He was the top-rated North American skater in the latest rankings from NHL Central Scouting.
The Colorado Avalanche took Swedish left-winger Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers with the second selection.
The Florida Panthers then snagged Saint John Sea Dogs centre and Memorial Cup MVP Jonathan Huberdeau at No. 3. The New Jersey Devils followed by taking six-foot-three Swedish defenceman Adam Larsson with the fourth pick.
The six-foot, 170-pound Nugent-Hopkins led the Western Hockey League with 75 assists last season. He also had 31 goals and finished fourth in league scoring with 106 points.
The Burnaby, B.C., native was the first pick in the 2008 WHL bantam draft and was named the league's top rookie for the 2009-2010 season.
The Oilers took forward Taylor Hall with the first pick in last year's draft.