With the big midseason tournaments and the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in the rearview mirror, it's time for my midseason update of the 2017 NHL draft class.
The rankings are based on games I've scouted throughout the season, live and on video. I've seen just about all of the top prospects live at least once and many several times. I also supplement that with discussions with scouts and sources across the industry, as well as statistical analysis of the players' performances.
The 2017 class is shaping up to be one of the weakest of the post-2005 lockout era. There is no guarantee that's the case going forward -- players can change in a dramatic way in a short period of time. But as of now, it's hard to give a ringing endorsement of the class, as it looks similar in quality to the 2011 and 2012 classes.
Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick, this year's top two prospects, likely would be in the discussion for the No. 3 to No. 5 range in the past two drafts. Previous ranks refer to my first draft board of the season, which posted in October.