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Central Division Draft Grades: Stars, Blues earn top marks

David Banks / USA Today Sports

The 2017 NHL Draft has come and gone, and all 31 teams are exiting Chicago with varying degrees of satisfaction in regards to their respective hauls.

While we likely won't know they all fared for a few years yet, we can take a quick look at the results and assess how the teams made out.

Here's our take on the teams in the Central Division:

Chicago Blackhawks

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
1 29 Henri Jokiharju
2 57 Ian Mitchell
3 70 Andrei Altybarmakyan
3 90 Evan Barratt
4 112 Tim Soderlund
4 119 Roope Laavainen
5 144 Parker Foo
5 150 Jakub Galvas
7 215 Josh Ess

The Blackhawks traded down in the first round, giving up the 26th pick only to land a highly touted young defenseman in Henri Jokiharju at 29 and make a bit of a reach for forward Andrei Altybarmakyan at 70.

Forward Tim Soderlund was a nice get at his position, and we'll give Chicago a bit of a bump for being good hosts, but this isn't an overwhelming harvest.

Grade: C

Colorado Avalanche

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
1 4 Cale Makar
2 32 Conor Timmins
4 94 Nicholas Henry
4 114 Petr Kvaca
5 125 Igor Shvyryov
6 156 Denis Smirnov
7 187 Nicky Leivermann

After falling hard in the draft lottery following a historically awful season, the Avalanche did well to select a stud on the blue line in Cale Makar. They further bolstered their defensive prospects with Conor Timmins, and landed a potential steal in Denis Smirnov late in the selection process.

They didn't reel in one of the biggest fish at forward, and there's a lot of work left to do with this roster, but this is a decent start.

Grade: C+

Dallas Stars

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
1 3 Miro Heiskanen
1 29 Jake Oettinger
2 39 Jason Robertson
4 101 Liam Hawel
5 132 Jacob Peterson
6 163 Brett Davis
7 194 Dylan Ferguson

In selecting Miro Heiskanen and Jake Oettinger in the opening round, the Stars may have drafted the best available defenseman and goaltender. Jason Robertson was also seen as having first-round potential.

That trio is enough to leave general manager Jim Nill feeling good about his weekend's work.

Grade: A-

Minnesota Wild

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
3 85 Ivan Lodnia
4 97 Mason Shaw
4 116 Bryce Misley
5 147 Jacob Golden
6 178 Andrei Svetlakov
7 209 Nick Swaney

The Wild had to wait until Saturday to make a selection after having previously traded their first- and second-round picks.

It obviously gets more difficult to grade choices in later rounds, but Michael Russo of the Star-Tribune notes that Minnesota seemed to have a clear plan: "Take as much skill as you can, no matter the player's size, and then develop them." It'll be a while until we see how that plays out.

Grade: D

Nashville Predators

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
1 30 Eeli Tolvanen
2 61 Grant Mismash
3 92 David Farrance
5 154 Tomas Vomacka
6 176 Pavel Koltygin
7 216 Jacob Paquette

Despite having the second-last pick in the opening round, the Predators were gifted forward Eeli Tolvanen, who many expected to go much higher. Nashville also appears to have closed things out with a bang.

David Farrance could also be another Predators special on the blue line. They always seem to find the good ones.

Grade: B

St. Louis Blues

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
1 20 Robert Thomas
1 31 Klim Kostin
4 113 Alexei Toropchenko
5 130 David Noel
6 175 Trenton Bourque
7 206 Anton Andersson

The Blues made major noise Friday by somehow managing to score a first-round pick from the Penguins in a trade involving Ryan Reaves.

Decent swap, we'd say.

From there, St. Louis used three of its four Day 2 picks on defensemen, but either way, the first-round magic gives the Blues a big boost.

Grade: B+

Winnipeg Jets

Draft picks

Round Pick Player
1 24 Kristian Vesalainen
2 43 Dylan Samberg
3 74 Johnny Kovacevic
4 105 Santeri Virtanen
5 136 Leon Gawanke
6 167 Arvid Holm
7 198 Skyler McKenzie
7 211 Croix Evingson

The Jets picked later in the opening round than projected after sending their original pick to Vegas in order to protect Toby Enstrom in expansion. They ended up with Kristian Vesalainen, who could be a great fit alongside Patrik Laine.

Winnipeg landed two promising defensemen in Dylan Samberg and Johnny Kovacevic from that point on, with the rest of the crop falling into crapshoot territory.

Grade: C

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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