Top stats to know: NHL draft begins Friday night

Nolan Patrick will learn which NHL team wants him on Friday night. Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

A couple of days after the NHL honored its best players, the attention turns to the future and the NHL draft, which begins Friday night in Chicago.

Here are some of the top things to know.

• The New Jersey Devils own the first overall pick. The Devils franchise hasn't picked first since its days as the Colorado Rockies, when the team selected Rob Ramage first overall in 1979.

The last two times that the Devils picked a player in the top three, they selected a future Hall of Famer -- Brendan Shanahan in 1987 and Scott Niedermayer in 1991.

• Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier are the top contenders to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick. The top pick has been a Calder Trophy (rookie of the year) finalist in each of the past four seasons. Patrick's father and his maternal and paternal uncles each played in the NHL.

Hischier can become the second Swiss player taken in the top five of the NHL draft. Hischier is projected to go either first or second overall, which would be the highest by a Swiss-born player.

• The top pick in the NHL draft has made an immediate impact the past few years, winning the Calder Trophy in three of the past four seasons. The lone exception was Connor McDavid, who finished third in Calder voting despite missing significant time because of a broken clavicle.

The top picks have also been some of the NHL's elite players as four of the past five Hart Trophy (MVP) winners were taken at No. 1 overall. In 11 of the past 12 seasons, the Hart winner was a top-five pick in the NHL draft.

• Casey Mittelstadt is the only player from the United States ranked in the top 10 of North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. There have been three American-born players picked in the top 10 in each of the past two drafts.

Mittelstadt was named 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey. Prominent past winners include Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Nick Leddy and Nick Bjugstad.

If no Americans are selected in the top 10, it would be only the fourth time in the past 20 seasons that it happened (2009, 2010 and 2014).