The Arizona Coyotes have their first pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft at 7. Arizona found themselves in the same position last season when they drafted Clayton Keller. Keller only played three games with Arizona this season, tallying two assists, but looked as though he will be fun to watch in the coming years.
Here’s a look at who we might see Arizona take at 7:
Timothy Liljegren, D, Rogle BK (SHL)
Liljegren has been compared to players like Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, or even a mixture of the two. He started the season ill, which led to him bouncing around between a few Swedish teams, allowing him to get more playing time. He recorded one goal and four assists in 19 SHL games, matching his total from 2015-16. That may not seem like much but keep in mind he was a 17/18 year old playing in the SHL. Drafting Liljegren would help Arizona’s defensive depth on the right side.
Owen Tippett, RW, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
In 60 regular season games with Mississauga Steelheads, Tippett scored 44 goals and had 31 assists. Tippett is described as a pure goal scorer with the ability to create chances out of nothing. Another advantage of his game is his size. He is projected by most to be a top five pick so there is a good chance Arizona won’t have the opportunity to take him.
Cale Makar, D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
Makar scored 75 points, 24 goals and 51 assists, in 54 games with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League this season and is one of the highest ranked defensive prospects of this draft. He is described as a strong skater and a puck-moving defenseman, he too has been compared to Erik Karlsson. Makar told NHL.com that he is committed to attending college next year; “The plan is to attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst next season. I believe college is the right route for me in terms of development.” Though drafting Makar could be a risky move, it could work out well for Arizona.
All three players would be great additions for the Coyotes, and it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out June 23.