Ted Kulfan's top NHL draft prospects

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News breaks down the top prospects in the NHL draft.

Forward Gabe Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires is considered a good two-way center with solid hockey instincts.

Top 10

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.

Holland sees draft as netting long-term yield for Wings

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.

Next 10

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.