Chicago Blackhawks  v Edmonton Oilers

2012 lottery: Oilers get top pick for third year in a row


Brian Burke had some rather pointed things to say about the Pittsburgh Penguins “model” – which essentially came down to being very bad for a very long time to stock up on draft picks – but the Edmonton Oilers have a chance to prove or disprove it in a big way. The Edmonton Oilers won the 2012 NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday, giving them the No. 1 overall pick for three consecutive seasons.

The Oilers moved up from second place in the draft positioning, beating out the Columbus Blue Jackets, who held a 25 percent chance to take the top spot after recording the worst record in the NHL. Here’s what the draft will look like – at least before trades and other maneuvering takes place.

1 – Edmonton
2 – Columbus
3 – Montreal
4 – NY Islanders
5 – Toronto
6 – Anaheim
7 – Minnesota
8 – Carolina
9 – Winnipeg
10 – Tampa Bay
11 – Washington (via COL)
12 – Buffalo
13 – Dallas
14 – Calgary

In 2010, the Oilers opted to draft winger Taylor Hall instead of center Tyler Seguin. In last year’s draft, Edmonton chose slick playmaking center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins instead of defenseman Adam Larsson.

Which direction should the Oilers go in this year, then? Should they pick Nail Yakupov, the widely-held No. 1 prospect? Should Edmonton instead address the most obvious area of need by adding the best defenseman available? Or perhaps the Oil might be wisest to trade the pick for multiple choices or an immediate improvement?

We’ll have more on this subject soon, but in the mean time, let us know what you think Edmonton and the rest of the lottery teams should consider.

After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

Jake Virtanen
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Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.