We all know the deal – Friday and Saturday marked one of the most exciting hockey prospect event of the year: the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. I'm not going to list every single pick from every single team (you can check out the DobberProspect team pages for in-depth thoughts on all fantasy-relevant prospects), but I will be focusing this week's ramblings on some thoughts now the the dust has slightly settled. Some individual thoughts to start, followed by overall winners and losers down below:
Nico Hischier (NJD) completed his season-long journey up the ladder to become the first-overall pick in the draft. His dynamic skill is undeniable and he becomes the most exciting prospect in the New Jersey organization immediately. He will get his pre-season and early-season tryout in the NHL, and there's little else on the roster to take away any minutes he earns, but dont bet the bank on him staying for the season. There's nothing wrong with a bad team in a tough divisoin letting their top talent develop a little more before moving on the rebuild.
Nolan Patrick (PHI) had to settle for 2nd overall after years of being the favorite. I'm a believer in him despite his injuries, and would personally draft him ahead of Hischier in dynasty leagues, especially multi-category contests. Being on a better team is a factor for more immediate production.
The rest of the first round went about as expected (or unexpected), with talent being scattered in unpredictable directions as teams took their pick of very evenly-ranked prospects (with some obviously higher-tier than others). Some notable risers and fallers included:
Gabe Vilardi (LAK), projected by many as a top-5 pick, fell in LA's lap at 11th overall. His skating ability really hurt his draft stock but shouldn't hurt his fantasy value – the kid can score and is now in an organization looking for goal-scorers more than anything else. He will be 18 when next season begins, and has a pro frame, but expect another year of Junior as he works on his feet.
The Leafs got potentially the steal of the first-round as Timothy Liljegren (TOR) fell to 17th overall. Bouts of health issues limited his playing time this season and dropped him down the list, but do not be deterred. This kid is a dynamo as is exactly what the Leafs organization needed.
Eeli Tolvanen (NSH) is a fantastic shooter and a real offensive threat. Was surprised to see him fall to 30th overall. He wont in your fantasy drafts.
Klim Kostin (STL) was another faller due to injury concerns. Maybe teams were right to pass on him, or maybe his lower draft position makes him a potential steal for you. Only time will tell, but there are certainly worse risks to take…
Some later round notes:
Conor Timmins (COL) fell into the second round and Colorado knew they were lucky to see him there. There are lots of 1st-round offensive defencemen attracting fantasy spotlight, so Timmins could easily become a sleeper pick in your summer dynasty drafts.
Michael DiPietro (VAN) fell in the draft for being a smaller goalie, but he is a significant add to the Canucks depth chart in the crease. A work in progress but expect him to go higher in fantasy drafts than he did in the entry draft, so dont be caught sleeping.
Grant Mismash (NSH) could be a multi-category must-own a few years down the road. It might be too early to target him now, but he went to the perfect team to fulfill his potential and a scorer/banger fantasy hero.
Vegas Golden Knights
They got the best overall defenceman of the draft in Miro Heiskanen, the best goaltender of the draft in Jake Oettinger, and a raw goal-scorer in Jason Robertson. That's a very successful first two rounds.
St. Louis Blues
Zero picks in the first three rounds. Years like this really hurt the cupboard-stocking process. That's the cost of going all-in.
Detroit Red Wings
For a team clearly sinking fast and in need of a rebuild and restock, none of their many picks really stood out. And they had enough picks to swing for the fences with a few, which makes it an extra disappointing haul. Then again, they do have a history of turning inheralded picks into special players.
The DPR podcast had you prepared for the draft, and now its here to help you digest it. Check out the newest episode here, where the first round of the draft gets broken down a little bit more thoroughly:
Thank you for reading during these very exciting times for hockey prospect nuts. We appreciate all of the support for our content, and will keep the momentum rolling as the real off-season begins.
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