Here's something to keep in mind about this weekend's NHL Entry Draft: it's unlikely to be a quiet affair.
The relatively small and surprisingly expensive free-agent market means that the event is sure to be dominated by news of trades as well as talk of young, unrealized potential. The host Ottawa Senators, looking to make a splash for their home fans, are in the market to move up. So are the Kings, who have 10 of the first 101 picks and 15 selections overall. The Blue Jackets, Bruins, Stars, Predators, Sabres and Panthers are among the teams rumored to be chatting about moving up or down in the draft.
As a result, the order of selection is guaranteed to differ from what you're about to read in our annual mock draft. Still, the research that went into this should offer a good idea of where players make sense, both in terms of their potential and the needs and philosophies of the teams making those picks.
The first round of the draft gets underway on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on Versus in the U.S. and TSN in Canada. Here's how I think it will play out: