NHL mock draft 2017

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The NHL Draft is on June 23, which means all kinds of craziness can and probably will transpire around the league before the Devils make the first pick on the stage at the United Center in Chicago.

But until then, let’s test the limits of that word “mock” with Newsday’s NHL mock draft and put some of the top prospects in new homes.

(* Order for the final four picks not yet determined)

1. New Jersey Devils: Nico Hischier, center, Halifax (QMJHL)

The Swiss-born Hischier led all Quebec League rookies
(Credit: Getty Images / Minas Panagiotakis)

The Swiss-born Hischier led all Quebec League rookies with 38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games and had a pretty strong World Junior tournament as well for the plucky Swiss. He would be the first European No. 1 since Nail Yakupov in 2012. The Devils need a lot and Hischier would be a decent start.

2. Philadelphia Flyers: Nolan Patrick, center, Brandon (WHL)

The season-long No. 1 prospect according to Central
(Credit: Getty Images / Mathieu Belanger)

The season-long No. 1 prospect according to Central Scouting, Patrick was hampered by injury this season and had 20 goals and 26 assists in 33 games. The Flyers have a ton of blue-chip defense prospects and Patrick, the son of former Ranger Steve and nephew of longtime Ranger defenseman James, should help their forward depth right away.

3. Dallas Stars: Gabriel Vilardi, center, Windsor (OHL)

He's big, already 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, and
(Credit: Getty Images / Claus Andersen)

He's big, already 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, and has a deft scoring touch, posting 29 goals and 32 assists in 49 games. The Stars took a big step back this season but leaping up in the lottery to get a good prospect such as Vilardi will help the turnaround.

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4. Colorado Avalanche: Miro Heiskanen, defenseman, HIFK (Finland)

The Avs did everything right to get the

The Avs did everything right to get the No. 1 pick, fumbling to a 48-point regular season. Except they were lottery-balled down to fourth, which isn't the curse it might have been in recent drafts that featured franchise players such as Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. Heiskanen is a solid defenseman who, like many of the top Euro prospects, built his draft stock playing in the Finnish SM-Liiga, their top pro league.

5. Vancouver Canucks: Cody Glass, forward, Portland (WHL)

TSN draft analyst and former NHL GM Craig

TSN draft analyst and former NHL GM Craig Button compared Glass with Jets budding star Mark Scheifele. That seems good enough for a Canucks team that needs elite forwards with the Sedins nearing the end of their fabulous run.

6. Vegas Golden Knights: Casey Mittelstadt, center, Green Bay (USHL)

A high school kid in Vegas -- what
(Credit: Getty Images / Elsa)

A high school kid in Vegas -- what could go wrong? Minnesota's Mr. Hockey at Eden Prairie High, Mittelstadt is a strong (6-1, 201) center who will head to the University of Minnesota while his expansion team in Vegas gets its footing next season.

7. Arizona Coyotes: Cale Makar, defenseman, Brooks (Alberta Jr.)

He's only 5-10 and barely over 170 pounds,

He's only 5-10 and barely over 170 pounds, but the Erik Karlsson comparisons seem to flow in for this smooth-skating player.

8. Buffalo Sabres: Timothy Liljegren, defense, Rogle (Sweden)

Missed time with mononucleosis this year, but he

Missed time with mononucleosis this year, but he has elite-level skills from the back end that the defense-hungry Sabres, with new GM Jason Botterill and a coach TBD, can't ignore.

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9. Detroit Red Wings: Owen Tippett, right wing, Mississauga (OHL)

A top-notch scorer with 44 goals in 60
(Credit: Getty Images / Graig Abel)

A top-notch scorer with 44 goals in 60 games, he could be the elite scoring forward the Wings simply don't have right now.

10. Florida Panthers: Michael Rasmussen, forward, Tri-City (WHL)

Almost 6-foot-6, Rasmussen fits the Florida mold of
(Credit: Getty Images / Ben Nelms)

Almost 6-foot-6, Rasmussen fits the Florida mold of big, skilled forwards. Had 32 goals in 50 games for Tri-City.

11. Los Angeles Kings: Nick Suzuki, right wing, Owen Sound (OHL)

New GM, new coach, new outlook for the
(Credit: Getty Images / Dennis Pajot)

New GM, new coach, new outlook for the Kings, who need to start finding faster forwards in a league that's starting to leave their big front line behind. Suzuki had 45 goals and 51 assists and he can fly.

12. Carolina Hurricanes: Martin Necas, center, Brno (Czech Republic)

The Canes have built a foundation with a

The Canes have built a foundation with a few solid Euro forwards such as Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm, so Necas fits their system well.

13. Winnipeg Jets: Kristian Vesalainen, forward, Frolunda (Sweden)

A big (6-3, 207) winger who will complement

A big (6-3, 207) winger who will complement the Jets' good young forward group nicely.

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14. Tampa Bay Lightning: Juuso Valimaki, defense, Tri-City (WHL)

TSN draft analyst and former NHL GM Craig
(Credit: Getty Images / Marissa Baecker)

TSN draft analyst and former NHL GM Craig Button called Valimaki a workhorse, and that's the kind of defenseman Tampa needs after a very down season on the blue line.

15. New York Islanders: Lias Andersson, forward, HV71 (Sweden).

He put up some decent numbers (nine goals,
(Credit: Getty Images / Minas Panagiotakis)

He put up some decent numbers (nine goals, 10 assists) playing for the eventual Swedish League champions where he's a teammate of prized Isles goaltending prospect Linus Soderstrom. Andersson is versatile, having played all three forward spots, and plays a strong two-way game. A good player to have in a pipeline that's grown thin up front.

16. Calgary Flames: Cal Foote, defenseman, Kelowna (WHL)

Calgary's blue line is getting older and Foote,
(Credit: Getty Images / Marissa Baecker)

Calgary's blue line is getting older and Foote, son of longtime NHL defenseman Adam Foote, will be ready to step up in a few years.

17. Toronto Maple Leafs: Elias Pettersson, center, Timra (Sweden)

He had 41 points in 43 games in
(Credit: Getty Images / Minas Panagiotakis)

He had 41 points in 43 games in Sweden's second pro division and could join a franchise that's bursting at the seams with top-level Swedish prospects.

18. Boston Bruins: Eeli Tolvanen, right wing, Sioux City (USHL)

The Finnish-born forward is headed to Boston College,

The Finnish-born forward is headed to Boston College, where the Bruins can keep a close eye on him.

19. San Jose Sharks: Shane Bowers, center, Waterloo (USHL)

The Boston University-bound center will end up being

The Boston University-bound center will end up being a nice fit when the Sharks' forward core begins aging out.

20. St. Louis Blues: Ryan Poehling, center, St. Cloud State (NCAA)

A big (6-3, 207) pivot whom TSN draft
(Credit: Getty Images / Elsa)

A big (6-3, 207) pivot whom TSN draft analyst and former NHL GM Craig Button compared with Jordan Staal.

21. New York Rangers: Klim Kostin, forward, Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

The Rangers found a skilled forward out of

The Rangers found a skilled forward out of Russia in 2013 with Pavel Buchnevich. Kostin, the highest-rated European skater by Central Scouting, would be a grand slam if the Rangers could nab him here and get him over to the NHL within a couple years. He had shoulder surgery in January that ended his KHL season but he's still highly skilled and highly regarded.

22. Edmonton Oilers: Erik Brannstrom, defenseman, HV71 (Sweden)

The Oilers seem to be doing OK with

The Oilers seem to be doing OK with their forwards for the foreseeable future. Brannstrom offers the rising Oil a chance to get deeper on defense.

23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota): Kailer Yamamoto, right wing, Spokane (WHL)

He's barely 5-8, so there's going to be
(Credit: Getty Images / Derek Leung)

He's barely 5-8, so there's going to be a knock on him. But Yamamoto scored 42 goals and 57 assists this year and he can help someone in today's NHL.

24. Columbus Blue Jackets: Urho Vaakanainen, defenseman, Jyvaskala (Finland)

Good skater could be a good find for

Good skater could be a good find for a team that's never drafted so low in the opening round.

25. Montreal Canadiens: Jason Robertson, left wing, Kingston (OHL)

A California kid in Montreal? Sure, if that
(Credit: Getty Images / Elsa)

A California kid in Montreal? Sure, if that kid can put up anything like the 42 goals he scored this season. Robertson has good size, and goodness knows the Habs need scorers.

26. Chicago Blackhawks: Conor Timmins, defenseman, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

The Hawks always seem to need to restock
(Credit: Getty Images / Graig Abel)

The Hawks always seem to need to restock the cupboard quickly, with their salary cap maxed out. Timmins is a high-scoring (61 points this year) D-man who could be in the NHL sooner than you'd think.

27. St. Louis Blues (from Washington): Kole Lind, right wing, Kelowna (WHL)

A 30-goal season for a solid skater who
(Credit: Getty Images / Marissa Baecker)

A 30-goal season for a solid skater who may need to add some bulk before he jumps into the Central Division wars.

*28. Ottawa Senators: Pierre-Olivier Joseph, defenseman, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

Button said Joseph is a project but could
(Credit: Getty Images / Mathieu Belanger)

Button said Joseph is a project but could end up being a solid NHLer down the road.

*29. Dallas Stars (from Anaheim): Robert Thomas, center, London (OHL)

Versatile center who had 16 goals and 50
(Credit: Getty Images / Claus Andersen)

Versatile center who had 16 goals and 50 assists this year.

*30. Nashville Predators: Jesper Boqvist, center, Timra (Sweden)

Still-developing center would look good on a team

Still-developing center would look good on a team that's risen to the top with unsung European players such as Viktor Arvidsson and Mattias Ekholm.

*31. Pittsburgh Penguins: Grant Mismash, left wing, U.S. National Development team

He spent a year at Shattuck-St. Mary's, the
(Credit: Getty Images / Elsa)

He spent a year at Shattuck-St. Mary's, the Minnesota high school hockey factory (Sidney Crosby went there for a year) and is headed to the University of North Dakota.

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