After a full week of 2017 NHL Draft coverage that literally scanned the globe, the actually draft weekend is finally here.

But not before a grand finale which is a mock draft with a panel of NHL prospect experts.

Also, if you missed the previous coverage, you can find a clickable menu of all of the draft coverage articles HERE.


The expert panel

Grant McCagg (Twitter=@grantmccagg) is the founder of which is a hockey scouting service that focuses on NHL prospects. Grant draws upon three decades of experience as a reporter, editor, publisher, author and scout to provide deep insight into players’ abilities and ultimate potential for professional level customers and also the NHL fan base.

Peter Harling (Twitter=@pharling) is the Managing Editor for DobberProspects . He has been a contributor to McKeens hockey, Today’s Slapshot, The Hockey Writers and more.

Kevin LeBlanc (Twitter=@kleblanchockey) is an Associate Editor and Senior Prospect Writer for DobberProspects and also writes a weekly prospect column for DobberHockey entitled The Journey. Kevin also contributes Hurricanes prospect-based content for Canes Country.


Check out the draft and prospect guides for leisure reading

If you are looking for something calm but also thoughtful to wind down the work week on Friday, I am recommending a couple bottles of adventuresome local craft beer and one or both of Grant McCagg’s Recrutes Draft Guide or Peter Harling and company’s Dobber Prospects Guide if you prefer players already in the Hurricanes and other NHL teams’ systems. About $30 for the combination of those three things is money well spent!


Carolina Hurricanes 2017 free form mock draft

Grant McCagg

Grant goes all in with one name and no hedging for the Hurricanes first three draft picks.

12 – Nick Suzuki – the 5-11 winger -The Hurricanes have several forward prospects with above-average size in the pipeline and a promising young group of defencemen, so if they get an opportunity to pick up a multi-purpose forward with very high offensive upside at 12th overall even if he’s a bit undersized, he would be a nice addition to the stable. Suzuki’s smarts, puck skills, competitive nature and production will be a welcome addition to a young club that needs to develop a winning attitude.

42 – Keith Petruzzelli/Michael DiPietro – If either goalie is available they would be both good value picks and fill a long-term need for the Canes. Petruzzelli is calm and efficient; he is smart and trusts his hockey sense and uses size well, doesn’t overcomplicate anything. He’s on his knees a lot and his skating needs to get better.  DiPietro checks off all the boxes except the size one, including his ability to battle as hard as any goalie in the draft.  He is very athletic and strong positionally. If he was 6-3 he’d be a first-round lock.

52 – Mackenzie Entwistle – The hard-working centerman started and ended the season productively…it was what happened in between that will cause his stock to fall on draft day.  His offensive upside is limited as he lacks high-end creativity and puck skills. What he does bring though is good size, work habits and skating ability in a straight line. He has all the tools needed to develop into a solid shutdown center in a third or fourth-line role.


Peter Harling

Peter tackles a set of draft-related questions and tackles the early rounds.

Canes and Coffee: Who do you see the Hurricanes selecting in the first two rounds?

Peter Harling:

12 – Owen Tippett is ranked very high on a lot of rankings, and for good reason. He has a great shot, size and can skate better than average. However I think he will fall a little in the draft due to some questions surrounding his hockey sense and compete. Carolina would do well to pick him with their first pick as he and Julien Gauthier could provide a formidable pair of power wingers.

42- Aleksi Heponiemi is a boom or bust undersized winger with tremendous skill and offensive upside. The little Fin was the WHL Rookie of the Year and is several years away from making the NHL, but with the prospect depth GM Ron Francis has acquired recently, it would be worth swinging for the fences here.

52 – Cale Fleury is the younger brother of Hayden Fleury and plays a similar game. He is projected to go right around this area of the draft so why not reunite the brothers.

62 – Scott Reedy is similar to Gauthier and Tippett as a big power forward type player. The difference is he can play center. Imagine lining up against that trio! (Left in despite pick being traded in case Reedy is selected earlier.)


Canes and Coffee: Who are a couple of prospects that you like in the middle rounds (3-4) and why?

Peter HarlingOne player that jumps out is Jake Leschyshyn, who missed a lot of his draft year due to injury but is highly skilled and could have a breakout D+1 year.

Another name I don’t get to talk about on DobberProspects much because he doesn’t really have much fantasy value is Cameron Crotty. He played for the Brockville Braves Jr. A in Ontario. He is a big defenseman that can skate very well and is solid defensively. Big D that can skate can play in today’s NHL for sure.


Canes and Coffee: Which 1-2 goalies do you think could be bargains relative to where they are generally expected to be drafted?

Peter Harling: Keith Petruzzelli gets far less chatter than some of the other goalies, but NHL Central Scouting had him ranked the number one goalie in North America for the first half of the season. But goalies are voodoo to me so who really knows.


Canes and Coffee: Which 1-2 players do you like for high upside potential in the sixth or seventh round?

Peter HarlingHe may not get drafted because he is very undersized, or the Russian factor, or both, but Artyom Manukyan won the MHL MVP after posting over 100 points. Another player to watch will be Jayden Halbgewachs. The 20-year old had a 100-point season in the WHL with Moose Jaw.


Kevin LeBlanc

Kevin offers a range of options across the draft picks that the Hurricanes have.

Canes and Coffee: For the first two rounds (picks 12, 42, 52, 62) who do you project the Hurricanes selecting with each pick (basically mock draft) or who are players that should be considered in these slots?

Kevin LeBlanc: #12 is tough to peg down, because so much is going to depend on a potential trade for a top six roster player and what goes off the board in front of them. I would be thrilled with a move up to draft Gabe Vilardi or Cody Glass, but I would say it’s less likely than a move for someone who can help the Canes roster now.

Nick Suzuki – Center – Owen Sound – If he is available, he would likely be my pick if Vilardi, Glass, Mittelstadt and Pettersson are off the board. Suzuki would fit the Canes possession system very well. Although he’s a bit undersized, he’s a good two-way player who can be a disruptive forechecker and solid penalty killer. He finished sixth among OHL players with a points-per-game rate of 1.48. As a late 1999 birth year he has room to grow.

As for the second rounders, I’d probably expect the Hurricanes to deal away at least one of their seconds. But if they keep all three, I could see two forwards and a defenseman being taken. Depending on the goalie run, maybe there’s a goalie worth taking a shot on. There a ton of guys in the 30-70 range that would be worth taking, but here are some guys I like:


Jason Robertson – LW – Kingston Frontenacs – If he falls, could be an offensive steal. He’s not going to win any skating competitions, but he can put points on the board. Again a guy who is a elite shot generator and plays a good possession style. Underrated passer, but will need to improve in the defensive zone.

Joni Ikonen – C – Frolunda (SHL) – Ikonen makes plays and is incredibly good with the puck on his stick. He needs to round out the defensive side of his game, but has the offensive tools to be a even strength and power play contributor.

Jaret Anderson-Dolan – C – Spokane Chiefs – Personal favorite of mine from watching Hudson Elyniuk and Kailer Yamamoto this year. Reminds me a bit of a guy that the Canes already have in the system in Warren Foegele. His game is all about speed and compete. He is a solid two-way player. He put up a lot of points, but some of that is because he was playing with Yamamoto.

Jesper Boqvist – LW – Brynas – May not last until the Canes first pick at 41 but they’d be wise to take a look if he is. Can potentially play center or wing. High hockey IQ player.

Kole Lind – RW – Kelowna Rockets – Steady winger who played on a good Kelowna team this season. Led all Rockets scorers with 87 points. Solid playmaker who plays with an edge.



David Farrance – D – USNTDP – United States Development Team product heading to Boston University. He is on the smaller side but has the chance to be a great power play and transition guy. Skating is his best asset.

Max Gildon – D – USNTDP – Another national team product, Gildon is bigger then his counterpart, and projects more to a two-way, first pass to spark transition type in the future. Has a big shot. Gildon is headed to New Hampshire in the fall.


Canes and Coffee: Who do you like in the middle to late rounds?

Kevin LeBlanc: Here are so middle round players that I’ll keep an eye on:


Antoine Morand – C – Acadie-Bathurst Titan

Marcus Davidsson – C – Djurgardens

Jack Studnicka – C – Oshawa Generals

Adam Ruzicka – C – Sarnia Sting

Jonah Gadjovich – LW – Owen Sound Attack

Jake Leschyshyn – C – Regina Pats

Lucas Elvenes – LW – Timra



Dylan Samberg – D – Hermantown (MN) HS

Jaret Tyszka – D – Seattle Thunderbirds

Robin Salo – D – Sport Vaasa


And here are some players likely to be available in the final rounds who I like.


Shawn Boudrias – RW – Gatineau

Denis Smirnoff – LW – Penn State

Zach Gallant – C – Peterborough Petes



Mario Ferraro – D – Des Moines Buccaneers

Brady Lyle – D – North Bay Battalion


Canes and Coffee: Which 1-2 goalies do you think could be bargains relative to where they are generally expected to be drafted?

Kevin LeBlancBy no means a goalie guy but Keith Petruzzelli intrigues me. He had a good year for Muskegon in the USHL and has very good size at 6’5″ plus. He likely will go in the mid rounds where the Canes could look to take a flyer on another netminder.


Canes and Coffee offers a huge thank you to Grant McCagg, Peter Harling and Kevin LeBlanc for sharing their NHL prospect expertise with Canes and Coffee’s community!

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