Capping off what’s been a busy week in the hockey world, the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will take place tonight at United Center in Chicago, with coverage for us Yanks starting on NBCSN at 7 p.m.
Barring trade, the Florida Panthers will make the tenth overall selection in round one. After the first few picks are off the board, the draft could unfold in a myriad of ways, giving the Cats many options, especially at forward, to consider.
The Cats lost a considerable amount of goals off the NHL roster to the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday night, so the first name that comes to mind is Owen Tippett. Tippett is right winger who bagged 44 goals in 60 games for the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads this season. Rated the seventh-best prospect in North America by Central Scouting, Tippett is considered the best pure goal scorer available in the draft, yes please.
If Tippett doesn’t last until ten, other options at forward for the Panthers include big man Michael Rasmussen, slick Czech Martin Necas, Finnish wingers Kristian Vasalainen or Eeli Tovanen, talented Russian Klim Kostin, Swede Elias Petterson and OHLer Nick Suzuki.
As evidenced by their Expansion Draft protection list, we all know the Panthers love defensemen. Options for the blue line at ten include Euros Timothy Liljegren, Jusso Vailmaki and Erik Brannstrom as well as WHLer Callan Foote.
Florida will follow up tonight’s pick with four more on Saturday. The Cats have a pick in the second round (40), third round (66 - from Arizona), fifth round (133) and sixth round (184 - from Anaheim).
2017 NHL Draft
Fri, June 23, 7 p.m. ET (NBCSN, Sportsnet)
Sat, June 24, 10 a.m. ET (NHL Network, Sportsnet)
United Center, Chicago
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