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DRAFT: Prospects prepare for what could be an unpredictable first round

"From three to 10, there's a variety of guys that can go anywhere… It will be an interesting night," said centre Kirby Dach

by Paul Gazzola /

VANCOUVER, BC - You don't know until you know.

You know?

Despite the abundance of mocks, prospect rankings and scenarios mapped out in the weeks leading up to Friday's Round 1 of the 2019 NHL Draft, the players expected to be selected are fully aware of how unpredictable the Draft can, realistically, play out.

Video: DRAFT | Kirby Dach 06.20.19

The element of the unknown can either cause nerves or not, and the prospects are simply trying to stay level-headed before hearing their name called Friday at Rogers Arena - whenever that may be.

"Other than Jack (Hughes) and Kaapo Kakko, from three to 10, there's a variety of guys that can go anywhere," said Saskatoon Blades centre Kirby Dach from the top deck of a yacht at Pacific Yacht Charters Thursday. 

But what the players do know is what's up for grabs to teams - offensive defenders, skilled wingers, big centres and much, much more - so much so that given the media carousel they've been on for the last month and a half, they are able to provide scouting reports of their own.

"If you need a Dman, you're probably looking at taking Bowen Byram," Dach continued. "If you need a smaller forward then you probably are looking for Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras or a guy who can make plays in tight, or a bigger centreman with me, Dylan (Cozens) and (Alex) Turcotte.

Video: DRAFT | Cole Caufield 06.20.19

"It's kind of up in the air and that's the nerve-racking part of it. You don't quite know what's going to happen but it's also exciting that way because it will be an interesting night. That's for sure."

The aforementioned Caufield - sharing the experience alongside a number of his teammates from the United States National Team - isn't concerned with the mystery that looms. Rather, emotions like happiness and excitement are taking over.

"Having those guys and being excited for them, too, kind of eases the nerves," Caufield said. "It's a lot to take in. I mean, we're only 18 years old. We're just kids. It's a really special feeling to have these people talking to you but I'm just trying to enjoy the moment."

The prospective NHLers have run the gamut ahead of Friday's Draft. They've played out a long hockey season, completed physical tasks at the NHL Scouting Combine, then stared at bright lights and lenses at all the media events that followed.

Video: DRAFT | Bowen Byram 06.20.19

All that's left, now, is to hit the podium.

"I'm trying not to worry about things," said Vancouver Giants defender Bowen Byram. "I did what I could do. I played all year, did the Combine and what not. 

"Now I kind of just get to sit back and relax and whatever happens will happen."

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