The Carolina Hurricanes will pick seventh overall in Friday’s first round. Here's a look at who they may take — and how the rest of the NHL Draft’s first round could shake down. Also included in parenthesis are where I had these players ranked in my composite draft rankings (CLC).
1. Florida Panthers — Aaron Ekblad, D (CLC 1): You don't pass on a guy like Ekblad, even if you have a deep prospect pool of defensemen.
2. Buffalo Sabres — Sam Bennett, F (CLC 3): After stocking up on D last year, the Sabres make the tough decision between the two Sams. They go with Bennett to replace the recently departed Thomas Vanek as the team's top sniper.
3. Edmonton Oilers — Leon Draisaitl, C (CLC 4): Edmonton seems to add endless forward talent every year, and with no defensemen worth taking here they add more with the future German star.
4. Calgary Flames — Sam Reinhart, C (CLC 2): Picked by some as the No. 1 prospect in this class, Reinhart is a steal for the Flames at No. 4.
5. New York Islanders — Michael Dal Colle, LW (CLC 5): Dal Colle’s selection ends what’s considered the top tier of players in this year’s draft. Anyone looks good on John Tavares wing — Dal Colle could luck incredibly good there.
6. Vancouver Canucks —William Nylander, C/RW (CLC 7): With the Sedins aging and perhaps even on their way out, the Canucks need to add creativity to their lineup. Nylander will bring that down the road.
7. Carolina Hurricanes —Jake Virtanen, RW (CLC 6): Nylander fell to me when I picked for the Canes in the Hockey’s Future Staff Mock Draft, but I don't know that he'll truly be there for Carolina to take. Instead, Ron Francis takes a chance on the hard-shooting and hard-hitting Virtanen despite the fact that he's coming off shoulder surgery.
8. Toronto Maple Leafs — Kasperi Kapanen, RW (CLC 11): The Leafs pass on truculence and instead take the son of former NHLer Sami.
9. Winnipeg Jets — Nick Ritchie, LW (CLC 8): With Evander Kane reportedly on the block — and wanting out — the Jets nab a potential power forward replacement.
10. Anaheim Ducks — Haydn Fleury, D (CLC 9): The first of two picks in Round 1 (this one from Ottawa), the Ducks add to their defense.
11. Nashville Predators — Brendan Perlini, LW (CLC 10): The Preds love to take defense, but there aren't any here worth considering. New coach Peter Laviolette is thrilled to get big speedster Perlini for his aggressive system.
12. Arizona Coyotes — Robby Fabbri, C/LW (CLC 17): Opinions vary on Fabbri, but the Coyotes have never shied away from reaching on a pick. Fabbri’s not a giant gamble here, and he's worth the risk.
13. Washington Capitals — Nikolah Ehlers, LW (CLC 12): Washington’s first selection in each of the last six seasons has been a player born overseas. While Ehlers played in the QMJHL, he is from Denmark and keeps the streak going for the Caps despite the regime change.
14. Dallas Stars — Julius Honka, D (CLC 22): Dallas needs to add more depth on the back end, so they reach for one of the few first-round worthy defensemen.
15. Detroit Red Wings — Ivan Barbashev, LW (CLC 20): Detroit hasn't picked this high since they took Martin Lapointe 10th overall in 1991 (!!). They take the Russian-born-but-QMJHL-groomed center as a safe choice to be a second or third line center down the road.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets — Jared McCann, C (CLC 13): It looks like Columbus’s days of picking in the top 10 year after year after year are finally over. At No. 16 they take another 200-foot player that will thrive in their puck pursuit system.
17. Philadelphia Flyers — Alex Tuch, RW (CLC 14): The draft hosts seem to want to make a splash, so don't be surprised if they find a way to move up. But here at No. 17, new GM Ron Hextall takes a prototypical Flyer in Tuch.
18. Minnesota Wild — Josh Ho Sang, RW (CLC 25): Ho Sang has been mentioned quite a bit despite being considered a fringe first-round pick by most scouting services. The Wild need a goalie, but this is too soon so they go with a high-risk, high-reward guy.
19. Tampa Bay Lightning — Roland McKeown, D (CLC 27): Tampa Bay's needs on defense are well documented. Like most rearguards, McKeown will need some time, but the Bolts need to start somewhere.
20. San Jose Sharks — Dylan Larkin, LW/C (CLC 16): With San Jose’s window closing and the team leadership aging, Larkin fits the bill as a good starting point to drive the Sharks in the future.
21. St. Louis Blues — Adrian Kempe, C (CLC 24): Kempe is an all-situations guy who plays the type of north-south game that works with the Blues.
22. Pittsburgh Penguins — Kevin Fiala, LW (CLC 15): New GM Jim Rutherford snatches the best available player. Fiala could be a fixture on the wing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in a couple years.
24. Anaheim Ducks — Nick Schmaltz, RW (CLC 21): GM Bob Murray nabs a forward with his second pick in Round 1. Schmaltz needs to round out his game and bulk up, but he's a natural in the offensive zone.
25. Boston Bruins — Travis Sanheim, D (CLC 33): Sanheim’s a bit of a project, but his combination of size and versatility fit the mold of what the B's will need on D down the road.
26. Montreal Canadiens — Ryan MacInnis, C (CLC 29): The Canadiens shore up their prospect pool down the middle with this two-way center.
27. Chicago Blackhawks — Jakub Vrana, RW (CLC 19): Vrana has the smarts to play with great players, and the skills to contribute. Chicago is a great fit.
28. Tampa Bay Lightning — Anthony DeAngelo, D (CLC 28): A second defenseman on Day 1 for Steve Yzerman. DeAngelo’s a risk, but his skating and offense could be lethal with the Lightning’s otehr high-end talents.
29. Los Angeles Kings — Conner Bleakley, C (CLC 31): Bleakley fits the Kings mold for a third-line player. He's smart, competitive and should thrive in L.A.
30. New Jersey Devils — Nikita Scherbak, RW (CLC 21): The Devils consider a goalie, but pass and instead take smooth-skating WHL product from Moscow.