7th Overall: Buffalo Sabres
Quite possibly the fastest rising prospect in the entirety of the NHL draft, Cole Caufield has been making a name for himself every time he’s touched the ice for the last couple months, routinely putting up hat-tricks and drawing the attention of scouts. It seems that every time a new draft rankings list comes out Caufield moves up a few spots and I don’t see a way that he drops out of the top 10 anymore.
His size is likely a deterrent for some teams, but I don’t see the Sabres falling into that trap, the Sabres had a chance to take Alex DeBrincat in 2016 and passed on him, I don’t think they’ll make that mistake again by passing on a carbon copy of him. The Sabres possess high-end young centers in Jack Eichel, Casey Mittelstadt and Sam Reinhart (Who is arguably better as a winger) and a couple of players coming up through the minor-leagues who have high potential.
Not to mention having someone considered a franchise defender in Rasmus Dahlin on the back end. The Sabres will likely be looking for a true winger to score some goals for them and Cole Caufield fits the bill perfectly.
8th Overall: Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers continue to disappoint their fans every season, being in what would seem is a perpetual rebuild, every time you think they’re ready to turn the corner and exit the highway they turn off their blinker and get back in the middle lane to drive full-speed ahead in the rebuild.
They’ll likely (although it is Edmonton so who knows they might hire a “Ghost of Christmas Past”) have a new GM at the helm eager to make his mark on a team, while inheriting who many consider is the best player on the planet in Connor McDavid.
I predict they’ll take Kirby Dach, the big center from the WHL, reminiscent of the Anaheim Ducks own Ryan Getzlaf who has given the Oilers fits for the past decade, getting a big-bodied playmaker like Dach is a move that could pay dividends into finally helping the Oilers get out of their decade long rut.
A 1-2 punch of McDavid and Dach has the potential to terrorize opponents for years to come while taking a load off of Leon Draisatl and allowing him to do what he does best. Having Dach dish the puck to Draisatl or Jesse Puljujarvi could be a recipe for success for a team that hasn’t had any in recent memory.