As an 18-year-old, it's a tough leap directly to the National Hockey League. Nevertheless, over the last few years we've seen players prove that they can go straight from the draft to being an impact player at the highest level.
In 2010-11, Jeff Skinner won the Calder trophy in Carolina after being chosen with the No. 7 selection.
Last year, seven first-rounders appeared in NHL regular season games. Four stuck with their big clubs and lasted the season. Two were Calder trophy finalists, and Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog ultimately took home the prize as rookie of the year.
Here's a look at this year's seven first-rounders who are most likely to make an impact for their NHL teams in 2012-13.
After much speculation, the Oilers took the safe route and drafted the best player available.
Like Edmonton's last two first-overall picks, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall, Yakupov also has the skills to step right into the Oilers' young lineup. Yakupov is a right winger, so the three could even play together as a true "No. 1" line.
Yakupov compares his game to Pavel Bure, which should bring another level of explosive threat up front for Edmonton.
Moments after being selected, TSN's James Duthie asked Nail if he thought he was ready to step straight into the NHL next year. He replied with a shrug, "Why not?"
This youngster is not lacking in bravado. Expect Yakupov to be a fun player to watch in the NHL for many years to come.
Not so long ago, it was believed that, after the draft, defensemen needed time to develop their game before stepping into the NHL level. The hockey maturity of recent draftees like Adam Larsson and Cam Fowler are making general managers re-think that logic.
Ryan Murray looks like he'll be ready to show an NHL game very soon, and the Blue Jackets have icetime available for Murray next year.
The Jackets just hired Craig Hartsburg as an Associate Head Coach. He was Murray's coach in junior with Everett and will be instrumental in the development of this blue-chipper.
Murray has a history of leadership and has been a captain at almost every level of his hockey career thus far. He also has experience playing with men after playing for Canada at the 2012 World Championships this spring in Finland.
Murray will get a good long look next year in Columbus.
Alex Galchenyuk was a bit of a wild card in this year's draft after missing most of his 2011-12 junior season with a torn ACL.
Nevertheless, the Montreal Canadiens didn't hesitate to take the big center with the third pick overall. He's the type of player their team needs, and is dripping with raw talent.
Galchenyuk tested well at the draft combine a few weeks ago, showing his fitness is where it needs to be. He's a unique hybrid player, having been born in the USA to Belarusian parents. So far, his hockey sense shows the best of both worlds.
The Canadiens are at a crossroads and could use a fresh, exciting talent to usher in the Bergevin/Therrien era at Bell Centre. Galchenyuk will get a good look from Habs management.
The New York Islanders are clearly committed to improving their situation on defense.
On draft day, they traded for Lubomir Visnovsky. They also selected Griffin Reinhart with the fourth pick overall.
Reinhart is a big, smart WHL-style defenseman, very much in the mold of his father Paul Reinhart. The last time the son of a former first-rounder was also drafted in the first round was when Brent Sutter's son Brandon was drafted by Carolina. He has just proven to be a key asset in the Hurricanes' trade for Jordan Staal.
Griffin Reinhart's stock went up considerably in the days leading up to the draft. With the Islanders, he'll get a chance to prove himself right away within their system. He has the emotional maturity to go along with his big body, and will be ready to play a man's game very soon.
The Anaheim Ducks took defenseman Cam Fowler with the12th pick in the 2010 draft. He slotted right into their lineup the following season and has become a building block for the next phase of the Ducks' franchise.
Anaheim is hoping that lightning strikes twice with its 2012 choice, Hampus Lindholm.
Lindholm is widely regarded as the fittest player in this year's draft. At the combine a couple of weeks ago, he particularly blew scouts away with his VO2 Max testing, working at top anaerobic capacity for more than a minute longer than his closest rival, Ryan Murray, to put up one of the best scores of all time.
Lindholm is a straight arrow, but he's got good size and great wheels on the ice.
After trading Lubomir Visnovsky on draft day, the Ducks will have the space to give Lindholm a good long look in training camp.
After their disastrous second half last year, the Wild will be looking for reinforcements for their squad as soon as possible.
That means Matthew Dumba will likely get a good look.
Dumba has leadership qualities—he was captain of Canada's under-18 team. He also has an exciting style. He has a big shot from the point, and can lay out thunderous hits even though he's not the biggest defenseman to be chosen in this first round.
Dumba looks like he will be a high-risk/high-reward prospect. Minnesota will hope that he can slot into the lineup of their big squad when next season begins.
Mikhail Grigorenko was ranked in the top three of many pre-draft lists, so the Sabres should consider themselves lucky to have grabbed him in the 12th position.
Grigorenko had 85 points in 59 games last year with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec League, but had a terrible playoff and was only later determined to have been suffering from mononucleosis.
The Sabres need size down the middle, especially after trading their biggest center, Paul Gaustad, at last year's trade deadline. After making serious moves with limited results last year, Buffalo needs to keep tinkering to find better chemistry going forward.
It's no slam dunk for a 12th pick to step right into the NHL but if anyone has the pedigree to do it, it could be Grigorenko.