Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News breaks down the top prospects in the NHL draft.
Nolan Patrick, Brandon (WHL), 6-2, 198, C: Many scouts consider Patrick a safe pick, a guy who’ll have a good NHL career, but maybe not a star. Injuries have been a concern.
Nico Hischier, Halifax (QMJHL), 6-1, 176, C: Hischier doesn’t have elite speed and needs to add muscle to his frame, but knows where to go on the ice to score goals.
Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie (Minn.) HS, 6-1, 201, C: It’s difficult to project an American high school player, but Mittelstadt has intriguing offensive ability.
Gabe Vilardi, Windsor (OHL), 6-3, 201, C: Has the attributes to develop into a sturdy, two-way center. Injuries and skating are concerns, but Vilardi’s elite hockey instincts appeal to scouts.
Elias Pettersson, Timra (Sweden), 6-2, 161, C: The most optimistic scouts compare Pettersson’s game to Pavel Datsyuk or Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom. But Pettersson needs to get physically stronger.
Timothy Liljegren (Sweden), 6-0, 190, D: Liljegren has ability, but he scares scouts with his gambling. He either makes the breathtaking, explosive play, or is out of control defensively.
Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City (WHL), 6-6, 215, C: Big guy who is dangerous around the net, has a great reach, but as with many big players, his first couple strides aren’t fast, and scouts would like to see more passion.
Miro Heiskanen (Finland), 6-0, 170, D: A smooth skater who could develop into the prototypical puck-moving defenseman teams love these days.
Cody Glass, Portland, (WHL), 6-2, 178, C: Skinny player who doesn’t have the size right now, but some scouts project could be an elite scorer once he matures physically.
Owen Tippett, Mississauga (OHL) , 6-0, 200, RW: Good size and speed, and has a dangerous shot, but nearly every other part of Tippett’s game needs some polishing.
Martin Necas, HC Kometa (Czech Republic), 6-0, 167, C: Necas isn’t very big, but scouts love his upside offensively and he doesn’t back down.
Cale Makar, Brooks (Alberta Junior Hockey League), 5-11, 180, C: The mystery guy in the draft. Makar has put up statistics, and has noticeable skills, but he’s done it against inferior competition.
Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City (USHL), 5-10, 170, LW: Likes to score goals and is very good at it, but the Boston College recruit isn’t very big and doesn’t play physically.
Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State (NCAA), 6--2, 183, C: Poehling needs another year or two in college, but has the offensive ability that projects to the next level.
Isaac Ratcliffe, Guelph, (OHL), 6-6, 200, LW: Made a nice jump in his second OHL season and plays with a bit of an edge. Needs to grow into his big frame.
Cal Foote, Kelona (WHL), 6-4, 212, D: Plays a lot like his father, Adam, who starred with Colorado in those rivalry days against the Red Wings. Foote’s foot speed is a concern.
Klim Kostin, MVD (Russia), 6-3, 200, RW: Had shoulder surgery, which derailed his season, but Kostin projects as a top-6 power forward once he arrives in North America.
Lias Andersson, HV71 (Sweden), 5-11, 198, C: A project, Andersson will need time to develop, but he’s shown flashes of being an exceptional playmaker.
Nicolas Hague, Mississauga (OHL), 6--6, 215, D: A defenseman with this size is always going to intrigue, and Hague plays with a bit of an edge, which interests many teams.
Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City (WHL), 6-2, 200, D: A dynamic offensive player who can create plays, but has a slight frame, and has to improve defensively.