NHL Draft 2016: Start Time & TV Channel Tonight for Round 1

NHL draft, Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews is expected to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft Friday night. (Getty)

The countdown is almost over as the NHL Draft is upon us. The Toronto Maple Leafs will kick off the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft with the first overall pick tonight at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The first round begins at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, with rounds two through seven coming on Saturday.

18-year-old Auston Matthews is the consensus best player in the draft, and seems destined to join the Toronto Maple Leafs who have the first overall pick.

He’s a center from Arizona who is coming off a strong showing at both the World Juniors and the World Championship. Matthews was Team USA’s best player at the World Championship where he tied for third in the competition with six goals and added three assists.

He was a dominant scorer in the Swiss National League and has shown he has the raw talent and upside to develop into a franchise center, something the Leafs certainly need. Matthews’ combination of size, skating ability, and offensive creativity, make him a well-rounded player who is likely to find success in the NHL.

Winger Patrik Laine is considered the second-best player in the draft, and is expected to go to the Winnipeg Jets. He had an outstanding MVP performance at the World Junior Championship, where he led Finland to a gold medal.

The first-round class for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft is a deep one, however surprise trades could steal the spotlight tonight.

Expect it to be a 3-hour long event as 30 teams make their first-round pick tonight. Everyone will reconvene on Saturday morning for Rounds 2 through 7 beginning at 10 a.m.

NHL Draft Details

Where: First Niagara Center – Buffalo, New York

When: Friday, June 24

Time: 7 p.m. Eastern

TV Channel: NBC Sports (USA), Sportsnet, TVA (Canada)

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