If you have time to read only one 2017 NHL Draft article at Canes and Coffee today, you are in the wrong place.
You should instead spend your time reading the expert panel article HERE.
Or even better, stop by “Carolina Hurricanes 2017 NHL Draft Central” where you can find a clickable, chronological list of our series of NHL draft articles that ran all week.
But if you have some extra time leading up to the draft which starts at 7pm Eastern Time, I decided to have some fun trying to do my own mock draft, ‘cheating off the smart kids’ style. I do NOT track NHL prospects all year round and because I have other hockey hobby obligations this year, I do significantly less than even the fans who spend a week or so reading through draft guides and watching Youtube highlight videos.
But by by virtue of managing an NHL hockey web site, I was able to pull in a number of smart kids this week with 9 total articles broken out by geography — QMJHL, OHL, WHL, Europe and US.
So my attempt at a mock draft is basically borrowing answers (it’s not plagiarism if I note sources right?) from the 9 articles that ran this week.
Also note that in browsing some other mock drafts on Friday morning, some of my selections seem to optimistically put players in later rounds than many have them. So if it helps me get at least one pick right, I reserve the right to just move all of my picks forward one round. 🙂
First Round #12: Owen Tippett (Mississauga, OHL, Right Wing)
I have seen Tippett projected as high as #4, so he might not be around but I have also seen him at or below #12. Brock Otten was high on him which is good enough for me. What I really like is that he seems to get labeled regularly as the best right wing in the draft and also the best pure sniper/finisher. I really like the idea of being able to get two important scoring ‘bests’ all the way down at #12, and I am also going with a top pick by the experts.
Plan B: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound, OHL, Center) was also mentioned regularly and screams pure offense. OHL expert Brad Coccimiglio had him here, and his name is one of the more common ones popping up in mock drafts.
Motto: I don’t want safe and sound or a high floor. I want pure unhinged goal scoring potential in the first round!
Second Round: Filip Chytil (Czech Republic, Center/Left Wing)
The Hurricanes are light on playmaking centers at both the NHL and the prospect level. The team has selected an offensive center right around here in consecutive years with a home run (Sebastian Aho) and another player that still projects well (Janne Kuokkanen). Look for the Hurricanes to repeat the formula. Chytil rates as high as the first round and as low as the third, so if the Hurricanes like him, he could be good value here. Both Dennis Schellenberg and the team from Draftin Europe like him here too.
Plan B: Marcus Davidsson (Sweden, Center) is another European pivot (from Sweden this time) with playmaking ability and offensive upside.
Motto: If it works, keep doing it.
Second Round: Cale Fleury (Kootenay, WHL, Defenseman)
If the Hurricanes get high-end offensive upside early as projected, I think the primary focus of the rest of the draft could be making sure to opportunistically add a mix of defense prospects. But Hurricanes are young and good on the blue line, but in the past two drafts combined the Hurricanes have added only first-rounder Jake Bean and seventh-rounder Noah Carroll to the defense pool. Fleury has family ties (Haydn’s brother) and comes recommended by both OHL experts, Paul Figler and Marshall Mackinder.
Plan B: Josh Brook (Moose Jaw, WHL, Defenseman) is another WHL blue liner who is liked by both WHL experts and who brings decent size, a fairly-developed game and a good chance to make the NHL.
Motto: The middle rounds were very good to the Hurricanes blue line not too long ago with Pesce and Slavin. Time to go back to the well.
Third Round: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Finland, Goalie)
Luukkonen might be a little bit of a stretch in the third round, but I like the idea of scooping up whichever goalie the scouting staff likes at the goalie position in the middle rounds of a deep draft for the position. A player who might be a third or fourth round pick and the sixth or seventh best goalie in 2017 might go for a premium in a lesser draft. And Luukonen is the best out of Europe this year. (I like ‘bests.’) So if not Luukonen and if not in the third round, I expect Francis and his team to find someone they like at some point to continue making a yearly deposit into the goalie pool. Both Dennis Schellenberger and the team from Draftin Europe had positive things to say about Luukkonen, so just maybe he is the guy.
Plan B: Keith Petruzzelli (Muskegon, USHL, Goalie) is another player who many rate as a second-rounder, but in a deep draft for the position, it seems reasonable to hope a good one falls to the third round. Our US expert Kevin Wickersham is high on the big netminder, so I am putting him second behind Luukkonen.
Motto: It’s a game of making regular investments at the goalie position. Time for the annual deposit.
Third Round: Markus Phillips (Owen Sound, OHL, Defenseman)
With a preference to add at least two higher-end defensemen to the prospect pool, I like Phillips based on Brock Otten’s assessment that had him pegged as a defenseman with decent size who could skate.
Plan B: Robin Salo (Finland, Defenseman) is another skating defenseman who projects well with time to develop.
Motto: Restock the defense pool and aim for another mid-round home run like Pesce and Slavin!
Fourth Round: Joel Teasdale (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, QMJHL, Center)
Teasdale projects to be a depth/checking line center with a good mix of hockey smarts, defensive acumen and enough creativity and offense to also generate offense. Both Mike Barrett and Scott Wheeler had him pegged as a good mid-round, so if he is available in the fourth round, he is my target.
Plan B: Drake Rymsha (Sarnia, OHL, Center) is a reentry candidate who battled injuries but seemed to rebound last year. Brock Otten likes version 2.0 and thinks he could have upside.
Motto: By this point in the draft, it’s clearly best player available. I like the idea of getting well-rounded players in the middle rounds and a couple pure high risk/high reward lottery tickets in the last few rounds.
Sixth Round: Jocktan Chainey (Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL, Defenseman)
Chainey brings decent size, skating and upside from the blue line. Both Scott Wheeler and Mike Barrett noted him as a defenseman with NHL upside, and that is good enough for me.
Plan B: Will Warm (Edmonton, WHL, Defenseman) brings a bit more of a physical, edgy defenseman to the mix if the Hurricanes want to include that element.
Motto: Take one more try at defensemen with high upside.
Seventh Round: Kirill Maksimov (Niagara, OHL, Left Wing)
Maksimov brings skill and skating and per Brad Coccimiglio’s review seems to offer the upside I desire in the seventh round. My ideal seventh-rounder is a player would physical ability (size, skating or something) that projects to be NHL-capable or special cases with high upside (injuries, poor teams).
Plan B: Jerry Turkulainen (Finland, Left Wing/Right Wing) goes off the board from the Draftin Europe team. Francis and company have found good, undersized Finnish forwards in the past two drafts. Can the scouting team dig even deeper and pull one out of the seventh round?
Motto: Buy lottery tickets and aim for upside!
Here is hoping that by virtue of copying smarter people’s work that I get at least one right!
Canes and Coffee again extends a huge thank you to the group of 9 who helped us literally cover the globe scouting Carolina Hurricanes prospects in the 2017 NHL Draft!