"It's all part of the discussion", Stars general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News. He's the sexier pick and - considering Patrick's health issues - perhaps also the safer one.
Now the teams meet again at the top of the draft pool.
"I think it's a really good draft", Devils Director of Amateur Scouting Paul Castron said. Despite failing at that goal, the team came away already looking forward to next season, and by no means unhappy with their play this season. "He's got the ability to freeze defenders and keep them off-balance". "We feel we're ready for whatever may materialize".
Two other draft-eligible players who have outside shots are incoming rookies Jordan Kawaguchi and Matt Kiersted. "I think drafting for a position in hockey is so hard".
The Hischier-Patrick debate - scouts are divided on who should go No. 1 - has stirred lots of conversations heading into the first round at the United Center. But the Devils have only drafted one UND player (Derek Rodwell) since drafting five in the span of six years from 1999 to 2005.
There are a few prospects who will make the jump earlier, but it won't be like the past two drafts.
Edmonton's Connor McDavid and Buffalo's Jack Eichel grabbed the attention of even the most casual observers in 2015.
"CHL Rookie of the Year victor Nico Hischier, from the Halifax Mooseheads, accepts his trophy during the Memorial Cup last month in Windsor, Ont".
"I went to Switzerland and saw Hischier, and I went to Winnipeg and spent a lot of time with Nolan Patrick", Shero said.
"I don't care. It's not going to change my chances in the National Hockey League if I go No. 1 or 4". "I have worn CCM gear for a long time".
Nolan Patrick's injury-plagued season - he recovered from two sports hernias - does not concern New Jersey general manager Ray Shero, whose team has the No. 1 overall pick in Friday's National Hockey League draft in Chicago.
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Neither Patrick nor Hischier knows whether he will be the No. 1 pick.
Hischier, who plays for the Halifax Moosehead of the Quebec Major Junior League, is a fast, dynamic, offensive talent who can be a game-breaker.
"I don't set any expectations and don't focus on any teams because I know anything can happen", Hischier said. We were fortunate that we had some back-to-back years that way. Doesn't matter where, they're going to be in this draft 20 years from now. "The rest of the first round will sort themselves out to where they're going to be really good contributors".
Patrick and Nico Hischier, a pair of centers, are the consensus top players in the draft.
The top-ranked wingers include Owen Tippett, Eeli Tolvanan and Klim Kostin. He racked up 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 games. "They bring different dimensions to the game, different styles, although their numbers are quite similar".
"There's maybe no generation player like we've been having the last couple of years", Castron added.
But Shero would likely try to trade down in that case in attempt to select Makar while importing other assets for the organization.
The first round starts at 7 p.m. Friday and will be televised by NBCSN.
Rounds two through seven will be conducted on Saturday.
For his part, Hextall has pointed out the historical truth that pre-draft consensus isn't always proven right five or six years down the line as to whom the best National Hockey League players turn out to be. "There's been a trend to more 19-year-olds being drafted as you go deeper into the draft".
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