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Top prospects share NHL All-Star game predictions

Nolan Patrick: 'Any team with Connor McDavid is a safe pick'

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

QUEBEC CITY -- Nolan Patrick, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, favors the Central Division in the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).

Patrick provided his prediction for NHL.com on Saturday after arriving here for media availability prior to serving as captain for Team Don Cherry at the 2017 Sherwin-Williams Canadian Hockey League/NHL Top Prospects Game at Videotron Centre on Monday (7 p.m. ET; NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports).

Patrick will have an opportunity to watch the NHL All-Star Game before joining 39 other players in the CHL Top Prospects Game.

"When you have players like Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin and Vladimir Tarasenko, I don't know if you're going to be able to stop those guys," Patrick said. "On top of that, you have to deal with Patrik Laine shooting the puck."

Patrick predicts the Central Division will face the Pacific Division in the final because "any team with Connor McDavid is a safe pick."

Here are other NHL All-Star Game predictions from a few other participants in the CHL Top Prospects Game (NHL Central Scouting midterm ranking in parenthesis):

Nico Hischier (2), C, Halifax: "I like the Central because they're young and there's different skill sets on that team. Patrick Kane is awesome and Nathan MacKinnon is great. MacKinnon played in Halifax, too, so got to root for the Halifax alum."

Gabriel Vilardi (3), C, Windsor: "The Central has so much skill up front and on the back end. P.K. Subban, Duncan Keith and Ryan Suter form a pretty dominant defense."

Owen Tippett (4), RW, Mississauga: "I like both the Central and the Metropolitan. They both are skilled and I like the experience on each team. The Metropolitan is fast and strong. I think it's going to be close."

Nicolas Hague (11), D, Mississauga: "I like the Atlantic with Auston Matthews. My favorite defenseman, Victor Hedman, is on Atlantic too. Goaltender Carey Price has to be the best goalie in the NHL right now. I think Atlantic will play Pacific in the final. I actually know Pacific Division coach Peter DeBoer; he used to coach Kitchener in the Ontario Hockey League and I'm from Kitchener so I train with Jack DeBoer, Pete's son, a lot in the summer. McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau make the Pacific tough."

Maxime Comtois (15), C, Victoriaville: "It's tough because every team has skill and speed. I think it's going to be a real fast game, 3-on-3. Sidney Crosby is my favorite player, so I think it'll be Metropolitan against Central in the final."

Nick Suzuki (16), C, Owen Sound: "The NHL players have a lot of fun with the 3-on-3 format; it's exciting. I think the Metropolitan looks really good and the Pacific will surprise because they have McDavid. I've always been a big fan of Bo Horvat, who played for London (OHL) and since I grew up in London, Ontario, I watched him a lot. Defensemen Brent Burns and Drew Doughty are solid and I like the goaltending with Martin Jones and Mike Smith."

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