The top 5 players remaining after Round 1 of the 2015 NHL Draft
For a handful of first-round hopefuls, the suit jacket remained on Friday at the NHL Draft.
The disappointment is bound to persist through breakfast, but for the teams in position to pluck them off the board early Saturday, the feeling is surely delight. Because they know they'll be leaving Florida with multiple first-round talents in tow.
Here are the top five players left on the NHL Draft board.
1) Daniel Sprong, F, Charlottetown
Sprong will indeed be the first Dutch-born player in 30 years to serve in the NHL, but the affiliation he'll make history with wasn't determined in primetime.
It's not necessarily a shock to see him slip into Saturday, considering his No. 20 North American ranking from NHL Central Scouting, but his upside can't be overlooked much longer.
Sprong is a high-volume scorer, having accumulated 156 points in his two seasons with the Islanders, which some believe is an underachievement, considering his dynamic talent.
2) Jansen Harkins, F, Prince George
Harkins isn't a dominant player by any stretch of the imagination, but is a lock to be a good pro. And as the draft turns over, and the focus shifts to acquiring players who can contribute, Harkins figures to be one of the most sought-after prospects.
His responsibilities were vast with a bad Prince George Cougars team, which he willed into the Western Hockey League playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
Though he has elite playmaking capabilities, evidenced by his franchise-record 59 assists, Harkins projects as a third-line center. And while that obviously doesn't scream first round, he will be of significant value.
3) Jeremy Roy, D, Sherbrooke
Roy is the rare breed of defenseman who seems more comfortable when the puck is on his stick, regardless of zone.
The Sherbrooke stalwart was a near point-per-game contributor last season after leading all QMJHL rookies in scoring from the back end in his freshman year.
He thinks the game better than anyone on the ice, and is constantly making sharp decisions with the puck. There's little doubt he will contribute on a blue line in the NHL, and those players have proven to be worth their weight in gold.
4) Paul Bittner, F, Portland
Bittner gained significant draft steam putting up big numbers this season with an elite group of forwards, but wasn't able to carry it into the first round.
At 6-foot-4 and over 200 pounds, Bittner looks like a seasoned pro already. He has a tantalizing balance of size and speed - plus a great shot - but questions remain about his ability to produce at the next level despite a 34-goal, 37-assist season.
Bittner is a project, but the natural tools he possesses can't be ignored.
5) Jeremy Bracco, F, USNTDP
The anti-Bittner, Bracco is desirable for the opposite reasons. And after the years Johnny Gaudreau and Tyler Johnson had, don't expect him to slip too far.
The diminutive forward is an elite, game-breaking offensive talent. He dips, dives, swerves, and frustrates opponents in the offensive zone, and can skate back-peddling defenders through the end boards.
He can contribute defensively, too, excelling on the penalty kill as a member of the U.S. National Program.
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