NHL: Yakupov No. 1 pick; Staal traded

The Edmonton Oilers took Russian forward Nail Yakupov with the number one pick in the NHL draft.

Ice Hockey News: Nail Yakupov.

However, the headlines were dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Staal, who had 25 goals and as many assists in 62 appearances last season, had reportedly been stalling on a new contract.

And the 23-year-old was sent on his way to the Hurricanes in exchange for center Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin and the eighth overall draft pick, with which Pittsburgh chose Portland Winterhawks defenseman Derrick Pouliot.

Earlier, and as expected, the Oilers had used their third successive overall top pick to take Yakupov, who scored 31 goals for the Sarnia Sting last season and a team record 49, and 101 points, the previous year.

He was relaxed about his star billing, insisting: "There's no pressure now; I'm just excited."

Fellow Russian and Sarnia team-mate Alex Galchenyuk was taken by the Montreal Canadiens with the third overall pick, after the Columbus Blue Jackets used the second to sign Everett Silvertips defenseman Ryan Murray.

Yakupov told ESPN.com: "I think I'm ready for the NHL. I want to try. I have the whole summer to train and work with Edmonton.

"This is a great team, a young team, and they play good hockey. It'll be good playing with those players.

"Edmonton is a great city and crazy town for hockey and I just want to play my best hockey."

Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini added: "Just the natural ability, the skill set that Nail has is elite.

"We've been talking about elite athletes coming to our organisation. He's dangerous and he's hungry to score goals and he's a pretty good fit with the people we have."

Galchenyuk represents something of a risk for the Canadiens, having missed almost the entirety of last season with a torn cruciate ligament.

He is confident of his fitness but has pledged to begin work immediately.

"I just got drafted by the Montreal Canadiens, there's no vacations anymore," he said. "I'll be in the gym in a couple of days.

"I kept working hard, I played a couple of games at the end of the year and showed what I'm capable of doing, I went to the combine and showed my knee's 100%. I knew there were going to be no issues."

"I just love to play hockey and I'll love to play hockey for the Montreal Canadiens, hopefully in the near future. I just can't wait."

There were surprising picks at number six, where the Anaheim Ducks took Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm, and at 10 where Peterborough's Slater Koekkoek joined the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The pair formed part of a run of seven defensemen, with Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton to the New York Islanders) and Morgan Rielly (Moose Jaw to the Toronto Maple Leafs) at four and five.

The seventh pick saw the Minnesota Wild take Red Deer's Matthew Dumba, while the Winnipeg Jets picked up USNTDP's highly-rated Jacob Trouba at nine.

The Washington Capitals finally ended the blue-line run by picking Filip Forsberg at 11, though the centre will stay in his native Sweden for the upcoming season.

The third Russian forward to be selected, Mikhail Grigorenko of Quebec, went to the Buffalo Sabres at 12 having been ranked third before the draft.

The sons of two former NHL players went later in the evening, with the Phoenix Coyotes picking their former assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson's son Henrik at 27.

The 29th pick saw the New Jersey Devils take Stefan Matteau, whose father and near-namesake Stephane scored the goal against them that earned the New York Rangers the 1994 Eastern Conference title.



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