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SBN Mock NHL Draft: Alternate possibilities to Eeli Tolvanen for the Maple Leafs

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We selected Tolvanen with the 17th pick, but what if the draft had unfolded differently?

2017 NHL Draft Prospects Media Availability Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Last Saturday we selected Finnish winger Eeli Tolvanen as the Maple Leafs selection in the first round of the SBN Mock NHL Draft. The choice of Tolvanen was supported by a large majority of our staff.

However, that selection was predicated on the options available in this particular Mock Draft. The exact same selection order is not likely to play out at the real NHL Draft, which starts this Friday at 7PM EDT.

Strange things happen at the NHL Draft each year. Players unexpectedly fall to a lower selection, GM’s go off the board and pick a player no one expected, and trades turn everything upside down.

By popular demand, we’re going to explore possibilities for the 17th selection if the draft order had unfolded differently than in our Mock Draft.

Before we do that, let’s catch up on where the SBN NHL Mock Draft is right now.

SBN Mock NHL Draft

Team Selection
Team Selection
New Jersey Nico Hischier
Philadelphia Nolan Patrick
Dallas Casey Mittlestadt
Colorado Miro Heiskanen
Vancouver Gabriel Vilardi
Vegas Owen Tippett
Arizona Timothy Liljegren
Buffalo Cale Makar
Detroit Cody Glass
Florida Kristian Vesalainen
Los Angeles Nick Suzuki
St. Louis (from Carolina) Lias Andersson
Winnipeg Juuso Valimaki
Tampa Bay Kailer Yamamoto
N.Y. Islanders Elias Pettersson
Calgary Klim Kostin
Toronto Eeli Tolvanen
Boston Nicholas Hague
San Jose Michael Rasmussen
Carolina Martin Necas
NY Rangers Erik Brannstrom
Edmonton Ryan Poehling
Pittsburgh Callan Foote
Columbus Maxime Comtois

Now, let’s think about alternate possibilities. Here is whom the elite amateur hockey scouts and kitten ranchers of PPP would choose in some alternate universe scenarios.

What if any one of the 13th to 16th selections had fallen, and were still available in addition to Tolvanen. Are any or all of those players preferable to Tolvanen?

(those players are Juuso Välimäki, Kailer Yamamoto, Elias Pettersson, and Klim Kostin)

Katya: I'd take Elias Pettersson, Martin Necas or perhaps Klim Kostin ahead of Tolvanen. The problem with Kostin is I'd need a good scouting report, and I think they are few and far between given the strange circumstances there. The other player I'd consider is Michael Rassmussen (gasp!). Because I think everyone is shouting, "OMG Tyler Biggs, oh the agony," and rating this guy down in their minds to the point they are over-correcting. I'd give it thought for sure.

Arvind: I would have taken Pettersson over Tolvanen for sure. I also voted for Necas, so obviously, him too. I like Yamamoto and Valimaki a lot - I’d be pretty happy if we ended up with either, though Tolvanen’s shot appears to be the single best tool of any of these prospects. Kostin is a wild card. Even draft experts (which I am not) seem to have no idea what to make of him. I’m punting on that decision.

Fulemin: Yes to Pettersson, who is a really fantastic offensive talent. I would also take Valimaki--my attitude is BPA except when there's a tie, and Valimaki's position is obviously one of some organizational need; that gives him the edge in a close race between him and Tolvanen. Yamamoto tempts me greatly but I have juuuuust enough size bias left to be leery of taking a 5'7" player at 17, and Kostin is a complete dice roll.

Kevin: Pettersson is the one player on this list who I would probably get convinced to take instead. Like Tolvanen, he is an extremely talented forward with plenty of scoring upside. His puck carrying ability belongs in the same conversation as Casey Mittelstadt and Nico Hischier, and he may be able to stick at centre. The gap between Pettersson and Tolvanen is small for me, and I think Pettersson is a better fit at centre or left wing. All of the players on the list carry considerable upside, but I give the edge to Tolvanen giving his scoring upside.

What if the draft proceeded the same way, except Calgary selected Tolvanen instead of Kostin? Who would you then pick with the 17th selection?

(so Kostin is available, as is everyone selected after that, like Nic Hague)

Katya: Hague isn't really a 17th pick. I think he's the guy you take after you've traded down. I'd take Martin Necas.

Arvind: I’d go with Necas as well.

Fulemin: Necas. (I keep having to not-pick Nic Hague. Sigh.) But Necas is a near-top ten talent with great speed, holding his own in the Czech league. I think he dropped primarily because people don't pay much attention to him, including scouts.

Kevin: Necas, Brannstrom, and Kostin would be on my shortlist. I give the edge to Necas, as it is easy to gamble on a centre who can fly out there. I consider Necas to be one of the bigger unknowns in this draft class, but his skill level is worth the gamble at #17.

Assume the mock draft order was the same, but the Leafs get an irresistible offer from Edmonton to trade down and chose at 22. Who do you take at 22?

(so selections from 1 to 21 are the same as in the mock draft)

Katya: Hague would be fine at 22, but he'd be gone without any other changes, so I'd opt for Ryan Poehling.

Fulemin: Probably Robert Thomas. I'm not as up on the range of prospects in the 20s because I've been preparing for the Leafs to pick at 17, but he's by all accounts an impressive centre and I'm sure the London connection endears him to Hunter. However, the major thing is that I can make Matchbox 20 jokes for years if we do.

Kevin: All of the players ranked in my top 18 were taken in the top 20 of this mock draft, so I would strongly consider trading down yet again. I would rather take a quantity over quality approach at this point, but Robert Thomas and Henri Jokiharju would be on my shortlist.

I lean towards Thomas, as his work ethic and skill level provides him with a strong overall game. Jokiharju would fill the team’s need for a right-shooting defenceman, and he should break out next season in the CHL. The question becomes: do you want to take a forward or defenceman?

Final thoughts

So, there is a little glimpse through the wormhole to the alternate universe. But, if this is a ‘mock alternate universe’ draft, doesn’t the mock cancel out the alternate? Are these actually the selections for the real draft?

I think I need a glass of kanar.

While I am imbibing, vote in this poll related to our second question.

Poll

What if the draft proceeded the same way, except Calgary selected Tolvanen instead of Kostin? Who would you then pick with the 17th selection?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Klim Kostin
    (20 votes)
  • 36%
    Martin Necas
    (107 votes)
  • 13%
    Nic Hague
    (40 votes)
  • 27%
    Eric Brannstrom
    (81 votes)
  • 4%
    Michael Rasmussen
    (12 votes)
  • 10%
    Someone else
    (32 votes)
292 votes total Vote Now