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LAS VEGAS -- The first round of the 2024 Upper Deck NHL Draft was held at Sphere in Las Vegas on Friday. NHL.com deputy managing editor and draft guru Adam Kimelman was in Las Vegas to provide information and analysis on 32 first-round picks.

1. San Jose Sharks -- Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 (North American skaters)

Celebrini was third in the NCAA with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games as a freshman at Boston University and won the Hobey Baker Award as the top men's player in NCAA ice hockey, becoming the youngest player to win the award and the fourth from Boston University, joining Jack Eichel (2015), Matt Gilroy (2009) and Chris Drury (1998). Celebrini, the youngest player in NCAA hockey this season, didn't turn 18 until June 13 but was named rookie of the year and player of the year in Hockey East, becoming the fourth player to win both awards in the same season, joining Eichel (2015), Paul Kariya (1993) and Brian Leetch (1987). Born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Celebrini opted to advance his development playing Tier 1 AAA hockey for the San Jose Junior Sharks, prep school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota and with Chicago of the United States Hockey League before joining BU this season. He'll determine whether or not he'll return to college after the draft.

"He competes with himself, competes with others, but that's just how he is," BU coach Jay Pandolfo said. "I think that's what makes him a special player, but I think that's going to serve him very well in the National Hockey League."

NHL.com analysis: The Sharks finally make official what's been assumed since the draft lottery with the selection of Celebrini. His skill set and work ethic has been compared to former Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. If Celebrini signs and joins the Sharks this season, he'll join Will Smith, the No. 4 pick of the 2023 NHL Draft, to form the foundation of what the Sharks hope will be a return to contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Celebrini reacts to being picked No. 1 by the Sharks

2. Chicago Blackhawks -- Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (NCAA)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 (North American skaters)

The right-handed shot (6-2, 205) was named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, and earned spots on the All-Big 10 First Team and All-Freshman Team. The 18-year-old, the third-youngest player in men's college hockey, ranked second among NCAA freshmen defensemen and tied for ninth among all defensemen with 35 points (nine goals, 26 assists) in 38 games. He led the Big 10 with a plus-27 rating while playing on the top defense pair all season. Levshunov looks to become the third player and first defenseman from Michigan State to be selected among the top three picks after forward Joe Murphy went No. 1 to the Detroit Red Wings in the 1986 NHL Draft, and forward Craig Simpson went No. 2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1985 NHL Draft.

"He's a player who can be defensive and also bring offense and I think that's why he brings so much value," Michigan State coach Adam Nightingale said. "He's very gifted offensively. He's very good on the power play, he's got deception, he can shoot through screens and put it on guys' tape. But he really values defending. He wants to play in the NHL and wants to play meaningful minutes, and to play meaningful minutes you got to do it on both sides of the puck."

NHL.com analysis: The Blackhawks got their building block at forward at the 2023 NHL Draft with Calder Trophy winner Connor Bedard, and this year shift the focus to building their defense with Levshunov. He has NHL-ready size, and has said he'll wait until after the draft to decide if he wants to play another season of NCAA hockey or jump to the NHL. Either way, Levshunov projects to be a top-pair defenseman and be the lynchpin of a young group that saw Kevin Korchinski and Alex Vlasic make big strides last season, and 2022 first-round pick Sam Rinzel (No. 25) is close to being pro-ready.

3. Anaheim Ducks --- Beckett Sennecke, RW, Oshawa (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 13 (North American skaters)

The 18-year-old has good size (6-3, 182), strength and skills, and those combined with his hockey sense help him consistently generate quality scoring opportunities. Sennecke had 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists), scored seven power-play goals and led the Generals with seven game-winning goals in 63 regular-season games. During the Ontario Hockey League playoffs he tied for fourth with 10 goals in 16 games. Sennecke is an all-around 200-foot player with a positive work ethic at both ends of the ice.

NHL.com analysis: The Ducks make the first surprise pick of the draft, but Sennecke projects to be a top-six wing who can provide a great running mate to one of their emerging young centers, Mason McTavish, Leo Carlsson or Trevor Zegras. Sennecke is a strong skater and knows how to pull pucks out of traffic and make plays in tight, and he's got a great shot. It will take time for him to fill out his frame, but with another season or two of development should have him join the Ducks' flock of other top-end prospects they've accumulated the past few seasons.

4. Columbus Blue Jackets -- Cayden Lindstrom, C, Medicine Hat (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 (North American skaters)

Lindstrom (6-3, 213) is a powerhouse who remained a top forward option for the draft despite missing the final 36 regular-season games because of injuries to his back and hand. The 18-year-old had 46 points (27 goals, 19 assists) in 32 games prior to leaving the lineup Dec. 16. After recovering from surgery for a back injury, he returned March 29 and had two points (one goal, one assist) and 17 shots on goal in four Western Hockey League playoff games.

"Lindstrom is an elite NHL prospect that any NHL club would covet, and the NHL projection does not change due to the fact that he has missed time due to injuries that were not deemed to impair his future career," Central Scouting director Dan Marr said. "Central Scouting chose to rank him in the same position because he remains one of the best prospects in this class and we haven't filed any reports to displace him."

NHL.com analysis: The Blue Jackets clearly are confident the back issue that sidelined Lindstrom for the entire second half of Medicine Hat's season is behind him. Lindstrom did his rehabilitation work with an NHL team doctor, and all 32 teams have been updated on his condition. Lindstrom is a goal-scorer with great speed helped by his track background, and an impressive nasty streak. A 1-2 center punch of Lindstrom and Adam Fantilli gives the Blue Jackets a strong foundation as they try to climb back into Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

5. Montreal Canadiens -- Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg Jr. (RUS-JR)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 (International skaters)

Demidov is a tremendous skater and excellent puck-handler capable of playing right wing, left wing and center. The left-handed shot (6-0, 192) led St. Petersburg's team in the MHL, Russia's junior league, with 60 points (23 goals, 37 assists), and had six game-winning goals and 144 shots on goal in 30 games. The 18-year-old averaged 18:06 of ice time and 4.8 shots on goal per game during the regular season, and had 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) and averaged 17:37 of ice time with 4.5 shots on goal in 17 MHL playoff games. Demidov also played four games with SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League but did not have a point.

"I think he's a better player than [Matvei] Michkov (Philadelphia Flyers, 2023 NHL Draft, No. 7)," TSN director of scouting and NHL analyst Craig Button said. "He's [Nikita] Kucherov to me. He can pass, he can shoot. He's brilliant. Like Kucherov, they [both] step out onto the ice and they're immediately dangerous. The puck ends up on their stick and it's like, buckle up, pay attention, you're going for a ride."

NHL.com analysis: Some scouts believe Demidov is the second-most talented player in this year's draft after Celebrini. He dominated Russia's junior league, and likely will spend at least one more season developing in the Kontinental Hockey League next season. But his dynamic skill set and skating has the chance to bring the kind of wow factor the Canadiens have not had in a long time.

Ivan Demidov drafted by Montreal Canadiens

6. Utah Hockey Club -- Tij Iginla, C, Kelowna (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 9 (North American skaters)

Iginla (6-0, 191), who turns 18 on Aug. 4, has taken many lessons from his father, Hockey Hall of Fame forward Jarome Iginla, on and off the ice. Combined with his skill and the competitive verve that was so prevalent in his dad, Tij led the Rockets this season with 47 goals and was second with 84 points and 11 power-play goals in 64 games. The left-handed shot, who led Kelowna in the Western Hockey League playoffs with nine goals and tied for the lead with 15 points in 11 games, is recognized as a goal-scorer with a big shot and good hands around the net. His competitiveness and hockey sense also are big attributes of his game.

NHL.com analysis: The first pick for Utah is a forward with an elite shot and the kind of hockey IQ that comes from growing up in the same home as a Hockey Hall of Famer. Iginla excelled playing center and the wing with Kelowna this season but expects to move back to center full-time next season. Iginla should be a fantastic addition to the emerging core in Utah led by Clayton Keller, Dylan Guenther and Logan Cooley.

Iginla interviewed after being selected by Utah

7. Ottawa Senators --- Carter Yakemchuk, D, Calgary (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 11 (North American skaters)

The right-handed shot (6-3, 202) led Western Hockey League defensemen with 30 goals and was fifth with 71 points in 66 regular-season games. Yakemchuk set a Calgary record for most goals in a season by a defenseman and is one of three WHL defensemen in the past 10 seasons to score 30 goals, along with Olen Zellweger (32, 2022-23) and Connor Hobbs (31, 2016-17). Yakemchuk also had 31 power-play points (10 goals, 21 assists) and three game-winning goals. The 18-year-old was the first NHL draft-eligible WHL defenseman to score 30 in a season since Ian White with Swift Current in 2001-02.

NHL.com analysis: The Senators find a defenseman to build around with Yakemchuk, their first pick in the first round since 2021. Yakemchuk had a fantastic offensive season with 30 goals, and said his offseason focus will be getting stronger to improve his skating and defensive-zone efficiency. When he fills out physically, he profiles as a top-end offensive presence at 5-on-5 who can lead a power play.

8. Seattle Kraken -- Berkly Catton, C, Spokane (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 8 (North American skaters)

Catton (5-10, 175) led Spokane and was fourth in the Western Hockey League this season with 116 points (54 goals, 62 assists) in 68 games. He was the third draft-eligible WHL skater since 2000 to top 115 points in a season, joining Connor Bedard (143 points in 2022-23) and Nic Petan (120 in 2012-13). Catton also won 53.4 percent of his face-offs, led the WHL with seven short-handed goals and was third on his team with 30 power-play points (13 goals, 17 assists). The 18-year-old generates plenty of scoring chances off the rush and possesses great awareness in all three zones. Catton had 10 points (eight goals, two assists) in five games to lead Canada to a gold medal at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He was named the WHL U.S. Division Player of the Year.

NHL.com analysis: The Kraken's offensive struggles this season -- they averaged 2.61 goals per game, 29th in the NHL -- could be a short-term problem with Catton's dynamic skill set. Seattle has stockpiled some strong forward prospects, among them Shane Wright, Eduard Sale and Jagger Firkus, the Canadian Hockey League player of the year. Catton has speed and a 200-foot game that allowed him to produce offensively even when his team was short-handed. Once he fills out physically, the thought of Catton and Matty Beniers as a 1-2 center punch could make the Kraken a very difficult team to play against.

9. Calgary Flames -- Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 (North American skaters)

Parekh (6-0, 178), climbed to No. 5 from No. 10 in Central Scouting's midterm rankings in January. He's a transitional defenseman who can quarterback the power play. The right-handed shot led Ontario Hockey League defensemen and set Saginaw records for goals (33) and points (96) by a defenseman in 66 regular-season games. Parekh also scored 10 power-play goals, two short-handed goals and six game-winning goals. He had 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 13 OHL playoff games, and had five points (one goal, four assists) in five games to help Saginaw win the Memorial Cup. The 18-year-old has been compared to Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson because of his dynamic offensive skills.

"His upside is huge," Nick Smith of Central Scouting said. "He never gets rattled, is full of poise and confidence, and has the skills and the brain ... just a smart, smart player. He can score, he's got a good touch, he's got good vision, and he competes. A real high-end prospect."

NHL.com analysis: The Flames get an electric offensive-minded defenseman that makes the comparisons to Karlsson very apt. But what also makes Parekh stand out is his hockey IQ and determination to disprove the doubters who believe he won't be able to defend at an NHL level. Parekh had the work ethic to graduate high school at 16; it's easy to see him putting that kind of effort into becoming a better defensive player.

10. New Jersey Devils -- Anton Silayev, D, Nizhny Novgorod (RUS)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 (International skaters)

Silayev (6-7, 211) had 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 103 shots on goal, 74 blocked shots and was second on his team with 98 hits in 63 regular-season games. The 18-year-old left-handed shot, who was No. 2 on Central Scouting's midterm list in January, had the most points by an under-18 player in Kontinental Hockey League history; Vladimir Tarasenko is second (10 points for Novosibirsk in 2008-09). Perhaps most impressive was how Silayev adapted to the physical style of the game as a teenager in the KHL while averaging 14:54 of ice time per game.

"He seems to always be alert and able to quickly get pucks to his forwards in transition," NHL director of European Scouting Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen said. "He can carry the puck and has a great release. His personal skills are still a bit raw, but his ceiling is high."

NHL.com analysis: The Devils select one of the most unique prospects in this year's draft. Silayev is an outstanding skater for a player his size, which has earned him comparisons to Tampa Bay Lightning star Victor Hedman. His offensive upside at the NHL level is unknown, but his skating and physicality would make him the perfect complement to New Jersey's other young top-end defenseman prospects, Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec.

11. San Jose Sharks (from BUF) -- Sam Dickinson, D, London (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 7 (North American skaters)

The left-handed shot (6-3, 203) finished fourth among Ontario Hockey League defensemen with 70 points (18 goals, 52 assists) and third with 11 power-play goals in 68 regular-season games. His 70 points ranked third among draft-eligible defensemen from London, behind Evan Bouchard (87 points, 2017-18) and Rob Ramage (73, 1976-77). The 18-year-old logged a ton of ice time for a team already stocked with NHL drafted players, and played the point on the first power-play unit for a team that had the best power play in OHL at 32.6 percent. He also had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 18 OHL playoff games. Dickinson displayed his outstanding skating all season, including at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 23, when he finished first in 30-meter forward skate with puck and 30-meter backwards skate with puck, and second in transition ability among all players tested.

"One of the things I noticed with him this year is that he's really improved his defensive zone exits," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He likes to skate it out, but when that passing opportunity is there, he finds it and he can do it on the backhand as good as anyone I've seen."

NHL.com analysis: After taking a foundational piece at forward with Celebrini at No. 1, the Sharks use their second first-round pick on Dickinson, who has a calm, poised, 200-foot skill set that is reminiscent of Alex Pietrangelo. One scout called Dickinson "the safest pick" of this year's draft because of the way he's able to control the pace of the game with his skating and his all-around ability.

12. Minnesota Wild (from PHI) -- Zeev Buium, D, Denver (NCAA)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 4 (North American skaters)

The Wild traded a third-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft to the Philadelphia Flyers to move up one spot to take Buium. The National Collegiate Hockey Conference Rookie of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year led NCAA defensemen and was fifth among all freshmen with 50 points (11 goals, 39 assists) in 42 games for the NCAA champion. Buium (6-0, 186) also was named to the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team. The 18-year-old was the second-youngest player in men's college hockey after Boston University center Macklin Celebrini, who was taken No. 1 by the San Jose Sharks. Buium also had five points (three goals, two assists) and a tournament-best plus-11 rating in seven games to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

NHL.com analysis: The Wild traded up one spot to make sure they got the No. 1 defenseman from the NCAA championship team. Minnesota has a shortage of top-end prospects at the position, but Buium has a mature game, an outstanding skill set and high-end athleticism. He'll likely play one more season in college but it won't be too long before he's sharing the ice with Brock Faber as a foundational piece on the Wild's back end.

13. Philadelphia Flyers (from MIN) -- Jett Luchanko, C, Guelph (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 20 (North American skaters)

Luchanko (5-11, 187) led Guelph with 74 points (20 goals, 54 assists) in 68 games, and won the William Hanley Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player in the Ontario Hockey League. He tied for second in the OHL with 30 power-play assists was ninth in face-off wins (663). Luchanko finished in the top three in four categories in the 2024 OHL Western Conference Coaches Poll, placing second for Smartest Player, Hardest Worker and Best Skater, and third for Best Shootout Shooter (he went 2-for-4 this season). The 17-year-old also finished first in the 2024 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game fitness testing in January, placing among the top five in six of 10 on-ice categories. The right-handed shot has been compared by some scouts to Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki.

NHL.com analysis: The Flyers move back one spot in a trade with the Wild and are able to fill a need for young center prospects. Luchanko is an explosive skater who projects to contribute on the top power play and penalty kill. It might not take long before Luchanko and Matvei Michkov become two-thirds of Philadelphia's top line.

Jett Luchanko drafted by Philadelphia Flyers

14. Buffalo Sabres (from PIT via SJS) -- Konsta Helenius, C, Jukurit (FIN)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 (International skaters)

The 18-year-old right-handed shot (5-11, 189) had 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) and five power-play goals, won 50.2 percent of his face-offs and averaged 16:57 of ice time in 51 games for Jukurit in Liiga, Finland's top professional men's league. He had the most points by an under-19 player in Liiga this season. Helenius had two points (one goal, one assist) and 13 shots on goal in seven games for fourth-place Finland at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, averaging 19:12 of ice time in a second-line role. He was the youngest player (17 years old) at the 2024 IIHF World Championship, where he centered Finland's top line with Mikael Granlund (San Jose Sharks) and Valtteri Puustinen (Pittsburgh Penguins). He's been compared by some scouts to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point.

"He's a complete hockey player, a coach's dream in many cases, because you can trust him in several situations," said Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen, NHL director of European Scouting.

NHL.com analysis: Olli Jokinen, Helenius' coach the past two seasons, said Helenius is in the "top three percent of the players talent-wise," and could envision him playing in the NHL as soon as next season. Helenius already has excelled against older, more physically developed players in Liiga and at the World Championship, and has said being in the NHL is his offseason focus. Whether he's in the Sabres lineup in October or not, he projects to be a 200-foot center who can be a fantastic playmaker for some of the emerging young wings they've drafted, including Matt Savoie, Jiri Kulich and Zach Benson.

15. Detroit Red Wings -- Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora (SWE-2)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 (International skaters)

Brandsegg-Nygard (6-1, 207) was born in Oslo, Norway, but plays for Mora in HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden's second division, where the 18-year-old had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 41 regular-season games. His 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 12 games during the Allsvenskan playoffs were a record for an NHL draft-eligible player. He had five points (three goals, two assists), nine shots on goal and averaged 17:22 of ice time in five games for Norway at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. Brandsegg-Nygard is the highest-selected Norway-born player ever, surpassing forward Marius Holtet, a second-round pick (No. 42) of the Dallas Stars in the 2002 NHL Draft. Brandsegg-Nygard plays an advanced game, skates well and has a great shot.

"He plays a very mature game and is one of the best prospects from Norway in many years," NHL director of European Scouting Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen said. "He's physically strong to play men's games, is hard-working and has a great attitude. He wants to be a difference-maker."

NHL.com analysis: The Red Wings make history by making Brandsegg-Nygard the first player born in Norway to be selected in the first round. What Detroit is getting is a strong skater who is very good on the forecheck and fearless when it comes to physical play. He'll return for one more season in Sweden, with Skelleftea in the Swedish Hockey League, but he projects to be a power forward that should open space for his linemates. After taking centers with their first pick at the draft in 2022 (Marco Kasper) and 2023 (Nate Danielson), Brandsegg-Nygard should be a fine complement on the wing.

16. St. Louis Blues -- Adam Jiricek, D, Plzen (CZREP)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 4 (International skaters)

The right-handed shot (6-2, 167) sustained a right knee injury while playing for Czechia at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 26, had surgery and missed the remainder of the season. He expects to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season. Jiricek, who turned 18 on Friday, had one assist in 19 games in the top professional men's league in the Czechia this season. He is the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Jiricek.

NHL.com analysis: The Blues certainly need an infusion of youth at defense and must have gotten the information they needed to hear about Jiricek's health after he missed the second half of the season with a knee injury. He'll likely need at least one more season playing in the Czechia, but if he can get back to the level he was before the injury, and continue to develop the offensive side of his game, he could be a solid top-four defenseman who can contribute on the power play.

17. Washington Capitals -- Terik Parascak, RW, Prince George (WHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 15 (North American skaters)

Parascak (6-0, 179) led Western Hockey League rookies in goals (43), points (105) and short-handed goals (four) in 68 regular-season games. It was the most points by a WHL rookie since Pavel Brendl had 134 with Calgary in 1998-99. During the WHL playoffs, Parascak led rookies with six goals and was second with 14 points in 12 games. The 18-year-old is composed under pressure and has shown a consistent ability to finish scoring chances around the net.

NHL.com analysis: The Capitals take one of the smarter players in this year's draft. Parascak doesn't have the kind of skill set that pulls fans out of their seats, but he has a great ability to find soft spots in defensive coverages and use a dynamic shot that stands out for its deception.

18. Chicago Blackhawks (from NYI) -- Sacha Boisvert, C, Muskegon (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 16 (North American skaters)

Boisvert will further his development at the University of North Dakota next season and possibly become the program's first Quebec-born player (Trois-Rivieres). Boisvert's size (6-2, 183) paid off during his second season with Muskegon. The 18-year-old was fifth in the United States Hockey League with 36 goals and tied for 11th with 68 points in 61 games, after he had 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in 57 games as a rookie in 2022-23.

NHL.com analysis: The Blackhawks could use some size through the middle of the ice after taking centers on the smaller size the past two years at the draft in Connor Bedard (5-10, 185), Oliver Moore (5-11, 188) and Frank Nazar (5-9, 175). In addition to a bigger frame, Boisvert has greatly improved his skating, which allowed him to become more of a 200-foot player. If he stays in the middle or slides to the wing, he profiles as a power forward who is able to create extra room for one of those dynamic centers while also being able to finish chances at the net.

19. Vegas Golden Knights -- Trevor Connelly, LW, Tri-City (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 (North American skaters)

Connelly (6-1, 160) was second in the United States Hockey League with 78 points (31 goals, 47 assists) in 52 games and is committed to play at Providence College. One scout said an NHL comparable could be Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson, but how Connelly answers questions about his on- and off-ice discipline could determine how quickly the 18-year-old reaches the NHL.

"He's an explosive player that seems to impact every game he plays," Central Scouting's Pat Cullen said. "... I've not walked away from any games with Trevor in the past two years where I was disappointed. He's a guy that when you go to the rink, it's fun to watch him play because he can score, he can skate, he's unselfish. He just has a lot of qualities that make him a really attractive forward for NHL clubs to be looking at."The past is the past. We don't get involved in that. He's just a really, really good, complete player and he's done it at every level the last couple years."

NHL.com analysis: Connelly's skill set is unquestioned, with explosive skating and a dynamic offensive presence. But there have been questions about his maturity on and off the ice, including an illegal check to the head playing for the United States against Canada in the third period of the gold-medal game at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship that allowed Canada to score three power-play goals and turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead en route to a 6-4 victory. Connelly will head to Providence College in the fall, and if he can grow physically as well as emotionally, he could be a steal at this point in the draft.

20. New York Islanders (from TBL via CHI) -- Cole Eiserman, LW, USA U-18 (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 12 (North American skaters)

Eiserman (6-foot, 197 pounds) scored 58 goals in 57 games with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team this season, and became the program's all-time leader with 127 goals in 119 games. He had 17 points (10 goals, seven assists) in 12 games against NCAA Division I competition and 34 points (25 goals, nine assists) in 24 games against teams in the United States Hockey League. Eiserman also had 11 points (nine goals, two assists) in seven games to help the United States win the silver medal at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. His dynamic shot is what makes him a top-end NHL prospect, but there is concern about whether the 17-year-old can round out his game. He'll continue to improve that area next season at Boston University.Those who know Eiserman best believe his work ethic will allow him to get his game where it needs to be to have success in the NHL.

"Whether it's fair or not, he's been labeled as a one-dimensional player, but it's a very important dimension," Central Scouting director Dan Marr said. "In the National Hockey League, scoring is one of the best parts of the game. That's what he's going to bring to the table with the team.

"When I look down the road, I can see him impacting an NHL club like a Chris Kreider. A guy that can score goals on a consistent basis, score timely goals, help teams win games. I think he just needs to be coached up a bit and he'll get that in college hockey. That just comes with experience and maturity."

NHL.com analysis: Eiserman has the best shot in the 2024 draft, but questions about the other elements of his game made him one of the more divisive prospects in the minds of scouts. But TSN resident director of scouting Craig Button remembers his father, longtime NHL scout Jack Button, telling him stories about scouts having the same concerns about Mike Bossy before the Islanders selected him in the 1977 NHL Draft. No one is comparing Eiserman to Bossy, but Eiserman has displayed a commitment to become more of a playmaker and earn the trust of his coaches with his play away from the puck. He'll have time to work on those areas of his game at Boston University, and has said he's got a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the teams that passed on him.

Cole Eiserman drafted by New York Islanders

21. Montreal Canadiens (from LAK) -- Michael Hage, C, Chicago (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 10 (North American skaters)

The 18-year-old right-hand shot (6-1, 188) won the 2024 E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, given to the NHL draft prospect who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism. Hage began his junior career with Chicago last season by sustaining a dislocated right shoulder on his first day of training camp and missing more than six months following surgery. He eventually played 13 games. This season he was fourth in the league with 75 points (33 goals, 42 assists) in 54 regular-season games and had four points (two goals, two assists) in two playoff games. He climbed nine spots to No. 10 in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2024 draft, from No. 19 in the midterm ranking in January. His father, Alain, died in a swimming pool accident last summer, and Hage dedicated this season in his honor. He's committed to play at the University of Michigan next season.

"I think what stands out to me about Michael is he has the size, he has the speed, he has the skill, he has the shot, but he's competitive," Chicago coach/general manager Mike Garman said. "He's a really high-IQ player on top of it. He has, I think, a really unique combination of so many amazing assets."

NHL.com analysis: Finding depth at center is an organizational need and Hage has the sort of skill set and competitiveness that makes him a standout player. Hage also has a rare level of mental toughness from missing most of one season with a dislocated shoulder and then dealing with the death of his father last summer. He'll need time to fill out and refine his skills starting in the fall at the University of Michigan, but his playmaking and physicality project well to the next level.

22. Nashville Predators -- Egor Surin, C, Yaroslav Jr. (RUS-JR)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 22 (International skaters)

Surin (6-1, 197) had 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) in 43 games in Russia's junior league. The 17-year-old is considered a hard-worker who already got some experience playing three games in the Kontinental Hockey League with Yaroslavl.

NHL.com analysis: Predators general manager Barry Trotz has not been shy about believing Nashville needs more young centers in the development pipeline. Patience will be needed before Surin is ready to come to North America but the reward could be significant. He's a hardworking two-way forward regarded for his compete level, and showed during his league's playoffs that he could elevate his game in big moments.

23. Anaheim Ducks (from TOR) -- Stian Solberg, D, Valerenga (NOR)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 20 (International skaters)

The Ducks traded the No. 31 pick and No. 58 pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs to move up to 23 and select Solberg (6-1, 205), who is a competitive two-way left-handed shot capable of playing a physical game. He had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 42 regular-season games and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 17 playoff games in Norway's top professional league. Solberg has been compared by some scouts to Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ivan Provorov. The 18-year-old is expected to play for Farjestad of the Swedish Hockey League in 2024-25.

NHL.com analysis: The Ducks traded up with the Maple Leafs to select the second Norway-born player taken in the first round after the Detroit Red Wings took Michael Brandsegg-Nygard at No. 15. Solberg opened eyes with a great turn at the 2024 IIHF World Championship but adds a physical element to his offensive game. The Ducks have stockpiled young offensive-minded defensemen, among them Tristan Luneau, Olen Zellweger and Pavel Mintyukov. Solberg has the potential to be a tremendous complementary piece on a top defense pair.

24. Utah Hockey Club (from COL) -- Cole Beaudoin, C, Barrie (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 25 (North American skaters)

Utah traded the No. 38 pick, No. 71 pick and a second-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft to the Colorado Avalanche to move up to 24 and take Beaudoin (6-2, 210), who is a physical specimen who stood out during the fitness testing at the NHL Scouting Combine. The 18-year-old had 62 points (28 goals, 34 assists) in 67 regular-season games, five points (two goals, three assists) in six Ontario Hockey League playoff games and helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship with four points (two goals, two assists) in seven games. Beaudoin patterns his game after Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner.

"He just has an unmatched work ethic," Nick Smith of Central Scouting said. "Nobody's outworking that kid. And he does the elite things well. He's already a pro the way he approaches the game. Especially at a young age. He's got underrated hockey sense with some offensive skills that teams overlook. They maybe see him as a hard-working kind of guy, but he puts up numbers and score goals and is just a great kid."

NHL.com analysis: Utah jumped back into the first round to select Beaudoin, a fantastic athlete who impressed scouts with his fitness testing numbers at the NHL Scouting Combine. Utah general manager Bill Armstrong said his team's strong prospect base and the 13 picks the team began the day with would allow him to be creative. It remains to be seen if Beaudoin stays in the middle or slides to the wing, but either way he profiles as a high-compete power forward with a strong set of offensive skills.

25. Boston Bruins (from OTT via DET and BOS) -- Dean Letourneau, C, St. Andrews College (HIGH-ON)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 23 (North American skaters)

Letourneau (6-6, 214) led all players at the NHL Scouting Combine with at 83.25 inches. He was a dominant player at the prep school level with 127 points (61 goals, 66 assists) in 56 games, but questions about the level of play he faced made evaluating the 18-year-old challenging. However scouts were intrigued by the raw skills they saw, which will be challenged when he starts at Boston College in the fall.

"I think it’s hard to find a player with his size and length to have soft hands and good feet," Nick Smith of Central Scouting said. "He can make plays with sense and vision with a scoring touch around the net. He still has a ton of filling out to do as well."

NHL.com analysis: Center is an area of need for the Bruins, and Letourneau has a very intriguing upside. He dominated against prep school competition, but that level is a bit of a drop-off from the competition he would have faced had he played in the Canadian Hockey League or the United States Hockey League. It's a bit of a risky pick, and his play next season at Boston College will go a long way toward determining if that risk is worth the reward.

Dean Letourneau drafted by Boston Bruins

26. Los Angeles Kings (from WPG via MTL) -- Liam Greentree, RW, Windsor (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 14 (North American skaters)

Greentree is a big forward (6-2, 215) who has become effective at driving the net and finding space to shoot the puck. He's also a proven leader; the 18-year-old was named the 59th captain in Windsor history on Jan. 15. He scored a goal and was one of the more active players in the tough areas of the ice in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 24. Greentree was tied for 11th in the Ontario Hockey League with 90 points (36 goals, 54 assists) and was fourth with four short-handed assists in 64 games. He could go higher than most expect in the draft because of his combination of toughness and skill, assets NHL scouts and general managers covet. Greentree worked on keeping a positive mindset as Windsor finished 19th among 20 teams in the OHL by drawing a smiley face on his sticks before each game.

NHL.com analysis: Teams always look to bring good people as well as good players into their organization, and Greentree checks both boxes. His maturity earned him the captaincy in Windsor as an underage player, and he stayed positive despite Windsor finishing as the second-worst team in the OHL. He's the kind of player who will get better with better players around him. And as one NHL scout said, "I think he's a beast right now. Imagine him in two years. He's going to be dominant for sure."

27. Chicago Blackhawks (from CAR) -- Marek Vanacker, LW, Brantford (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 17 (North American skaters)

The Blackhawks got another pick in the first round by trading picks Nos. 34 and 50 to the Carolina Hurricanes to take Vanacker (6-0, 178), who led Brantford with 82 points (36 goals, 46 assists) in 68 games. The 18-year-old scored one goal in six games to help Canada win the gold medal at the World U-18s. Most impressive was he played almost the entire season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He had surgery in June and is expected to need 4-6 months to recover.

NHL.com analysis: The Blackhawks jump back into the first round to make their third selection. Vanacker's numbers are even more impressive because of the season-long shoulder injury he played through. When healthy, Vanacker is an agitating forward capable of changing momentum with a big goal or a timely hit. That element of skilled meanness and physicality is something the Blackhawks are going to need as they work their way back to playoff contention.

28. Calgary Flames (from VAN) -- Matvei Gridin, RW, Muskegon (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 21 (North American skaters)

Gridin (6-1, 189) began playing hockey at age 3 in his hometown of Kurgan, Russia. It was there his father, Andrey, began teaching him the fundamentals. He played for St. Petersburg and Omsk in Russia's development leagues before being chosen by Muskegon in the 15th round (No. 223) of the 2022 United States Hockey League draft. The 18-year-old led the USHL with 83 points (38 goals, 45 assists) in 60 games, a vast improvement on the 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) he had in 40 games in 2022-23. Committed to play at the University of Michigan next season, Gridin knows how to play to his strengths, which include his intelligence, playmaking and one of the quickest shot releases Muskegon coach Parker Burgess said he has ever seen.

NHL.com analysis: After addressing their needs on defense with Parekh, the Flames select leading scorer in the USHL in Gridin. Scouts like Gridin's hockey sense, which allows him to be dangerous on the penalty kill. The Flames have started to tilt more toward younger, more athletic forwards with Matt Coronato and Connor Zary expected to get more playing time next season, and 2023 first-round pick (No. 16) Samuel Honzek and Gridin could be right behind them.

29. Dallas Stars -- Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (FIN)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 (International skaters)

Hemming (6-1, 205), who turned 18 on June 27, had 11 points (seven goals, four assists), 73 shots on goal and averaged 10:04 of ice time in 40 games with TPS in his first season in Liiga, Finland's top professional men's league. He also had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 11 playoff games with TPS' team in Finland's junior league, and had nine points (four goals, five assists) for third-place Finland to tie for the team lead at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August.

"Emil is a scorer by nature and a natural sniper, always hungry to find a way to score," NHL director of European Scouting Jukka-Pekka Vuorinen said. "He has size, a good physical presence, is hard to knock off the puck, and likes to shoot it. He has a quick release and knows where to target his shots."

NHL.com analysis: The Stars have found their success through smart drafting, but the one area they do lack a bit is size among their prospect group. Hemming had a great season in Liiga, and combined his strong offensive skills with strength on the puck and a willingness to work in the dirty areas of the ice.

30. New York Rangers -- EJ Emery, D, USA U-18 (USHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 39 (North American skaters)

Emery (6-3, 183), committed to the University of North Dakota in 2024-25, had 16 assists in 61 games with the NTDP U-18 team this season, including six assists and a plus-15-rating that tied for the tournament lead in seven games for the United States at the 2024 U-18 Worlds. The 18-year-old is a model of consistency among stay-at-home defensemen of this draft class, can transition well and knows how to close and defend while covering a lot of space with his length and speed.

NHL.com analysis: Emery was a vital part of the NTDP U-18 team's success this season even though he didn't score a goal. He might not be a big offensive contributor at the NHL level, but his skating, reach, work ethic and athleticism has the chance to give him a long, successful professional career as a top-four defenseman, likely as the defensive-minded complement to a team's top offensive-mind defenseman.

Emery drafted by New York Rangers

31. Toronto Maple Leafs (from ANA via EDM) -- Ben Danford, D, Oshawa (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 35 (North American skaters)

Danford (6-1, 191) stepped up offensively in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 21 games, after he had 33 points (one goal, 32 assists) in 64 regular-season games. The 18-year-old right-handed shot is viewed as a smart, dependable defenseman who could develop the offensive side of his game.

NHL.com analysis: The Maple Leafs needed to address their prospect depth at defenseman, and traded with the Ducks to make get into this spot. Danford stands out for his smarts, skating and dependability in all areas of the ice. His biggest attribute will be his defensive play, but his vision and passing ability should allow him to contribute to the offense as his game matures.

32. Edmonton Oilers (from PHI via FLA) -- Sam O'Reilly, RW, London (OHL)

NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 24 (North American skaters)

The Oilers traded their first-round pick either in 2025 or 2026 to the Philadelphia Flyers to snag the last pick of the first round this year. With it, they took O'Reilly, a right-handed shot who only made the shift to forward three years ago, moving from defenseman to right wing while playing in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. O'Reilly (6-1, 184) was third among Ontario Hockey League rookies with 56 points (20 goals, 36 assists) in 68 games. The 18-year-old led OHL rookies during the playoffs with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 16 games to London win the league championship.

NHL.com analysis: The Oilers moved into the first round to select O'Reilly, who seemed to get more ice time as the season went on with London, and was a big part of their run to the OHL championship. With one pick in the first four rounds entering the day and a depleted prospect base from trades that helped them get to the Stanley Cup Final this season, Edmonton likely couldn't pass on a chance to add a smart, skilled, strong skater in O'Reilly when they saw he was available at this point in the draft.

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