After the most predictable part of the night was in the books, 30 more prospects went off the board.
Trades, late-rising prospects and an unexpected flow, including a prospect's drop that may have given the Detroit Red Wings a steal, kept the feeling fresh.
It was a fitting way to put the finishing touches on a season that ended with the Washington Capitals seizing their first Stanley Cup.
The draft resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. ET for Rounds 2-7. Here's how the first round played out.
2018 NHL Draft Round 1 Results
1. Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Dahlin, D, Frolunda
2. Carolina Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov, RW, Barrie
3. Montreal Canadiens: Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat
4. Ottawa Senators: Brady Tkachuk, LW, Boston University
5. Arizona Coyotes: Barrett Hayton, C, Sault Ste. Marie
6. Detroit Red Wings: Filip Zadina, LW, Halifax
7. Vancouver Canucks: Quintin Hughes, D, University of Michigan
8. Chicago Blackhawks: Adam Boqvist, D, Brynas Jr.
9. New York Rangers: Vitali Kravtsov, RW, Chelyabinsk
10. Edmonton Oilers: Evan Bouchard, D, London
11. New York Islanders: Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USA U-18
12. New York Islanders (via Calgary Flames): Noah Dobson, D, Acadie-Bathurst
13. Dallas Stars: Ty Dellandrea, C, Flint
14. Philadelphia Flyers (via St. Louis Blues): Joel Farabee, LW, USA U-18
15. Florida Panthers: Grigori Denisenko, LW, Yaroslavl 2
16. Colorado Avalanche: Martin Kaut, RW, Pardubice
17. New Jersey Devils: Ty Smith, D, Spokane
18. Columbus Blue Jackets: Liam Foudy, C, London
19. Philadelphia Flyers: Jay O'Brien, C, Thayer Academy
20. Los Angeles Kings: Rasmus Kupari, C, Karpat
21. San Jose Sharks: Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph
22. New York Rangers (via Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators): K'Andre Miller, D, USA U-18
23. Anaheim Ducks: Isac Lundestrom, C, Lulea
24. Minnesota Wild: Filip Johansson, D, Leksand Jr.
25. St. Louis Blues (via Toronto Maple Leafs): Dominik Bokk, RW, Vaxjo Jr.
26. Ottawa Senators (via Boston Bruins, New York Rangers): Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Okotoks
27. Chicago Blackhawks (via Nashville Predators): Nicolas Beaudin, D, Drummondville
28. New York Rangers (via Tampa Bay Lightning): Nils Lundkvist, D, Lulea
29. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues): Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie
30. Detroit Red Wings (via Vegas Golden Knights): Joseph Veleno, C, Drummondville
31. Washington Capitals: Alexander Alexeyev, D, Red Deer
D Rasmus Dahlin, Sault Ste. Marie
Dahlin's selection at No. 1 was a given. He's seen as a generational prospect, as most 18-year-old blueliners don't come equipped with his awareness and comfort in seemingly all circumstances.
One look at his film says a lot about his game:
"I don't ever think that anyone has locked up the No.1 slot in December," an NHL scout told Gare Joyce of Sportsnet. "... He's the best defense prospect really since Victor Hedman, but he has so much more to offer [than the Tampa Bay defenseman] with his mobility and puck skills."
According to NHL.com, Dahlin "is the highest-scoring under-18 defenseman in the history of Sweden's top division with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in two full seasons."
His rare blend of traits was a must for Buffalo, which allowed the third-most goals against per game last season (3.39), and adding him to a core that includes Jack Eichel and other big names could help lure in a quality free agent or two.
RW Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie
If not for the presence of Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov would likely be considered the top choice in most draft classes.
He earned this reputation through his elite playmaking ability. That's something he put on display last season with 40 goals and 32 assists over 44 games and 24 multipoint contests. He looks borderline unstoppable on film given his blend of power and speed with the puck.
He and everyone else seemed to know the Carolina Hurricanes were going to have a hard time passing on him.
"Yeah, I read, but let's see what's going to happen," Svechnikov said Thursday, according to the News & Observer's Luke DeCock. "I can't say, really. I can't talk now because I'm not drafted yet. I can talk with you about it tomorrow."
A left-handed shooter on the right wing, Svechnikov started earning global attention at the age of 16 in the IIHF U18 World Championship.
He will now fuel the hopes of a team that went 36-35 during the 2017-18 campaign.
LW Filip Zadina, Halifax
Filip Zadina has one goal in mind—starting right away.
He told the Toronto Star's Jonathan Briggins prior to the draft that he's dedicating his summer to the task: "For my summer, it's a goal to be better for upcoming season. I just want to be ready, ready to go and ready to play in the show."
Though only six 2017 first-round picks played at the NHL level at the start of last season, it's easy to see why Zadina could end up doing so this year:
In his first season playing in North America, the Czech Republic native put up 44 goals and 82 points over 57 games with Halifax.
Zadina is a guy who likes to bang in the middle of the action and create plays for his teammates when he's not doing the scoring himself.
While he didn't come off the board as high as initially thought, the Red Wings got something of a steal at No. 6 with an NHL-ready talent.