The 2017 NHL entry draft is now less than a week away! Are you ready?
Most fantasy leagues that incorporate a prospect draft of NHL Entry Draft players don’t run until after the draft once all the dust settles and all the fantasy relevant players are slotted in team depth charts. But it is never too soon to get your research started and be familiar with the players before the draft. Once players are assigned to a team their value may increase or decrease, but that’s likely a product of your bias. For example a Leaf fan would put extra emphasis on the value of prospects drafted by Toronto and may have a strict “No Habs” policy.
There is a lot of chatter about how the 2017 draft is a weak draft, and here is my take on that. I don’t think the draft is bad at all. There may not be a super star the like of a Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid, granted; but there are plenty of players with good upside and fantasy value.
The concern I have with this year’s draft is, unlike the past few drafts I am not seeing any players outside of Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier that can play in the NHL next season. I believe there will be a lot of players in this draft that make the NHL, have an impact, and will be must own fantasy assets…it will just take three to five years for most of them to arrive.
The last few drafts have had several players go from the draft and straight into the NHL. The 2016 Draft had five players play 20+games (Matthews, Laine, Puljujarvi, Tkachuk, and Chychrun). The 2015 Draft has ten players that have played over 70 games since being drafted (McDavid, Eichel, Marner, Hanafin, Zacha, Provorov, Werenski, Rantanen, Crouse, and Konecny).
For the 2017 Draft, as mentioned above, likely only Patrick and Hischier will play over nine regular season games in the coming season. Here are some players you may want to target if you are looking for players that may only need one more year before making the jump to the NHL and your fantasy roster.
Gabriel Vilardi: The Windsor Spitfires won the Memorial Cup which is a tournament driven by 19, and 20-year-old prospects. It showed me he may be close to ready in making the jump to a higher level.
Timothy Liljegren: His draft year was a write off. Started with Mono, played on a poor SHL team and received limited minutes, but is ready to play pro hockey. Could play in the AHL next year making him available for a recall.
Kristian Vesalainen: Another player that played pro hockey in Europe last year, struggled in the SHL to start but started getting his confidence after the move to Liiga in his native Finland and had a breakout U18 performance. Has NHL ready size now.
If you don’t want to sit on your 2017 NHL Draft picks for the next few years, you may want to trade them for 2018 draft picks, there are a few names there that could make the jump a little quicker.
Another key factor to keep in mind in projecting when prospects may be fantasy relevant is the CHL import draft which occurs a few days after the NHL draft. Players that may be selected in the CHL Import draft that could be assigned to their CHL affiliate make them unavailable for NHL recall for the entire season. Being selected in the CHL Import draft does not mean they will definitely play there, it’s an option that the team which drafting them has the ability to choose.
To help you out in your NHL Draft preparation here are a few places you want to check out.
This top 31 ranking is a consensus ranking compiled with contributions from our writers and several external scouts and media writers.
Next, my 2017 NHL Draft Final Rankings
This is my own ranking list, and not based on fantasy value.
The DobberProspects Prospect Report is our annual guide which includes extensive draft prospect coverage. 100 draft eligible profiles (Not found on the site), a four round mock draft and both mine and Dobbers Top 25 forwards and 13 charts ranking the draft prospects from Best Puckhandler to Best Skater to Top Goal Scorer and more.
Of course we have plenty of draft eligible profiles already created and are adding more every day, find them all here until the draft – Undrafted Under 20
One more final ranking you will find on our own site is Cam Robinsons top 75 Draft Ranking
Sort of a one stop shopping for Draft rankings is over at My NHL Draft
Of course the industry standard every year is TSN Insider Bob McKenzies Draft Ranking. Bob polls actual NHL scouts and has a remarkable track record.
If you want to do some stats research, the place to go is EliteProspects Draft Center you can sort the stats in a variety of ways, and also has quick links to top rankings for several independent scouting services.
The industry standard for independent scouting reports is the Black Book from Hockey Prospect. It’s a little pricey compared to the rest and the free ones, but if you actually buy the hard copy you quickly see why, it’s as big as my phone book (What’s a phone book?) The Hockey Prospect Black Book is a must own for draft enthusiasts and I can’t recommend it enough. They have scouts across the hockey world in the rinks actually scouting, I know this because I see them there.
As for free draft profiles, reports, mock drafts and rankings to visit check out,
Have another great draft resource? Leave a comment below with your recommendations and suggestions. Enjoy the draft!
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