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Either way, the Devils and Flyers have to be thrilled to get potential franchise players out of the draft.

Unlike the last two drafts, this year there was no consensus on who would be the top pick as Hischier and Canadian Nolan Patrick were considered the top two players available.

"It's up to them to take hold of it, but I think the opportunity is going to be there for them", said Bowman. "I'm working hard, and then I'll see at training camp".

Nico Hischier went first overall to the Devils and Patrick went to the Flyers, one of the two scenarios expected out of draft night.

If I were managing the Philadelphia Flyers, I would lean ever so slightly to Nolan Patrick.

To go a little deeper, Nolan Patrick is known for his hockey smarts.

"No, not at all", Patrick said.

"Connor's a little bit of a different player (than Hjalmarsson)", said Bowman. William Nylander is a friend, but Mats Sundin was his favourite player and Borje Salming - well, Salming was too old for him to remember, though he did say nice things about the legendary Leaf when prodded. He had surgery on his right groin last summer, but an injury on the left side went undiagnosed, sidelining him during much of the season.

The Golden Knights also had two extra picks thanks to expansion draft trades, and used them on center Nick Suzuki (No. 13) and defenseman Erik Brannstrom (No. 15).

"Once the names start to fall, that's when you figure if you try to move up, " he said.

The absence of an Auston Matthews or Connor McDavid helped keep the draft in the background all week as trades and the first expansion draft in 17 years soaked up much of the recent National Hockey League spotlight.

"You know, I think there's a better way to do this", Bowman said. "I can't believe it".

"I feel at five we're getting a real good player", Canucks GM Jim Benning said before the draft. NY got the No. 7 pick in a trade with Arizona and selected center Lias Andersson, whose father Niklas played in the league. The Sabres drafted Casey Mittelstadt, a center who won Minnesota's coveted Mr. Hockey Award as a baby-faced standout at Eden Prairie High School. He's a 6-foot-2, 200-pound centre who plays a strong 200-foot game. He was named the league's rookie of the year. This only benefits Los Angeles, which wasted no time nabbing Vilardi to add to a prospect pool that's among the thinnest in the league. Cody Glass was the first pick in franchise history at No. 6 overall, and he could be a No. 1 center down the road. The cost was not a package of 2017 draft picks, but forward Brayden Schenn.

UND has had a player drafted in the first round in each of the last three years-and it has had six taken in the first round since 2010. Chicago sent its No. 26 pick to the Stars for picks No. 29 and 70.

BRUINS: Boston will open its 2017-18 season at home October 5 against the Nashville Predators, the defending Western Conference champions.

Two picks later, the Vegas Golden Knights will be on the clock as they attempt to bolster their offensive arsenal with a youngster who packs powerful goal-scoring upside. When you have one pick in the first round, you're looking for one guy.

Warm welcome back: Panthers general manager Dale Tallon received an ovation from the United Center fans when he took the stage to announce Florida's first-round selection. Marie of the OHL. The Flyers' second-round pick is No. 44 overall. With the final pick of the first round, the Blues chose forward Klim Kostin out of Russian Federation.

"It's huge, " Hextall said, mindful that he has a 2014 fifth-rounder, Oskar Lindblom, already in the system who could make the big team next season.

Makar is going to UMass, which has never had a first-round pick.

The smallest player to be drafted in the first round was 170 cm right winger Kailer Yamamoto, who went to the Edmonton Oilers with the 22nd pick.