Will the Edmonton Oilers make the first selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft?
Who will they take? Will they trade the pick? To whom? Will the Toronto Maple Leafs be the first to the podium? The Montreal Canadiens? The Columbus Blue Jackets?
With the draft rapidly approaching, rumours are emerging about what will happen with the first overall pick – a destiny firmly in the hands of the Oilers.
Igor Larionov, who represents both Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, fueled rumours about his two clients in speaking with Andrey Osadchenko. Through Osadchenko, Larionov stated that both the Maple Leafs and Canadiens have shown a strong interest in either – or both – of Yakupov and Galchenyuk. It’s a real possibility that either club would need to trade up – possibly with Edmonton – in order to ensure that fate.
Larionov also indicated Columbus has a strong interest in Yakupov. Columbus executives Scott Howson, Craig Patrick and Tyler Wright spent two days in Sarnia with Yakupov and his family. Wright, by his own admission, has indicated the Blue Jackets currently have eight players rated in the top-5, so Yakupov may not be the only object of their desire.
Regardless, the efforts of the Blue Jackets, Canadiens and Maple Leafs might all be for naught if Edmonton opts to keep the pick and selects Yakupov first overall.
But even then, the Oilers are doing their homework. Yakupov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Ryan Murray and the Edmonton Oil Kings’ Griffin Reinhart have all made appearances for interviews in Edmonton.
So until the pick is made in Pittsburgh, questions surrounding the first overall pick may go unanswered.