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Who should the Devils pick first overall in the NHL draft?

Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick is among the players in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 NHL draft. Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images

The top of a draft class is usually a place for optimism, featuring the stars of tomorrow. Consider Steven Stamkos vs. Drew Doughty (2008), John Tavares vs. Victor Hedman (2009), Taylor Hall vs. Tyler Seguin (2010), Connor McDavid vs. Jack Eichel (2015) or Auston Matthews vs. Patrik Laine (2016). However, that is not always the case. Numerous classes in the past decade have lacked that shine.

The 2017 NHL draft class also lacks superstars. There are more questions at the top of the class than optimism. The top two projected prospects, Nolan Patrick from Brandon of the WHL and Nico Hischier from Halifax in the QMJHL, have a tenuous hold on their draft positions.

While the average person tends to be drawn to the A vs. B debate at the top of a class, that framework does not exist in 2017. While Hischier and Patrick are my top two prospects, it's perfectly reasonable to argue any of the following over either of them at No. 1 overall: Gabriel Vilardi, Cody Glass, Nick Suzuki, Eeli Tolvanen, Owen Tippett, Klim Kostin or Miro Heiskanen.

So who should the New Jersey Devils take with the No. 1 pick? Let's examine the landscape: