NHL Entry Draft: Four Players Who Will Determine the First Round

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NHL Entry Draft: Four Players Who Will Determine the First Round
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

We all know about the Big Four.

At some point over the last few months you've heard about Adam Larsson, Gabriel Landeskog, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Couturier.

Larsson's unlikely to escape the top two draft spots. Even if he were to cap out as a 35-40 point defender, the whole package is too tempting to pass up.

Some combination of Landeskog or Nugent-Hopkins will also make up the top three. It's really going to come down to a team's need to either take a cerebral center or a pure power forward.

Then Sean Couturier slides in at number four. A safe pick in a draft without safe picks. A comfortable consolation prize for the team that misses out on the top three. 

But with the Big Four locked in at the top of the Draft order, what comes next? The rest of the first round is almost never determined by the surefire kids at the top of the order, but by who comes after them. The fifth to fourteenth picks tell you where general managers are putting their priorities. It tells you where the question marks on some players lie and how widespread those questions are.

Here are the four guys to keep your eyes on for the first round. We'll call them "the next four."

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