Wrapping up Rangers, Devils, Isles & Sabres Drafts

By: Leo Scaglione Jr., Pinch-Hitting For the Maven

Sure, the Devils seized headlines by owning the first overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.

In case you didn’t know, they selected second-ranked North American skater Nico Hischier, who suited up for Halifax (QMJHL) this past season.

[Fischler: Devils Nab Nico with No. 1 Pick]

But the Devils selected 10 more players before the draft culminated, and the other local clubs also nabbed a number of prospects.

Shortly after Hischier left the United Center stage, the Rangers selected Swedish center Lias Andersson with the seventh overall pick (acquired from the Coyotes earlier in the day in the Derek Stepan/Antti Raanta/Anthony DeAngelo deal). International Scouting Services named him the 25th best draft-eligible player; NHL Central Scouting listed him as the third-best international skater.

Andersson totaled 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 42 games with HV71 (Sweden) during the 2016-17 campaign, and another 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist) in 16 playoff games, helping lead his club to their fifth Le Mat Trophy, awarded to the league champs.

He also tallied three goals in seven games for Sweden at this year’s World Junior Championship.

The 5-11, 201-pound pivot labeled himself a “two-way center” who loves “to change games and score big goals.”

“I want to be a leader,” he added.

Although Andersson has never been to New York, he joked that he may have a place to stay since his dad, Niklas, played 138 of his 164 NHL games with the Islanders.

“Hopefully I can take his old apartment,” Lias said.

Niklas is currently a European scout for the Kings.

After Andersson’s name was called, the Sabres stepped up to the podium for the next pick, and selected center Casey Mittelstadt, who was ranked as the fourth-best prospect by The Hockey News and the third-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.

Mittelstadt, 6-0, 199, started and ended this past season in the USHL with Green Bay, for which he totaled 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 24 matches. In between, the Edina, Minnesota, native skated for his hometown Eden Prairie High School and led his team across the board with 21 goals, 43 assists and 64 points in 25 games. For his efforts, he was named the winner of Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award as the top senior high school hockey player in the state.

“He’s a dynamic player with great puck-handling skills and vision,” one scout said of Mittelstadt. “He can take the puck to the net or he can distribute. He’s grown, and his skating has improved. He makes plays in tight areas.”

Mittelstadt agreed.

“I’m a two-way center with offensive upside,” he stated. “I like to think I can make some plays with the puck by using my vision and creativity. I try to make guys around me better. That’s what I do best.”

Mittelstadt is committed to play for the University of Minnesota next season.

The final first-round selection by a local club was the 21st overall pick, which the Rangers used to draft Czech center Filip Chytil, named the 11th-best international skater by NHL Central Scouting. A strong skater listed at 6-2, 192, Chytil notched 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) in 38 games this past season with Zlin in the top Czech league.

“My biggest strengths are my skating, hands and vision,” Chytil self-assessed. “I’m strong on the puck.”

He tries to model his game after Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk and Maple Leafs ace Auston Matthews, but noted that he must work on his shot, which he continues to do.

“I have to work on my accuracy,” Chytil revealed. “But I work on it every day.”

He certainly doesn’t have to work on his English, as he spoke the language fluently during his media interview after being drafted.

“I’ve had a private English teacher (former Czech hockey player David Ohnutek) since September,” Chytil stated. “Before that, I studied for some hours at school. I hope it’s good enough!”

It sure was.

The rest of the locals’ selections, all of which came on Day Two of the draft, are as follows:

RANGERS:

Round 4, 123rd overall: Brandon Crawley (D)

Crawley, 6-2, 203, is coming off his third OHL campaign with London, during which he recorded career-highs in goals (7), assists (20) and points (27) while playing in 61 games. The Ridgewood, New Jersey, native has totaled 61 points (16 goals, 45 assists) in 187 OHL games.

Round 5, 145th overall: Calle Sjalin (D)

Sjalin’s brother, Pontus, was selected 160th overall by the Wild in the 2014 NHL draft. As for Calle, 6-1, 179, he totaled 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 34 games with Ostersund in Sweden’s third-tier league this past season.

Round 6, 157th overall: Dominik Lakatos (C)

Lakatos, 6-0, 178, set career-highs across the board in 2016-17, totaling 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 41 games with Liberec in the top Czech league. In his rookie campaign the previous year, he totaled 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in 36 games with Liberec.

Round 6, 174th overall: Morgan Barron (C)

Barron, 6-2, 200, recorded 60 points (34 goals, 26 assists) at St. Andrews College (High-ON) this past season in 56 contests. He also appeared in seven games with Sioux City (USHL). Two seasons ago, the Halifax native totaled 72 points (40 goals, 32 assists) in 58 games for St. Andrews.

Round 7, 207th overall: Patrik Virta (C)

Virta, 5-10, 180, notched career-highs with 14 goals, 12 assists and 26 points in 49 games with TPS this past season, his second full season in Finland’s top circuit.

ISLANDERS:

Round 2, 46th overall: Robin Salo (D)

Salo, 6-1, 189, totaled 16 points (1 goal, 15 assists) in 54 games this past season, his second with Sport Vaasa (Sweden). His 15 helpers led club defensemen and ranked second on the team. He won a gold medal at the 2016 Under-18 World Junior Championship, where he totaled one goal in seven games.

Round 3, 77th overall: Benjamin Mirageas (D)

Mirageas, 6-1, 171, registered 19 points (2 goals, 17 assists) with Bloomington and Chicago this past campaign, his first full season in the USHL. He was tied for first among league blueliners in playoff scoring with 10 assists, and helped lead the Steel to the 2017 Clark Cup. He’s committed to play at Providence College in the fall. He hails from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and lists Bruins’ blueliner Zdeno Chara as his boyhood idol.

Round 5, 139th overall: Sebastian Aho (D)

Aho, 5-10, 176, is coming off his fourth season in Sweden’s top league, during which he ranked second on Skelleftea AIK in assists (20) and third in points (30) in 50 games. His 30 points were tops among club defensemen and ranked third in the SHL. Aho, 21 years old, represented his native Sweden at the 2015 World Junior Championship, where he totaled one goal and three assists in seven matches.

Round 6, 165th overall: Arnaud Durandeau (LW)

Durandeau, 5-11, 183, was fourth on Halifax in assists (26) and sixth in points (41) in 64 matches during the 2016-17 season. Over the last two campaigns, the 18-year-old has 70 points (27 goals, 43 assists) in 127 QMJHL games.

Round 7, 201st overall: Logan Cockerill (LW)

As an alternate captain with the U.S. NTDP this past season, Cockerill, 5-8, 165, produced 27 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 52 games. He won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2017 Under-18 World Junior Championship, where he recorded three helpers in seven games. He’s committed to play college hockey at Boston University.

DEVILS:

Round 2, 36th overall: Jesper Boqvist (C)

Boqvist, 5-11, 165, notched six assists in 16 games with Brynas (Sweden) this past season and added a goal in 10 playoff games. With Brynas’ junior team, he recorded 15 points (10 goals, 5 assists) in 15 games, and in the second-level of Swedish hockey with Timra he tallied 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in 19 games. He models his game after Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Round 3, 63rd overall: Fabian Zetterland (LW/RW)

Zetterland, 5-11, 195, went scoreless in 14 games with Farjestad (Sweden) this past season, but he did produce 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games with its junior club.

Round 3, 81st overall: Reilly Walsh (D)

Walsh, 5-11, 184, has been labeled by scouts as a “rink rat,” and it shows on the ice. As an alternate captain with Proctor Academy this past season, the offensive blueliner totaled 69 points (30 goals, 39 assists) in 30 matches. He also spent time with the 2017 Clark Cup-winning Steel, for whom he totaled 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in 24 games. Walsh’s dad, Mike, played in 14 games with the Islanders. The younger Walsh is bound for Harvard in the fall.

Round 4, 98th overall: Nikita Popugaev (LW)

Popugaev, 6-5, 219, is coming off his second season in the WHL in which he split time with Moose Jaw and Prince George, totaling 69 points (29 goals, 40 assists) in 71 games between the two teams. In his rookie season with Moose Jaw, he recorded 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 70 contests. His favorite player and the man he tries to model his game after is fellow Russian and Penguins’ ace Evgeni Malkin.

Round 5, 129th overall: Gilles Senn (G)

Senn, 6-5, 191, played in 34 games with Davos in Switzerland’s top circuit this past season and finished with a 2.64 goals-against average and .910 save percentage.

Round 5, 143rd overall: Marian Studenic (RW)

Studenic, 6-0, 164, lists Penguins captain Sidney Crosby as his idol. In 2016-17, Studenic’s first OHL season, he totaled 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists) in 58 games with Hamilton. He also represented Slovakia at this year’s World Junior Championship, where he was held pointless in five games.

Round 6, 160th overall: Aarne Talvitie (C)

Talvitie, 5-10, 198, is coming off his first full season in the Finnish junior league with the Blues. In 46 matches, he totaled 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists).

Round 7, 191st overall: Jocktan Chainey (D)

Chainey, 6-0, 198, tallied 24 points (4 goals, 20 assists) in 55 games with Halifax this past season, his second in the QMJHL. The previous year he notched five goals and 13 assists in 46 games with Halifax and Shawinigan.

Round 7, 205th overall: Yegor Zaitsev (D)

Zaitsev, 6-0, 180, recorded one helper in 19 games with Dynamo Moscow this past season, his first in the KHL. In Russia’s second-tier league, he totaled two goals and four assists in 24 games with Balashikha.

Round 7, 214th overall: Matthew Hellickson (D)

Hellickson, 6-0, 184, registered 28 points (6 goals, 22 assists) in 52 games with Sioux City this past campaign, his second in the USHL.

SABRES:

Round 2, 37th overall: Marcus Davidsson (C)

Davidsson, 6-0, 191, notched 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 45 games in 2016-17 with Djurgarden (Sweden) and added 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) in nine matches with its junior team. He models his game after Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog.

Round 2, 54th overall: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (G)

Luukkonen, 6-4, 198, led Finland’s junior circuit with a 1.78 goals-against average in the regular season and a 2.01 GAA in the playoffs, as he helped lead HPK’s junior team to the championship. He models his game after fellow Finn and Stanley Cup finalist with the Predators, Pekka Rinne.

Round 3, 89th overall: Oskari Laaksonen (D)

Laaksonen, 5-9, 133, totaled 9 points (6 goals, 3 assists) in 27 matches with Ilves Jr. in Finland’s junior league this past season.

Round 4, 99th overall: Jacob Bryson (D)

Bryson, 5-9, 178, is coming off his freshman season at Providence College, where he notched 20 points (3 goals, 17 assists) in 38 games. In 2015-16 with Omaha (USHL), he totaled 31 points (3 goals, 28 assists) in 56 contests.

Round 7, 192nd overall: Linus Weissbach (LW)

Weissbach, 5-8, 161, totaled 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) in 49 games with Tri-City (USHL) this past season, his first in North America. The Swedish-born forward played in one game with Frolunda in his country’s top league in 2015-16, but did register 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) in 44 games with its junior team that season.