It’s never too early to scout talent. Bob McKenzie released his preseason top 15 prospect list for the 2017 NHL Draft and the top slot wasn’t even close. Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick is the clear #1 prospect, being voted the top prospect by ten out of ten scouts McKenzie spoke with. Though it’s not clearly as exciting as the Jack Eichel–Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews-Patrik Laine debates, the report on Patrick is his ability to score goals. But he doesn’t boast the same franchise type standing as McDavid, Eichel, Matthews or Laine. After Patrick, however, the draft seems to dip in terms of overall talent. McKenzie writes that the draft is “not as exciting a group” as years past. Further, McKenzie reports that the top ten talent isn’t nearly as defined as in the past. McKenzie lists Patrick, D Timothy Liljegren, F Klim Kostin, F Maxime Comtois, F Eeli Tolvanen, F Gabe Vilardi, F Kristian Vesalainen, F Owen Tippett, D Cal Foote, and F Lias Andersson as the top ten best prospects in the 2017 Draft.
In other hockey news:
- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno can’t wait to see the new talent make their way to Columbus writes Alison Lukan. Foligno was one of many Jackets to congratulate the prospects in Cleveland who captured the Calder Cup this past summer. Now, Foligno is ready to welcome any of those prospects who can make an impact in Columbus.
“If you’re going to come and help us, we’re going to welcome you with open arms. We’re excited to see who is going to rise to the occasion and come and help our group. But it’s my job to be competitive and push everybody. If you want to be here, then you’ve got to beat me.”
Lukan reports that after a disappointing 2015-16 season, the Jackets will look to their younger players to push for playing time and help the team improve this year.
- Team North America captured the attention of the hockey world, and gave a glimpse of the future of the NHL writes the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. Canada coach Mike Babcock called the “young guns” team “one of the most exciting things of the tournament,” while saying that they would garner the attention of a whole new group of fans. Kuc described the North American team as the “darlings” of the tournament with a style of play that caused fans to experience “whiplash.” Amalie Benjamin adds that it was hockey at its “most brilliant, most entertaining, and most delightful.”