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Mock draft: Dahlin set to go No. 1 -- then it's anyone's guess

Who will be the best player available when the Stars select with the No. 13 overall pick?

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

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.

 

Video: NHL Draft memories: Stars select Mike Modano
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

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