The 2018 NHL Draft is supposed to be deep, and that creates some interesting challenges when it comes to mock drafts.
Once you get past the first few picks, the boards are all over the place. That's a fun thing if you're a fan, and a scary thing if you're a team. Bottom line: teams like the Stars have to be well-prepared and simply wait out the teams ahead of them. If one team goes off the board and does something unexpected, it creates a ripple effect for all of the teams below them.
The Stars are expected to take the "best player available," so there is a chance they add to their deep group of defensive prospects. But they need a center and it looks like they could have a solid group of forwards to choose from at 13th. That could mean they just have to wait to see which forwards fall.
Here's my best guess on how that plays out:
1. Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres
The consensus first overall pick. Buffalo gets a skilled defenseman who can make an immediate impact.
2. Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes
Hurricanes need high-end scoring skill, and Svechnikov fills the bill.
3. Filip Zadina, Montreal Canadiens
This is where things could get interesting, but scoring winger fits Canadiens' needs.
4. Evan Bouchard, Ottawa Senators
It's never a bad idea to take a skilled defenseman, and with Erik Karlsson's situation, Bouchard seems the right guy for the Senators.
5. Brady Tkachuk, Arizona Coyotes
Maybe it's just the writer looking for a good story, but Keith Tkachuk's son going to the Coyotes is too good to pass up.
6. Quinn Hughes, Detroit Red Wings
Another good story, as University of Michigan defenseman goes to Detroit.
7. Adam Boqvist, Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver needs everything, but leans toward defense over some skilled forwards.
8. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Chicago Blackhawks
One of the wild cards in the draft, as this versatile forward could go earlier. Blackhawks will take him if he is there.
9. Noah Dobson, New York Rangers
Skilled defenseman makes case after strong Memorial Cup.
10. Oliver Wahlstrom, Edmonton Oilers
Talented forward could fit in well with Oilers' skill.
11. Ty Smith, New York Islanders
Talented defenseman is first part of Islanders' combo pick.
12. Joseph Veleno, New York Islanders
Islanders have need for center depth, and they pick ahead of Stars.
13. Barrett Hayton, Dallas Stars
Forward shuffle ahead of Stars will be interesting, but the guess is they go with Hayton.
14. Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia also is looking for forward help.
15. Grigori Denisenko, Florida Panthers
Florida will be patent waiting for skilled winger.
16. Rasmus Kupari, Colorado Avalanche
Colorado continues draft's run on forwards.
17. Bode Wilde, New Jersey Devils
New Jersey is happy if this smooth-skating defenseman falls to them.
18. Isac Lundestrom, Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus can use help at center
19. Vitali Kravtsov, Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia continues to stock forward group.
20. Akil Thomas, Los Angeles Kings
Slick forward fits new-look Kings.
21. Rasmus Sandin, San Jose Sharks
Puck-moving defenseman who earned marks for moving from Sweden to OHL.
22. Serron Noel, Ottawa Senators
Hometown boy would be a popular pick.
23. Ryan McLeod, Anaheim Ducks
Bit of a risk, but McLeod's top end is worth the investment.
24. Jared McIsaac, Minnesota Wild
Strong two-way defenseman needs to work on consistency.
25. Martin Kaut, Toronto Maple Leafs
Mature Czech forward looked good at World Juniors.
26. Mattias Samuelsson, New York Rangers
Ulf's son brings strong defensive play.
27. Dominik Bokk, Chicago Blackhawks
German-born forward could be late bloomer playing in Sweden.
28. Jonatan Berggren, New York Rangers
Could Rangers take a chance on fast-rising center?
29. Alexander Alexeyev, St. Louis Blues
Big defenseman has strong tools, is fighting back from knee injury.
30. Ryan Merkley, Detroit Red Wings
Right-handed defenseman has talent galore, but he has had discipline issues.
31. Jett Woo, Washington Capitals
Solid, physical defenseman might be right fit late in first round.
The center of the hockey universe will be in Texas on Friday and Saturday as the Stars host the 2018 NHL Draft™ presented by adidas for the first time ever at American Airlines Center. For complete Draft coverage, including the latest stories, videos and event information, click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.
Read more: 2018 NHL Draft, Jim Nill, Dallas Stars