NHL mock draft 2017: Josh Norris to Blackhawks in Jeff Marek’s latest projection

It’s mock season with the draft just days away.

The expansion draft is stealing the thunder from the NHL’s entry draft a bit, but mock drafts are still coming out with the first round at the United Center set for Friday. In the latest projection from Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek, the Blackhawks are projected to take young center Josh Norris with the No. 26 pick.

It’s a quick description on the choice from Marek: “Norris is real tough to play against with a never-say-die attitude. Good two-way center.”

Norris, 18, is a 6’1, 192-pound center set to play at the University of Michigan next season. He’s coming off a good year with the U.S. developmental program in which he recorded 27 goals and 34 assists in 61 games.

The performance helped him rise up draft rankings during the past few months. TSN’s Bob McKenzie rates Norris as the No. 23 prospect in the class, which is a big improvement from No. 60 in McKenzie’s previous rankings. ESPN’s Corey Pronman has Norris ranked No. 35, and TSN’s Craig Button has him at No. 25.

“Norris is a well-rounded but not outstanding player,” Pronman wrote in his top 100 list. “He's got decent stick skills, above-average offensive hockey sense and can finish chances from middle distance.”

Norris would be a solid pick by the Blackhawks. We’ll be making our pick for the SB Nation NHL mock draft Tuesday afternoon, so you can check in then to see who we opted to select with the No. 26 pick.