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A LOOK BACK: First Round Picks

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers currently hold the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, which takes place June 24-25 in Buffalo, NY. As part of our on-going pre-draft coverage on edmontonoilers.com, we take a look back at the Oilers first-round picks since 2010.

 

2010 - 1st Overall
Photo by Andy Devlin

The Oilers used the first-overall pick in 2010 to take left winger Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires. Hall was highly successful in junior, helping lead Windsor to two consecutive Memorial Cup championships in 2009 and 2010. In both tournaments, Hall was awarded MVP honours.

Hall joined Windsor during the 2007-08 season, and as an OHL rookie he recorded 84 points, including 45 goals. Hall's overall numbers increased each season in Windsor, with the winger recording 90 points in 2008-09 and 106 in 2009-10.

Since being selected by the Oilers, Hall has played 381 NHL games, accumulating 328 points (132-196-328). Hall's best statistical season came in 2013-14 when he played nearly a full campaign with 27 goals and 53 assists for 80 points in 75 games.

This past season, Hall managed to play a full year for the first time in his NHL career after battling injuries. He posted 65 points (26-39-65) in 82 games. However, injuries to teammates and team performance likely contributed to a second-half drop-off in production. Hall was on a tear to start the year.

Hall ranked seventh in the NHL among all players in points before the All-Star Break with 48 (18-30-48) in 50 games. Hall finished 2015-16 tied for 11th in the league in scoring against the Western Conference. He led Edmonton in goals and overall scoring.

 

2011 - 1st & 19th Overall

Edmonton had two first-round picks in 2011 and went offence first, defence second.

Once again, the Oilers owned the first-overall pick in the draft and used it to select centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from the Red Deer Rebels.

Nugent-Hopkins enjoyed a stellar final season in the WHL, recording 106 points (31-75-106) in 69 games. Like Hall, Nugent-Hopkins has battled through injuries throughout his NHL career so far.

Nugent-Hopkins played 62 games for the Oilers as a rookie in 2011-12. He had 52 points (18-34-52), good for third on the team in scoring. Nugent-Hopkins was a point-per-game player in the American Hockey League during the lockout in 2012-13, posting 20 (8-12-20) in 19 games for Oklahoma City.

When NHL play resumed, Nugent-Hopkins had 24 points (4-20-24) in 40 games to finish the season. The centre's best goal production came in 2014-15, when he scored 24 in 76 games.

Nugent-Hopkins has played 313 NHL games for the Oilers, recording 77 goals and 145 assists for 222 points.

Oscar Klefbom was the first defenceman taken in the first round by the Oilers since Alex Plante in 2007 (15th overall). Edmonton selected the Swede 19th overall from Farjestads. Klefbom played just 11 games in his final season overseas due to an injury. He came to North American and began in the AHL, where he had 10 points (1-9-10) in 48 games for Oklahoma City in 2013-14. He also played 17 games in Edmonton that season (1-2-3).

In 2014-15, Klefbom became nearly a full-time NHL player, only skating in nine AHL games. He had two goals and 18 assists in 60 games for Edmonton that season.

This past season was a promising one for the young blueliner, as he began to become a workhorse defender, averaging a team-leading 21:53 TOI per game. However, it was cut short by injuries. Klefbom played just 30 games last season (4-8-12).

 

2012 - 1st Overall


Nail Yakupov had 101 points (49-52-101) in 65 games during his first North American season in the OHL. For Sarnia, the winger followed up that season with 69 points (31-38-69) in just 42 games.

Edmonton took the Russian winger first overall, expecting him to become a goal-scorer at the NHL level. During the lockout in 2012-13, Yakupov scored 10 goals and added eight assists in 22 games in the KHL before joining the Oilers. In 48 games as a rookie, Yakupov scored 17 goals (tops among first-year players) and added 14 assists for 31 points.

Yakupov, 22, has played 252 NHL games so far in his career. He has 50 goals and 61 assists for 111 points.

 

2013 - 7th Overall

 

 

Photo by Andy Devlin

The Oilers bolstered their young defensive pool by selecting Sault Ste. Marie's Darnell Nurse seventh overall in 2013. Edmonton chose a slower development path for the Oilers blueliner, until he earned a spot on the roster this season after only nine games down in Bakersfield.

 

Nurse played junior for the Greyhounds in the OHL, where he logged a ton of minutes. Nurse, in his second OHL season, had 41 points (12-29-41) in 68 games and 116 penalty minutes as he began to show his physical edge. Nurse then had 50 points (13-37-50) in 64 games in 2013-14 for Sault Ste. Marie.

He played four regular season and three playoff games in the AHL after his junior season ended that season.

Nurse played two games in the NHL at the start of the 2014-15 season, but went back to Sault Ste. Marie. He had 33 points (10-23-33) in 36 OHL games that season. He gained valuable experience in the playoffs, playing 14 games and winning gold with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.

This season, Nurse played 69 games for the Oilers. He had three goals, seven assists and 60 penalty minutes.

 

2014 - 3rd Overall


Leon Draisaitl was a member of the "Big Four" at the top of the 2014 NHL Draft. Alongside Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart and Sam Bennett, Draisaitl was expected to be one of the top picks.

The Oilers got him third overall, and it really paid off in his sophomore season.

Draisaitl had only nine points (2-7-9) in 37 games his first season in the NHL, but lit up the WHL upon his return with 53 points (19-34-53) in 32 games for Kelowna. He also had 28 points (10-18-28) in 19 WHL Playoff games, and was named the MVP of the Memorial Cup tournament.

This past season, Draisaitl spent six games in Bakersfield to start, but injuries opened the door for his return to Edmonton. The big German centre did not disappoint, scoring 19 goals and adding 32 assists in 72 games.

He showed versatility and the ability to be dangerous both at centre and on the wing.

 

2015 - 1st Overall

 

 

Photo by Andy Devlin

The Oilers selected the only choice for the top pick in 2015. Connor McDavid , heralded as a franchise player and one of the best prospects to enter the draft in years, was taken first overall by Edmonton last year.

 

McDavid was incredible in junior, recording 120 points (44-76-120) in only 47 games his draft year. In the 2014-15 post-season, McDavid again hit another level with 49 points (21-28-49) in 20 games.

The no-brainer pick for the Oilers suffered a setback during his rookie season by breaking his clavicle in November. However, every month he was healthy McDavid was named Rookie of the Month in the NHL.

The centre finished his first season in Edmonton with 48 points (16-32-48) in 45 games. He is a Calder Trophy finalist.

 

2016 - 4th Overall

 

The Oilers first-round pick in 2016 is TBD. Who do you think Edmonton will take? Do they stay at fourth overall, trade back or trade the pick entirely? Let us know who you think the Oilers will take in the comments below.

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