Pittsburgh, PA – Edmonton picked 18-year-old forward Nail Yakupov with the first overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Friday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
Yakupov finished his second season with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League by producing 31 goals and 69 points in just 42 regular-season games. The native of Russia added five points in six playoff contests.
Over 107 games in two OHL seasons, Yakupov has totaled 80 goals and 170 points with a plus-13 rating.
The Oilers picked first for the third consecutive season, taking forwards Taylor Hall in 2010 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last year.
"I was nervous before, but now I'm excited," Yakupov said in a post-selection interview. "I want to work hard and maintain the level of skill I know I can produce. These are good young guys and it's a good young team so I'm excited to be here."
Columbus, which ended the season with the worst record in the NHL, but saw the Oilers win the draft lottery, took defenseman Ryan Murray with the second pick. An 18-year-old native of Saskatchewan, Murray racked up nine goals and 31 points in 46 games for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League last season.
"We are very happy to have Ryan Murray join our organization," said Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson. "He solidifies what we believe is a position of strength. His character and two-way play will be very valuable to our hockey club."
The Canadiens snagged Yakupov's teammate, Alex Galchenyuk, with the third-overall selection. The Milwaukee-born center suffered a season-ending knee injury early this past season, but totaled 31 goals and 83 points in 68 games in 2010-11.
Defenseman Griffin Reinhart was taken by the Islanders at fourth position. The 6-foot-3, 206-pounder is the son of Paul Reinhart, who had an 11-year NHL career with the Flames and Canucks. Griffin totaled 12 goals and 36 points in 58 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, adding a pair of scores and eight points in 20 postseason tilts.
Rounding out the top five, the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped up defenseman Morgan Rielly from Moose Jaw of the WHL. The 18-year-old Vancouver native missed most of the season with a torn ACL, but recorded 18 points in 18 games a year ago.
Anaheim used its sixth spot to take Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm, Minnesota chose blueliner Mathew Dumba from Red Deer of the WHL at seven.
Carolina traded the eighth-overall pick to Pittsburgh in a deal to acquire Jordan Staal, and the Pens chose rearguard Derrick Pouliot from Portland of the WHL.
Winnipeg picked up defenseman Jacob Trouba from the US National Team's Development Program at nine, and the 10th choice fell to Tampa Bay, which snagged defenseman Slater Koekkoek from Peterborough of the OHL.
The remaining picks of the first round were as follows:
# 11 Washington -- Filip Forsberg (C, Leksand (Sweden-2); #12 Buffalo -- Mikhail Grigorenko (C, Quebec (QMJHL); #13 Dallas -- Radek Faksa (C, Kitchener (OHL); #14 Buffalo -- Zemgus Girgensons (C, Dubuque (USHL); #15 Ottawa -- Cody Ceci (D, Ottawa (OHL); #16 Washington -- Thomas Wilson (RW, Plymouth (OHL); #17 San Jose -- Tomas Hertl (C, Slavia (CZREP); #18 Chicago -- Teuvo Teravainen (LW, Jokerit (Finland); #19 Tampa Bay -- Andrei Vasilevski (G, Russia (Jrs.); #20 Philadelphia -- Scott Laughton (C, Oshawa (OHL); #21 Calgary Flames -- Mark Jankowski (C, Stanstead College (High-QC); #22 Pittsburgh -- Olli Maatta (D, London (OHL); #23 Florida -- Michael Matheson (D, Dubuque (USHL); #24 Boston -- Malcolm Subban (G, Belleville (OHL); #25 St. Louis -- Jordan Schmaltz (D, Green Bay (USHL); #26 Vancouver -- Brendan Gaunce (C, Belleville (OHL); #27 Phoenix -- Henrik Samuelsson (C, Edmonton (WHL); #28 NY Rangers -- Brady Skjei (D, USA U-18 (USHL); #29 New Jersey -- Stefan Matteau (C, USA U-18 (USHL); #30 Los Angeles -- Tanner Pearson (LW, Barrie (OHL))
Defensemen went early and often in Round 1 of the draft, as eight of the first 10 picks were blueliners. All told, 13 defensemen were taken on Friday, tying an NHL record (1996) for the most D-men selected in the first round. Fifteen forwards and two goaltenders were also picked up in this year's opening round.
The 2012 NHL Draft will wrap up on Saturday with the completion of Rounds 2-7.