Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was picked first in a center-heavy NHL draft by the Oilers last night.
The Oilers, going first overall for the second straight year, selected the creative passer from the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 18-year-old center led the WHL last season with 75 assists.
Nugent-Hopkins is the first WHL player to be drafted first since 1996. Six of the first eight picks were centers. The Oilers chose left wing Taylor Hall from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL No. 1 in 2010, and Nugent-Hopkins could eventually find himself on a line with him.
Left wing Gabriel Landeskog of Sweden went second to the Avalanche. He had 36 goals in 53 games last season for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Jonathan Huberdeau, a center from Quebec, was taken third by the Panthers, who were also in the same slot for the second year in a row. Huberdeau was the MVP of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Adam Larsson, a 6-3, 200-pounder from Sweden, was selected fourth by the Devils, the first defenseman to be selected.
Then the Islanders chose center Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. Strome was third in the league with 106 points in 65 games. Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo, a native of Minnesota, introduced Strome.
Big day for J-E-T-S Winnipeg introduced a new head coach and took center Mark Scheifele with the seventh pick in the NHL draft.
But the biggest news of the day came when the franchise brought back the old nickname: the Jets.
Claude Noel was hired as coach of the transplanted franchise yesterday, returning to the NHL and joining a team that has missed the playoffs the last four seasons. The Atlanta Thrashers moved north across the border earlier this month.
Hawks trade Campbell The Blackhawks traded defenseman Brian Campbell to the Panthers for forward Rostislav Olesz.
The deal was finalized late last night, after the draft. Campbell, 32, was the third-highest paid player on the Blackhawks last season at $7.142 million behind Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa. Campbell completed the third year of an eight-year contract that will pay him more than $56 million.
Olesz, 25, was the seventh overall pick by the Panthers in the 2004.
The Blackhawks also traded left wing Troy Brouwer to the Capitals for the 26th pick in the first round.
Stars take NU’s Oleksiak The Dallas Stars took Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak with the 14th pick, the highest a Husky has ever been selected. Mike Morris was the only other NU player to be taken in the first round, 27th overall by San Jose in 2002. The 6-7 Oleksiak, 18, is coming off a strong freshman season. He finished with three goals and nine assists and a team-best plus-13 rating . . . The Sharks acquired All-Star defenseman Brent Burns from the Wild for forward Devin Setoguchi, last year’s first-round pick Charlie Coyle, and this year’s first-round selection. San Jose had to pay a high price for Burns (17 goals, 29 assists last season), dealing a former 30-goal scorer in Setoguchi, Coyle (Boston University, Weymouth), and the 28th pick last night.