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NHL Teams Favored Canadians, Swedes, U.S. Players in Draft

Canadians represented more than a third of the 210 players taken in the seven rounds of the National Hockey League draft.

Canadian-born center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the overall No. 1 pick by the Edmonton Oilers to become the first British Columbia native ever selected with the first pick.

The Canadian Hockey League produced 21 of the 30 first-round choices, including 10 of the first 13. In all, 79 Canadian players were selected, 38 percent of the prospects.

The six Swedes taken in the opening round tied the record set in 1993 and matched in 2009. Half were among the first six picks: Gabriel Landeskog by the Colorado Avalanche, Adam Larsson by the New Jersey Devils and Mika Zibanejad by the Ottawa Senators.

Sean Couturier, the first U.S. player selected among five in the initial round, was picked eighth by the Philadelphia Flyers, and J.T. Miller went 15th to the New York Rangers.

Among the four forwards and two defensemen the Rangers selected was Stephen Fogarty of the Edina Hornets, who was acquired in the third round after New York traded Evgeny Grachev for St. Louis’ pick.

Russia, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland had one prospect each taken in the first round of the draft that started two days ago. Rounds two through seven were completed yesterday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Eight Russian-born players were selected during the two days, the same number as last year. That compares with the record high 45 Russians picked in 1992. Russia, which felt the NHL was taking its most promising prospects, has started its own junior league similar to the ones in Canada.

Blackhawks Draft 11

The 210 players selected in the draft represent 14 countries.

The Chicago Blackhawks had 11 picks, the most of any team. The Blackhawks had two choices in each of the first three rounds, one each in the next three and two in the seventh, including the last pick, Swedish goaltender Johan Mattson.

The Senators had three in the first round, the most of any team, when they selected Mika Zibanejad (No. 6), Stefan Moesen (No. 21) and Matt Puempel (No. 24).

Goaltenders were forced to wait until overall pick No. 38 in the second round before Magnus Hellberg of Sweden went to the Nashville Predators. In all, 19 goaltenders were drafted, 11 in the last two rounds.

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