A U.S.-born defenseman has been taken with the first pick of an NHL Draft twice in League history. It could happen for a third time next June.
Portland Winterhawks blueliner Seth Jones has lived up to all the expectations that have followed him this season, and he's an early candidate to join that very exclusive club.
But Jones isn't the only highly regarded draft prospect skating in the Western Hockey League.
NHL.com reached out to NHL Central Scouting's top WHL scouts, Peter Sullivan and B.J. MacDonald, for their opinions on a few of the players who could hear their names called early at June's selection process at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Presented in alphabetical order, here is a list of the top 10 prospects skating in the WHL, with expert opinion from Sullivan and MacDonald:
Oliver Bjorkstrand, RW, Portland -- The 5-foot-10.5, 167-pound Danish forward has had little trouble adjusting in his first season in North America. He is tied for the lead among WHL rookies with five goals in 12 games, while his 10 points are third, two behind the league leader. He earned a B rating on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings of players to watch for this year's draft.