The Washington Capitals selected Russian forward Alexander Ovechkin with the first pick of the NHL draft.
Ovechkin is just the second Russian to go first in the draft
The 18-year-old scored 13 goals and 10 assists in 53 games for Moscow Dynamo last season and was the NHL scouting department's top-rated European player.
The Pittsburgh Penguins completed a Russian one-two when they chose forward Yevgeny Malkin as the second pick.
It was the first time in NHL draft history that two Russians were taken with the first two overall picks.
The third pick went to the Chicago Blackhawks, who chose Canadian Cameron Barker.
The North Carolina Hurricanes, who hosted the draft, traded their eighth and 59th picks to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for the fourth pick overall. They used that pick to select another Canadian, left winger Andrew Ladd of Calgary.
The first American chosen was right winger Blake Wheeler, who was picked by Phoenix.
There are nine rounds to the draft, with the first three taking place on Saturday.
Ovechkin is only the second Russian to be taken with the number one pick, and his speed, size and stick-handling made him a consensus number one choice.
As well as his impressive playing record, he comes from good athletic stock - his father is a former professional footballer and his mother won two Olympic gold medals at basketball.