The Oilers retained the first overall pick for the second time in two years, meaning they will presumably be selecting the first player at the NHL Entry Draft on June 24th in St. Paul, Minnesota. An NHL club hasn’t selected a player with the first overall pick in back-to-back years since the Ottawa Senators did it 1995 & 1996, selecting Bryan Berard & Chris Phillips respectively.
Hoping for Hopkins, Limping for Larsson & Landslide for Landeskog. Which theory will be proven right in St. Paul? Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has the tools to be a franchise centerman one day; vision & IQ, he has it all. Adam Larsson is the mature, calm, poised defenseman out of Sweden; he’s tabbed as a future number one defenseman. While Gabriel Landeskog is a dynamic winger who oozes leadership skills; the Swede came over for the 2009/10 season to play out his junior career with the Kitchener Rangers.
There’s a case for all three. Drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is intriguing because it could potentially create a blue-chip super star line centering a line with Taylor Hall & Jordan Eberle. Adam Larsson is being compared to other great defensemen who have come out of Sweden, namely Nicklas Lidstrom – tough act follow. As for Gabriel Landeskog, he’s the playmaker, heart and soul type of player. Could he or Adam team up with Paajarvi, Omark & Hartikainen to make a “Super-Swede” line-up? Or will Nugent-Hopkins form a dominant trio of Canadian forwards.
At first glance, the Oilers can’t lose. We won’t know who won or lost these sweepstakes until years into the future. However the question that will be tossed around is who can help the Oilers the soonest? That answer is: Adam Larsson, followed by Landeskog. It’s been said that Adam has been ready for primetime in the NHL for a couple of years now; the defenseman controls the ice and is defensively responsible.
But the highest potential ceiling belongs to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Whenever a player is tagged with such names as Gretzky and Sakic you have to take notice. He possesses dazzling offensive game-breaker skills, only knock on him is he’s on the smallish side.
The safest pick, is Gabriel Landeskog. As NHL ready as they get, he skates exceptionally well and is responsible on both sides of the ice. He’s been dubbed a future captain, leader on & off the ice.
There’s no guarantee the Oilers don’t trade down or package the pick to get a big asset in return, but if Oilers management are the first NHL team to step up to the podium on June 24th – you can surely bet the Oilers will be drafting one of Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson, or Landeskog.