With Draft Lottery tonight, still no consensus on #1 pick

Last year it was the Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin debate. The year before that John Tavares was the consensus number one while there was no doubt that Steve Stamkos would be taken tops overall in 2008. This year, however, there is much more debate on who will be taken number one overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

The NHL will hold its annual NHL Draft Lottery tonight with several teams hoping to nab the number one overall pick and be able to select a top prospect capable of paying immediate dividends for the team next season. The Edmonton Oilers, who sported the league’s worst record this season, have the best chance at getting the top pick with a 48.2 percent chance at winning the lottery. Colorado and Florida are close behind with 18.8 and 14.2 percents respectively. The New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators are also long shots for the top pick.

NHL Central Scouting released their final rankings last week with Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins stealing the top spot on the list by a very narrow margin. Nugent-Hopkins, who posted 31 goals and 106 points in 69 games for Red Deer, was ranked third in the mid-season rankings before jumping to the top spot in the final rankings.

“It was close,” said NHL scout Dave Gregory. “It was not a slam dunk by any means and there was a lot of debate but he nudged his way as the top guy this year with a very close vote.”

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Nugent-Hopkins will go number one. Last year Tyler Seguin was ranked number one while Taylor Hall was ranked second. Still, the Edmonton Oilers opted to choose Hall over Seguin with their top pick. Teams will be faced with much tougher decisions at the top of the draft this year.

“I think the talent is deeper at the top and there’s a lot more parity there (than in the past),” Gregory said. “It’s sometimes more difficult to say there’s not a Taylor (Hall) vs. Tyler (Seguin) — two elite guys.”

After taking Taylor Hall first overall in last season’s draft, the Oilers are certainly hoping for the top spot again this year to help add to their influx of incredible young talent that also includes Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark.

The NHL Draft Lottery will take place tonight at 8 p.m. The NHL Entry Draft will be held June 24-25 in St. Paul, Minn.

One comment

  1. NHL.com annouced who they thought would go #1.

    “the Edmonton Oilers will select Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Central Scouting’s No. 1-ranked North American skater — with the top pick. The 6-foot, 164-pound center led the Western Hockey League with 75 assists and was tied for third with 106 points, and according to Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan”

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