European Top Nine Forwards – 2017 NHL Draft

Elias Pettersson (5 – 15)

  • DOB: 1998-11-12 / H: 6’2 / POS: C/LW / Nation: Sweden / League:  Allsvenskan
  • Smart player, plays a complete game needs to put some muscle on his 6’2 frame.  Doesn’t have elite skating but is a good offensive weapon.
  • Elite Prospects: A crafty and agile two-way forward, Pettersson is consistently productive in all three zones. As he gets stronger, he’ll become even more physical and aggressive than he is now, and his creativity could definitely elevate his game to dominant levels. He can be described as a tenacious, jack-of-all-trades kind of player; he is well versed in all the important aspects of his own game. His speed and top-end acceleration continue to improve game by game, and his hard-nosedness shows through in his dogged pursuit of puck control. Elias Pettersson is a complete hockey player that brings intellect and youthful exuberance to a game that feeds on his kind of exciting athleticism.

Lias Andersson  (10 – 25)

  • DOB: 1998-10-13 / POS: C/LW / H: 5’11 / Nation: Sweden / League: SHL
  • His offensive numbers are good compared to recent players drafted out of the SHL (Zibanejad, Fiala, Eriksson-Ek & Vranaa), he also plays a good two-way game.  He might not have high-end upside but he projects as a safe two-way player.  The two concerns are size and his also a late birthday.
  • TSN: He’s quick, fast, determined and skilled and can play all three positions up front. A Swiss (or Swedish) Army knife-type player who’s very adaptable and coaches will love.

Martin Necas (10-25)

  • DOB: 1999-01-15 / H: 6’1 / S: R / POS: C / Nation: Czech / League: Czech-Elite
  • Necas plays a complete game he’s a fast, skilled right-handed center with decent size (6’1) and not afraid to go to the hard areas of the ice.  He’s playing in the Czech pro league against men and putting up .37 PPG.  There’s not too many Czech league forwards selected in the first round in the past 10 years but his numbers are ahead of Michael Frolik & Jiri Tlusty who were drafted back in 06.
  • Necas impressed scouts with both his effort and ability to get involved in everything. This guy gets after it. Not the biggest player on the ice, but makes up for it with his creativity and hard work. –Jeff Marek, Wyshynski and Marek Podcast

Klim Kostin (10 – 25)

  • DOB: 1999-05-05 / POS: RW / H: 6’3 / Nation: Russian / League: KHL
  • Big, skilled winger that entered the year as a potential top 5 pick.  Hasn’t had a successful year in KHL/VHL with only 1 goal in 17 games.  But the fact that he has been playing in the KHL and he’s a late birthday is a positive.  I think skill-wise and size he’s in the range with Guryanov, but behind Nichushkin or Tarasenko.
  • Last Word On Sports:  Kostin has the strength and size to play a powerful game, as he is strong on the puck; effective in maintaining possession down low; and difficult to contain when he drives the net. His skating shows excellent speed, balance and power. He is also highly skilled, with soft hands and excellent stickhandling ability; a fantastic wrist shot and release; along with good vision and passing skills. Kostin plays a gritty game, not afraid to get to the front of the net, or battle for loose pucks at both ends of the ice. He could stand to be a little more selfish, and shoot the puck more as he often looks to make a pass.

Marcus Davidsson (25 – 45)

  • DOB: 1998-11-18 / H: 6′ / POS: C/W / S: L / Nation: Sweden / League: SHL
  • Had 10 points in 9 games in the Swedish SuperElite league.  Models his game after Landeskog.  Button had him ranked 3rd entering the season.
  • Craig Button TSN:   Determined centre who gets involved in all of the critical areas of the game. Very good skater with power and he uses it to his advantage with and without the puck. Excellent sense and awareness and makes plays that threaten opponents and creates opportunities. Plays with confidence and has the ability to utilize the skills and talents of those around him.

Kristian Vesalainen (25 – 45)

  • DOB: 1999-06-01 / POS: LW/RW / H: 6’3 / S: L / NATION: Finland / League: SHL
  • Vesalainen entered the year as a potential top 10 pick, now there’s a chance he slips outside the first round.  He has good size but needs to play a smarter game.  He has been playing in against men in the SHL.  However, his numbers in International tournaments and the Swedish junior league (4 points in 10 games) aren’t overly impressive.
  • Finn Prospects:  Vesalainen is hard worker, plays solid passing game, forechecks well, doesn’t shy away in physical battles and is impressive at the defensive zone for a player of his age. His offensive talent most likely prevents him to become elite player but he should have bright future ahead in two-way role.

Lucas Elvenes  (30 – 60)

  • DOB: 1999-08-18 / H: 6′ / POS: RW / S: L / NATION: Sweden / League: SuperElit
  • High end offensive ability.  Solid offensive numbers inthe SuperElite league.  On the small side.  Late birthday.  Rated 51st by McKenzie in his mid-season rankings.  Excellent puck skills.  Above average hockey IQ.
  • The Draft Analyst: A jack-of-all-trades kind of forward, Elvenes played in every situation, to include manning the point on the power play. He’s a key figure for Rogle’s J20 squad (Superelit), and his two-way play was certainly on display. He showed patience off of defensive-zone draw wins, calmly waiting for things in front of him to properly align. When he didn’t see something he liked, he peeled back and re-engaged with a successful breakout. On several occasions, Elvenes made world-class set-ups, including one occasion when he dished a sweet behind-the-back feed from below the goal line while cutting against the grain in a 3-1 win against Russia. Elvenes uses excellent footwork to skate himself into an area with open lanes to attack, and he’s consistent with pass accuracy whether dishing it hard or soft. He plays with his head up, and the timing on passes are excellent.

Alex Lipanov (30 – 60)

  • DOB: 1999-08-17 / H: 6′ / POS: C / S: L / Nation: Russia / League: VHL
  • Put up solid numbers at international tournaments but didn’t produce much during the regular season.  Fast playmaking center that is responsible in his own end.  He has a late birthday August 17th.
  • The Hockey News – Ryan Kennedy:  I haven’t had a chance to write about Lipanov since the World Jr. A Challenge happened in Alberta, but he was awesome there. Not only did he center a potent line with 2018 draft titan Andrei Svechnikov, but Lipanov was also a dogged penalty-killer and all-details player for Russia.

Ostap Safin (45-75)

  • DOB: 1999-02-11 / H: 6’4 / POS: F / S: L / NATION: Czech / League: CzechU20
  • He has solid potential.  He’s a big player that seemed to regressed a little this season, but is having a good playoffs.  He’s got a good shot and could be a goal scorer.  He’s a little behind where players like Frolik, Hertl were when they were drafted.  Right now he’s maybe a late second or early third round pick.
  • EliteProspect: A competitive, 200-foot player that can fit in a power or finesse role. Skates very well, with balance and noteworthy speed, and handles the puck with ease and control at top speeds. Displays a dangerously accurate shot that he is never hesitant to use; always a threat in the offensive zone. Uses his frame well, to protect the puck, as well as to impose physically upon the opposition. Defensively stable and actively cuts off passing and shooting lanes. Could be more creative, but is more of a straight-line player. Potential is that of a top six forward that can complement similarly high-caliber players. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)



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