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by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres

PHILADELPHIA – While next year’s NHL Draft will feature high-profile names like Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, one player in this year’s class wants to make sure no one is sleeping on his peers.

“I think some people are overlooking this class, looking at the next year probably,” Oshawa Generals forward Michael Dal Colle said on Thursday. “But I think there are a lot of great players in this draft and to be honest with you, in my opinion, it’s a very strong draft year.”

Dal Colle, a 6-foot-2, 182-pound left wing, finished his season in Oshawa with 39 goals and 95 points in 67 games.

NHL Central Scouting ranked him the fifth-best North American skater and he – along with defenseman Aaron Ekblad and centers Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart and Leon Draisaitl – is expected to be a top pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, which begins Friday night.

That no one has really separated himself from the pack as the clear-cut first (or even second or third) overall pick has led to more intrigue when it comes to this class. For the players eligible to be selected, it’s added a bit more anxiety as well.

“I think in this draft particularly, it’s kind of a weird draft because there’s not really a consensus No. 1 right?” Dal Colle said. “If you look at mocks, they have about four different guys going No. 1 and I think there’s a lot of speculation.

“You never know if Florida’s going to trade the pick. You never know if teams that are way back want to trade up and I think it’s a weird draft. I think you can see a lot of moves tomorrow. So that’s what makes it a little more nerve-wracking for us.”

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