Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NHL: No Surprises with Top Two NHL Picks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NHL: No Surprises with Top Two NHL Picks

Article excerpt

SUNRISE, Fla. * Connor McDavid's favorite hockey player is Sidney Crosby. His favorite non-skating athlete is LeBron James.

He's now in their club, forever to be known as a No. 1 pick.

McDavid's journey toward widely expected NHL superstardom officially began Friday night when the Edmonton Oilers grabbed him with the top overall selection in the draft. No player has entered the league with such hype since Crosby a decade ago, and McDavid's level of celebrity within the game already may rival what James was dealing with when he joined the NBA in 2003.

"It was even better than I expected," McDavid said. "It's so exciting to hear your name called. It was unbelievable.

"The Edmonton Oilers have such a historic history," McDavid said.

"We're lucky to have him," Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said.

Buffalo took Hobey Baker winner Jack Eichel of Boston University with the No. 2 pick, another no-surprise move. Eichel had 26 goals and 45 assists in 40 games this past season.

"I think Buffalo is heading in the right direction, as a team and as a city," Eichel said. "There's a lot of positives and I want to be a piece of the puzzle. Buffalo wants success and they want success soon and it's going to happen."

After the first two choices, the rest of the evening was a guessing game.

Arizona used the No. 3 pick on center Dylan Strome McDavid's teammate with the Ontario Hockey League's Erie Otters, finishing this season with nine more points but in 21 more games. Toronto took Mitch Marner at No. 4, making it four straight centers to lead off.

Defenseman Noah Hanifin went No. 5 to Carolina, so with Eichel that meant two U.S. players were top-five picks for the first time since 2007. Center Pavel Zacha went sixth to New Jersey, defenseman Ivan Provorov seventh to Philadelphia and Columbus grabbed defenseman Jack Werenski with the eighth pick. …

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