Editor’s note: We’ve updated this story with the latest picks for the Coyotes (through March 20, 2017).
The 2017 NHL draft is in Chicago on June 23 and speculation for whom the Coyotes might select continues.
Arizona will likely have a very high selection (it has the second fewest points in the NHL).
Take a look at who recent mock drafts have the team selecting in the first round. A couple of prospects are now being linked to the Coyotes in multiple NHL mock drafts.
NHL POWER RANKINGS: Where are Coyotes now?
PREVIOUS PICKS FOR COYOTES: Franchise player?
mynhldraft.com: Coyotes select center/right wing Nico Hischier (MJAHL) at No. 2
Jeff Marek of sportnet writes of Hischier: “Really creative and skilled pivot who can also fire the puck and is a highly effective player off the rush. Has the potential to be deadly on the power play. Scouts wonder about his strength and if that’s reflected in his being selective about when he competes hard. Wasn’t at his best at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, where some scouts said he seemed uninterested at times. Other scouts think he’s a better Swiss prospect than Kevin Fiala (NSH) or Timo Meier (SJ).”
sbnation.com: Coyotes take center Nolan Patrick (WHL) at No. 2
Pat Iversen writes: “Coyotes fans would hate being left with Patrick or Hischier. Not that they’re not good, but the Coyotes need young defensemen as much as the Avalanche. In this scenario, though, I tend to think GM John Chayka takes Nolan Patrick. Arizona is blessed with forward talent, but few of them have the skill and size Patrick brings.”
NHL.com: Coyotes go with center Gabriel Vilardi (OHL) at No. 2
Adam Kimelman writes: “The Coyotes could opt to add size and skill at center with Vilardi, a 6-foot-3, 201-pound right-shot center. He’s fully recovered from a knee injury sustained during the summer and has 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) in 26 games.”
NHL.com: Coyotes pick Hischier at No. 2
Mike G. Morreale writes: “The Switzerland-born left-shot forward (6-1, 176) has elite hockey sense, a nice scoring touch and underrated edge to his game. He excelled as an underage player for Switzerland at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with four goals and three assists in five games. He has been dominant for Halifax with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games.”
tankathon.com: Coyotes take Hischier at No. 2
draftsite.com: Coyotes pick Patrick (WHL) at No. 2
Bill Placzek writes: “To most he is the 2017 draft class front-runner who does everything well. His greatest strengths at this point are his on-ice vision, maturity and competitiveness. Hopefully he will continue to improve into a three-zone player. He is already big and has displayed a notable improvement in his skating, mobility and strength. Excellent stop and start skater who explodes away from defenders. Light on his edges; difficult to contain when on the fly. Patrick is a terrific passer who holds the puck until just the right moment and then finds his spot. Goes to the net hungrily and with all possible dispatch.. A good decision maker; his development is coming along nicely, especially skating and on-ice pacing. Nephew of James Patrick.”
fanragsports.com: Coyotes take defenseman Timothy Liljegren (Sweden) at No. 2
Robert Nasso writes: “Like Patrick, Timothy Liljegren has provided scouts with a very small sample size in the 2016-17 season, having missed significant time due to injury. But as with Patrick, scouts are also completely aware of the kind of player Liljegren is, and he’s one that Arizona certainly would not pass up on with their second pick in the draft. They need someone to man the right side of their defense (Anthony DeAngelo isn’t exactly ideal), and the right-shot two-way defender can be just that for them.”
For more from The Heat Index, go to heatindex.azcentral.com.
Follow Jeremy Cluff on Twitter.