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Sharpen Up: June 21, 2019

Here's what you need to know before Round 1 of the 2019 NHL Draft

by Chris Ryndak @ChrisRyndak /

Tonight's the night. Which new players will be joining the organization? We'll find out during the 2019 NHL Draft, which begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN. 

Buffalo holds the seventh and 31st-overall picks in Round 1. 

Stay tuned to and all of our social media platforms for exclusive draft coverage all day, starting with a press scrum with Jason Botterill at around 2:30 p.m. 

Here's what you need to know. 

The Instigators are hosting a Draft Party

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Tweet from @TheInstigators: 🚨GIVEAWAY ALERT🚨Want some sweet Instigators swag? We're giving away 3 "Golf Swag Bags" for our fans!Retweet this post using the hashtag #GolfSwagBag for a chance to winAlso get a shot to win more items at the Draft Party at 716 this Friday!Rules:

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See you at 6:30 at (716).


On location

A few of the top draft-eligible prospects toured the city of Vancouver and met with the media one final time before their dreams are realized. 

Brian Duff sets the scene:

Video: Top prospects look ahead to NHL Draft

We have more in our written recap of the day, which you can read in full here:

Trevor Zegras admitted that sleep has been difficult to come by this week, with the anticipation of hearing his name called as an NHL draft pick mounting each day. 

Given the gravity - and the uncertainty - of what's awaiting on Friday night, who could blame him? 

"Just excited to get the day going, I guess," Zegras said. "But, I mean, it's the NHL, right? I've been waiting for this for a long time."

Zegras joined nine of his fellow prospects to meet the media on a yacht stationed along the Vancouver waterfront on Thursday afternoon, an assembly of talent that served as a reminder of just how hard it is to predict what might happen once the 2019 NHL Draft begins inside Rogers Arena on Friday. 

Joining Zegras were US National Team Development Program teammates Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte and goalie Spencer Knight; WHL centermen Dylan Cozens and Kirby Dach; top-ranked defenseman Bowen Byram; and European forwards Kaapo Kakko and Vasili Podkolzin. 

Hughes and Kakko are all but certain to be taken with the top two picks, in some order. After that, it's anyone's guess.

Duffer caught up with ESPN draft analyst Chris Peters for his best guess about about how he thinks things could shake out during Round 1:

Video: ESPN's Chris Peters looks ahead to Round 1

Where they're picking

Here's a quick overview of what picks the Sabres currently hold:

(The Sharks can give Buffalo their fourth-round pick this year or choose to give them their third-round pick next year as a condition of the trade that sent Evander Kane to the Sharks in 2018.)

Rule changes for next season

Lots of news happening around the NHL. Here are some rule changes that have been approved. You can read more all about them here.

  • In addition to Coach's Challenge for "Off-side" and "Interference on the Goalkeeper", a third category will allow for the Coach's Challenge of goal calls on the ice that follow plays in the Offensive Zone that should have resulted in a play stoppage, but did not.
  • The number of Coach's Challenges that can be made will no longer be limited based on the availability of a team's time-out. Teams will be permitted to exercise a Coach's Challenge at any time, but with escalating "consequences" for unsuccessful Challenges.
  • Referees will be required to conduct an on-ice video review for all Major (non-fighting) and Match Penalties they assess on the ice for the purpose of: (a) "confirming" the penalty; or (b) "reducing" the penalty to a two-minute minor penalty. Referees shall not have the option to rescind a called penalty altogether.
  • Referees will have the ability to conduct an on-ice video review to confirm (or not) their original call on the ice, and, in particular, whether the stick causing the apparent injury was actually the stick of the Player being penalized.
  • Subject to further consultation with the NHL Players' Association on precise language, a Player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play must (a) exit the playing surface, or (b) retrieve and replace his helmet properly on his head (with or without his chin strap fastened).
  • The defensive team will not be permitted a line change when a goalie freezes the puck on any shot from outside the center red line.
  • Following an icing as well as at the beginning of any power-play, the offensive team will have the choice of which end zone dot the face-off will take place.
  • If the goal post is deliberately displaced by a goalkeeper during the course of a "breakaway", a goal will be awarded to the non-offending team.
  • When the attacking team is responsible for the puck going out of play in the attacking zone, in all instances, the face-off will be conducted at one of the two face-off dots in the attacking zone.

Fun stuff.

So stick with us all weekend.

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