My redraft of the 2018 class was by far my most popular blog, and I think enough time has passed for me to dive back into redrafting to see if I can strike gold again. I gotta make you guys want it, after all. Today (it’s 4 am) I’m going to redraft the top 10 of the 2017 draft, and this time the players are much more established NHLers, with a few exceptions. Once again, the redrafted players original position will be next to his name in parentheses, but this time I’ll be including the teams original pick in parentheses next to the team name. I’ll also be including a biggest losers section after my honorable mentions. I’m getting better at this stuff, guys.
This draft was much harder to redraft compared to 2018 in my opinion. Speaking of opinions, that’s all that these are, so if your favorite player is lower than you think he should be try not to blow a gasket. I’m just some mutant punk from Long Island that watches hockey all day, you’re allowed to disagree with me. All stats are current as of May 5, 2021. Hope you had a fun Cinco de Mayo.
#1 New Jersey (N. Hischier) – Cale Makar (4)
Cale Makar is everything you could want a defenseman to be and more. The UMass alum debuted in the 2019 playoffs and started contributing immediately. That carried over to his rookie season in 2020, which saw him put up 50 points in 57 games and run away with the Calder trophy. He can run the power play, but he can also take the toughest assignments and log 20+ minutes every night without breaking a sweat. There are multiple Norris trophies in Makar’s future.
#2 Philadelphia (N. Patrick) – Miro Heiskanen (3)
It was very tough for me to put Heiskanen over my #3 pick, but two main things contributed to my decision. One, my bias toward defensemen as a former rearguard myself, and two, Heiskanen’s 40 games of playoff experience and his 30 postseason points. He’s one of two players from the class of 2017 with 200+ games, so he has more points than Makar as of right now, but Cale will pass him any day now. With that said, Heiskanen has proven to be a top pair defender capable of getting rolling in the playoffs, and a player like him is essential for a team with cup aspirations.
#3 Dallas (M. Heiskanen) – Elias Pettersson (5)
This is an interesting player to say the least. A part of me wanted to put him at #1. When he’s on his game, look out, he can pass as a top 5 player in the league. Then there are times he completely vanishes for a handful of games. Despite that, he’s managed to record the most goals, assists, and points of the 2017 class, with a stat line of 65-88-153 in 165 games. He won rookie of the year in 2019, but his points per game average has slightly decreased each year since then. He lit up the 2020 playoff bubble with 18 points in 17 games. He missed a lot of time this year and will not return down the stretch here for Vancouver.
#4 Colorado (C. Makar) – Nico Hischier (1)
Hischier was a dominant force in the QMJHL and garnered enough hype to overtake Nolan Patrick as the top prospect going into this draft. The Swiss forward has been a consistent bright spot on a dreary Devils roster, but he’s been battling injuries the last few years. Despite that, he leads all 2017 draftees in games played with 227, and he has a playoff goal to his credit. He was named captain of the Devils so he must be a great locker room presence, his two way game is extremely strong, but I don’t see him ever being a game breaker on the same level of Pettersson.
#5. Vancouver (E. Pettersson) – Martin Necas (12)
Jumping 7 spots into the top 5, Necas has been a regular contributor for a loaded Carolina offense. He chipped in 4 points in 8 playoff games last year and will most likely pile up more this postseason. Carolina is a cup favorite this year because of the elite depth scoring they get from guys like Necas. He could be a top line forward on many other teams around the league. He is worth every penny of his $4.4 million cap hit.
#6 Vegas (C. Glass) – Robert Thomas (20)
He’s not the lead singer of Matchbox Twenty, but he was selected at #20 overall and he’s the biggest mover in my rankings, jumping 14 spots. His name is also on the Stanley Cup, as he went all the way with St. Louis in 2019, and he has 9 playoff points to go with his 29 games of postseason experience. He’s a huge pain in the ass to play against, and he’s an offensive threat good for a point every other game throughout his 164 game career. Every team in the league should have a player like this guy.
#7 NY Rangers (L. Andersson) – Erik Brannstrom (15)
I remember when Vegas took Brannstrom at 15 he was often compared by analysts to former Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson. I had my doubts for the mid round pick, but he’s definitely shown shades of E.K. since being traded from Vegas to the fellow Swede’s former team in Ottawa. He gets a ton of minutes on the rebuilding Sens blue line, and a lot of those are on the power play. They probably rushed him into the NHL in 19-20, but his AHL return served him well. Since he came back up this season, he has looked like a world class puck moving defenseman at times.
#8 Buffalo (C. Mittelstadt) – Nick Suzuki (13)
Another former pick of the Golden Knights, this is a player that took some time to arrive after being traded from Vegas to Montreal, but as soon as he did he proved to be an electrifying talent. He’s a great playmaker that will hit 100 NHL points early next season, and he had a strong showing in the 2020 playoff bubble with 4 goals and 7 points in 10 games. He’ll be challenging for the 1C position in Montreal next year.
#9 Detroit (M. Rasmussen) – Kailer Yamamoto (22)
A big mover on my list making up 13 spots, this undersized forward has been impressive in a bottom six role with the Oilers and is proving he deserves more playing time with the likes of McDavid and Draisaitl. He’s always had the speed, but the hands are really starting to catch up too. He’s got 51 points in 102 games for a perfect .5 PPG, and that can only go up if he gets to play with McJesus.
#10 Florida (O. Tippett) – Filip Chytil (21)
This one was another really tough choice, but I feel better about it since I’ll have a few honorable mentions like last time. My Rangers bias is showing again, but Chytil is absolutely a top 6 talent. He had a slow start to his career, but he’s shown strokes of greatness playing with the likes of Kakko and Lafreniere this year. He has more goals than everyone ahead of him on this list, except for Pettersson and Hischier, with 34.
First and foremost, I have to mention potential 2021 rookie of the year Jason Robertson (39). He’s a second round pick that wasn’t expected to be a top 6 forward, but injuries to key players have thrusted him into that role and he’s held onto it, rarely looking out of place. He has an astonishing 43 points in 48 games thus far. I’d just like to see him do it again next year before I put him in my top 10. Casey Mittelstadt (8), Gabe Vilardi (11), and Josh Norris (19) all just missed my top 10 as well, as they’ve all had coming out parties to some degree this year.
You probably noticed the omission of Nolan Patrick (2). He has simply failed to live up to his pre-draft hype, and injuries have done him zero favors. I hope for the Flyers’ sake he can turn it around because they are in desperate need of a guy like him to live up to his potential. Lias Andersson (7), Michael Rasmussen (9), and Owen Tippett (10) have all fallen out of the top 10 as well. There’s still time for all of these guys, but they haven’t done much at all to get their respective fan bases excited up to this point.
These are a ton of fun to do. I enjoy digging through HockeyDB a little too much, because it’s now almost 6 in the morning and I’ve neglected to sleep yet once again. The birds are chirping and that’s usually a sign for me to go the fuck to sleep, so I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, and I’ll bring some more stats and history your way real soon. Stay tuned for my Oilers recap later today/early tomorrow.