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NHL Rumors: Oilers plan to hold on to No. 1 overall pick

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

OilersWe're a week away from the NHL Draft and it's not just a mystery as to which player will be selected No. 1 overall, but which team will actually be making the first pick.

For the third straight year the Edmonton Oilers own the top pick in the draft, and there's been plenty of discussion over the past few weeks as to what they will actually do with it.

Will they make the obvious choice and select Nail Yakupov, the consensus best player available? Will they go off the board and draft for need and select defenseman Ryan Murray? Or will trade the pick and move back a few spots?

According to Sportsnet's Mark Spector we might have an answer to at least one of those questions.

Spector reported on Friday that the Oilers have decided they will not trade out of the top spot. They still haven't made a decision as to which player they will take, and won't make up their mind until later next week.

Assuming they hold on to the pick the Oilers will be just the second team to ever pick first overall three years in a row (the early 90s Quebec Nordiques also did it, selecting Mats Sundin, Owen Nolan and Eric Lindros -- Lindros was then soon traded in what would become one of the most famous deals in NHL history).

The Oilers selected forwards Taylor Hall and Ryan-Nugent Hopkins the past two years, and it's their presence, along with Jordan Eberle, that has led many to suggest the Oilers should pass on Yakupov (another gifted forward) to select Murray and fill the biggest glaring need on the team (defense).

I've said before and I'll say it again, but this decision shouldn't be that complicated.

Take the best player (in this case Yakupov) and worry about the rest later. When you pick first three years in a row it's because you're a bad team with a lot of weaknesses and a lot of areas of need. They need defense, yes. They also need more quality forwards.

Don't overthink it. If Yakupov is the best player (and by all acounts, he is) then he is the guy you take.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
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