player who hasn’t produced at an outrageous rate can be difficult, but it’s expected that Heiskanen will become a 45+ point defender. – Brennen York

Heiskanen has really shot up this past season, spent the year in the Finnish Elite League and never looked back. He led the U18 in defense scoring with 12 in 7 games and got the opportunity to suit up with Finland at the World Juniors. He is the top defender in this draft class and is a solid two-way defender who can be relied upon. An elite skater with a strong transitional game, great agility and lateral movement, you see his play on the blue line improve. Solid puck moving game, he has excellent poise and confidence behind all of his passes. Takes ice well, great space recognition and reaction time. Skilled from the back end, he can be a solid puck distributor or puck transporter whichever he feels he should utilize. His positioning is great; you never really see him getting beat or his man being wide open. A great shot that he gets off quickly, it often gets through to the net. I think his ability to make passes across zones is really unique, it something that a lot of NHL teams are focusing on and he already has the ability to do that. He could work on his speed, skating wise he is solid but his speed isn’t all there. When he is not in a comfortable position, he struggles, takes a second to make up his mind a real proactive mindset that is a gift but can hurt him. – Brayden Sullivan

5. Owen Tippett – RHW – 1999-02-16 – 6’2 / 203 lbs
Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
GP: 60 G: 44 A: 31 PTS: 75

A heavy offensive force who plays a similar style to that of Taylor Hall. He’s a high end shooter, and that’s reflected in his 44 goal campaign. Tippett’s ability to get a quick shot off through traffic at almost any position in the offensive zone bodes well for his future as a scorer. Defensively, Tippett is strong when it comes to anticipating passing plays at the point where he can jump on an interception and head down ice. He’s a powerful skater , and though he doesn’t have top flight speed, his edge work combined with his large frame make him a strong possession player. Tippett has the potential to be a high end scoring winger in the NHL, and adding a more tenacious side to his game could really help separate him from the pack. – Brennen York

Tippett is said to be the best goal scorer in the draft this year, and his shot is likely one of the best as well. Tippett is a true scorer who can beat defenders with his speed and power, and is a very skilled player to go along with good strength. Although he is a lethal weapon for offence, he is a liability in the defensive end and his motor is often questioned which raises some red flags. Sometimes his work ethic lacks during games and it really does change game to game. Another knock is the fact that many scouts agree he has to play with a centre who can feed him the puck as his hockey sense is not at an elite level. NHL Comparison could be Kyle Okposo. – Chance Szott

6. Cody Glass – RHC – 1999-04-01 – 6’2 / 179 lbs
Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
GP: 69 G: 32 A: 62 PTS: 94

Offensive minded two way force who has the ability to provide offense in a number of ways. Glass’s offensive zone play is a reflection of is intelligence as he consistently finds a way to shake loose from defenders and attack open areas of the ice where he can then distribute or receive the puck. A quick, efficient skater, Glass has the separation speed to beat defenders wide, but doesn’t lack in agility which makes him dangerous down low. He’s a strong puck supporter, and does a good job anticipating plays in the defensive zone. Glass is a sneaky player, both in the sense that he can be deceptive with the puck net front, and has the ability to adjust his skating speed to throw off defenders, something that could benefit him as he moves into pro hockey. An area for growth will be adapting a heavier style of game that will allow him to be more physically assertive. – Brennen York

An all-around forward, Glass displays a mature and powerful game at the centre position, a big bodied forward, Glass plays the game with finesse and a high hockey IQ at both ends of the ice. Not the strongest skater, but has high end puck skill and uses his frame to protect the puck and get into prime scoring areas, uses his linemates well and can stand in front of the net and bang bodies down low if needed to. Can slow the game down and make crisp passes to his teammates, needs to shoot more and try to play the game at a more fast pace, potential is outstanding as he could be a great two-way centerman down the road, a Toews-lite. esque player – Jeff McCarthy

7. Casey Mittelstadt – LHF – 1999-02-16 – 6’1 / 201 lbs
Eden Prairie High (USHS)
GP: 25 G: 21 A: 43 PTS: 64

Mittlestadt plays a cerebral offensive game, and has the ability to dominate defenders with his intelligent, creative puck skills. Mittelstadt has strong vision, and is able to consistently deliver effective passes, as well as get a good shot off from distance. He’s an average defensive zone player, like many high octane offensive minded players, however his support on the up ice transition creates a lot of chances for both himself and teammates. He has a fluid stride, however has yet to show game breaking speed. Moving forward, Mittelstadt will need to diversify his offensive attack, and begin attacking off the rush with far greater speed and intensity. – Brennen York

Mittelstadt has been the face of controversy this past season, he left the USHL as the leading scorer to return to Minnesota to attempt a High School championship with Eden Prairie. He was named Mr. Hockey (Best Minnesota High School Player) this past season and is committed to University of Minnesota next season. Overall Casey Mittelstadt is an already well developed offensive forward who competes hard and is always in good spots of the ice. He can be a creative player at times, willing to showcase his puck handling ability. His two-way game doesn’t go unnoticed, he really sees the ice well and competes on both ends of the ice. As a center man he can support the play well and as a winger he can make those outlet passes and be efficient along the wall. The puck just seems to always find him. Explosive first three stride, he has breakaway speed, quickness in his stride and a real dynamicness in his feet that often surprise you. Mittelstadt is a sturdy player, hard to knock off the puck and really exemplifies this with his outside drives. Great shooter who is effective in his shot, will shoot to score. I love how Mittelstadt can always seems to find/create space for himself, in corners, under pressure, in tight areas, it something not a lot of guys his size can do and he does it consistently. He has that complete package you look for size + skill + smarts + compete that make him such an intriguing prospect who could end up in the NHL next season. Top six potential and possibly better, he certainly is a unique talent in this draft. – Brayden Sullivan

8. Martin Necas – RHF – 1999-01-15 – 6’1 / 168 lbs
HC Kometa Brno (Czech)
GP: 41 G: 7 A: 8 PTS: 15

A dynamic offensive force who is able to create chances out of nothing. Necas possesses high end puck skills, and given his ability to elude defenders post zone entry allows him to be relied upon as a distributor. Defensively, Necas is relentless in pursuit of the puck, consistently demonstrating a strong stick, and taking away passing lanes. He’s a quick, agile skater, and though he has a slight frame, he’s able to generate a ton of power, making Necas one of the better skaters in the class. In order to become a high end scoring forward in the NHL, Necas will need to adopt a heavier style of game and be more assertive down low. – Brennen York

Throughout this past season Martin Necas has shot his way up the NHL draft lists, becoming the top Czech player available in the draft. He posted 15 points in 41 games this past season in the Czech pro league and put up 4 goals as well in playoffs. Necas is a dynamic skilled center who possesses a great shot that is deadly from anywhere. He is especially mobile in the offensive zone, love to have the puck on his stick and let his feet and vision take over. He has an excellent stride, very fluent and has the ability to change direction on a dime. His quickness comes through his lateral movement, he picks up speed through that and is a faster player with the puck than without. Well rounded in all three zones, he has good versatility and can be utilized in all areas of the game. He has the ability to cause turnovers with his stick and attack the other way, really helps his transitional play. Can create from the perimeter, great vision and ability to thread the needle with his passes. He a guy who really has that high reward label on him, you put all the chips down on him and he could be one of the top five/three guys in this entire draft class looking back. His compete level is inconsistent, if he causes a turnover he will dwell on it instead of getting back. I see him becoming a top six guy or possible better, I see his name getting compared to guys like Jeff Skinner or Claude Giroux but feel a guy like Tyler Toffoli is a reasonable expectation. – Brayden Sullivan

9. Klim Kostin – LHW – 1999-05-05 – 6’3 / 196 lbs
HK MVD Balashikha (KHL)
GP: 8 G: 0 A: 0 PTS: 0

The most physically dominant player in the top ten, Kostin brings a combination of high end puck skills and power to be one of the stronger possession players in this class. Kostin does a lot of his work off zone entries, and given his heavy shot and ability to adjust his shooting angles he projects to be a scorer at the next level. Defensively, there are consistency weaknesses in his game, however his ability to support the puck and close on forwards makes him a capable defender. There’s a lot of power in Kostin’s stride, and with added agility and deceptiveness, he would be able to create stronger scoring chances. Kostin is a bit of a mystery given lack of exposure this year, but his tendency to play a competitive, sometimes mean game makes him an intriguing prospect. – Brennen York

A player who chose to play in the KHL this past season rather than the CHL, Kostin really struggled to produce but is still regarded as one of the top Europeans coming in. Kostin has one of the highest ceilings in the draft, he really is a unique talent who I loved in the Canada vs Russia series. He possesses a big frame and is incredibly skilled with the puck. A power forward build he is incredibly agile and possesses a wide sturdy stride. I love he puts the puck in an area that he can reach first, so much confidence in his hands and frame. He has pure power to the net, nobody is stopping him.  He can get shots off in close proximity and in tight areas. He uses his stick well to take away passing lane, cause turnovers. He pressures exceptionally well in the offensive zone. He lacks consistency and compete but a guy who I like and think will be an effective NHLer. Could be a top line guy or a bottom six power forward. – Brayden Sullivan

10. Callan Foote – RHD – 1998-12-13 – 6’3 / 209 lbs
Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
GP: 71 G: 6 A: 51 PTS: 57

A poised defender who has matured ten fold over the course of the past two seasons. Foote boasts a highly efficient defensive game, able to close on attackers quickly and using his large frame as a tool to separate the man from puck and turn it up ice. He’s an intelligent offensive zone player who generates most of his offense from deep on the blue line by delivering pucks both tape to tape through traffic and on net. Skating, which was formerly an issue for Foote, has come a long way as he has shown to be much more dynamic both with his straight ahead speed and mobility along the blue line and in the defensive zone. His overall efficiency in transitioning the puck up ice will be one of the strongest tools. – Brennen York

Son of former NHLer Adam Foote, Cal has spent the two previous seasons with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Where he was able to produce well and really broke out this past season with 57 points with 51 of those being assists. Cal is a solid two-way defender with a rangy build. Cal had slow feet, long strides and strong legs, Foote uses his natural strength to get a hard push from his strides and gives him some leverage on his feet. Although Foote doesn’t shoot much he displays an accurate wrist shot and a slap shot with a lack of power, uses his shots wisely as he shoots when the lane is complete open. A fluid passer who uses his long legs well to open up lanes and relieve pressure for himself. I like the reads he makes without hesitation, just a great hockey sense. Puck possession player, slows the play down to his liking and makes smart plays out of his own zone. Uses long reach to trap forwards from entering the offensive end covers a lot of ground from the back end, making his transition game efficient. Can play physical if needed, but can get to forwards using his long reach, all-in-all hard to beat on the back end. Excellent positioning to give forwards no room in the middle of the ice, forcing them to shoot from the outside. Calm defenseman, plays the game always moving and thinking. keeps his head on a swivel. calm, composed and hardly phased. I like his positioning along the wall, nothing gets by him and he still has the ability to make things happen from that position. Fantastic build and frame, his offensive game isn’t polished but will be a shutdown defender in the professional ranks. Worth a hard look. He will likely need to work on his skating as well as become more physical consistently. – Brayden Sullivan

Has slow feet, long strides and strong legs, Foote uses his natural strength to get a hard push from his strides and gives him some leverage on his feet…… Although Foote doesn’t shoot much he displays an accurate wrist shot and a slapshot with a lack of power, uses his shots wisely as he shoots when the lane is complete open… Puck possession player, slows the play down to his liking and makes smart plays out of his own zone… Uses long reach to trap forwards from entering the offensive end covers a lot of ground from the back end, making his transition game efficient. Can play physical if needed, but can get to forwards using his long reach, all-in-all hard to beat on the back end…. Excellent positioning to give forwards no room in the middle of the ice, forcing them to shoot from the outside.. Calm defenseman, plays the game always moving and thinking… keeps his head on a swivel… calm, composed and hardly phased.. Fantastic build and frame, his offensive game isn’t polished but will be a shutdown defender in the professional ranks. Worth a hard look. – Jeff McCarthy