Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini is seen on set after his team was selected for the third year in a row as number one in the NHL Draft Lottery at the TSN studios in Toronto on Tuesday.

Oilers score top pick in NHL draft lottery — again

The Edmonton Oilers have won the NHL’s draft lottery.

TORONTO — The rich simply get richer.

Already armed with a pool of young players that any NHL team would love to have, Steve Tambellini arrived at Tuesday night’s draft lottery not even thinking about winning it. And then the Edmonton Oilers beat the odds and earned the No. 1 pick for a third straight year.

“I guess if you’re in the lottery and you come here you might as well win it,” said Tambellini, the Oilers general manager, whose team had just an 18.8 per cent chance to do it. “I feel really excited about the fact that now another young talent hopefully at the level of what the past few picks have been (is coming).

“To add another player like that is pretty exciting for our organization.”

If the Oilers end up making the selection at the June draft in Pittsburgh, they’ll be just the second franchise to make three consecutive No. 1 picks. The Quebec Nordiques did it from 1989-91 and went on to win the Stanley Cup five years later after moving to Denver.

The day when that is expected in Edmonton might not be that far off, especially with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins already playing key roles, and another top-flight prospect potentially on the way.

This has been part of the rebuilding strategy Tambellini laid out for fans in the “City of Champions,” which has endured three tough seasons with finishes of 30th, 30th and 29th.

“We articulated a plan two years ago that we felt we had to develop and draft our own,” said Tambellini. “We knew that in our market that we weren’t going to attract the A-plus free agents just to come without us being a good hockey club. We know that this is our only way to really, as a core, to get better.

“We have to do an incredible job drafting, to be the best in the league as far as developing from our American league to our big club and then we can worry about adding those pieces on that are profile pieces.”

The Oilers victory in the draft lottery came at the expense of the Columbus Blue Jackets, which entered with a 48 per cent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. It’s just one more thing that didn’t go to plan during a dreadful season.

“We’re disappointed, but this draft is challenging,” said Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson. “I know we’re going to get a really good player at No. 2 … It’s really a good chance for us to move our franchise forward in a positive direction.”

The Montreal Canadiens will pick third followed by the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs.

There isn’t much consensus at the top end of this draft class beyond Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov, who is listed as the best North American-based skater by NHL central scouting. However, there are a number of other intriguing prospects to pick between after him.

“It’s very significant,” Habs assistant GM Larry Carriere said of his team’s pick. “You look at this pick and you look at the number of top five picks — and certainly No. 3 picks — that have good impacts on teams over the years and there’s quite a few of them. We’re pretty excited and looking forward to having a real good young player.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Aug. 9

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00… Continue reading

Team says technical issues from ‘unprecedented demand’ left Oilers raffle in limbo

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers’ record-setting online 50/50 raffle from Friday with… Continue reading

Update: Possible drowning at Pigeon Lake involved man and woman from Edmonton

Bodies recovered from Pigeon Lake’s northeastern shores.

Red Deer Region Highland Dancing Association to participate in national dance-a-thon

Central Albertan dancers have missed performing during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the… Continue reading

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Cast your votes for Best of Red Deer

The Advocate’s Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are back. Community… Continue reading

US hits 5 million confirmed virus cases, Europe is amazed

ROME — With confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hitting 5 million… Continue reading

University of Victoria and women’s rowing coach sued over alleged verbal abuse

VANCOUVER — A former member of the University of Victoria’s varsity women’s… Continue reading

Parents, teachers press Quebec to revise back-to-school plan amid COVID-19

MONTREAL — For Politimi Karounis, August is usually spent buying new backpacks,… Continue reading

69 salmonella cases in B.C. linked to red onions, province’s CDC says

VANCOUVER — The BC Centre for Disease Control is warning people in… Continue reading

Black Nova Scotia man ‘overjoyed’ as struggle for land title moves forward

HALIFAX — Christopher Downey finished building his home in 2002 on a… Continue reading

Puncher’s chance: Fighting is up during unique NHL playoffs

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ season was hanging by a thread from one… Continue reading

Most Read