With the 2017 NHL Entry Draft just a few days away, I wanted to touch base on a few prospects that we didn't profile but could be on the Devils radar in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, depending on how the draft shakes out. A quick reminder that you can view all of our 2017 Draft profiles here. Let's take a look at the forwards first, then the defensemen.
RW Kailer Yamamoto - DOB: 9/29/98 - HT: 5'9 - WT: 160 lbs. - Team: Spokane (WHL) - Central Scouting Rank: NA-17 - 2016-17: 65 GP 42-57-99, +14, 46 PIM - EliteProspects Page
Reading through multiple draft publications and watching highlights, it's clear to see that Yamamoto has talent that is worthy of a 1st round pick. I would not be shocked to see a team take a chance on him in the 1st round of the draft. However, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him to fall to the 2nd or even possibly the 3rd round, like Brayden Point in 2014, another undersized, skilled, and productive WHL player. Future Considerations has called Yamamoto, "a dynamic playmaker" and "a very special talent, high octane and cerebral." If he's available to the Devils at 36, I think he would be worth taking a shot at.
C/RW Joni Ikonen - DOB: 4/14/99 - HT: 5'11 - WT: 176 lbs. - Team: Frolunda J20 (SuperElit) - Central Scouting Rank: EU-17 - 2016-17: 40 GP 22-19-41, +8, 42 PIM - EliteProspects Page
Ikonen is one of the more skilled players out of Europe in this year's draft class. The Finnish product came up through the Espoo Blues youth system before making the move 2 years ago to Sweden to play for Frolunda. He primarily played for their U20 team last season where he was one of the top players in the J20 SuperElit league as a 17 year old. He even made it into 10 SHL games with the senior team. His profile over at The Draft Analyst mentions that the playmaker has "top line upside", is "fast and incredibly shifty", and "has an excellent shot with a quick release." I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for him going forward.
C Morgan Frost - DOB: 5/14/99 - HT: 6'0 - WT: 170 lbs. - Team: Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) - Central Scouting Rank: NA-31 - 2016-17: 67 GP 20-42-62, +15, 36 PIM - EliteProspects Page
Considering Frost was a teammate of Devils prospects Blake Speers and Colton White, there is no doubt that they've gotten a good look at him over the past 2 seasons. This past season, Frost really broke out to become a key player for the Greyhounds. Brock Otten of OHL Prospects noted that Frost, "has the speed and agility you like to see in smaller/average sized centers" and that he "processes the game well". Otten sees Frost's potential as "a two-way top 6 center at the NHL level". I could see him going in the 2nd or 3rd round and wouldn't mind seeing the Devils take a chance on him in the 3rd.
RW Aleksi Heponiemi - DOB: 1/9/99 - HT: 5'10 - WT: 141 lbs. - Team: Swift Current (WHL) - Central Scouting Rank: NA-26 - 2016-17: 72 GP 28-58-86, +15, 18 PIM - EliteProspects Page
A native of Tampere, Finland who came up through the Ilves youth system, Heponiemi is coming off of a strong rookie season in the WHL where he led all first year players in scoring (albeit as an 18 year old). Still that is an impressive feat for someone adjusting to life and hockey in North America. Future Considerations has called him "a highly skilled forward with a lot of speed" and "has top six potential thanks to the intelligence". The undersized forward could fall in the draft but he does seem to fit into the "fast, attacking, supportive" model that the Devils are after. I'm curious to see where he goes in a few days.
D Pierre-Olivier Joseph - DOB: 7/1/99 - HT: 6'2 - WT: 163 lbs. - Team: Charlottetown (QMJHL) - Central Scouting Rank: NA-27 - 2016-17: 62 GP 6-33-39, +14, 54 PIM - EliteProspects Page
Depending on what website or draft publication you read, it's clear to see Joseph is a bit of a divisive prospect. Some see him as a clear 1st rounder, while others think he'd be more suitable as a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Bill Placzek of Draft Site has praised Joseph's "mobility and excellent hockey sense" and was one of the many sources to note his jump in play this season which launched him up draft boards. While Joseph is a quality prospect, there are other players that I prefer to him in the 2nd round, and I doubt he last until the 3rd.
D Luke Martin - DOB: 9/20/98 - HT: 6'3 - WT: 215 lbs. - Team: Michigan (NCAA) - Central Scouting Rank: NA-61 - 2016-17: 35 GP 1-6-7, +2, 12 PIM - EliteProspects Page
Martin just completed his freshman season at Michigan after coming up through the USNTDP. Chris Dilks of SBN College Hockey has this draft profile on the young defender in which he notes that Martin can play in any situation, has good athleticism, and played a sound, responsible defensive game. His average passing and lack of production were negatives. Dilks sees Martin as a 3rd round guy. Personally, while I'm interested in Martin, I think I'd rather see if he fell into the later rounds.
Which of these prospects interest you? Which of these prospects would you want to avoid? Are there any prospects not mentioned in this post or our draft profiles that you have interest in? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading!