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OTF Predicts the 2018 NHL Entry Draft 1st Round

Gather around for the gang’s takes.

2018 NHL Draft - Top Prospects Clinic Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators don’t pick until the third round tomorrow, but, regardless, tonight is going to be loads of fun. This is one of the deepest drafts in my memory and there has been so much hype, re-shuffling, and second-guessing leading up to it - I’m ecstatic just thinking about it.

Trades won’t be the only crazy part of the night. This draft may show that many of these prospects could truly be picked anywhere. No team seems married to their spot and no player is locked in except for Rasmus Dahlin at 1st overall.

That said, we thought we’d try our hand at predicting how tonight’s first round will go. Wish us luck!

The gang’s first-round predictions

In a lot of places, we have the same players going which is very encouraging! But, like I said, this first round is going to be wild. So, here are some of my thoughts:

On multiple teams trading out of their spots:

- I think there will lots of chatter about trades tonight. But, ultimately, I would temper my expectations about this. I don’t think there will be many “picks only” deals, so if teams get aggressive and start trading roster players then things might open up.

On the Canadiens, Senators, Coyotes, and Red Wings:

- The Canadiens are in a very interesting spot. At some point, Bergevin is picking for his job. Does he take a player who can help next year? He might have to (i.e. Tkachuk). If they trade back, do they stay in the top-10 or no?

- The Senators basically have to decide if they take a defenseman to help replace Erik Karlsson or snag an elite scorer like Zadina if he falls to them.

- The Coyotes will be respondent to what happens ahead of them. If Kotkaniemi or Zadina are there, I’d think they’d have to grab them. But what about Hughes or Boqvist?

- I know that Blashill & Co. in Detroit like Quinn Hughes a lot. He impressed everyone at the World Championships under Blashill and he plays at Michigan. But if Tkachuk is available, can you pass on him at 6?

On Joe Veleno:

- Veleno is a former exceptional-status player in the QMJHL entering the league at 15 years old. His stock has risen and dropped so much this season, but he could be a steal just outside the top-10.

On players that could be sneaky good:

- Here are some players to watch that may or may not be taken tonight: Serron Noel, Martin Kaut, Mattias Samuelsson, Akil Thomas, and Rasmus Sandin.

On the New York Rangers & Ryan Merkley:

- Merkely is one of the most talented players in this year’s draft. But he has some serious off-ice concerns according to many. He could be a supreme talent or he could be the next Tony DeAngelo. If I’m the Rangers and I don’t move up with my second and third 1st round picks, I take a chance on him at 26 or 28 overall.

That’s all from me. Enjoy the draft this weekend and feel free to call us out on all the one’s we miss (probably going to be nearly everyone).