CHICAGO – The Buffalo Sabres drafted eighth Friday night, but they got the No. 3 ranked skater in North America.
Buffalo picked Minnesota high school center Casey Mittelstadt. The 6-foot, 199-pound center had 21 goals and 64 points in 25 games for Eden Prairie. He was named winner of Minnesota's Mr. Hockey award.
"To be picked, me and my family are super excited," Mittelstadt said in United Center. "It’s a huge honor. Obviously, going to a great place like Buffalo makes it even better.
"I was thrilled to go here. It’s a great place."
Mittelstadt also played for Green Bay of the United States Hockey League, putting up 13 goals and 30 points in 24 games. He will attend the University of Minnesota next season.
He made negative news at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, where he failed to do a single pull-up. He did one bench press.
The New Jersey Devils started the night by selecting Nico Hischier first overall. The center became the highest-drafted Swiss player ever.
"I'm speechless," Hischier said. "I can't find words. It feels amazing, even better than I imagined."
Philadelphia followed with center Nolan Patrick, who was ranked first by NHL Central Scouting. His father, Steve, was a No. 1 pick by the Sabres. His uncle James was a Buffalo defenseman and assistant coach.
Dallas took the first defenseman, selecting Finnish blue-liner Miro Heiskanen with the No. 3 pick. Colorado followed with defenseman Cale Makar at No. 4.
Vancouver picked fifth and took Swedish center Elias Pettersson, who could grow into the heir apparent for countrymen Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
With their inaugural pick in the NHL Draft, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights took center Cody Glass. Vegas entered the night with 13 picks, including three in the first round.
At No. 7, the New York Rangers drafted Swedish center Lias Andersson. Chris Drury, the Rangers' assistant general manager, was on stage for the pick.
The selections came in front of an energetic crowd in United Center. After the fans' patented cheers and shouts throughout the national anthem, they turned their attention toward NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
As usual, he got booed.
"You can do it!" Bettman said. "You could do better than that!
"That's more like it," he said as the crowd jeered louder.