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NHL Draft 2017: TV, Live Stream Schedule and 1st-Round Mock Draft Predictions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2017

QUEBEC CITY, QC - JANUARY 30:   Nolan Patrick #19 of Team Cherry looks on during the third period of his Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at the Videotron Center on January 30, 2017 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)
Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

The 2017 NHL draft kicks off Friday night in Chicago. The New Jersey Devils own the top overall pick after winning the lottery despite owning the fifth-best odds at just 8.5 percent. They will be followed by the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars to round out the top three selections.

A lot has been made in recent weeks about the lack of a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews in this year's class. While it's true there's no stone-cold lock to become a superstar like those No. 1 choices, the group's depth should result in several high-impact players.

Let's check out all of the important details for the two-day event, followed by a complete mock draft for the opening round and a closer look at the most coveted prospects.

                                  

Viewing Information

Where: United Center in Chicago

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When: Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m. ET (Round 1) – Saturday, June 24 at 10 a.m. ET (Rounds 2-7)

Watch: NBC Sports Network (Day 1) and NHL Network (Day 2)

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live (Day 1)

                                

Round 1 Mock Draft

1. New Jersey Devils: Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

2. Philadelphia Flyers: Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

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

4. Colorado Avalanche: Cody Glass, C, Portland (WHL)

5. Vancouver Canucks: Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)

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

7. Arizona Coyotes: Nick Suzuki, C, Owen Sound (OHL)

8. Buffalo Sabres: Miro Heiskanen, D, HIFK Helsinki (Finland)

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

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

11. Los Angeles Kings: Kristian Vesalainen, RW, Frolunda HC (Sweden)

12. Carolina Hurricanes: Juuso Valimaki, D, Tri-City (WHL)

13. Winnipeg Jets: Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle BK (Sweden)

14. Tampa Bay Lightning: Callan Foote, D, Kelowna (WHL)

15. New York Islanders: Eeli Tolvanen, LW, Sioux City (USHL)

16. Calgary Flames: Martin Necas, C, HC Kometa Brno (Czech Republic)

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

18. Boston Bruins: Erik Brannstrom, D, HV71 (Sweden)

19. San Jose Sharks: Lias Andersson, C, HV71 (Sweden)

20. St. Louis Blues: Jason Robertson, LW, Kingston (OHL)

21. New York Rangers: Klim Kostin, RW, Dynamo Moscow (Russia)

22. Edmonton Oilers: Nicolas Hague, D, Mississauga (OHL)

23. Arizona Coyotes (from MIN): Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

24. Columbus Blue Jackets: Nikita Popugaev (also spelled "Popugayev"), LW, Prince George (WHL)

25. Montreal Canadiens: Maxime Comtois, LW, Victoriaville (QMJHL)

26. Chicago Blackhawks: Ryan Poehling, LW, St. Cloud State (NCAA)

27. St. Louis Blues (from WSH): Urho Vaakanainen, D, Espoo (Finland)

28. Ottawa Senators: Kailer Yamamoto, RW, Spokane (WHL)

29. Dallas Stars (from ANA): Conor Timmins, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

30. Nashville Predators: Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, Guelph (OHL)

31. Pittsburgh Penguins: Robert Thomas, C, London (OHL)

                                 

Analyzing Top Picks

1. New Jersey Devils: Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon (WHL)

Patrick looked primed to emerge as the next surefire No. 1 pick after a breakout 2015-16 campaign with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He scored 102 points in 72 games during the regular season before adding 30 points in 21 postseason contests.

Injuries prevented him from separating himself from the pack this past season, though. He still scored at an elite rate—20 goals and 26 assists in 33 appearances—but he missed a large portion of the year, including the team's short playoff run, due to a health issue.

Although the nature of the ailment wasn't announced by the junior team, Patrick said at the NHL Scouting Combine it was a misdiagnosed double sports hernia, per Jonah Bronstein of CSN Philly.

"I don't think it was the worst thing for me," he said. "I think a little adversity for a young kid makes you stronger as a player. I didn't talk about it during the year in the media, that I was misdiagnosed. This is the first time I've really said anything about it."

Patrick added he was medically cleared before the combine and should be ready for training camp. That said, the Devils must still decide whether Patrick, who possesses the most upside in this year's class, is still worthy of the top pick with the injury concerns now part of the conversation.

Ultimately, it will likely prove difficult for New Jersey to pass on him after ranking inside the bottom five in goal scoring for five straight seasons.

                         

2. Philadelphia Flyers: Nico Hischier, C, Halifax (QMJHL)

Hischier got a taste of professional hockey in Switzerland last year. While he scored just three points in 22 games across stints with Visp EHC and Bern SC, it provided valuable experience before he made the jump to North American junior hockey with the Halifax Mooseheads.

The 18-year-old Swiss center made a smooth transition en route to 38 goals and 48 assists across 57 games. He played in virtually every situation for Halifax and never seemed out of place or overwhelmed by the heavy burden.

Guillaume Lepage of NHL.com passed along praise from Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell about the rising star's overall impact.

"He plays a complete game, he's not one dimensional," Russell said. "He's got world-class skills, great hands, great vision, but he's also our best defensive player. When you have a player that is your most skilled and basically your best player on the team, and he's also your best defensive player, it provides great leadership for your younger players."

The Flyers don't necessarily have a need for a center at this stage, but Hischier has too much talent to pass up with this pick. They can afford to take his development slowly, including potentially another full season in juniors, until a spot becomes available for him with the big club.

                         

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

Vilardi is another centerman whose value comes more from his wide-ranging skill set than his pure scoring ability. He's coming off a year with the Spitfires in which he tallied 29 goals and 32 assists across 49 games in his second season in the OHL.

A lot of his points come from an advanced understanding of the game for a player of his age, showcasing what could be the highest hockey IQ in the class. The biggest question in becoming a true No. 1 center is whether his skating will improve enough.

Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News noted Vilardi sees himself taking a path similar to the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.

"John Tavares has really developed his skating and I'm doing that through the years," Vilardi said. "Plus, he's good in all three zones and has incredible vision with the puck."

For a team like the Stars, who already have Tyler Seguin locked into the role of top center, a prospect like Vilardi feels like an ideal fit. He projects as a No. 2 center who logs plenty of ice time in all special-teams situations once he reaches full development.

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