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Florida Panthers Draft Notebook: Nugent-Hopkins No. 1; Connor Murphy -- Gord's Kid -- Goes 20th to Phoenix

Nugent ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Edmonton Oilers had the first overall pick in the NHL Draft for the second straight year. On Friday, the Oilers erased all the questions surrounding whom they would pick when they selected center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Nugent-Hopkins plays his junior hockey not far from Edmonton, leading the Western Hockey League's Red Deer Rebels with 31 goals and 75 assists this past season.

The Oilers took Taylor Hall with the first pick last June in Los Angeles.

“There were a ton of nerves, not just for me but for my family,'' Nugent-Hopkins said after the selection. “This is a huge relief.”

The Avalanche held the second pick and there was some thought it would take talented defenseman Scott Larsson. Instead, the Avs went with winger Gabriel Landeskog. With Landeskog gone, the Panthers took Jonathan Huberdeau with the third pick. 


The former Atlanta Thrashers officially took their new name as the franchise was re-christened the Winnipeg Jets. The former Winnipeg Jets played in Manitoba, Canada, from 1972-96 (1979-96 in the NHL) before moving to Phoenix and becoming the Coyotes. 

The Jets didn't unveil their new jersey nor their logo. First round pick Mark Scheifele wore a plain black jersey with the NHL shield on the front. Scheifele was definitely a surprise pick as he came into the draft the 16th ranked skater in North America.

Winnipeg's selection allowed the Flyers to grab center Sean Couturier. Couturier came into the season as the favorite to be the top overall pick, but he dropped to the sixth-ranked North American skater by the final rankings. Philadelphia moved up to the eighth spot after trading Jeff Carter to Columbus on Thursday. 

When asked if he thought Couturier would be there when the Flyers picked, general manager Paul Holmgren smiled and said “no, no I didn't.''

Cmurphy -- Connor Murphy, the son of Panthers assistant coach Gord, was taken by the Coyotes with the 20th overall pick. Connor Murphy, a defenseman like his dad, is the 25th ranked North American skater by Central Scouting.

-- The Panthers unveiled their new red home jerseys at Friday's draft, with first round pick Jonathan Huberdeau wearing the retro-looking jerseys. The Panthers have worn blue at home almost exclusively since 2001; the red alternate jerseys were phased out during the Reebok jersey redesign in 2007. 

The new jerseys look similar to the team's Huber original look, although the jersey has more blue on the shoulders as that color block runs down the arms. The leaping cat logo is unchanged.

“It's great,'' Huberdeau said. “We have [the number] 11 for 2011, but that's my number, and also I think it's great to have that. It's great to wear that for the first time. .-.-. Yeah, I like the color. It doesn't matter the color. I just want to wear it.''

-- The draft concludes Saturday with the second round starting at 11 a.m. The Panthers have nine picks in the final six rounds.