With the first overall pick, the Oilers brought in a promising young center in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the WHL's Red Deer Rebels. They also swung a deal with the Los Angeles Kings to bring back former team captain and fan favorite Ryan Smyth to provide experience and leadership to their young, rebuilding team.
Win some, lose some
The NHL 2011 Entry Draft is now history. Here's a look at the weekend's winners and losers. (And how the Oilers managed to land on both lists!) -- Spector
Losers: Prospect goaltenders
It was a tough draft for promising young goalies hoping to be selected in the first round. For the third time in five years, no goaltenders were selected in the opening round. Failing to get picked in the first round doesn't necessarily mean none of those goalies selected in subsequent rounds (notably Sweden's Magnus Hellberg, John Gibson (pictured) of the USHL and Christopher Gibson of the QMJHL) won't go on to make it to the NHL, but from 2007 and 2009, the other years where goalies weren't picked in the first round, none of them have yet to establish themselves as NHL players.
In the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, six Russians – including Anton Volchenkov and Alex Frolov – were selected in the first round, and 42 were selected overall. In 2011, only eight Russians were selected throughout the entire draft, with only one going in the first round. A combination of young Russian prospects struggling to adjust to the North American game and competition for contracts from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League has led to fewer Russians getting drafted by NHL teams.
Losers: Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs trading away their first-round picks in 2010 and 2011 to the Boston Bruins in exchange for forward Phil Kessel two years ago is the gift that keeps on giving -- for the Bruins. Having selected promising Tyler Seguin with the Leafs’ first-round pick (second overall) last year, the Bruins used this year’s (ninth overall) to select 6-foot-4 defenseman Dougie Hamilton (pictured) of the OHL's Niagara Ice Dogs. The Toronto native is a big, skilled blueliner the Leafs could've used ... if they hadn't dealt away that pick.
Losers: Edmonton Oilers
Yes, they were winners by drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and bringing back Ryan Smyth, but they're lacking depth on defense and in goal. Those needs cannot be addressed right away with young prospects, but the draft weekend was also a time to wheel and deal for established players. Unless the Oilers have plans to address their roster weaknesses later this summer via trade or free agency, they may have missed a great opportunity to do so at the Entry Draft.
Canada and the U.S. were, as usual, well-represented in this year's draft, especially in the first round. But for the first time, four Swedish-born players were selected in the top 10. Gabriel Landeskog (pictured) went second overall to the Colorado Avalanche, Adam Larsson fourth overall to the New Jersey Devils, Mika Zibanejad sixth overall to the Ottawa Senators, and Jonas Brodin went 10th overall to the Minnesota Wild.
Winner: Chicago Blackhawks
Shed defenseman Brian Campbell's (pictured) hefty salary ($7.142 million per season) to the Florida Panthers in exchange for winger Rostislav Olesz's more affordable $3.125 million per season. The move gives GM Stan Bowman more cap space to re-sign key free agents like winger Michael Frolik or defenseman Chris Campoli, plus could allow him a foray into this summer's upcoming free-agent market.
Winners: San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild
Pulled off the biggest trade of the first round, with the Sharks shipping winger Devin Setoguchi (pictured), prospect Charlie Coyle and a first-round pick to the Wild for blueliner Brent Burns and a second-rounder. This deal should be “win-win” for both clubs. The Sharks get another experienced puck-moving defenseman to pair with Dan Boyle, while the Wild land much-needed scoring depth in Setoguchi plus a promising young forward in Coyle.