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 first pick can do it all. Shoot, pass and even defend. Celebrini possesses a 200-foot game and oozes confidence with the puck which resulted in his Hobey Baker-winning season at Boston University. 

He’s the engine of any offence whether it was with Boston or on the international stage, there’s not much he can’t do already at such a young age.

2. Chicago Blackhawks

Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State

The defender is always part of the play at both ends of the rink. Levshunov plays with a high motor, smothering attackers to strip the puck or kill it completely before rushing up ice and using his passing or strong shot to make ‘em pay.

His skating allows him to jump in and get back with ease and confidence to activate from the point making him a constant threat.

3. Anaheim Ducks

Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL)

33 goals and 96 points by a defenceman. Disgusting. Parekh is a dynamic offensive defenceman who makes the game come to him and creates breaks in coverage to then attack with ease.

He creates with his skating, making openings for himself while utilizing his puck handling and can also hold his own defensively with an aggressive approach to kill plays.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets

Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg

Demidov is a walking highlight reel with the ability to make something special happen whenever the puck is on his stick. There’s a sense of blink-and-you-might-miss-it-magic with his knack for pulling off multiple dekes to break through into the zone.

He can be a sniper or playmaker, as long as the puck is on his blade you know that a scoring chance is coming.

5. Montreal Canadiens

Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

Size, skating, skill, the ultimate power forward. Despite only appearing in 32 games, Lindstrom dominated the ‘Dub using his skating to create scoring chances with his bread and butter being his shot.

From long range to in close, he can score from wherever and overall plays a fearless game that allows him to take over in a matter of seconds.

6. Utah Hockey Club

Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL)

Tij was already having one heck of a season with the Rockets and then his stock skyrocketed after an impressive U-18’s. Six goals and 12 points in the tourney, Iginla further showcased his creative offensive game and versatility to play any role.

He’s got the flash, the finish and physicality in his game and plays at high pace that gives opponents headaches.

7. Ottawa Senators

Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL)

As the season went on, Dickinson got better and better. His smooth skating allows him to maneuver throughout the ice with ease while also using his explosiveness to go from zone to zone in quick succession.

Defensively, he uses his range and skating to quickly close gaps and force turnovers. He took a massive step offensively and showcased his ability to dictate the game from the neutral zone.

8. Seattle Kraken

Zeev Buium, D, University of Denver (OHL)

Buium did it all at Denver, playing in all roles resulting in leading college players in minutes played. That was all thanks to his versatility and responsibility, being one of the best in transition by baiting opponents to then quickly escape or fire a pass up before joining the attack. In the d-zone, good luck getting much through with his suffocating pressure.

9. Calgary Flames

Berkly Catton, C, Spokane (WHL)

A dynamic forward that excels off the rush, Catton had a heck of a year with the Chiefs with his 116 points ranking fourth - and his 54 goals, third - in the WHL. He dictates the play with poise and patience with the puck before turning on the gears to create openings. 

If given too much time, he’ll take advantage with ease while also slipping and manoeuvring his way out of tight pressure at a ridiculous rate to then finish it off with his high-end shot and passing ability.

10. New Jersey Devils

Anton Silyaev, D, Torpedo (KHL)

A towering defender who can skate with fluidity... Hard to pass up. Silyaev could very be one of the best skaters of the draft with the speed and agility, activating into the play while getting back in smooth motion.

Playing against men in the KHL, the 17-year-old didn’t look out of place and uses his size and skating to make up ground or wipe out his side in the defensive zone.

11. Buffalo Sabres

Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

Sennecke was eyed by scouts all year and then he exploded with 43 points in 35 games down the stretch, followed by 22 in 16 playoff tilts. Impressive stuff. The winger oozes confidence as a puckhandler and is a dual threat scorer who can feather passes perfectly while beating goalies with his sharp release.

On top of that, he has a motor that doesn’t stop.

12. Philadelphia Flyers

Cole Eiserman, LW, U.S. National U18 (NTDP)

All he does is score. Eiserman’s 58 goals were the most in USNTDP history since Cole Caufield in 2019. A threat to score from anywhere in the offensive zone, makes him easily the best goal-scorer in the draft.

He can fire from range but also isn’t shy to mix it up, battling in front to muscle is his way for rebounds. A pure goal scorer who is dedicated to add more elements to his game.

13. Minnesota Wild

Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (Liiga)

One of the smartest players in the draft, Helenius isn’t the flashiest but he excels at both ends of the rink. He takes pride taking care of the defensive end, taking away passing lanes and adding pressure to help his defence.

Offensively, he does a little bit of everything, gaining confidence in his shot to be a finisher while being a responsible playmaker in setting up plays.

14. San Jose Sharks (via Pittsburgh Penguins)

Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

It’s hard to not notice the Hitmen defender when he’s on the ice. A commanding presence that wants the puck on his stick, Yakemchuk goes to work in the o-zone, dangling his way past defenders to then finishing off the play with his impressive shot, ending with 30 on the year.

He took strides defensively but his work as an offensive threat is was is most enticing.

15. Detroit Red Wings

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)

Seen as one of the most NHL-ready prospects, Brandsegg-Nygard, for a lack of a better term, 'has that dog in him.' The winger plays a physical game knocking opponents off the puck regularly while having a powerful and accurate shot which he showcased at the World Championship, posting three goals in seven games.

He’s dynamic with the puck on his stick with an arsenal to beat defenders and on top of that is a very responsible in the d-zone.

16. St. Louis Blues

Stian Solberg, D, Valerenga (Norway)

The defender plays a mean game, knocking players off the puck and away from the front of the net. He’s not just content pushing guys off the puck, he wants to dish out punishment.

An impressive showing on the world stage raised his stock where he also showed confidence in carrying the puck out of the zone while finding lanes to shoot or fire cross crease passes.

17. Washington Capitals

Adam Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (Czechia)

After a strong showing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Jiricek showed why there was so much buzz around him headed into the year. He’s a competitive defender who works to get kill plays while also unafraid to jump into the play offensively.

He has the vision and ability to create openings from the blueline, making him more than capable of starting plays.

18. New York Islanders

Michael Hage, C, Tri-City (USHL)

61 of Hage’s 75 points came from December onwards with an impressive finish to the campaign. He thrives off the rush using dekes and quick passes to gain the zone with ease and keeps the opposition guessing with his shooting and playmaking ability.

He leaves goalies and defenders guessing when using his shot, creating extra space to fire or change the angle.

19. Vegas Golden Knights

Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor (OHL)

Greentree exploded offensively leading the Spitfires in goals (36), assists (54) and points (90) with the closest teammate at 66 points. He draws the attention of defenders and uses his frame to battle through or dangle to create space.

A capable dual threat, his playmaking is his bread and butter, with great awareness and creativity to get passes through.

20. Chicago Blackhawks (via Tampa Bay)

Cole Beaudoin, C, Barrie (OHL)

It was well known that Beaudoin was an unreal athlete, the NHL Combine was an exclamation on the statement. Finishing first in overall testing, the centre is arguably the strongest of the entire class with his ability to consistently win battles on the boards and in space.

He’s dangerous in all three zones with a knack and drive to get the puck back.

21. Los Angeles Kings

Igor Chernyshov, LW, Dynamo (KHL)

Chernyshov dominated during his time in the MHL, averaging 1.27 points-per-game with just two of his 28 points scored on the power play. A well-rounded skater, he constantly creates chances for himself off the rush using powerful and quick strides to fly by.

If things get physical, he is no problem lowering the boom and use his size to his advantage.

22. Nashville Predators

Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL)

From in close or from distance, Boisvert can snipe. The centreman has a powerful shot in the form of a wrister and one-timer, but still can dish it as well with strong playmaking.

When not operating in the offensive end, he can be trusted in a shutdown role, using his physicality and defensive awareness to kill plays and turn back the other way to attack.

23. Toronto Maple Leafs

E.J. Emery, D, U.S. National U18 (NTDP)

Time and time again, Emery was used in a shutdown role and he rose to the occasion. Penalty kill, 5-on-5, he thrives in pushing opponents wide away from danger to then close the gap and chip the puck away.

He covers the ice with ease with his smooth skating, allowing him to follow attackers as they try to shake the blanket coverage he brings.

24. Colorado Avalanche

Teddy Stiga, RW, U.S. National U18 (NTDP)

An intelligent player that seems to always be one step ahead, he knows what he’s going to do before the puck gets on his blade. Stiga is precise with his passing and plays at a high pace, finding open space seamlessly and exploiting holes in coverage.

He rises to the occasion in big moments with his high pace of play making him easy to play with and spot on the attack.

25. Ottawa Senators (from Boston via Detroit)

Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Liiga)

A power forward that can do a little bit of everything. Hemming had a strong season and made a statement at the U18s with four goals in five games. He has a powerful shot which was showcased time and time again.

He plays through contact to drive to the net while in the other end, works hard to limit chances and help out defenders on the rush to pick up the extra man.

26. Montreal Canadiens (via Winnipeg Jets)

Andrew Basha, LW, Medicine Hat (WHL)

The Tigers offence possesses a lot of threats, with Basha being right up there with his combination of skill and physicality. He worked hard on his skating and it showed becoming a powerful transition player, using his pace and agility to open up holes.

His playmaking is one of the best with his ability to perfectly set up and find the open man.

27. Carolina Hurricanes

Aaron Kiviharju, D, HIFK (Liiga)

There’s been excitement around the defender for years now. Despite missing most of the year, the Finn has shown over the years that he excels in breaking the puck out and shifting into transition with his puck skills.

He has a commanding presence with the puck and uses his intelligence to make the play come to him and not force something that isn’t there.

28. Calgary Flames (via Vancouver)

Charlie Elick, D, Brandon (WHL)

The Wheat Kings defender is a pain to play against with mobility and a mean streak. He has a knack for frustrating opponents night in and night out. Elick rarely is chasing the play, using his skating to eliminate threats both on and off the puck which forces pucks to be thrown away which he then retrieves and gets out in a hurry.

Players keep their head on a swivel when he’s around with his rep of throwing hard hits in space.

29. Dallas Stars

Ryder Ritchie, RW, Prince Albert (WHL)

The 2022-23 WHL Rookie of the Year, Ritchie utilizes his skating to slip and deke his way into scoring chances while presenting a threat to score or set up a teammate.

His shot is deceptive, leaving defenders wondering if he will shoot or pass before its too late. The son of former Flame Byron, has a wide variety of offensive tools at his disposal.

30. New York Rangers

Nikita Artamonov, RW, Torpedo (KHL)

Artamonov is a highly skilled playmaker who is a hound on the forecheck. He pushes the pace and is always looking for quick passes and moving right away into space to put the defence on their heels.

He never lets up on the forecheck and more often than not, ends up with the puck to lead the rush. When he doesn’t have it, he works his tail off to get it back.

31. Anaheim Ducks (via Edmonton)

Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George (WHL)

A breakout season with 105 points in 68 games, Parascak is a clever attacker off the puck by finding open spots and perfectly timing where to be for teammates to find him. His shot is deadly. One-timer, wrister, whatever it may be, Parascak’s shot left ‘Dub goalies flat-out frustrated.

A hard worker, he isn’t shy to fire from anywhere thanks to the power and accuracy in his shot.

32. Philadelphia Flyers (via Florida)

Dean Letourneau, C, St. Andrews College (CAHS)

A big frame with soft touch: Enter Dean Letourneau. At 6’7” it’s hard to not notice the centreman who is already being considered a unicorn and for good reason.

Not only does he use his size to dominate puck battles and throw heavy hits, but he showed high-end passing and a wicked shot consistently that saw him score 61 in 56 games with St. Andrews. Sky’s the limit, literally.