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.
Today’s scouting report on Timothy Liljegren wraps up this series, but I am starting work on a similar series for players Dallas could consider with their second first-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks.
You can follow these links for past scouting reports on Casey Mittelstadt, Gabriel Vilardi, Michael Rasmussen, Cody Glass, Owen Tippett, Eeli Tolvanen, Klim Kostin, Elias Pattersson, Lias Andersson, Miro Heiskanen, and Martin Necas.
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Rogle BK (SHL)
6-foot, 192 pounds
Timothy Liljegren endured a difficult season and is still considered one of the best defensemen available in this draft class.
The right-handed Swedish defenseman missed almost two months with mononucleosis, which hurt his production and caused him to slip down on several draft boards. After he returned from his bout with mono Liljegren didn’t have the expected production and struggled to get caught up to the speed of the game, eventually he spent time at three different levels and finally found some productivity against his under-18 peers.
But Liljegren’s body of work before the illness and struggles have teams excited about the Swede. He’s a strong and balanced skater and he has a strong shot from the blue line. He likes to have the puck on his stick, and he seems to be comfortable carrying the puck in or making a lead pass.
He’s very good at getting the puck out of the defensive zone because he skates to get away from pressure, he uses his stick effectively to break up plays. Liljegren also has ok size at 6-foot (183 CM) and 192 pounds (87 KG) and he should continue to get stronger with age.
Some scouts have compared him to Erik Karlsson, which isn’t fair to the young Swede. He may have some of the same qualities as Karlsson and carries himself in a similar manner, but expecting that much from Liljegren may be a bit too much.
He could turn into a long-time top-pairing defender in the NHL, and he’s probably going to drop a bit in the draft because of his struggles this past season. He could be considered at No. 3, but there are safer picks available for Dallas and Liljegren could be a long-term steal for a team around pick No. 10.
Some scouts believe Liljegren will be a better player when he plays with more elite players, which is highly possible, so he’s turned into a risk vs. reward pick for teams weighing picking him in the top five.