It has been four years since the 2017 NHL Draft class walked up on the stage in Chicago. With four more seasons of play, there is a lot more evidence to prove what these players are.
So now I take a look at how this class has changed with a new ranking of how I would order the players if drafting them today.
Evaluations are based on prior seasons, so any new information from NHL training camps or the first few weeks of the season in other leagues has not been incorporated.
For re-entry prospects, they are eligible to be ranked in the year they were drafted, not previous years.
TIER 1: Projected elite NHL player
Cale Makar, RHD (No. 4 pick)
Makar was one of the more unique prospects of the last 10 years. He was a good young player coming up but wasn’t a consensus top player in his age group for years and wasn’t playing in a league where elite NHL players usually come from. It wasn’t until his draft season in Brooks where he popped. He dominated Canadian Jr. A winning many accolades along the way. He’s one of the very best Jr. A prospects of all time and will be the standard going forward when comparing other prospects in leagues like the AJHL, BCHL and even the USHL to an extent. He’s since emerged as arguably the best defenseman in the NHL and a dynamic all-around offensive player.
TIER 2: Projected bubble elite NHL player and NHL All-Star
Elias Pettersson, C (No. 5 pick)
Pettersson was a top player versus men in his draft season, hovering around a point/game in the Allsvenskan. His skill and offensive creativity as a playmaker stood out constantly and he was often on the highlight reels coming up as a prospect. There were concerns on his skating and frame to an extent and he also didn’t have the best world juniors in his draft season, being one of the premier examples in the last decade of that tournament leading you down the wrong path. He’s since shown that even without blazing speed, his offensive touch and scoring ability are so high level that he can still be a premier player in the league.
TIER 3: Projected NHL All-Star
Miro Heiskanen, LHD (No. 3 pick)
Heiskanen had a truly excellent draft season. He was very good versus men at the Liiga level despite being one of the youngest players in his draft class. He was also dominant at the U18 world championships (where he also played a big role as an underage the year prior when Finland won gold) although his world juniors were more average. His profile was always as a very mobile and super smart but not flashy two-way defenseman, but he scored enough in his draft season to make you think he could play at the top of an NHL lineup, which he clearly has done and exceeded.