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Craig Button

TSN Director of Scouting

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Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Timothy Liljegren of the Swedish club Rogle occupy the top two spots in the November Craig’s List for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Patrick, a centre, maintains his hold on the top spot from September, while Liljegren, a defenceman, remains in second.

Despite having only skated in a combined 10 games this season because of injury - Patrick with an upper-body injury after off-season sports hernia surgery and Liljegren with a bout of mononucleosis - no other player has demonstrated more potential than those two.

Patrick, who has nine points in six games this season, could end up playing in the fewest number of regular-season games by a first-overall pick since Gord Kluzak’s 38 in 1981-82 for the Billings Bighorns ahead of his selection by the Boston Bruins. The Wheat Kings have 48 games remaining.   

The top two prospects aren’t likely to meet at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto. Patrick was named to Canada’s selection camp roster Tuesday, but there is an expectation that he’ll need to be healthy and playing in WHL games before camp begins in Blainville, Que., on Dec. 11 to have a shot at making Team Canada. Liljegren is not expected to be on Team Sweden.

No. 3 Eeli Tolvanen of the Sioux City Musketeers in the United States Hockey League is a dynamic scoring winger who shows all the abilities of a gifted scorer and takes advantage of opportunities.

Patrick: Hopeful for full recovery ahead of selection camp

Brandon Wheat Kings captain and Canada’s National Junior Selection Camp invitee Nolan Patrick joins Hustler & Lawless to discuss being invited to the camp, and the rehabilitation progress for his upper body injury.

Centre Gabe Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires was injured at the outset of the season, returned, and was very productive before suffering appendicitis and finding himself sidelined once again. Rated fourth on our board, his ability to generate offence and create scoring chances puts him in position to be in the discussion at the top of the draft.

Fifth-ranked Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads, a centre, has literally found his stride and is showing the ability to be a very dangerous and prolific offensive threat.

Martin Necas has been a very good player with Brno in the Czech Extra League, no easy feat for a 17-year-old centre. Our No. 6 possesses a high skill level and a determination to make things happen.

Nikita Popugaev, a very talented Russian forward playing in Moose Jaw, finds his way into the top 10 in the seventh spot and very well could be another player who challenges at the top of the draft in June.

With Patrick and Liljegren not having the games played to showcase their talents this season, the door is open for others to challenge at the top of the draft. While the opportunity exists, and some players have shown the potential, no one has been able to truly seize the day.

While there is a lot of time for evaluation before the draft, the return to play by Patrick and Liljegren may very well shut the door for others, making this a decision at first overall between a top-end centre and a top-end defenceman.

 

Craig's List - November Ranking

 
RK PLAYER TEAM POS HT WT GP G P
1 Nolan Patrick Brandon (WHL) C 6'2 ¾ 198 6 4 9
2 Timothy Liljegren Rögle (SHL) D 6'0 191 4 0 2
2 Eeli Tolvanen Sioux City (USHL) RW 5'10 ¼ 170 19 13 22
4 Gabe Vilardi Windsor (OHL) C 6'3 201 16 9 22
5 Nico Hischier Halifax (QMJHL) C 6'0 ¾ 176 26 22 45
6 Martin Necas  Brno (Czech) C 6'0 ½ 167 25 5 12
7 Nikita Popugaev Moose Jaw (WHL) LW 6'5 ½ 204 25 19 37
8 Ryan Poehling St. Cloud St. (NCAA) C 6'2 ½ 202 11 3 5
9 Lias Andersson HV71 (SHL) LW/RW/C 5'11 ¼ 198 20 4 8
10 Casey Mittelstadt Green Bay (USHL) C 6'0 ¼ 194 16 8 21
11 Klim Kostin Moscow (KHL) RW 6'3 196 8 0 0
12 Matthew Strome Hamilton (OHL) LW 6'3 ½ 206 25 15 27
13 Shane Bowers Waterloo (USHL) C 6'1 ¼ 178 19 8 16
14 Kailer Yamamoto Spokane (WHL) RW 5'7 ½ 153 21 17 31
15 Cody Glass Portland (WHL) C/RW 6'1 ¾ 180 26 13 37
16 Michael Rasmussen Tri-City (WHL) C/LW 6'5 ¾ 215 27 20 33
17 Owen Tippett Mississuaga (OHL) RW 6'1½ 202 24 18 28
18 Elias Pettersson Timrå (Sweden-Als) LW 6'1 ¼ 156 22 10 23
19 Miro Heiskanen HIFK (SM Liiga) D 6'0 170 22 3 7
20 Nick Suzuki Owen Sound (OHL) RW 5'10 ¾ 187 27 16 34
21 U-P Luukkonen HPK U20 (SM Jr. Liiga) G 6'0 ¼ 170 18 1.56 0.917
22 Kristian Vesalainen HPK (SM Liiga) LW 6'3 ¼ 207 5 0 0
23 Maxime Comtois Victoriaville (QMJHL) LW 6'2 ¼ 199 27 8 16
24 Cal Foote Kelowna (WHL) D 6'3 ½ 213 25 2 17
25 Noel Hoefenmayer Ottawa (OJHL) D 6'0 ¼ 191 21 7 16
26 Grant Mismash USA NTDP (USHL) LW/C 6'0 ¼ 186 25 7 17
27 Marcus Davidsson Djurgårdens (SHL) C 6'0 191 21 5 6
28 Nate Schnarr Guelph (OHL) C 6'2 ¾ 180 21 8 14
29 Cale Makar Brooks (AJHL) D 5'10 ¼ 171 25 9 27
30 Nicholas Hague Mississuaga (OHL) D 6'5 ½ 206 23 8 17
31 Jusso Valimaki Tri-City (WHL) D 6'1 ½ 204 27 10 30
32 P-Olivier Joseph Charlottetown (QMJHL) D 6'2 160 26 4 25
33 Isaac Ratcliffe Guelph (OHL) LW 6'5 ½ 196 26 10 23
34 Henri Jokiharju Portland (WHL) D 5'11 ¾ 176 26 2 14
35 Joel Teasdale B-Boisbriand (QMJHL) C/LW 5'11 ¼ 190 26 9 22
36 Joni Ikonen Frolunda (SWE-J20) C 5'10 169 19 15 23
37 Morgan Frost Sault. Ste. Marie (OHL) C 5'10 ¾ 170 26 11 24
38 Michael Dipietro Windsor (OHL) G 6'0 196 17 2.55 0.909
39 Markus Phillips Owen Sound (OHL) D 5'11 ¾ 202 27 4 10
40 Maxim Zhukov Green Bay (USHL) G 6'2 ½ 188 11 2.35 0.905
41 Mason Shaw Medicine Hat (WHL) C/LW 5'8 ½ 180 26 5 40
42 Aleksei Heponiemi Swift Current (WHL) C 5'9 ¾ 147 28 6 31
43 Conor Timins Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) D 6'1 ¼ 185 26 3 20
44 Josh Norris USA NTDP (USHL) C 6'1 ¼ 192 22 7 15
45 A. Crete-Belzile B-Boisbriand (QMJHL) D 6'0 186 14 0 2
46 Antoine Morand A-Bathurst (QMJHL) C 5'10 178 27 13 28
47 J. Anderson-Dolan Spokane (WHL) C 5'10 ¾ 180 24 10 19
48 Jake Leschyshyn Regina (WHL) C/LW 5'10 ¾ 184 23 10 24
49 Tyler Inamoto USA NTDP (USHL) D 6'1 ½ 194 24 1 5
50 David Farrance USA NTDP (USHL) D 5'10 ¾ 189 25 4 13
51 Jake Oettinger Boston U (NCAA) G 6'4 203 10 2.02 0.922
52 Eemeli Rasanen Kingston (OHL) D 6'6 ¼ 216 24 3 11
53 Jarrett Tyszka Seattle (WHL) D 6'2 ¼ 190 23 2 11
54 Urho Vaakanainen Jyvaskala (SM Liiga) D 6'0 ½ 185 18 2 2
55 Jason Robertson Kingston (OHL) LW 6'1 ¾ 192 24 10 20
56 Evan Barratt USA NTDP (USHL) C 5'11 ½ 188 23 5 19
57 Scott Reedy USA NTDP (USHL) C/RW 6'1 ½ 204 25 8 17
58 Cale Fleury Kootenay (WHL) D 6'1 ¼ 212 27 6 16
59 Robin Salo Vassan (SM Liiga) D 6'0 ¾ 187 21 1 7
60 Ivan Lodnia Erie (OHL) LW/C 5'10 182 25 11 26
61 Mackenzie Entwistle Hamilton (OHL) C/RW 6'2 ¾ 180 25 10 19
62 Greg Meireles Kitchener (OHL) C/RW 5'9 ¾ 172 25 7 23
63 Ostap Safin Sparta Jr. (Czech Jr.) RW 6'4 ½ 191      
64 Artyom Minulin Swift Current (WHL) D 6'2 ¼ 202      
65 Ian Scott Prince Albert (WHL) G 6'3 ¼ 174      
66 Alexei Lipanov HK MVD Balashikha (MHL) C 6'0 165      
67 Paul Washe Tri-City (USHL) C 6'1 191      
68 Maksim Sushko Owen Sound (OHL) RW 5'11 ¾ 181      
69 Luke Martin Michigan (NCAA - B10) D 6'3 ¾ 216      
70 Cayden Primeau Lincoln (USHL) G 6'2 ¾ 177      
71 Michael Anderson Waterloo (USHL) D 5'11 ½ 196      
72 Clayton Phillips Fargo (USHL) D 5'10 ½ 170      
73 Ian Mitchell Spruce Grove (AJHL) D 5'11 171      
74 Jacob Paquette Kingston (OHL) D 6'2 ¾ 207      
75 Stelio Mattheos Brandon (WHL) C 6'0 ¾ 190