Seven of first eight picks are forwards
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Seven of the first eight NHL draft picks were forwards. The Devils snagged another Swede with their first pick, and two more Swedish players were chosen in the Top 10. And for all those who predicted or hoped for trades, there were none in the first half of the first round on Friday.
In a slow-moving event at the Xcel Energy Center, the three top-ranked forwards went first. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the consensus No. 1 player, was selected by the Oilers with the first pick. Gabriel Landeskog, a Swedish center who may be NHL-ready, went to the Avalanche at No. 2. The Panthers took Jonathan Huberdeau at No. 3.
The Devils, picking fourth, broke the string, grabbing defenseman Adam Larsson. It was the fourth time in the last five years that New Jersey opted for a Swede with their first pick. "He's a complete defenseman," GM Lou Lamoriello said. "Defense and offense."
At No. 5, the Isles went for Ryan Strome, who finished third in the OHL in scoring with 106 points. The Senators opted for Mika Zibanejad, a fast-rising Swiss forward who had four goals and four assists in six Swedish Elite League playoff games.
The first off-the-board pick was from the resurrected Winnipeg Jets, who chose Mark Scheifele, a center from the Barrie Colts ranked below the Top 10 in many scouting reports.
With the pick they received from Columbus in Thursday's trade for Jeff Carter, the Flyers chose center Sean Couturier. At No. 9, the Bruins selected defenseman Dougie Hamilton of Niagara. The third Swede in the Top 10, defenseman Jonas Brodin, went to the Wild. Duncan Siemens was claimed by Colorado at No. 11, their second pick of the first round, and Ryan Murphy was tabbed by the Hurricanes at No 12.