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)

No explanation needed. He has all the tools to be a No. 1 centre for years to come: a dynamic offensive skill set that allows him to act as a goal-scorer or playmaker, a tremendous skater, and impressive hockey sense.

2. Chicago Blackhawks

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

An incredibly gifted winger, Demidov torched the MHL last season, scoring 23 goals and 60 points in 30 games. While he’s set to play another season in Russia, his talent will make it worth the wait.

3. Anaheim Ducks

Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (NCAA)

At 6-foot-2 and 208 lbs., Levshunov already possesses a pro frame and has a pro skill-set to boot. A strong skater, he has no issues leaping into the play and contributing offensively, posting 35 points in 38 games in 2023-24.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod (Russia)

A 6-foot-7 blueliner who is agile on his skates, Silayev has the potential to be a top defender in the NHL. He’s strong defensively, shutting down opponents and providing a strong presence on the PK.

5. Montreal Canadiens

Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL)

The son of Hall-of-Famer Jarome, Iginla possesses plenty of skills that led his father to a decorated career. He can score bucketloads of goals, as his 47 through 64 games in 2023-24 shoes, and brings a physical element to the game.

6. Utah Hockey Club

Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

Lindstrom is a throwback, an old-school power forward with finesse to his game. Despite having his season shortened due to injury, he averaged 1.24 points-per-game with the Tigers.

7. Ottawa Senators

Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL)

A steady, dependable presence on the blueline who can log a ton of minutes, Dickinson helped the Knights capture the 2024 OHL Championship. The two-way defender has the potential to be a top-pairing NHL defenceman.

8. Seattle Kraken

Zeev Buium, D, Denver (NCAA)

Zeev brings plenty of offensive from the blueline and led all NCAA defencemen in scoring as a freshman in 2023-24. He was key in Denver’s NCAA Championship win.

9. Calgary Flames

Berkly Catton, C, Spokane (WHL)

Catton’s offensive numbers leap off the page at you: in 2023-24, he scored 54 goals and 116 points in just 68 games, showcasing his high-end offensive talent. He’s extremely smart, a skilled skater, and is extremely difficult to contain in the offensive zone.

10. New Jersey Devils

Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL)

Another offensively skilled defender in the 2024 draft class, Parekh posted an impressive 33 goals and 96 points in 66 regular-season games. He’s strong on the puck, has the skating abilities that allow him to jump into the rush, and has great vision.

11. Buffalo Sabres

Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

Sennecke can make goaltenders pay in numerous ways, acting as a dual threat with his goal-scoring prowess and playmaking abilities. He also isn’t afraid to engage physically with his opponents, mixing it up on the forecheck.

12. Philadephia Flyers

Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (Finland)

Helenius heads into the draft with a season of pro hockey under his belt, playing 51 games in Liiga in his native Finland. His 200-foot game is exceptional and while he isn’t the biggest skater in this year’s draft class, his aggressive, physical style of play creates chaos for his opponents.

13. Minnesota Wild

Cole Eiserman, LW, USA U18 (NTDP)

Goal-scoring is Eiserman’s calling card, with the American potting 49 in 49 games with the U.S. National Development Program in 2023-24. His creativity and hard, accurate shot allows him to find the back of the net in a multitude of ways, keeping opponents on their toes every time he’s in the offensive zone.

14. San Jose Sharks (from Pittsburgh Penguins)

Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

The Calgarian scored 30 goals in 2023-24, leading all WHL defencemen last season. He’s dynamic with the puck and has no qualms about driving the play. He’s still growing into his 6-foot-2 frame but as he adds muscle, his willingness to engage physical will make him even more than threat.

15. Detroit Red Wings

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora (Sweden-2)

The Norwegian forward played pro last season and didn’t look out of place at all with Mora. He plays a power forward style, dishing out the physicality while possessing plenty of offensive skill. He also has a high hockey IQ, reading the play extremely well.

16. St. Louis Blues

Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor (OHL)

The forward has a knack for goal-scoring, potting 36 in 2023-24. He’s got a strong release on his shot, handcuffing netminders with hard, accurate shots he can fire off from all over the ice. At 6-foot-2 and 207 lbs., he’s hard to contain when he gets in on the forecheck, creating havoc in the offensive zone.

17. Washington Capitals

Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo Moskva (Russia)

Another high-end power forward in this year’s draft class, Chernyshov can dominate opponents in the offensive zone with his size, skating, and skill. A strong finisher, he has a hard, accurate shot and finds open ice with ease, putting plenty of pressure on netminders.

18. Chicago Blackhawks (from New York Islanders)

Stian Solberg, D, Valerenga (Norway)

A physical defender, Solberg is extremely strong in his own end and makes life difficult for opponents trying to get on the forecheck. He’s very poised in the defensive zone, playing a mature style of game. He also has the skill-set to chip in offensively as he’s confident and comfortable with the puck.

19. Vegas Golden Knights

Adam Jiricek, D, Plzen (Czechia)

The defenceman’s draft-eligible season was cut short with a season-ending injury in December but his high-end talent will keep in the top round. A two-way defenceman with a strong first pass, he has offensive upside that could see him being a regular contributor as his game evolves in the pro ranks.

20. New York Islanders (from Tampa Bay Lightning via Chicago Blackhawks)

Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Finland)

An aggressive forechecker that already possesses a pro frame, Hemming brings a power-forward style to the table. He’s strong in transition, zipping through the neutral zone or snatching up turnovers, before barrelling into the offensive zone. He also brings plenty of energy, giving his team a spark with his go-go-go style.

21. Los Angeles Kings

Teddy Stiga, LW, USA U18 (NTDP)

With a strong hockey IQ and a well-rounded skill set, Stiga saw his draft stock rise steadily throughout the season. He ended up with 29 goals and 85 points through 53 games thanks to his high-paced play, strong skating, and soft hands.

22. Nashville Predators

Michael Hage, C, Chicago (USHL)

Hage is crafty with the puck and in his 2023-24 campaign, that skill set led him to potting 33 goals and 75 points for the Steel. He’s a strong playmaker thanks to his high-end vision and he isn’t afraid to be flashy, his creativity with the puck leading to more than a few highlight reel plays.

23. Toronto Maple Leafs

Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph (OHL)

Luchanko’s motor never seems to quit. A bundle of energy, he will outwork his opponents and give his club a jump thanks to his high-end skating and speed. Offensively, he’s a creative playmaker who put up 54 assists with the Storm this past season.

24. Colorado Avalanche

Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL)

Boisvert’s two-way game is ahead of many of his peers, providing a steady and reliable presence down the middle. In 2023-24, his offensive game took a big step and he put up 36 goals and 68 points through 61 games. He has a hard, accurate shot with soft hands that allow him to get the puck on net quickly and from difficult angles.

25. Ottawa Senators (from Boston Bruins via Detroit Red Wings)

Lucas Pettersson, C, Modo (Sweden-Jr.)

While not the biggest player on the ice, standing 5-foot-11 and weighing in at 168 lbs., Pettersson is extremely crafty with the puck and has a high offensive ceiling. With a high hockey IQ and vision that allows him to see the game a step ahead of his peers, he’s been able to thrive with Modo’s J20 squad, scoring 27 goals and 57 points in 44 games.

26. Montreal Canadiens (from Winnipeg Jets)

Nikita Artamonov, RW, Nizhny Novgorod (Russia)

Energy and skill - two things Artamonov brings plenty of every time he hits the ice. The 5-foot-11 winger spent his season playing against men in the KHL and held his own, suiting up for 54 games and posting 23 points. While he’s more of a playmaker, his strong forechecking skills and shot allow him to act as the finisher as well.

27. Carolina Hurricanes

Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George (WHL)

There’s no doubting Parascak can provide plenty of offence. In his first WHL season, he put up a staggering 43 goals and 105 points in 68 games with the Cougars. His ability to get into scoring positions and deceptively move around the offensive zone will help him continue to raise his game as he plays against tougher competition as his career progresses.

28. Calgary Flames (via Vancouver Canucks)

E.J. Emery, D, USA U18 (NTDP)

A physical defenceman who excels in his own zone, Emery makes opponents pay the price when trying to get around the defensive zone. He plays a simple but very effective game, paying close attention to his details and staying calm under pressure. At 6-foot-3, he has a pro frame and as he adds muscle, he will only get more formidable to play against.

29. Dallas Stars

Charlie Elick, D, Brandon (WHL)

Another physical defender in this year’s draft class, Elick won’t ever hesitate to throw a hit and will never back down from a battle. Forecheckers have to pay the price while he defending. He’s a strong skater, agile on his blades and possessing solid speed.

30. New York Rangers

Andrew Basha, LW, Medicine Hat (WHL)

A talented playmaker, Basha put up 55 assists in 63 games with the Tigers in 2023-24. His vision coupled with his puck skills allow him to drive the play and he’s got the spark that coaches love, never stopping moving his feet while he’s on the ice.

31. Anaheim Ducks via Edmonton

Marek Vanacker, LW, Brantford (OHL)

A responsible player in all three zones, Vanacker has mastered the details of the game at a young age. In addition to playing a steady style, he has the offensive skill set to contribute regularly, either as a goal-scorer or playmaker. In 68 games this year, he scored 36 gals and posted 82 points.

32. Philadelphia Flyers via Florida

Leo Sahlin Wallenius, D, Vaxjo (Sweden-Jr.)

The defenceman has great vision and handles the puck well, moving it well in transition and creating plays in the offensive zone. He’s reliable in his own zone and has proven to be tough to battle against in front of his net, making opponents pay for trying to get in tight to the goalie.