Welcome to the 2017 edition of the Hockey Wilderness mock draft. We’re doing things a little differently this time around. You’ll still be getting the same great draft profiles, but we’ve gone ahead and condensed the format to drive through all the picks in the first round in the 10 days leading up to the draft. In prior seasons we’ve brought you a pick each day up to the draft, but now we’re bringing 3 picks each day, culminating with the 31st pick right on draft day.
The Nashville Predators made a run for the Stanley Cup which surprised much of league. Unfortunately for the Predators fell just short of the ultimate goal, and their reward for the effort was the 30th overall selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. It’s a prize coveted by few teams in the league. The consolation for being a runner up for the Stanley Cup being the second to last pick in the draft. Even in a deep draft, the chances of securing a solid talent at this spot is pretty marginal at best.
So, with the 30th overall selection in the Hockey Wilderness mock draft, the Nashville Predators select, from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, forward Jason Robertson.
Born: July 22nd, 1999 - Northville, Michigan
Height: 6’2” - Weight: 196 lbs
Jason Robertson is a big winger who has a knack for lighting the lamp and creating opportunities on offense. This late in the round, especially with a shallow draft class like this year, almost everyone is going to be some kind of project to get into the NHL, and Robertson is no different. While the kid put up some great numbers in the OHL last season, which started to turn some heads with the scouts, there is a little bit of an issue with his talents that might make teams shy away. He is not the strongest skater out there.
For me personally, skating is never really something to cause me to look the other way, especially when a kid has nose for the net. Skating can be worked. As he finds his stride, he has the potential to only become more dangerous. Most of the draft prognosticators have this kid ranked somewhere in the high 20’s or mid to low 30’s overall. The NHL Central Scouting has him as high as 15th among North American skaters as well. After a decent rookie campaign in the OHL where he scored 18 goals with 14 assists, he really had a coming of age in his sophomore season with 42 goals and 39 assists. Going back through his career, he has shown he can succeed at every level, and growing into your new role with stiffer competition should have teams salivating at this kids potential.
He’s shown plenty of effort to win puck battles, and with his frame he has a solid foundation to grow into a premier player in the NHL. The kid scores goals, and to do that you have to shoot the puck, right? He does that in droves. Pronman compares his shooting to Nico Hischier and Owen Tippett, pretty good company to keep in the shot department. He’s shown the ability to read plays and get himself to the open space which creates those chances to put pucks on net, or even dish them off to players driving the net.
Wild about Robertson?
The kid has talent, there is no doubt about that. Yet with the questions around his skating and a veritable log-jam of wingers on the team looking for spots it’s tough to see the Wild making a run at this kid unless he falls deep into the second round. It’s not to say he doesn’t have potential and can’t fill a role with the Wild or any team in the league, but he just doesn’t feel like the kind of guy teams might make a run for in a draft that kind of flat-lines the further in you go.
How the Wild get him
It feels like a broken record at this point. Without the draft picks to trade, along with the fact that if the Wild had a first round pick this summer if would be higher than 30, it’s going to take prospects to get into the first round dance if you want a shot at this kid. Chances are good he may fall into the second round as well, and the Wild could find the price much easier to swallow if he falls down the ladder a bit. His ability to put the puck in the net could be enticing, but if he cannot keep up with the speed of the NHL game he may find it tough to crack an NHL lineup.
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