The NHL draft takes place June 24-25 in Buffalo at First Niagara Center. Sizing up who could go in Friday’s first round:
1. Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews, center, 6-2, 202 pounds, Zurich (SNL): At 18, the Arizona native was a dominant scorer in the Swiss National League and he proved he is ready to compete against NHL competition by his strong play at the world championships. He’s a franchise player.
2. Winnipeg Jets: Patrik Laine, 6-4, 210, right wing, Tappara (Finland): Led Finland to a gold medal at the world junior championships, was named Finnish Elite League MVP and then was dominant at the world championships. That’s why he told the media he’s the best prospect in the draft.
3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Jesse Puljujärvi, right wing, 6-3, 200, Karpat (Finland): A fabulous skater who could have a Teemu Selanne-like impact.
4. Edmonton Oilers:Matthew Tkachuk, left wing, 6-1, 200, London (OHL): Oilers may trade the pick to land a defenseman. But whoever picks at this spot likely will grab Tkachuk, a fiery power forward…