The Dallas Stars have the third overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and it’s one of the most intriguing spots in the draft.
Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick and Halifax Moosheads center Nico Hischier are considered the top prospects in this draft class. There is some debate whether Patrick or Hischier will go first overall, but there seems to be a consensus opinion that neither will make it past the second pick.
That means the Stars could go in any direction at No. 3 and it’s not a bad spot. While this draft is considered weaker than past years, Dallas will still get a very good prospect at No. 3 and a player that should make an impact in the NHL.
Since the NHL Draft Lottery I’ve taken time to watch video and spoken with others that have watched these draft prospects closely to create my own scouting reports for 12 players that Dallas could consider at No. 3.
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5-foot-10, 179 pounds
Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
The first thing that stands out about Eeli Tolvanen is his shot.
A Finnish left winger who plays for the Sioux Musketeers in the USHL, Tolvanen has the best shot in the USHL and one of the best releases in the entire draft. Whether it’s his wrist shot coming off the rush or getting setup for a slap shot on the power play, Tolvanen has a chance to score every time he touches the puck.
His NHL-caliber release comes with a good speed and Tolvanen has a good understanding of the game, he’s always in the right position. Tolvanen is planning on attending Boston College next season and his freshman campaign will give us a better idea of his long-term potential.
Is he quick enough and smart enough to find the space for his all-pro shot at the NHL level? How will he handle playing against older players in college? And can he add some muscle to his 5-foot-10 (178 CM), 179 pound (81 KG) frame?
Several scouts who have watched him closely in the USHL believe he’ll be able to easily answer those questions at Boston College, so that’s encouraging.
Tolvanen is on a good team in the USHL, Sioux City is currently deep in the playoffs, and much of that has to do with his success. But it might be better to judge the 18-year-old Finn from his time in the Under-20 World Junior Championships, where he had six points (two goals, four assists) in six games.
During that time he suffered a foot injury which caused him to miss the NHL Top Prospects game, and he may still be dealing with some residual effects of that.
Tolvanen could be a steal for a team in the top-10, but he probably isn’t going to be a top-three pick. That’s not a knock on Tolvanen, but rather an assessment of the other players available before him.
If the Stars were to trade back into the 8 through 10 range, Tolvanen would be a nice asset to add to the prospect pool.