When the New Jersey Devils won the NHL draft drawing Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers were the biggest winner. There was a 51.8% chance that the Oilers, despite finishing 30th out of 30 teams, would end up with the No. 2 pick. But when the Devils beat the 3% odds to move up four spaces, they jumped from eighth to fourth. That meant for the second consecutive season the Oilers will be able to have the world's best 18-year old player. What it also means is that the Oilers have a chance to draft a yin to go with last year's yang. They aren't saying who they will pick, but it probably comes down to choosing between 6-3 Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson and skilled center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who is in the mold of a Joe Sakic or Matt Duchene style of player. It probably helps Nugent-Hopkins' candidacy that he plays in Red Deer, Alberta, a short drive from Edmonton. More important, Nugent-Hopkins seems to be the perfect complement for last year's No. 1 pick, Taylor Hall. Nugent-Hopkins has the speed and the skill set to be the set-up man for Hall. How long have the Pittsburgh Penguins been looking to find the right linemate for Sidney Crosby? Certainly an argument can be made as well for Larsson. He is probably more advanced at his age than Tampa Bay's young Swede Viktor Hedman was. Also, Larsson plays a meaner, edgier game than Hedman. Larsson has an offensive upside as well, and certainly the Oilers could use a young, potential superstar defenseman.
Oilers get chance to draft complement to Taylor Hall
USA Today | Apr 14