Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the Edmonton Oilers will pick first overall at the draft.
That was the big story out of Toronto on Saturday night as the Oilers, who came into the lottery with an 11.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, won it all and will now get the top choice — for the fourth time since 2010.
It’ll also give Edmonton a shot at adding OHL Erie wunderkind Connor McDavid to a group that includes those three aforementioned No. 1 picks: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.
While tonight’s development was euphoric for Edmonton, it was a tough blow for both Buffalo and Arizona, who finished lower in the standings than the Oilers and had better lottery odds heading into tonight. The Sabres will now select second overall and the Coyotes third, and it’s widely expected Buffalo will select Boston University sniper Jack Eichel with the No. 2 pick.
As for the rest of the draft order, it looks like this:
1. Edmonton Oilers
2. Buffalo Sabres
3. Arizona Coyotes
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
5. Carolina Hurricanes
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Philadelphia Flyers
8. Columbus Blue Jackets
9. San Jose Sharks
10. Colorado Avalanche
11. Florida Panthers
12. Dallas Stars
13. Los Angeles Kings
14. Boston Bruins
Immediately following the draft, Oilers assistant GM Bill Scott spoke with Sportsnet and wouldn’t confirm they’d be taking McDavid No. 1 overall — but all signs point to McDavid heading to Edmonton.
“We want to wait ’til we’re in Florida and make that call live,” Scott explained. “It’s a special day for that player that goes No. 1 overall, and we want him to have that moment.”
Barring some unbelievable turn of events, that player will be McDavid. He’s been tabbed as a generational talent that could turn a franchise around — just consider what his current boss, OHL Erie owner Sherry Bassin, said recently.
“I think (Barrie Colts coach) Dale Hawerchuk said it best,” Bassin explained, per Reuters. “Dale told me that Connor skates like Bobby Orr, sees the ice like Wayne Gretzky and handles the puck like Mario Lemieux.
“Anybody who knows hockey knows this is the highest of praise.”
Last week, the NHL released its final draft rankings and, to nobody’s surprise, McDavid topped the list, followed by Eichel in the No. 2 spot. Boston College d-man Noah Hanifin, McDavid’s teammate with the Otters, Dylan Strome, OHL Kingston forward Lawson Crouse and OHL London scoring sensation Mitch Marner rounded out the top six North American skaters.
The European rankings were topped by Finnish winger Mikko Rantanen. At 6-foot-3, the 18-year-old spent this season playing professionally with SM-liiga outfit TPS Turku, scoring 28 points in 56 games while serving as an alternate captain.
“Rantanen is in a class of his own at present in Europe,” NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb said. “After Mikko you can pick almost anyone for the next spots.”