Top prospects for 2017 NHL draft: Nolan Patrick hangs on to No. 1 spot

KELOWNA, CANADA - OCTOBER 25: Nolan Patrick #19 of Brandon Wheat Kings skates against the Kelowna Rockets on October 25, 2014 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Despite being limited to six games this season, the Brandon Wheat Kings’ Nolan Patrick remains the No.1-ranked prospect for the 2017 NHL draft. (Getty)

The Brandon Wheat Kings’ Nolan Patrick has been hurting, but he’s holding on to the claim of being the No. 1 prospect for the 2017 NHL draft.

The 6-foot-3 WHL centre, who has been limited to just six games this season due to injury and was left off of Team Canada for the world juniors, nevertheless remains the top-ranked player up for grabs in June according to ISS Hockey, an independent scouting company based out of Waterloo, Ont. Timothy Liljegren, a Swedish defenceman who’s also not playing in the 2017 WJC, held on to the No. 2 spot.

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 30: Nico Hischier #18 of Team Switzerland skates during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship preliminary round game against Team Denmark at the Bell Centre on December 30, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Team Switzerland defeated Team Denmark 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Nico Hischier earned rave reviews for his play at the 2017 world juniors with Switzerland, bolstering his draft status. (Getty)

The biggest risers among prospects in the top 10 in ISS’s January draft rankings – compared to December – are Nico Hischier and Casey Mittelstadt. Hischier, a right winger who plays for the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, turned heads at the WJC with four goals and seven points in five games for his native Switzerland. As a result, Hischier rose from the No. 8-ranked prospect a month ago all the way to No. 3. Mittelstadt, a centre who’s playing high school hockey in Minnesota and has committed to the University of Minnesota next year, went from No. 12 up to No. 6.

Centre Gabe Vilardi (Windsor, OHL), right winger Owen Tippett (Mississauga, OHL), centre Michael Rasmussen (Tri-City, WHL), defenceman Callan Foote (Kelowna, WHL), centre Klim Kostin (Dynamo, KHL) and left winger Eeli Tolvanen (Sioux City, USHL) rounded out the ISS’s top 10.

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 13: Jake Oettinger #29 of the Boston University Terriers tends goal against the Yale Bulldogs during NCAA hockey at Agganis Arena on December 13, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Terriers won 5-2. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Boston University’s Jake Oettinger made his first appearance in the ISS draft rankings, as the No. 2-rated netminder for the 2017 NHL draft behind Finland’s Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. (Getty)

Also notable in the ISS’s January draft rankings was the appearance of Boston University’s Jake Oettinger as the No. 2-rated goalie, unseating Prince Albert’s (WHL) Ian Scott. Finnish netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen remains No. 1 among masked men hoping to be selected by an NHL team.

The NHL draft will be held on June 23–24 at the United Center in Chicago. The date for the NHL draft lottery has not been announced. The Vegas Golden Knights, the expansion team that will begin play next season, will pick no lower than sixth overall in the first round, and will have the third pick in the subsequent rounds.

Here’s a look at ISS’s top 31 prospects for the 2017 NHL draft:

Top 31 NHL draft prospects-Jan4.2017
Top 31 NHL draft prospects-Jan4.2017