Boston University forward Macklin Celebrini is expected to be selected by the San Jose Sharks with the top pick in the NHL Draft in Las Vegas on June 28 – general manager Mike Grier all but confirmed as much after his team won the lottery last month.

Beyond Celebrini, however, the ranking order of what is considered a talented group of roughly 15 players atop the draft varies from analyst to analyst, meaning there could be an array of options for the Buffalo Sabres to select with the 11th overall pick.

We’re examining some of those options this week on with help from FloHockey’s Chris Peters and’s Mike Morreale.

Find Peters’ full top 100 rankings here and listen to his commentary on the “Talking Hockey Sense” podcast.

Morreale’s latest mock draft can be found here in its entirety. You can listen to Morreale and deputy managing editor Adam Kimelman break down the draft on their “NHL Draft Class” podcast.

We begin today with a look at seven forwards who could be available for the Sabres in Round 1.

Beckett Sennecke – RW, Oshawa (OHL)

6-foot-3, 183 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 63 GP – 27 G – 41 A – 68 P

Sennecke has risen up draft boards thanks to a productive season in the Ontario Hockey League, which culminated in a dominant playoff run that saw him score 10 goals and 22 points in 16 games to help carry his team to the championship round.

Peters has Sennecke ranked 11th on his draft board and says his size – which sets Sennecke apart not only from most of the other players on this list, but from many of the forwards in the Sabres’ prospect pool – could him make a potential option for Buffalo.

“There’s a good chance he’s there (at 11),” Peters said. “There’s a chance that he’s a good option, too, because he fits a couple of different things. He’s a bigger player – he had a growth spurt coming into his draft season – and he’s incredibly skilled, the skating ability is strong. He’s done a little bit of everything.”

Peters likened Sennecke’s rise to that of Sabres forward Jack Quinn, who was selected with the eighth-overall pick in 2020.

“Just this rising talent that just continuously pushes and pushes and pushes until you can’t deny what he does,” Peters said. “And I think there are some similarities in his game in terms of his ability to play with skill. He’s got some really tremendous hands, real good shooting ability.”

What he’s saying:

Sennecke said he was 5-foot-10 when he was drafted into the OHL in 2022. He’s shot up to 6-foot-3 in the two years since, a growth spurt that coincided with his rising draft stock.

That growth also meant Sennecke also had to look for new players to model his game after. The Toronto native grew up idolizing 5-foot-10 winger Patrick Kane.

“Now it’s kind of more Filip Forsberg, I would say,” Sennecke said. “Somebody I look up to and watch.”

Berkly Catton – C, Spokane (WHL)

5-foot-10, 170 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 68 GP – 54 G – 62 A – 116 P

20240612 Catton

Catton has been a popular selection to Buffalo in early media mock drafts – some of which liken his profile to that of last year’s first-round pick, Zach Benson.

Catton is a highly skilled, highly productive, 5-foot-10 player from the WHL – all qualities he shares with Benson, who played 71 games for the Sabres as an 18-year-old last season.

Peters is among the analysts who had Catton to the Sabres in his mock draft.

“He is a speed demon,” Peters said. “He’s got so much speed and creativity and he plays with pace, and I think in the modern NHL, those kinds of players still can make an impact regardless of their size.”

Morreale likened Catton to Utah forward Clayton Keller, another 5-foot-10 player who has been selected to four All-Star Games.

“[Keller] is just a kid that you can throw out there in any situation, and sometimes he becomes a highlight reel,” Morreale said. “And that’s where I see Berkly. But Benson’s in that mold, too.”

What he’s saying:

Catton said he met with the Sabres during the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, where they spoke about Benson’s development as well as that of fellow first-round pick Matt Savoie.

“You know, you look at their kind of track record with Benson and Savoie – similar to myself, I think, in lots of ways,” he said. “So, talking with them about that and just being here obviously, chatting about the facilities and the people I met with the Sabres and stuff. We had a really good chat.”

Cole Eiserman – LW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

6-foot-0, 195 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 81 GP – 83 G – 40 A – 123 P

Eiserman broke the U.S. National Team Development Program career record with 127 goals in two seasons – one more than previous record holder Cole Caufield, now a three-time 20-goal scorer for the Montreal Canadiens.

Whereas the question surrounding Caufield at the time of his draft centered on his size – he ultimately was selected 15th overall – the factor for NHL teams to gauge with Eiserman will be his ability to round out his offensive game beyond his elite shot. He will begin his NCAA career at Boston University next season.

“I think that’s kind of an interesting conversation to be had,” Peters said. “But he is the best goal scorer in the draft in terms of how he scored this season, the variety of ways he can score. I think he is certainly a tremendous talent when it comes to scoring goals.”

What he’s saying:

Though Eiserman’s shot is a weapon, he said he takes pride in his ability to score around the net, too.

“I love being in the crease and trying to cause chaos,” he said. “You watch guys like Chris Kreider and Matthew Tkachuk, they’re just finding goals there. Especially when you get to playoff time, you need to do that.”

Igor Chernyshov - LW, Dynamo Moscow (KHL/MHL, Russia)

6-foot-2, 192 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 34 GP – 3 G – 1 A – 4 P (KHL), 22 GP – 13 G – 15 A – 28 P (MHL)

Chernyshov is typically not among the group of 15 atop most media rankings, slotting instead in the back half of the teens. He is, however, a player Peters singled out as one who could potentially go higher than expected due to his size and power-forward potential.

Chernyshov already has pro experience playing against men in the Kontinental Hockey League, where he made his debut as a 16-year-old. When he played against his age group in Russia’s junior league (MHL), he averaged over a point per game.

“He’s one of those guys who kind of floats in that 15 to 20 to 25 range,” Peters said. “But he’s got size, he’s a good talent, he scores.”

Konsta Helenius – C, Jukurit (Liiga, Finland)

5-foot-11, 180 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 51 GP – 14 G – 22 A – 36 P

Konsta Helenius

Helenius – like Chernyshov – spent last season playing professionally in Liiga, the top league in his native Finland. His 36 points were the fourth-most by a U-18 player in the league’s history, trailing a trio of current NHL players in Aleksander Barkov (48 points), Mikael Granlund (40), and Kaapo Kakko (38).

Helenius also represented Finland at the U-18 World Championship, where he had seven assists in five games, as well as at the men’s World Championship, which opened one day prior to his 18th birthday.

Morreale has Buffalo selecting Helenius in each of his first two mock drafts.

“He’s quick, got a lot of skill,” Morreale said. “He’s real smart out there. What I like about him too is that, despite playing against older competition, I thought he showed a lot of poise with where he needed to go, what he needed to do in certain situations.”

What he’s saying:

Helenius was asked to name the toughest player he played against at the men’s World Championship.

“I think Victor Hedman, because he’s so strong,” he said.

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard – RW, Mora (HockeyAllsvenskan - Sweden)

6-foot-1, 198 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 41 GP – 8 G – 10 A – 18 P

Another European player with professional experience, Brandsegg-Nygard spent last season playing in Sweden’s second-tier league, HockeyAllsvenskan. While Peters has him ranked 15th and Morreale has him mocked in the same position, his physicality could compel a team to take him higher.

The Athletic’s Corey Pronman said during an appearance on Sabres Live with Brian Duff and Martin Biron that he wouldn’t find it unreasonable for Brandsegg-Nygard to go as high as 11th, particularly when you consider how he would differ from many of the other forwards in the Sabres’ prospect pool.

“Nygard is really physical, an extremely good forechecker,” Pronman said. “He’s got size, he can skate, he’s got a good shot, he has skill. Had a really good playoff there against men in the Allsvenskan. So, he kind of fits that hard-nosed, two-way forward.”

Brandsegg-Nygard played at the men’s World Championship, where he had five points in seven games and was named a top-three player on a Norway roster that included Minnesota Wild forward Mats Zuccarello.

What he’s saying:

Brandsegg-Nygard was asked how much pride he takes in the physical aspect of his game.

“That’s the kind of game I want to play and one of the things I like to do, is to maybe get up in the opponent’s face and just be a hard guy,” he said. “Yeah, it’s fun.”

Tij Iginla – C, Kelowna (WHL)

6-foot-0, 182 pounds

2023-24 statistics: 64 GP – 47 G – 37 A – 84 P

In 1995, the 11th-overall pick was used by the Dallas Stars to select forward Jarome Iginla. He went on to score 625 goals, tied for 16th-most in NHL history, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Twenty-nine years later, Tij Iginla – Jarome’s son – is also a candidate to be selected with the 11th pick, although it would require the Calgary Flames passing on him at ninth overall. (Jarome is Calgary’s all-time franchise leader in games played, goals, and points.)

While Pronman has Iginla to the Sabres in his latest mock draft, Morreale said it’s possible the goal-scoring forward could go earlier in the top 10. Iginla tied for sixth in the Western Hockey League with 47 goals last season, then had six goals and 12 points during a gold-medal run with Canada at the U-18 World Championship.

Morreale said Iginla has a gritty, “in-your-face style” that he combines with his offensive prowess.

“If Eiserman has the best shot in the draft, I don’t think Iginla is too far behind him,” Morreale said. “To me, he’s the best the second-best scorer, goal scorer in the draft. Really aggressive on the forecheck. He can shoot the puck. It’ll translate well to the NHL. He’s got that pro-style game now.”

What he’s saying:

Iginla described the advantages of growing up in a hockey family, which in addition to his father included an older sister, Jade, who currently plays at Brown University and a younger brother, Joe, who is beginning his career in the WHL.

“I think I’ve had a lot of advantages that other kids haven’t, so I think I’ve been very blessed to have my dad and be in a family that’s so into hockey as kind of the main focus in our house,” he said. “And then to have my siblings as well, they’re really into it too, so I think we have a good environment to boost each other up. When I see my brother or sister shoot pucks in the garage, then I’m going after.”