Barring a dramatic turn of events, the top three selections for the 2015 NHL Draft already appear to be cast in stone.
If all goes to plan, the consensus frontrunners - Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, and Noah Hanifin - should step up to the podium in 1-2-3 fashion.
However, much can happen on the way to the dance next summer, such as yesterday's news that Connor McDavid fractured his hand in a fight which could preclude his participation at the U20 World Juniors in December.
Forward prospects from the Ontario Hockey League hold down the next four spots in our preliminary rankings in Pavel Zacha (Sarnia), Lawson Crouse (Kingston), Mitchell Marner (London), and Dylan Strome (Erie).
Impressively, the OHL feature five of the top seven players in the top 30, however just two other OHLers earned spots in the balance of the opening round - those being Travis Konecny of the Ottawa 67's - at No. 13 - and Peterborough blueliner Matthew Spencer at No. 20.
Underrated Youngstown forward Kyle Connor sits next at No. 8 and is one of ten American-born players to gain first-round berths - a reflection of the steady growth in hockey across the United States.
Another large influence comes from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where the draft winds are blowing strong this season after a dud year in 2014 that saw just one QMJHLer go in the opening round - Danish-born forward Nikolaj Ehlers.
Six players from the QMJHL made the starting top 30 - albeit half those are imports in Czech defender Jakub Zboril (Saint John), Russian Evgeni Svechnikov (Cape Breton), and American-born Dennis Yan (Shawinigan).
A pair of Western Hockey League players fill out the final top 10 spots - in Nick Merkley of Kelowna (9th) and Seattle's Mathew Barzal (10th), both talented but relatively undersized forwards.
The WHL have seven of the top 30 spots - also including three imports in American's Paul Bittner (Portland) and Brandon Carlo (Tri-City) - and Russian sensation Ivan Provorov (Brandon).
Three European-based players made the grade led by Swedish defenceman Oliver Kylington at No. 14 - the others being Finnish forward Mikko Rantanen - at No. 18 - and Swedish blueliner Jacob Larsson at 21st overall.
One striking characteristic of this year's crop, at least based on our initial assesments, is the lack of defencemen in the top 10 which will further bolster the stock of Boston College stud Noah Hanifin - the third of the three franchise-type players available.
|1||Connor McDavid||C||Erie (OHL)||6-1/195||13-Jan-97||18-16-35-51|
|2||Jack Eichel||C||Boston University (HE)||6-2/195||28-Oct-96||7-5-8-13|
|3||Noah Hanifin||D||Boston College (HE)||6-2/200||25-Jan-97||9-1-2-3|
|4||Pavel Zacha||C||Sarnia (OHL)||6-3/210||6-Apr-97||17-7-9-16|
|5||Lawson Crouse||LW||Kingston (OHL)||6-4/210||23-Jun-97||16-7-3-10|
|6||Mitchell Marner||C||London (OHL)||5-11/160||5-May-97||19-13-19-32|
|7||Dylan Strome||C||Erie (OHL)||6-3/190||7-May-97||18-13-28-41|
|8||Kyle Connor||C||Youngstown (USHL)||6-1/185||9-Dec-96||12-6-11-17|
|9||Nick Merkley||RW||Kelowna (WHL)||5-11/190||23-May-97||20-7-29-36|
|10||Mathew Barzal||C||Seattle (WHL)||5-11/175||26-May-97||16-7-11-18|
|11||Zach Werenski||D||Michigan (B1G)||6-1/205||19-Jul-97||7-2-4-6|
|12||Colin White||C||NTDP (USA)||6-0/185||30-Jan-97||14-9-9-18|
|13||Travis Konecny||C||Ottawa (OHL)||5-10/175||11-Mar-97||16-2-9-11|
|14||Oliver Kylington||D||Farjestads (Swe)||6-0/185||19-May-97||17-2-3-5|
|15||Jakub Zboril||D||Saint John (QMJHL)||6-1/185||21-Feb-97||19-4-7-11|
|16||Paul Bittner||LW||Portland (WHL)||6-4/210||4-Nov-96||17-7-3-10|
|17||Jeremy Roy||D||Sherbrooke (QMJHL)||6-0/190||14-May-97||21-3-19-22|
|18||Mikko Rantanen||RW||TPS Turku (Fin)||6-3/210||29-Oct-96||17-0-7-7|
|19||Brandon Carlo||D||Tri-City (WHL)||6-5/200||26-Nov-96||20-0-8-8|
|20||Matthew Spencer||D||Peterborough (OHL)||6-1/200||24-Mar-97||16-2-8-10|
|21||Jacob Larsson||D||Frolunda (Swe Jr)||6-2/190||29-Apr-97||13-4-4-8|
|22||Ivan Provorov||D||Brandon (WHL)||6-0/195||13-Jan-97||20-8-14-22|
|23||Nicolas Roy||C||Chicoutimi (QMJHL)||6-4/200||5-Feb-97||20-4-5-9|
|24||Jansen Harkins||C||Prince George (WHL)||6-1/180||23-May-97||20-5-17-22|
|25||Dennis Yan||LW||Shawinigan (QMJHL)||6-1/180||14-Apr-97||21-13-8-21|
|26||Evgeni Svechnikov||LW||Cape Breton (QMJHL)||6-2/200||31-Oct-96||20-9-19-28|
|27||Jordan Greenway||LW||NTDP (USA)||6-5/225||16-Feb-97||17-1-11-12|
|28||Daniel Sprong||RW||Charlottetown (QMJHL)||6-0/190||17-Mar-97||23-10-15-25|
|29||Tom Novak||C||Waterloo (USHL)||6-0/180||28-Apr-97||13-2-9-11|
|30||Jake DeBrusk||LW||Swift Current (WHL)||5-11/170||17-Oct-96||22-10-11-21|