Oilers tab Nugent-Hopkins with No. 1 overall pick

Oilers tab Nugent-Hopkins with No. 1 overall pick
June 25, 2011, 3:38 am
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Friday, June 24, 2011
Posted: 11:38 p.m.

By Tim Panaccio

St. PAUL, Minn. No one wants to see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins go back to junior for a fourth year.

And if youre Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini, with a young, upcoming team that should have been in the playoffs and wasnt last season, how do you tell your fan base the kid you just drafted No. 1 overall isnt going to be on your roster?

Thats the dilemma facing the Oilers, who chose the Red Deer centerman Friday night in the NHL draft and Xcel Energy Center.

And the truth, the Oilers dont seem inclined to feel Nugent-Hopkins has to play just right now, anyway.

The 6-foot-2, 164-pound pivot had a whopping 106 points in 69 games last season, which makes it hard not to play him.

From what I've heard, Steve's in no rush to get me playing, Nugent-Hopkins said. But if I do go back to Junior, I won't be disappointed at all. It will be a great opportunity for us, Red Deer, as a team to hopefully to get to the Memorial Cup.

Personally, it will be a good year of development for me too, but my goal now is to make the Oilers right now.

Colorado, picking second, chose Kitchener left wing Gabriel Landeskog, after a bit of a delay. There had been talk about the Flyers dealing to get the third pick held by Florida, but that did not materialize.

The Panthers chose St. John center Jonathan Huberdeau. Central Scouting had five players from St. John ranked among the top 20 North Americans.

New Jersey, which was said to be thinking of trading its pick and was looking for defensive help, sat tight and took Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson from Skelleftea.

The Islanders, picking fifth, chose Niagara center Ryan Strome.

Ottawa selected center Mika Zibanejad from Djurgarden in Sweden with the sixth pick. Hes called the Persian Prince. His father is Iranian; his mother Finnish.

The Winnipeg Jets (former Atlanta Thrashers) yep, they took the name back had the seventh pick and chose Barrie center Mark Scheifele.

When the Jets passed on center Sean Couturier, the Flyers grabbed him at No. 8.

The Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins took defenseman Dougie Hamilton from Niagara, while host Minnesota plucked Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin at 10th.

In honor of late Flyers assistant coach, E.J. McGuire, who ran Central Scouting and the draft for a long time, his wife and two daughters opened the draft at the podium.

Classy move by The Commish, Gary Bettman.

The San Jose Sharks acquired defenseman Brent Burns from Minnesota for forward Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and the 28th pick, a steep price indeed. Brian Campbell, who was a big fan of Dale Tallon, agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to Florida to be reunited with Tallon, the ex-GM of Chicago. The deal was still in the works on Friday and not complete, and represented a 7.1 million cap hit salary dump for the Hawks. Chicago also sent restricted free agent winger Troy Brouwer to Washington for the 26th pick (Phillip Danault).
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanaccio@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow him on Twitter @TPanotchCSN.

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