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Winners and losers on Day 1 of the NHL Draft

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

The first round of the NHL draft featured a slightly unexpected opening selection, a lack of fireworks in the middle, and a trio of late deals.

The New Jersey Devils took Nico Hischier over Nolan Patrick with the first overall pick, but no genuine drama came until the opening round was about to conclude.

Here are the winners and losers on the first day and night of the 2017 draft festivities in Chicago:


St. Louis Blues

The Blues were clearly the biggest winners, and it wasn't particularly close.

St. Louis landed 25-goal scorer Brayden Schenn from the Philadelphia Flyers for Jori Lehtera, the 27th overall pick that became Morgan Frost, and a conditional first-rounder next year.

The Blues also dealt grinder Ryan Reaves and the 51st pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Oskar Sundqvist and the 31st selection, which they used to take Klim Kostin, the top-ranked European skater coming into the draft.

Not only that, but they made a smooth pick by taking Rob(ert) Thomas 20th overall.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Mark Hunter worked his magic yet again.

The Leafs assistant general manager and resident draft guru nabbed promising Swedish defenseman Timothy Liljegren at No. 17, telling Sportsnet's Chris Johnston afterwards that he "would have been shocked" last year to hear Liljegren would be taken in that spot in 2017.

Toronto's historical success in first round is well documented - most notably with Mitch Marner and William Nylander - but Hunter's latest pick earned universal praise in its own right.


It was a good night to be a Finnish draft prospect.

A record six Finns were taken in the first round, according to Sportsnet, including third overall choice Miro Heiskanen and 30th pick Eeli Tolvanen.

Heiskanen was the only one to go in the top 10, but Finland accounted for four defensemen and two wingers in the first 31 selections.

Nashville Predators

When you're a Stanley Cup finalist, you're not typically going to have a high pick, and the Predators were stuck with the penultimate choice in Round 1, but that didn't stop GM of the Year David Poile from making his mark.

Nashville went for Tolvanen, who ESPN's Corey Pronman called "the steal of the first round," according to The Tennessean's Adam Vingan.


Pittsburgh Penguins

The two-time defending champions came into the night holding the final pick of the opening round, but GM Jim Rutherford decided to package it with Sundqvist to get his hands on Reaves, a physical winger who hit career highs with seven goals and 13 points to go along with his 104 penalty minutes this season.

If Kostin turns into the dynamic scorer some believe he will be, this one's going to look even worse on Rutherford than it already does.

Colorado Avalanche

In a bit of trade deadline deja vu, Matt Duchene didn't go anywhere on the first night of this draft.

The Avalanche were happy to take Cale Makar fourth overall, but Joe Sakic missed an opportunity to move into the top two for Hischier or Patrick despite boasting one of the league's biggest trade chips.

Duchene could certainly be moved later Friday night or on Saturday when the draft resumes, but Colorado's reluctance to pull the trigger on a trade at the top of the draft might be a decision the Avalanche brass comes to regret.

Detroit Red Wings

Ken Holland is clearly not used to picking this high.

Michael Rasmussen wasn't a brutal selection at No. 9, but the Red Wings had better options on the board, arguably including Gabriel Vilardi, who went to the Los Angeles Kings two picks later.

Detroit hasn't picked in the top 10 since 1991, but that doesn't excuse a choice that could have been better.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

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