It is almost impossible to predict what is going to happen at the NHL draft, because it is expected that there will be trades, which will obviously throw this for a loop. But, here is my best guess at where all 30 teams will go with their first round pick on Friday. Enjoy and make sure to keep an eye on us on Twitter (@DailyFaceoff), we will have up to the minute draft coverage and analysis.
1. Florida Panthers – Aaron Ekblad: Ekblad is the most NHL ready player in the draft. Has the ability to step into a top-4 role in 2014-15.
2. Buffalo Sabres – Sam Reinhart: Cody Hodgson was shifted to wing late last season, opening a spot for Reinhart, who is an exceptionally intelligent centre.
3. Edmonton Oilers – Leon Draisaitl: The Oilers need help up and down the lineup, but a big, strong centre is a good start.
4. Calgary Flames – Sam Bennett: Bennett doesn’t represent “truculence” but it would be impossible for the Flames to pass on the versatile centre.
5. New York Islanders – Michael Dal Colle: Dal Colle has a rare combination of size and skill that will look good on John Tavares wing.
6. Vancouver Canucks – Jake Virtanen: Virtanen is a power-forward with amazing speed and a powerful shot.
7. Carolina Hurricanes – Nick Ritchie: Ritchie is a talented power-forward who gives the Hurricanes some much needed size.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs – Haydn Fleury: Fleury is a big, strong defender with an excellent two way game. Helps the Leafs need on the blueline.
9. Winnipeg Jets – William Nylander: Son of former NHLer Michael Nylander. He is undersized but has some of the best hands in the draft.
10. Anaheim Ducks – Kasperi Kapanen: Out with Teemu, in with Kasperi? May not be the goal scorer Teemu was, but Kapanen can get it done at both ends of the rink.
11. Nashville Predators – Brendan Perlini: Perlini is a strong, speedy skater with a wicked release that will help the Predators dormant offence.
12. Arizona Coyotes – Nikolaj Ehlers: Ehlers joins fellow Danish-born forward Mikkel Boedker in Pheonix. Like Boedker, Ehlers can flat out fly, mixed with great mits.
13. Washington Capitals – Julius Honka: Honka had 16 goals and 40 assists (56 points) in 62 games in his first year in North America. High-end offence skill makes him the third D drafted.
14. Dallas Stars – Alex Tuch: At 6’4″ and 213 lbs, Tuch has an NHL ready body. He plays physically but can contribute offensively.
15. Detroit Red Wings – Roland McKeown: McKeown is a big, physical defenseman with great skating ability which allows him to hop into the rush.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets – Jakub Vrana: Vrana is a creative centre. He can set plays up, but has the capability to be a one-shot scorer.
17. Philadelphia Flyers – Dylan Larkin: Larkin is praised for his work ethic and willingness to go to the dirty areas of the rink. Did I mention he can score?
18. Minnesota Wild – Thatcher Demko: The goaltending situation in Minny last season was all over the map. They address an organizational need by adding the best goalie available.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning – Robert Fabbri: Fabbri had 13 goals and 28 points in 16 OHL playoff games to win MVP. He is a hard-working, speedy centre, just needs to bulk up.
20. San Jose Sharks – Jared McCann: McCann is an exceptional two-way forward. He will play in all situations for the Sharks.
21. St. Louis Blues – Ryan MacInnis: MacInnis is just coming into his own in the OHL. Needs to get bigger but with his dad (Al MacInnis) in the Blues front office, how do they pass?
22. Pittsburgh Penguins – Kevin Fiala: The Penguins need to add wingers to play with their skilled centres. Fiala has the ability to be a game-breaker, so pairing him with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin will only help his development.
23. Colorado Avalanche – Travis Sanheim: Sanheim is a big body at 6’3″ but skates well and is very smart with the biscuit. Avalanche could use help on the back-end.
24. Anaheim Ducks – Adrian Kempe: With their second pick of the first round, the Ducks add another speedy winger with all the necessary tools to produce in the NHL.
25. Boston Bruins – Anton Karlsson: Karlsson is the definition of a competitor. He plays hard and physically every shift, would look good in the Black and Yellow.
26. Montreal Canadiens – Sonny Milano: Milano has hands for days. Adds another skilled forward to a strong forward corp in Montreal.
27. Chicago Blackhawks – Nick Schmaltz: Chicago needs depth down the middle. Schmaltz is an intelligent player who will grow a ton learning from Jonathan Toews.
28. Tampa Bay Lightning – Ivan Barbashev: Barbashev has a winners mentality and can do it all for his team. He can be a playmaker or goal-scorer.
29. Los Angeles Kings – Conner Bleackley: Bleackly is ultra competitive and combines that with hockey sense and skill to be a very complete player. He just seems like a King.
30. New Jersey Devils – Brendan Lemieux: Brendan’s father Claude was pretty successful during his days in New Jersey, so I think Lou will take a shot with Claude 2.0.