NHL draft has a few mild surprises; Ryan Smyth deal not yet confirmed
Center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels went to Edmonton, as expected, adding to the Oilers’ stockpile of young talent. Left wing Gabriel Landeskog, a Swede who played for Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League, went No. 2, to Colorado.
Center Jonathan Huberdeau of Saint John of the Quebec Major Hockey League was No. 3 and is headed to Florida, and Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson — the top-ranked European skater — was chosen fourth by the New Jersey Devils.
However, fourth-ranked Dougie Hamilton, a 6-foot-4 defenseman, fell to ninth and was claimed by Boston, and sixth-ranked Sean Couturier went eighth to the Philadelphia Flyers, who are still revamping their roster after trading Mike Richards to the Kings and Jeff Carter to Columbus on Thursday.
The New York Islanders, choosing fifth, took center Ryan Strome of Niagara of the OHL. They were followed by Ottawa, which took Swedish center Mika Zibanejad; the newly named Winnipeg Jets, who took 16th-ranked North American skater Mark Scheifele; the Flyers, the Bruins and the Minnesota Wild, which took third-ranked European skater Jonas Brodin, a defenseman.
Despite widespread reports that the Kings had traded Ryan Smyth to Edmonton for Gilbert Brule and a fourth-round draft pick, neither the Kings nor the Oilers would confirm that they had reached agreement. A Kings spokesman said details were still up in the air.
We’ll keep you posted.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Gabriel Landeskog wears a Colorado Avalanche hat after being picked second overall at the 2011 NHL hockey draft in St. Paul, Minnesota on Friday. Credit: Eric Miller / Reuters