Nolan Patrick tops NHL’s final draft rankings

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Despite missing significant time to injury, WHL Brandon center Nolan Patrick has finished atop NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings of the season.

Patrick, who sat out nearly 40 games this season while dealing with a sports hernia, still managed to put up a whopping 46 points in 33 games this season, and ends his campaign as the first Western League forward to top the draft rankings list since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did it back in 2011.

Sitting closely behind Patrick on the list is Nico Hischier, who is looking to become the highest-drafted Swiss player in league history (previous high was Nino Niederreiter, who went fifth overall to the Islanders seven years ago). Hischier is coming off a terrific campaign with QMJHL Halifax, scoring 86 points in 57 games while capturing the league’s rookie of the year award.

More on the remainder of the rankings:

Joining Patrick and Hischier among the top five-ranked skaters from North America are a group of skilled forwards: No. 3 Casey Mittelstadt (Edina, Minn.), a center for Eden Prairie High School (HIGH-MN); No. 4 Gabriel Vilardi (Kingston, Ont.), a center for the Windsor Spitfires (OHL); and No. 5 Michael Rasmussen (Surrey, B.C.), a center for the Tri-City Americans (WHL).

Forwards Klim Kostin (Penza, Russia) of Dynamo Moscow and Elias Pettersson (Sundsvall, Sweden) of Timra maintain their ranks of first and second, respectively, among international skaters.

Jake Oettinger (Lakeville, Minn.) of Boston University (H-EAST) ranks as the top North American goaltender, while Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Espoo, Finland) of HPK’s junior team (FINLAND-JR) tops international netminders.

This year’s draft will be held at the United Center in Chicago on June 23-24.