The first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft will take place tonight.

The entire selection process will be held virtually over two days.

The Buffalo Sabres are on the clock with the first pick for the second time in the past four years. The expansion Seattle Kraken own the second-overall pick.

University of Michigan defenceman Owen Power is the No. 1 prospect among North American skaters and the clear choice to go first overall.

What happens after Power goes at No. 1?

Will we finally get some notable trades to shake things up after a relatively bland start to the off-season?

Here is the Morning Coffee for Friday July 23, 2021.

2021 NHL Entry Draft props

As of this morning, Power is -1400 to be the first selection in the 2021 NHL Draft. That number represents a 93.3 per cent implied probability.

Four years after selecting Rasmus Dahlin first overall, the Sabres are expected to add another top prospect to their blueline in the 6-foot-6 Michigan Wolverines defenceman.

The Kraken are slated to pick second. Power’s Michigan teammate Matthew Beniers is the favourite to go at No. 2.

Beniers’ draft position prop is set at 2.5 with the under at -300 – the over is +220.

That’s a 75 per cent implied probability that Beniers is selected among the top two picks.

After that, it’s wide open.

Dylan Guenther is the betting favourite to go third overall.

However, his draft position prop is set at 3.5 and it’s a pick ‘em.

TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button has Guenther going third overall to the Anaheim Ducks.

Oddsmakers are in sync with Craig’s final mock, with Powers, Beniers and Guenther favoured to go 1-2-3.

Fourth overall is where things get interesting.

Craig has the New Jersey Devils selecting centre Mason McTavish with the fourth pick.

Right now, oddsmakers have McTavish’s over/under set at 6.5. Is there value betting McTavish to go under 6.5 at -115?

USNTDP defenceman Luke Hughes, the younger brother of NHLers Quinn and Jack Hughes, is the betting favourite to go fourth overall.

The Devils will have the opportunity to unite Luke with Jack if he’s available at fourth overall, adding another layer of intrigue to that pick.

As of this morning, Hughes is -150 to be selected among the top four picks.

In his final mock, Craig had Hughes going seventh overall to the San Jose Sharks.

Regardless of who goes at No. 4, oddsmakers are on the same page as Craig’s mock when it comes to the fifth overall pick, with Frolunda defenceman Simon Edvinsson the favourite to go at No. 5.

Here is how oddsmakers expect the top-10 picks for the 2021 NHL Draft to play out tonight:

1. Buffalo Sabres - Owen Power

2. Seattle Kraken - Matty Beniers

3. Anaheim Ducks - Dylan Guenther

4. New Jersey Devils - Luke Hughes

5. Columbus Blue Jackets - Simon Edvinsson

6. Detroit Red Wings - Mason McTavish

7. San Jose Sharks - William Eklund

8. Los Angeles Kings - Brandt Clarke

9. Vancouver Canucks - Kent Johnson

10. Ottawa Senators - Chaz Lucius

I’ve always been a fan of comparing what the experts think with the betting odds in an effort to find value.

You can read Craig’s final mock draft below.

Rays acquire Nelson Cruz

The Tampa Bay Rays made a splash on Thursday with the acquisition of Nelson Cruz from the Minnesota Twins in a four-player trade.

Cruz, who is hitting .294 with 19 home runs and 50 RBI, is the perfect fit for a Rays’ lineup that is desperate for help at the DH position.

Tampa Bay beat Cleveland 5-4 in 10 innings on Thursday night to remain one game back of the Boston Red Sox for top spot in the American League East.

As of this morning, the Rays are +145 to win the AL East – the second choice behind Boston (+100). The New York Yankees are +900 to win the AL East, followed by the Toronto Blue Jays at +1000.

The Blue Jays will open a seven-game road trip with the first of three games against the New York Mets tonight, followed by four games versus the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Is there a big name that Toronto should target ahead of the upcoming trade deadline? 

Steve Phillips and Scott Mitchell discussed names the Blue Jays should consider.

Reading Between The Lines

UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw goes Saturday night at the UFC Apex.

My biggest question heading into the event: Can our MMA expert Aaron Bronsteter possibly keep up his hot streak?

Aaron has gone 5-1 with the straight up picks that he has delivered in his Reading Between The Lines segments over the past two weeks.

He’s also split the last two picks featured in his Dart Throw Of The Week, including taking Islam Makhachev to win in the fourth round versus Thiago Moises in last week’s UFC Fight Night main event.

Who does he like for Saturday night’s main event showdown between Cory Sandhagen and T.J. Dillashaw?

Make sure you check out The TSN Edge for all of Aaron’s pick for this Saturday night’s event.