ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was picked first in the NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.
The Oilers, going first overall for the second straight year, selected the slick-passing center from the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League. The 18-year-old led the WHL last season with 75 assists.
Nugent-Hopkins is the first WHL player to be drafted first since 1996.
Left wing Gabriel Landeskog of Sweden went second to the Colorado Avalanche. He had 36 goals in 53 games last season for the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League.
The Oilers chose left wing Taylor Hall from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL No. 1 in 2010, and Nugent-Hopkins could eventually find himself on a line with him.
To get there, Nugent-Hopkins has to bulk up. Listed at 6-foot-1 and 164 pounds, the native of British Columbia said this week he's added 10 pounds since the end of his junior season and plans to pack on five more.
"Steak and potatoes, mostly," he said when asked about his diet. "Just trying to put some weight on."
Jonathan Huberdeau, a center from Quebec, was taken third by the Florida Panthers, who were also in the same slot for the second year in a row. Huberdeau was the MVP of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs after getting three goals and three assists in four games for the Saint John's Sea Dogs.
Adam Larsson, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound defenseman from Sweden, was selected fourth by the New Jersey Devils. He played two full seasons for Skelleftea and was the third blue-liner to make his debut in the Swedish Elite League at age 16.
Then the New York Islanders chose center Ryan Strome of the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. Strome was third in the league with 106 points in 65 games. Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo, a native of Minnesota, introduced Strome.