The All-Stars are just days away from the start of the 2017-18 season and for many, that means the best defenseman will be determined during the NHL Draft Lottery on April 27-28.
Here are five things to watch as the draft approaches.
The NHL’s draft picks and the lottery itself 2.
Who will make the team’s opening night roster?
What will be the best NHL rookies?
Who can make the most of a roster spot?
How much of a chance do the rookies have of making the team?
The NHL Draft will be held April 27 to 28 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Draft Lotteries are held on Thursday through Saturday.
The Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators are both slated to play their first preseason game on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The first round of the draft will take place Saturday morning at 7:30 p.m.
ET on CBS Sports Network.
Here’s a look at the five best rookie prospects and their chances of making a roster:1.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins forward/centerCrosby is a player that has become the darling of the hockey world over the past couple of years.
Crosby is arguably the best player in the NHL right now, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to win a Stanley Cup this season.
Crosby has one of the best offensive instincts of any NHL player and has the ability to create for himself and his teammates.
He has shown off his offensive skills throughout the preseason, leading the league with 10 assists in his first preseason NHL game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had their share of big goals, but Crosby is expected to lead the way with his scoring.
He leads the Penguins in scoring (30 goals), assists (16), points (25) and goals (25).
Crosby is coming off his first season as a full-time NHL player, where he was one of only two forwards to score at least 20 goals and had a +12 rating.2.
Nikita Kucherov, Boston Bruins center/defenderKucheroven is another player that is emerging as one of North America’s best prospects.
Kucherenkov has been playing well for the Boston Bruins since being drafted by the Bruins in the second round (No. 29 overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Kuchrov has put up solid numbers throughout his time with the Boston Red Wings, but he is expected get his first taste of playing in the All-American League (AHL).
He has already shown that he has what it takes to be a top-tier NHL center, as he led all rookies in goals (16) and points (18) in his rookie season.
He is expected the Boston Celtics will make him their No. 1 center for a reason.3.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Washington Capitals forward/defensemanTarasenko has been a solid member of Washington’s top defensive pairing since coming over from the New York Islanders in the summer of 2016.
The 19-year-old Russian forward is coming into his second full season in the league, having played a total of 14 NHL games this season, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tarasevkos 21 goals and 16 assists are his most among any defenseman, but his defense has also been solid, registering 10 penalty minutes and a +7 rating.4.
Mattias Janmark, Minnesota Wild center/defensemenJanmark is another young player coming off an impressive rookie season with the Wild.
The 23-year old Finnish center has shown an ability to score from anywhere on the ice.
He ranks sixth in points among all NHL defensemen, and has a plus-11 rating.
He also leads the Wild with six power-play goals, and ranks fifth in goals and points among the Wild defensemen.5.
Alexander Nylander, Detroit Red Wings forward/defensivemanNylander was drafted in the first round (13th overall) by the Detroit Red Sox in 2016.
He hasn’t yet played a game for the Red Wings and has yet to score in his career.
He currently has a -13 rating, which is his worst rating among defensemen drafted this year.6.
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs center/right wingAvalanche forward Matthews is coming up from Sweden’s top league, the SHL, where his team finished first in scoring last season.
Matthews has been one of two leading scorers for his new team, which has a combined record of 28-17-4.
He led all players with 16 goals and 15 assists for his team this season and leads the league in goals per game (1.38).
His scoring has continued to grow as he has continued his development into a dominant offensive player.7.
Zach Werenski, Dallas Stars center/centerWentworthville, Illinois-born Werenskis career has been on a roller coaster ride in the past few seasons.
The 24-year -old center