After a pair of seasons at the bottom of the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers got lucky in 2012 and won the draft lottery, securing a third consecutive first overall pick in the process. In the lead up to the big event in Pittsburgh, much was made that Edmonton might be looking at someone other than consensus top pick Sarnia Sting winger Nail Yakupov, with many suggesting they would select Everett Silvertips blueliner Ryan Murray (CLB). When the dust settled however, the consensus was accurate and Yakupov is now an Oiler.
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft class doesn't seem to be a particularly big one for Russia, especially when considering that the top players, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov, left the Mother Land to play in the Canadian junior system. In the last few years more and more players have decided to cross the pond earlier, and even if it didn't pay off in all cases, the CHL is now becoming a good alternative for Russian players who opt for an early transition to North American hockey.
After a pair of seasons at the bottom of the standings and the top of the draft, the Edmonton Oilers managed to climb one spot, finishing 29th in the league, however Lady Luck smiled on them when the draft lottery came around and they will be selecting first overall for the third consecutive season this year in Pittsburgh.
With the Los Angeles Kings hoisting their first Stanley Cup and every major hockey tournament around the world finally finished, the attention of the hockey world can now focus on the 2012 NHL Draft.
Last week, the National Hockey League engaged in its annual ritual of interviewing, testing, and examining the top players eligible for the 2012 Entry Draft. The 105 prospects that attended the Combine were poked, prodded and questioned, as well as given psychological tests. The difference this year is that there were many more second-year eligible prospects in attendance, and maybe more importantly, many draft eligible prospects had endured injury shortened seasons, which resulted in different concerns on the part of the NHL teams.