The host Penguins made the biggest splash, trading Jordan Staal to Carolina for the eighth pick, Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumoulin. They used that pick on defenseman Derrick Pouliot, one of 13 blueliners taken on the night as defensemen dominated Day 1 of the draft.
Despite their plethora of talented young forwards, Edmonton didn't join the run on defensemen and added another forward with the top pick, selecting right wing Nail Yakupov.
The Bruins also stayed away from the blue line, but still made one of the most interesting picks of the night when they took goalie Malcolm Subban at 24. Subban will have an interesting perspective on the Boston-Montreal rivalry when he reaches the Bruins, as he is the brother of Habs defenseman P.K. Subban.
Rounds 2-7 will be held Saturday in Pittsburgh, with the second round starting at 10 a.m. Check back here for updates on all the action throughout the day.
30. Los Angeles: The Stanley Cup champion Kings close out the opening round by selecting Tanner Pearson.
A forward with Barrie (OHL), Pearson finally gets picked in his third year of eligibility for the draft. He put up 37-54-91 totals in 60 games with the Colts.
29. New Jersey: After surprisingly holding on to this pick, the Devils take the son of a former Rangers hero, Stefan Matteau. His father, Stephane Matteau, famously beat the Devils with a dramatic goal in the Eastern Conference Final in 1994.
The Devils have to surrender a first-round pick in the next three years for circumventing the cap in their initial contract with Ilya Kovalchuk. Most expected they would give up this pick since they were picking so late in the round, but New Jersey defied expectations and held on to it. They will have to surrender a first-round pick in 2013 or 2014.
28. New York Rangers: The Rangers add another college-bound blueliner with Brady Skjei, a Lakeville, Minn. native who will stay in state next year when he attends the University of Minnesota.
He's regarded as one of the best skaters available in this year's draft and could add even more mobility to the Rangers blue line in a few years.
27. Phoenix: The Coyotes take Henrik Samuelsson, the son of Ulf Samuelsson, who used to work as an assistant coach in Phoenix.
Henrik Samuelsson split the past season playing for his father with Modo in Sweden before coming to Canada to play for Edmonton in the WHL. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound center kept up the family tradition by being suspended four times by the WHL while playing just 28 games for the Oil Kings.
26. Vancouver: The Canucks add some size up front with center Brandan Gaunce of Bellville (OHL).
Gaunce had 28-40-68 totals in 68 games, but is known more for his grit and size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds).
25. St. Louis: The Blues get back to the defensive dominance of the draft, selecting blueliner Jordan Schmaltz from Green Bay (USHL).
24. BOSTON: Leave it to the Bruins to find a way to spice up the Boston-Montreal rivalry even more. Boston grabs goalie Malcolm Subban with its first-round pick.
Yes, that is the brother of Habs defenseman P.K. Subban, who has been a lightning rod in many of the most recent clashes between the Original Six rivals.
Malcolm Subban was 25-14-0 with a 2.50 GAA and a .923 save percentage with Bellville (OHL) last year.
23. Florida: The Panthers grab a player headed to Boston one pick ahead of the Bruins. Defenseman Mike Matheson has committed to Boston College after playing last year for Dubuque (USHL).
The Bruins are now on the clock.
22. Pittsburgh: The hometown fans get more good news as the Penguins grab Olli Maatta, a Finnish defenseman who played for London (OHL) and was expected to go earlier than this.
He's a solid two-way player who was sidelined with a concussion, but still was very highly regarded. The Bruins would probably have loved to see him slip two more spots.
21. Calgary (from Nashville via Buffalo): The hot potato pick of the draft, the Flames finally use it after it was traded twice to pick Mark Jankowski, who has strong bloodlines but could be a reach at this point.
He grandfather Lou played for Detroit, his uncle Ryan is a scout for Montreal and his great-uncle is the legendary Red Kelly. He's committed to attend Providence College next year.
20. Philadelphia: The Flyers receive a warm welcome from the Pittsburgh fans as they select forward Scott Laughton.
He's a solid two-way forward who had 21-32-53 totals in 64 games for Oshawa (OHL) and can also play a shutdown role.
19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit): Lightning GM Steve Yzerman landed an extra first-rounder from his longtime club in a three-way deal involving Steve Downie and Kyle Quincey.
He uses it to take the first goalie of the draft, Russian netminder Andrei Vasilevski, who raised his stock with a strong performance in the World Juniors. The Lightning have addressed their goalie needs through free agency (signing Riku Helenius), trade (Anders Lindback from Nashville) and now the draft.
18. Chicago: The Blackhawks grab another talented forward who slipped a bit, selecting Finnish left wing Teuvo Teravainen.
9:29 p.m.: The Kings won't pick until the final selection of the first round, but the Stanley Cup champs have made some news, with TSN reporting that Los Angeles has re-signed pending free agent forwards Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser.
17. San Jose: The Sharks grab the second Czech center of the first round, selecting Tomas Hertl, who had 12-13-25 totals in 38 games with Slava in the Czech Republic.
16. Washington: The Capitals use their second first-round pick to add some size and toughness with rugged forward Tom Wilson.
He's one of the biggest hitters and best fighters available in the draft, but there are questions about his offensive upside. He did perform well in the playoffs though, and has drawn comparisons to Milan Lucic.
15. Ottawa: As we reach the midway point of the opening round, the Senators dip back in the defense pool. And they didn't have to travel far to find Cody Ceci.
Ceci played his junior hockey in Ottawa with the OHL's 67s, putting up 17-43-60 totals in 64 games.
14. Buffalo (from Calgary): The Sabres, who had two first-round picks coming into the night, flip the pick (No. 21) they got from Nashville for Paul Gaustad and their second-rounder to move up to this spot.
They use it to add another center, Latvian Zemgus Girgensons, who is scheduled to attend the University of Vermont next year after scoring 44 points in 43 games for Dubuque (USHL).
13. Dallas: The Stars, who traded away Mike Ribiero earlier in the evening, restock their forward corps with center Radek Faksa.
He's another big European center (6-foot-3, 203 pounds) who came over to North America to play junior. He left the Czech Republic to play for Kitchener (OHL), where he had 29-38-67 totals in 62 games.
12. Buffalo: The high-ranked forwards that slipped during that defense run are being scooped up now, with the Sabres selecting center Mikhail Grigorenko.
He's a skilled pivot with good size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) whose work ethic has been questioned. He's from Russia, but played in North America for Quebec (QMJL), where he had 40-45-85 totals in 59 games, but struggled in the postseason.
11. Washington (from Colorado): The Caps use their first of two picks in the opening round on Swedish forward Filip Forsberg.
This pick came from the Avalanche in the deal for goalie Semyon Varlamov, and the Caps get great value as Forsberg slips much further than expected thanks to the big run on defensemen in the top 10.
10. Tampa Bay: The Lightning close out the top 10 with (what else?) another defensemen. At least this one has one of the all-time great hockey names with Slater Koekkoek out of Peterborough (OHL).
Koekkoek was another top prospect who missed time with an injury, playing just 26 games (5-13-18 totals) due to a shoulder injury.
9. Winnipeg: There's no letup on the run on defensemen, with the Jets joining the party with the selection of Jacob Trouba.
He's a Minnesota native out of the U.S. Development Program who is expected to head to the University of Michigan next year, though he may also play junior in Kitchener (OHL). Either way, he won't be headed to Manitoba just yet.
8. Pittsburgh (from Carolina): With the eighth pick just acquired from Carolina, the host Penguins grab a defenseman as well with Derrick Pouliot.
Pouliot is an offensive defenseman from Portland (WHL), where he had 11-48-59 totals in 72 games this past season.
8:10 p.m.: The eighth pick has changed hands in the first blockbuster trade of the night. Host Pittsburgh is now on the clock after sending center Jordan Staal to Carolina for that pick, forward Brandon Sutter and defense prospect Brian Dumoulin.
Staal will get a chance to play a bigger role after being buried behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh, and now joins his brother Eric Staal in Carolina.
Dumoulin is a Biddeford, Maine native and defenseman at Boston College. He was a second-round pick by the Hurricanes in 2009.
7. Minnesota: The Wild follow the trend as well with yet another defenseman, taking Matt Dumba.
Dumba brings more of a physical presence than some of the other blueliners taken so far, but also has offensive upside (20-37-57 totals in 69 games with the WHL's Red Deer). That's five defensemen in the top seven picks so far.
6. Anaheim: The Ducks continue the run on defensemen with Hampus Lindholm.
That's higher than most projected for Lindholm, but the Swedish blueliner was one of the fastest risers in the days leading up to the draft so it's not a shock to see him go here.
5. Toronto: Finally with a first-round pick they haven't traded to the Bruins, the Leafs at last can get some benefit from missing the playoffs once again as they round out the top five by taking Morgan Rielly.
Rielly, like Galchenyuk, missed much of the season with a knee injury, but may have the most offensive upside of any blueliner in this year's draft. he had 3-15-18 totals in 18 games with Moose Jaw (WHL).
4. New York Islanders: The Islanders with the first mild surprise of the draft, taking defenseman Griffin Reinhart fourth overall.
It's not a huge reach, as Reinhart is very well regarded. The son of former NHLer Paul Reinhart is the first of many players with family ties to current and former NHLers expected to be picked this year. He also continued New York's upgrade on defense after the Isles traded for Lubomir Visnovsky earlier in the evening.
7:34 p.m.: While Montreal was making its picks, a former Canadien was reportedly being traded. Mike Ribeiro is headed to Washington, with Dallas getting Cody Eakin and a second-round pick (54th overall) in exchange.
3. Montreal: Just three picks into the draft, the Habs are the second team to pluck a player from the Sarnia Sting by selecting forward Alex Galchenyuk.
He was limited to just two games last year by a knee injury. Had he had a healthy season, he may have flipped spots with teammate Yakupov.
2. Columbus: No surprises early, as the Blue Jackets keep the second pick and use it on top-rated defenseman Ryan Murray.
The solid two-way blueliner from Everett (WHL) may be the most NHL-ready of the defensemen available this year.
7:22 p.m.: Between the top two picks there is another trade to report, with the Islanders acquiring defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky from Anaheim for a 2013 second-round pick. Visnovsky had 6-21-27 totals in 68 games last year, but led all NHL defensemen with 18-50-68 totals in 2010-11.
1. Edmonton: The Oilers stick to the script and go with Nail Yakupov with the first pick.
That adds another talented young forward to the Edmonton core. He's from Russia, but played his junior hockey in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting, where he had 31-38-69 totals in just 42 games.
7:10 p.m.: The Oilers are officially on the clock as commissioner Gary Bettman opens the draft. Edmonton is picking first for the third straight year. Right wing Nail Yakupov is expected to be the pick, though the Oilers, who picked forwards Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the last two years, are more in need of defense and could surprise.
7 p.m.: The draft will begin in just a few minutes, but the prospects will continue to share the spotlight with some veterans as trade rumors continue to swirl in Pittsburgh.
So far Sergei Bobrovsky is the only veteran on the move, heading from Philadelphia to Columbus. But bigger names could move as well, with the likes of Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan, Jordan Staal and Roberto Luongo involved in plenty of speculation.
Keith Yandle's name has come up as well. The Flyers may not be done dealing after shipping out Bobrovsky, as Phoenix's Yandle could be the answer to filling the void on the Philly blue line with Chris Pronger continuing to suffer from post-concussion symptoms. CSN Philadelphia has reported that the Flyers are among the teams interested in Yandle.
6:45 p.m.: The first pick has yet to be made in Pittsburgh, but NHL fans can already start making their plans for the next two drafts. And they won't have to leave the Atlantic Division for the foreseeable future.
The league announced on Friday that New Jersey will host the 2013 Draft and the 2014 Draft will return to the Keystone State, with Philadelphia playing host that year.
6:30 p.m.: The draft will begin officially in a little over a half hour, but there has already been some action in Pittsburgh.
The Flyers have been involved in a trade featuring a Russian goalie for the second straight year. After trading for Ilya Bryzgalov before the 2011 draft, this time Philadelphia dealt Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus for second- and fourth-round picks in this draft and a fourth-rounder next year.
There could be another goalie on the move in the near future as well. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli revealed earlier Friday that Tim Thomas has waived his no-trade clause, which was set to expire on July 1 anyway. Thomas is still planning to sit out the season, but the Bruins could deal his rights to a team looking to use his $5 million cap hit to reach the salary cap floor.
8 a.m. ET: The NHL Awards were held Wednesday in Las Vegas, officially putting a close to the 2011-12 season.
On Friday, the start of a new season begins, and the foundation for many seasons to come will be laid with the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh.
The first round will be held on Friday night, with rounds 2-7 to follow on Saturday.
For the third year in a row, Edmonton will be on the clock first with the No. 1 pick. The Oilers added forwards Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the last two top picks, and another forward is the near-consensus No. 1 prospect again with right wing Nail Yakupov of the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting expected to be the first name called.
But will the Oilers be tempted to trade the pick to get help elsewhere rather than add yet another talented young forward? Or perhaps they will shun the conventional wisdom and tap into a talented pool of defense prospects earlier than expected? Ryan Murray of the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips leads a strong corps of blueliners expected to dominate the first round.
The Bruins would love to land one of highly-regarded defensemen themselves. But unlike the last two years when the Phil Kessel trade gave them high picks from Toronto to land Tyler Seguin (second overall in 2010) and Dougie Hamilton (ninth in 2011), the Bruins have just their own pick in the opening round. Barring a trade, the Bruins won't walk to the podium until the 24th pick.
The draft is always a time for plenty of wheeling and dealing too. So in addition to picking up top prospects, teams may also have a chance to acquire some big-name veterans with the likes of Rick Nash, Bobby Ryan and Roberto Luongo the subject of trade rumors.
The draft begins at 7 p.m. Stay with the NESN.com live blog, as we'll keep you up to speed on everything happening.
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