NEW YORK -- Looks like Taylor Hall will have a new centerman next season.
While the ping-pong balls didn't go their way Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oilers managed to hang on to the No. 1 selection at the 2011 Entry Draft after the New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery. The Oilers, who selected Hall with the first pick last year, had just 62 points (25-45-12), the fewest in the League.
New Jersey, which lost coach Jacques Lemaire to retirement on Sunday, entered the lottery with just a 3.6-percent chance of winning. Because the Devils (38-39-5) were victorious, Lou Lamoriello's club moves from No. 8 up to No. 4. The New York Islanders, originally slated to select fourth, now have the fifth pick.
The Colorado Avalanche (68 points) will draft second, followed by the Florida Panthers (72). The Oilers, Avs, Panthers, Islanders (73) and Ottawa Senators (74) all had a crack at the No. 1 pick. Ottawa will now select sixth, followed by Atlanta, Columbus, Boston (via Toronto) and Minnesota.
The first round of the 2011 Entry Draft will be held on June 24 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
While the draft is still more than two months away, there's a good chance the Oilers will use the No. 1 pick on center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had 31 goals and 75 assists in 69 games for the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League. The Burnaby, B.C. native, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Tuesday, was named the top North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
Nugent-Hopkins was No. 3 among North American skaters at the midterm rankings, but moved ahead of Kitchener Rangers forward Gabriel Landeskog by season's end. Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson is the top-ranked European player.
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