Jeff Marek’s Top 100 prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft

General Manger of the New Jersey Devils Ray Shero spoke about moving up in the draft and how significant it is for the franchise.

Here it is, our final draft list for 2016-17.

Thanks for being with us all season long as we build up to the NHL Draft in Chicago June 23-24. We’ll still feature more coverage leading up to the draft and continue to profile and get you acquainted with the prospects whose names you’ll hear called next month.

Look for mock drafts, player profiles, interviews, video highlights and stories as we sharpen our focus on the draft as the NHL playoffs wind down.

A couple of things first.

As we always point out, this list is compiled based on personal viewings along with conversations with scouts, managers, coaches and others who follow the prospects game closely. We’ve also looked at underlying numbers for as many prospects as we can focusing on even strength production and the ability to drive possession in his league.

The Nolan vs. Nico debate

We still have Nolan Patrick listed as our top prospect in this year’s draft, but as teams started finalizing their lists we saw more and more with Nico Hischier’s name on top, over Patrick.

As we know, New Jersey holds all the cards and they’ll decide not only who they’ll select, but probably who Philadelphia does as well. Paul Castron is the head of scouting for the Devils, but he’s not on an island with this pick. As New Jersey GM Ray Shero recently told us on Hockey Central at Noon he’s been on the road looking at prospects since the Devils seriously started to stumble. He knows these players well by now and I’d expect his voice to carry a lot of influence at the Devils’ table in Chicago.

As we’ve been saying for a while, you can make a solid case for both Patrick and Hischier and we don’t really have much indication yet which way the Devils are leaning. Tough call for them. The pressure is off Philadelphia here — that is unless they decide to move the pick. Either way this is a legit race for top spot at the draft.

As we speculated after the draft lottery, Dallas’ third overall pick is in play and they could very well end up being the team to watch June 23. If I’m a team that wants to start to shore up the back end (and there are many) I’m calling Dallas ASAP to try to get in position to guarantee a shot at one of the blueliners in the top 10. Also, don’t be surprised if Dallas moves the third overall selection to try to gather up more picks in next year’s draft, which features some real high end talent and is already being considered a much better draft class.

We should note who the risers were throughout the season, with Hischier topping that list. He’s followed by defenceman Miro Heiskanen who took over the top blueliner spot for most scouts as the season wore on. Cody Glass of Portland was a fringe first-rounder to start the season, but has worked his way nicely into the top 10, as have Brooks Bandits defenceman Cale Makar who some NHL teams have listed as their No. 1 blueliner.

As usual, goaltenders are a wild card and once one goes there tends to be a run on the position. We don’t expect one to go in the first round, the second is usually where teams line up at the goalie buffet.

As we’ve had all season, Jake Oettinger of Boston University remains our top choice for goaltenders, followed by Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Michael DiPietro. But don’t sleep on Kirill Ustimenko, who played on the Russian team at the U-18 in Slovakia. He seems to be an unknown to many and has been a little hidden all season.

Here is the top 100:

1. Nolan Patrick – C, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
2. Nico Hischier – C, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
3. Miro Heiskanen – D, HIFK, Liiga
4. Owen Tippett – RW, Mississauga Steelheads, OHL
5. Cody Glass – C, Portland Winterhawks, WHL
6. Gabriel Vilardi – C, Windsor Spitfires, OHL
7. Timothy Liljegren – D, Timra, Allsvenskan
8. Casey Mittelstadt – C, Eden Prairie, Minnesota High School
9. Cale Makar – D, Brooks Bandits, AJHL
10. Martin Necas – C, Brno, Czech Extraliga

11. Lias Andersson – C, HV71, SHL
12. Eeli Tolvanen – LW, Sioux City, USHL
13. Juuso Valimaki – D, Tri-City, WHL
14. Erik Brannstrom – D, HV71 U-20, SuperElit
15. Elias Pettersson – C, Timra, Allsvenskan
16. Cal Foote – D, Kelowna, WHL
17. Nicholas Hague – D, Mississauga, OHL
18. Klim Kostin – C, Dynamo, KHL
19. Nick Suzuki – C, Owen Sound, OHL
20. Kailer Yamamoto – RW, Spokane, WHL

21. Kristian Vesalainen – RW, Frolunda, SHL
22. Michael Rasmussen – C, Tri-City, WHL
23. Ryan Poehling – C, St. Cloud State, NCAA
24. Maxime Comtois – LW, Victoriaville, QMJHL
25. Robert Thomas – C, London, OHL
26. Urho Vaakanainen – D, JYP, Liiga
27. Isaac Ratcliffe – LW, Guelph, OHL
28. Jason Robertson – RW, Kingston, OHL
29. Kole Lind – C, Kelowna, WHL
30. MacKenzie Entwistle – C, Hamilton, OHL

31. Jake Oettinger – G, Boston University, NCAA
32. Shane Bowers – C, Waterloo, USHL
33. Joshua Norris – C, USNTDP
34. Marcus Davidsson – C, Djurgarden, SHL
35. Filip Chytil – C, ZPS Zlin, Czech Extraliga
36. Matthew Strome – LW, Hamilton, OHL
37. Nikita Popugaev – LW, Prince George, WHL
38. Stelio Mattheos – C, Brandon, WHL
39. Pierre-Olivier Joseph – D, Charlottetown, QMJHL
40. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen – G, HPK U20, Jr. A SM-liiga

41. Michael DiPietro – G, Windsor, OHL
42. Grant Mismash – LW, USNTDP
43. Henri Jokiharju – D, Portland, WHL
44. Jesper Boqvist – LW, Brynas, SHL
45. Conor Timmins – D, Sault Ste Marie, OHL
46. Zach Gallant – C, Peterborough, OHL
47. Scott Reedy – C, USNTDP
48. Stuart Skinner – G, Lethbridge, WHL
49. Ivan Lodnia – C, Erie, OHL
50. Morgan Frost – LW, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL

51. Jaret Anderson-Dolan – C, Spokane, WHL
52. Robin Salo – D, Sport, Liiga
53. Max Gildon – D, USNTDP
54. Alexei Lipanov – C, HK MVD, MHL
55. Sasha Chmelevski – C, Ottawa, OHL
56. Alex Formenton – LW, London, OHL
57. Jarret Tyszka – D, Seattle, WHL
58. Jake Leschyshyn – C, Regina, WHL
59. Aleksi Heponiemi – C, Swift Current, WHL
60. Ostap Safin – LW, Sparta Prague, Czech U20

61. Joni Ikonen – C, Frolunda, SHL
62. Antoine Morand – C, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL
63. Jack Studnicka – C, Oshawa, OHL
64. Mason Shaw – C, Medicine Hat, WHL
65. Jonah Gadjovich – LW, Owen Sound, OHL
66. Eemeli Rasanen – D, Kingston, OHL
67. Markus Phillips – D, Owen Sound, OHL
68. Ian Mitchell – D, Spruce Grove, AJHL
69. Alex D’Orio – G, Saint John, QMJHL
70. Artyom Minulin – D, Swift Current, WHL

71. Josh Brook – D, Moose Jaw, WHL
72. Cameron Crotty – D, Brockville, CCHL
73. Ian Scott – G, Prince Albert, WHL
74. David Farrance – D, USNTDP
75. Luke Martin – D, Michigan, NCAA
76. Joel Teasdale – LW, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL
77. Noel Hoefenmayer – D, Ottawa, OHL
78. Dylan Samberg – D, Hermantown, Minnesota High School
79. Filip Westerlund – D, Frolunda, SHL
80. Adam Ruzicka – C, Sarnia, OHL

81. Fabian Zetterlund – RW, Farjestad, SuperElit
82. Dmitri Samorukov – D, Guelph, OHL
83. Maksim Zhukov – G, Green Bay, USHL
84. Nate Schnarr – C, Guelph, OHL
85. Nick Henry – RW, Regina, WHL
86. Evan Barratt – C, USNTDP
87. Ivan Chekhovich – LW, Baie-Comeau, QMJHL
88. Michael Pastujov – RW, USNTDP
89. Keith Petruzzelli – G, Muskegon, USHL
90. Lukas Elvenes – RW, Rogle, SuperElit

91. Antoine Crete-Belzile – D, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL
92. Kirill Ustimenko – G, MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg, MHL
93. Cale Fleury – D, Kootenay, WHL
94. Alexandre Texier – C, Grenoble, France
95. Tobias Geisser – D, EV Zug, Switzerland
96. Aleksey Toropchenko – RW, Balashikha, MHL
97. Kalle Miketinac – C, Frolunda HC J20, SuperElit
98. Linus Weissbach – LW, Tri-City, USHL
99. Cayden Primeau – G, Lincoln, USHL
100. Jakub Galvas – D, HC Olomouc, Czech Extraliga