Before we all give up on this year’s draft after that nightmare of a lottery, let’s take a step back and relax. Vegas is still selecting a top ten player. Arizona got screwed and dropped to seventh and look at their optimism.
Coyotes GM John Chayka: "I guess, glass half full, if there's any year to drop this is it."
— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) April 30, 2017
It might be best for everyone in Vegas to take the Chayka, “oh well, at least this draft kind of sucks” approach, then our expectations won’t be set too high. The Golden Knights organization feels very comfortable with their choice of players at number six.
We scout, we do our work, we do our evaluations. We’ve had the benefit of being an expansion team, we’ve known for some time that we’ll draft in the top six picks. So we have a pool of players that are candidates for our pick. -Kelly McKrimmon, Golden Knights Assistant GM
The hockey world has been down on June’s draft but team execs like McKrimmon feel differently. Maybe the AGM is selling the pick to Vegas fans or he’s not and he’s actually going to be right. With that in mind, let’s look at latest mock drafts and the prospects each one has moving to Summerlin.
VGK selects RW Owen Tippett (Canada – OHL)
With their first draft pick the Golden Knights select the Mississauga (OHL) player some scouts believe is the best goal scorer in the draft. Tippett (6-0, 200) has an NHL-caliber shot and scored 44 goals this season, fifth-most in the OHL. With his outstanding shot and excellent skating ability, scouts have compared him to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel. -Adam Kimmelman, NHL.com
Craig Button TSN:
VGK selects C Michael Rasmussen (Canada – WHL)
A big, rangy center-man, he can score, he can skate. Maybe not ready for the NHL but looks like a surefire 15-year NHL player. -Craig Button, TSN
VGK selects C Casey Mittelstadt (USA – USHL)
An electric offensive presence on the ice, Casey Mittelstadt brings the complete package of speed, skill, and hockey sense. He competes hard with every shift, and has the dynamic puck skills to keep up with his creativity, which is a hallmark of his game. His awareness is all-encompassing, and he never puts his teammates in positions where their time and space will be bottlenecked. On top of all this, he can play a north-south game, and his transition game is already at an elite level. He’s a complete player with the predatory instincts necessary to succeed as a consistent and, perhaps, dominant point producer at the next level. -Eliteprospects.com
VGK selects D Cole Makar (Canada – AJHL)
We knew he was a good player in the AJHL. We wanted to see him against the best in that tournament against the best players. He was a cut above. He was by far one of the best players there, for sure. -John Williams, NHL Central Scouting
VGK selects C Cody Glass (Canada – WHL)
A dangerous two-way center that thinks the game at a high level, never making the same mistake twice. He is analytical and patient in the development of his strengths. He transitions up-ice quickly and is able to create and dictate offensive chances on the rush. He attacks hard and fast and consistently displays excellent puck control. His decision making is very good, indicative of his high level of hockey sense. He plays a complete game and elevates his play as energy levels rise. At the next level, he will need to be even faster and more physically assertive to make his presence felt. All-in-all, an intense, quick-thinking competitor that can elicit a crowd’s excitement when he’s on the ice. -Eliteprospects.com
VGK selects D Timothy Liljegren (Sweden – SHL)
What makes Liljegren a top talent is his maturity and effective play in high competition. The 17 year-old Swede is currently playing in the Swedish Elite league for Rögle BK. There’s not much footage on him available, and he’s been sidelined with mono, but most believe he’s ready for the big stage in North America.” –SinBin.vegas article on December 7th, 2016
Six mock drafts and six different prospects. Three centers, two defenseman and one winger. The analysts apparently agree with the pool of players McKrimmon referenced to. Their indifference could be impacted by the three teams drafting first. New Jersey will take either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier and Philly will likely take the other. Dallas desperately needs to boost their backend. If the Stars decide to go with a defenseman, that will cause one of the highly-ranked centers to drop. So not too worry, everything will be alright. McPhee might draft another traditional sixth overall star (Paul Coffey, Peter Forsberg, Miko Koivu, Hampus Lindholm) and knock over the Coyotes half-full glass in the process.