NHL Draft Betting: Who Will Go First Overall?

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NHL Draft Betting: Who Will Go First Overall? ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will take place from June 24 to 25 at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. It promises to be a unique affair as the Edmonton Oilers – formerly one of the greatest dynasties in hockey history – will select first overall for the second time in as many years. So with that said: Who will the Oilers pick this year? Let’s take a look at some of the candidates (odds courtesy Bdg’s online sportsbook):

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -190

It seems very likely that this lanky center will be the No. 1 selection on Friday night. Nugent-Hopkins is exactly the kind of skilled, playmaking center that Edmonton wants to line up alongside last year’s first-overall selection – Taylor Hall – for years to come. Nugent-Hopkins starred with the Red Deer Rebels this year and is blessed with great vision, ultracompetitive work habits and a deft defensive game for someone his age. Former NHL coach Ken Hitchcock said Nugent-Hopkins reminds him of Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, which is extremely high praise.

Adam Larsson +160

All that said about Nugent-Hopkins, there are those that contend the No. 1 overall pick would be better spent on Adam Larsson. Larsson, a hulking 6-foot-3, 210-pound defenseman from Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League, has played in his country’s most competitive league since the age of 16. That has led scouts to believe he can jump in and play key minutes immediately in the NHL – something people aren’t as sure of when it comes to Nugent-Hopkins. Also, Edmonton’s blueline is in far worse shape than its collection of forwards…so perhaps Larsson will be the sneaky pick?

Gabriel Landeskog +1500

He might not fit the Oilers’ needs, but it would be hard to pass on a player of his pedigree. Landeskog is probably the most NHL-ready forward of the lot and most figure he’ll be a dynamic power forward for years to come. He’s a huge specimen for a teenager (6-foot, 207 lbs) and has outstanding goalscoring ability, registering 36 goals and 30 assists with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League last season. Landeskog likes to hit, fight and has all the makings of a future NHL captain.

Jonathan Huberdeau +2000

If the Oilers really want to make a splash with the first overall selection, they might want to do it with Huberdeau. Of all the players listed he’s got the most offensive ability, and it could be fun to watch when teamed with the likes of Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky and the other gifted Oilers forwards. Huberdeau potted 43 goals and 62 assists with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Junior league – NHL scout Christian Borleleau says Huberdeau “is going to be an awesome player when he adds 15 pounds. He’s gritty and already has NHL-calibre hands.” It’ll be a real shock if the Oilers do go in this direction, but stranger things have happened.

Get all your 2011 NHL Draft odds and make your hockey bets at Bodog.

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