The Edmonton Oilers lost all season. And in a season of lows, the City of Champions got one very important high. The first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
While New Jersey won the 2011 draft lottery, the Devils could only move up a maximum of four spots, leaving Edmonton with the first pick in the draft for the second consecutive year.
Last season, the Oilers made Taylor Hall the first overall selection. He immediately made the jump to the NHL, scoring 22 goals and 42 points in 65 games.
Who will the team add to a stable that already boasts youngsters like Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark? The immediate thought, with such depth up front, would be to add a defenseman. There’s no bigger prize on the blueline than that of Swede Adam Larsson.
But there are those that will point to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels. The standout centre from the WHL would be an excellent addition to the strong forward core of the Oilers, and allow for a potential top-flight centre to distribute the puck to the likes of Hall and Eberle. There are those that will argue a franchise centre is harder to acquire than a top-pairing defenseman, and those hold Nugent-Hopkins in higher regard.
Is Nugent-Hopkins the forward the Oilers covet? Edmonton brass got a good look at what the Burnaby, BC native can do in ousting the Oil Kings from the WHL playoffs in four straight games. In the series, Nugent-Hopkins recorded five goals and nine points in the set.
Or are the Oilers looking east? Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog has been mentioned in the same breath as his WHL counterpart. Sean Couturier, who has the ability to play both centre and wing, has also been on the radar of every team that’ll draft near the top of the first round.
Whomever the Oilers opt to select (or not) will dictate what the list for the Colorado Avalanche who pick second. The Florida Panthers pick third, while the winning Devils will pick fourth. The New York Islanders round out the top-5.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!