Every year prior to the NHL Draft, staff members take a shot at predicting the opening round. Like many drafts, there is a consensus on the first-overall pick, with Boston University's Macklin Celebrini landing in that coveted No. 1 spot. After that, Torie Peterson, Ryan Dittrick, Alex Medina and Chris Wahl's selections go in wildly different directions.

1. San Jose Sharks

Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA)

The consensus No. 1 pick is set to return home to the Bay Area. Celebrini, the reigning Hobey Baker Award winner, was the centre of attention at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo and for good reason. He’s been a point producer at every level, and has all the tools to become a star in San Jose.

2. Chicago Blackhawks

Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (NCAA)

Levshunov, who hails from Belarus but spent this past season patrolling the blue line at Michigan State University, was one of the bigger personalities at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo. He’s ebullient, he’s affable, and on the ice, he’s got primo talent, enough so to have been named both the Big 10 Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year. At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, he’s got a pro physique already as well.

3. Anaheim Ducks

Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg Jr. (Russia)

Anaheim has assembled an impressive crop of young forwards, and at No. 3, they add Demidov to a list that already includes the likes of Mason McTavish and Leo Carlsson. The Russian winger did not attend the NHL Scouting Combine, but several NHL teams got a closer look at him this week at a showcase in Florida. He is supremely talented offensively, scoring 23 goals in 30 games in Russia’s junior circuit. Demidov is likely to make the move to North America on a full-time basis in the fall of 2025, once his KHL contract comes to an end.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

Silayev is a giant – standing 6-foot-7, while also possessing skating acumen rarely before seen from a player his size. That size and closing ability has scouts salivating over his potential, even if the offensive side of the game doesn’t necessarily come naturally. As a 17-year-old, he played in all situations in the KHL and could well develop into a cornerstone piece for any NHL team’s blue line.

5. Montreal Canadiens

Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

Lindstrom is poised to be the first CHL skater off the board at this year’s NHL Draft after a breakout sophomore season with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He proclaimed at the Combine that he has a clean bill of health, after missing most of the second half of the WHL season due to injury. At 6-foot-3, the Chetwynd, B.C. product is a game-breaker, a power forward who can impose his will on opposing defenders.

6. Utah Hockey Club

Zeev Buium, D, Denver (NCAA)

Buium won an NCAA title at the University of Denver this spring, all while playing top-pairing minutes as a Pioneers freshman. The numbers jump off the charts – 50 points in 42 games, but Buium’s ability to move the puck up the ice quickly and efficiently is just as, if not more impressive. The Hobey Baker Award nominee also captured a gold medal this winter as a member of the United States’ World Junior team.

7. Ottawa Senators

Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL)

Dickinson has a pro-ready frame, and stood atop the class with a 3.64% body fat measurement at the Combine in Buffalo. He enters the Draft on the heels of an OHL championship with the Knights, and a trip to the Memorial Cup in Saginaw. Dickinson put up big numbers on a high-octane London offence, scoring 70 points during the regular season, and possesses the skating acumen to move the play quickly up-ice in transition.

8. Seattle Kraken

Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL)

The Saginaw Spirit won the Memorial Cup on home ice earlier this month, and defenceman Zayne Parekh was a huge part of a memorable season in central Michigan. The Canadian Hockey League Defenceman of the Year, Parekh led the Spirit with 96 points during the regular season before helping Saginaw capture the Memorial Cup on home ice. Parekh is an offensive driver, but he’s also grounded, repeatedly crediting the influence of two older brothers in his development both on and off the ice.

9. Calgary Flames

Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL)

Aside from the obvious family ties, Iginla projects as a perfect pick for the Flames at No. 9. After an off-season move to the Okanagan, he lit up the WHL for 47 goals with the Rockets – the third-highest total of any Kelowna skater over the last 20 years. That performance, coupled with gold-medal wins at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and U18 World Championship, helped him fly up the Draft rankings over the course of the season. His offensive skills pair nicely with a physical edge that offers Flames fans a bit of a trip down memory lane.

10. New Jersey Devils

Berkly Catton, C, Spokane (WHL)

Catton has been an offensive dynamo since being selected first-overall by Spokane in the 2021 WHL Draft. At 16, he was the Chiefs’ top-line centre and at 17, he more than doubled his offensive totals to an eye-popping 54 goals and 116 points. Catton kick-started his year by acting as one of Canada’s key contributors at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, then willed the Chiefs into the WHL playoffs with his performance down the middle of the ice. He’s dynamic, fleet of foot, and ultra-competitive.

11. Buffalo Sabres

Cole Eiserman, LW, USA U-18 (USNTDP)

Eiserman scores goals, and lots of them; the Massachusetts product is the NTDP’s all-time leading goal-getter with 127 tallies over the course of his career. He’s able to find the back of the net off the rush and on the perimeter, and possesses a lethal one-timer. Best friends with Macklin Celebrini, Eiserman has devoted time this year to rounding out his skill set, earning bigger responsibilities and more trust from his coaches when games are on the line. He’ll take those talents to Boston University in the fall.

12. Philadelphia Flyers

Adam Jiricek, D, Plzen (Czechia)

Jiricek missed a large chunk of the 2023-24 season due to injury suffered at the World Juniors, appearing in only 19 games for Plzen. But he’s got the potential, and the bloodline, to be an impact player in North America, thanks in large part to his size and propensity to mix things up physically. Older brother David is one of the top defensive prospects in the Blue Jackets’ system, too.

13. Minnesota Wild

Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (Finland)

Helenius plays with an edge, and did so playing with men in Finland’s Liiga this past season. Checking in at a shade under 5’11”, Helenius collected 36 points – the most by any U18 player in Finland’s top division – while on loan at Jukurit in 2023-24, while also representing his country at the U18, U20 and Men’s Worlds level. Chatter on media row at the Combine saw comparisons drawn between Helenius and former Flames centre Elias Lindholm.

14. San Jose Sharks (via Pittsburgh)

Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

A right-shot defenceman, Yakemchuk has the offensive upside to be a powerplay quarterback at the next level. He’s counted 25 man-advantage markers over the past two seasons with the Hitmen and last season became just the third WHL blueliner in the past eight years to reach the 30-goal mark. Yakemchuk has a mean streak, too; his 120 penalty minutes were the fifth-highest total in the WHL last season.

15. Detroit Red Wings

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora (Sweden)

This year’s Draft has historic potential for Norway, with Brandsegg-Nygard poised to become that country’s first-ever first-round pick. With Mora in Sweden’s Allsvenskan this past season, he put up 18 points, and was also a teammate of incoming Flames netminder Valtteri Ignatjew. He’s a competitor, and in addition to trying to make an impact on the scoresheet, he’ll try just about anything to knock the opposition off their game.

16. St. Louis Blues

Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

Sennecke, who skates with Oshawa in the OHL, was the subject of a fair amount of chatter at the Combine, and there’s lots to like with his 6-foot-2 frame. The winger finished third in regular season and playoff scoring with the Generals, earning 22 points during Oshawa’s run to the OHL final this past spring.

17. Washington Capitals

Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

Chernyshov split his season between the KHL and MHL – Russia’s top junior circuit – earning 34 appearances with Dynamo Moscow’s men’s side. At the MHL level (where he was a teammate of Flames goaltending prospect Yegor Yegorov), he totalled 28 points in 22 games, while earning a +15 rating. At 6-foot-2, he’s got the size to develop into a power forward to complement his defensive prowess.

18. Chicago Blackhawks (via NY Islanders)

Michael Hage, C, Chicago (USHL)

Hage rose up the NHL Central Scouting rankings as the season progressed, landing at #10 among North American skaters on the final list. The Mississauga, Ont. product missed most of his 16-year-old season due to injury, but rebounded to score 25 of his 33 goals during the second half of the 2023-24 campaign.

19. Vegas Golden Knights

Nikita Artamonov, LW, Nizhny Novgorod (KHL)

The speedy winger played with Silayev with Nizhny Novgorod, putting up 23 points during the KHL season. His late 2005 birth date means Artamonov has had a bit more time to develop than many of his NHL Draft peers, and he’ll get another season to continue to refine his playmaking skills in Russia this coming winter.

20. New York Islanders (via Tampa Bay)

Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor (OHL)

Greentree was named Spitfires captain in January, a move that speaks both to his maturity and leadership ability. And at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, he’s got the size and skill to earn a living crashing creases, as evidenced by his 90-point campaign in 2023-24. He’s got a heavy shot, and can use it from just about anywhere, making him a difficult offensive threat to defend.

21. Los Angeles Kings

Aron Kiviharju, D, HIFK (Finland)

Kiviharju endured a tough season in 2023-24, skating in only seven games with HIFK before suffering an injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of six months. The 5-foot-10 defender returned to captain his country at the U18 World Championship, earning three assists in five games.

22. Nashville Predators

Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph (OHL)

Luchanko is a gifted playmaker, he led the Storm with 54 assists and 74 points last season, while also appearing in all 72 regular season and playoff games for the club. The right-shot centreman was a point-per-game player at the U18 World Championship, too, helping Canada capture a gold medal. His speed helps him push the play offensively as well as be a thorn in opponents’ sides on the forecheck.

23. Toronto Maple Leafs

Stian Solberg, D, Valerenga (Norway)

Solberg was an impact player for Norway at the IIHF World Championship and enters the NHL Draft with pro experience in his home country. He plays with an edge, relishing the physical aspect of the game – an asset he’ll take to Sweden’s top league this fall.

24. Colorado Avalanche

Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL)

Boisvert plays with an edge; he collected 86 minutes in penalties to go along with his 36 goals at USHL Muskegon, and at 6-foot-2, the Quebec product has size and speed down the middle of the ice. He’s slated to attend North Dakota this fall.

25. Ottawa Senators (via Boston)

Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George (WHL)

Parascak was one of the stories of the season in the Western Hockey League in 2023-24; the Lethbridge product made the Cougars as a 17-year-old rookie, then proceeded to crack the 100-point barrier in his first full junior campaign.

26. Montreal Canadiens (via Winnipeg)

Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Finland)

Hemming has always been a scorer, but he learned the defensive side of the game on the fly last season while playing in a checking role with TPS Turku. He can play a powerful game, and against men in the Finnish Liiga last season lit the lamp seven times in 40 games. He’s got a lethal shot, too.

27. Carolina Hurricanes

E.J. Emery, D, USA U-18 (USNTDP)

Emery grew up in Surrey, B.C. before joining the U.S. NTDP in 2022-23 (he played on a stacked Team B.C. at the 2022 WHL Cup alongside the likes of Lindstrom and Iginla). At 6-foot-3, Emery already has wingspan, which he’ll take to North Dakota this coming fall. At the U18 World Championship, he earned six assists in seven games, helping the U.S.A. capture the silver medal.

28. Calgary Flames (via Vancouver)

Andrew Basha, LW, Medicine Hat (WHL)

Basha spent a good chunk of the season on Lindstrom’s wing with the Tigers, coolly collecting 85 points during the regular season. His playmaking is a significant strength, but Basha has the tools to excel in his own zone, too. Basha is a heart-and-soul player that helps bring his teammates into the battle, and alongside Lindstrom and 2026 prospect Gavin McKenna, he’ll be a huge piece of a contending Medicine Hat team in 2024-25.

29. Dallas Stars

Charlie Elick, D, Brandon (WHL)

Elick played big minutes on the Brandon blue line in 2023-24 and was a big reason the Wheat Kings returned to the WHL playoffs this past spring. Born in Austria but raised in Calgary, Elick’s father was a New York Rangers draftee in the early 1990s and enjoyed a lengthy pro career overseas. The younger Elick is set to use his size and positioning to his advantage as he continues to write his own hockey story.

30. New York Rangers

Teddy Stiga, C, USA U-18 (USNTDP)

Stiga is an energetic winger, who benefitted from playing against collegiate competition as part of the NTDP. At a shade under 5-foot-10, Stiga’s play proves the old adage that the fight in the dog supercedes the dog in the fight, as he collected 65 points with the national program in 2023-24 despite playing against bigger and older competition. He wore a letter at the U18 World Championship and is committed to Boston College for the fall.

31. Anaheim Ducks (via Edmonton)

Lucas Pettersson, C, MoDo Jr. (Sweden)

Pettersson put up 1.30 points-per-game with MoDo’s junior side this past year, and his impressive skating helps him navigate the middle of the ice. Internationally, he served as an alternate captain on Sweden’s U18 World Championship entry, finishing tied for the team lead in scoring with eight points as Sweden claimed the bronze medal.

32. Philadelphia Flyers (via Florida)

Matvei Gridin, RW,  Muskegon (USHL)

Gridin excelled with the Lumberjacks, leading the team with 38 goals and 83 points in his second full North American campaign. The Russian winger has a heavy shot and is apt to win pucks back for his team by virtue of his forechecking ability. He’s committed to the University of Michigan for the coming season, but is likely to draw attention at the CHL Import Draft in July.