History of the #3 pick and more...

Jason Gregor
June 27 2014 01:09PM

0620nied

In 1991, the New Jersey Devils selected Scott Niedermayer 3rd overall. He is one of the best #3 picks in history along with Denis Savard, Pat Lafontaine and Henrik Sedin, and Jonathan Toews should be in the conversation when his career is over.

I've said for months I didn't expect the Oilers to trade up or down, and I suspect they will use their pick tonight. 

But how good will their pick be? It is impossible to say, but here is a history of the #3 pick, as well as all the top-four picks over the past 35 seasons.

I have included the top four picks, because some have dubbed this class "The Fab Four", although not all of the draft publications have Sam Reinhart, Aaron Ekblad, Sam Bennett and Leon Draisaitl rated in the top-four.

Here is a look at the top four picks since 1979.

1979:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Colorado Rob Ramage D Birmingham Bulls [WHA] 1044 139 425 564 2224
St. Louis Perry Turnbull L Portland [WHL] 608 188 163 351 1245
Detroit Mike Foligno F Sudbury Wolves [OHA] 1018 355 372 727 2049
Washington Mike Gartner R Cincinnati Stingers [WHA] 1432 708 627 1335 1159

Mike Foligno was a solid NHL player and he ended up having the 13th most points in his draft class and played the 14th most games. Not a bad pick, but Mike Gartner 4th, Rick Vaive 5th, Ray Bourque (8th), Brian Propp (14th) and Michel Goulet (20th) all went after him in the first round. There were some very good finds in the later rounds as well, like Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson, but I'm going to stick with first round picks in this article.

1980:

Montreal Doug Wickenheiser C Regina Pats [WHL] 556 111 165 276 286
Winnipeg Dave Babych D Portland [WHL] 1195 142 581 723 970
Chicago Denis Savard F Montreal Jrs [QMJHL] 1196 473 865 1338 1336
Los Angeles Larry Murphy D Peterborough Petes [OHA] 1615 287 929 1216 1084

Denis Savard became a Hall of Famer. Only Paul Coffey (6th) and Jari Kurri (69th) had more points than Savard from his draft class. He was an outstanding pick at #3. Habs and Jets fans must still cringe when they think about this draft.

1981:

Winnipeg Dale Hawerchuk C Cornwall Royals [QMJHL] 1188 518 891 1409 740
Los Angeles Doug Smith C Ottawa 67's [OHL] 535 115 138 253 624
Washington Bobby Carpenter C St. John's Prep [H.S.] 1178 320 408 728 919
Hartford Ron Francis C Sault Ste. Marie [OHL] 1731 549 1249 1798 979

Bobby Carpenter finished 5th in points and 6th in games played amongst his class, so this was another strong pick. Of course Ron Francis turned out to be better, as did Grant Fuhr (8th) and Al MacInnis (12th), but this was a solid pick by the Capitals. You can't expect to always pick the best player, you just hope your scouts don't completely swing and miss.

1982:

Boston Gord Kluzak D Billings Bighorns [WHL] 299 25 98 123 543
Minnesota Brian Bellows R Kitchener Rangers [OHL] 1188 485 537 1022 718
Toronto Gary Nylund D Portland [WHL] 608 32 139 171 1235
Philadelphia Ron Sutter C Lethbridge Broncos [WHL] 1093 205 328 533 1352

All four of the top teams missed on Scott Stevens (5th), Phil Housley (6th) and Dave Andreychuk (16th). Kluzak's career was cut short due to knee problems, while Nylund had a solid, but not spectacular career. Taking rugged D-men early in the draft rarely works out. Nylund was tough and he had 66 points in 65 games the year he was drafted. He had four 20-point seasons with Toronto, but he was never going to became the player you'd like to get when you pick #3.

1983:

Minnesota Brian Lawton L Mount St. Charles H.S. 483 112 154 266 401
Hartford Sylvain Turgeon L Hull Olympiques [QMJHL] 669 269 226 495 691
NY Islanders Pat LaFontaine C Verdun Juniors [QMJHL] 865 468 545 1013 552
Detroit Steve Yzerman C Peterborough Petes [OHL] 1514 692 1063 1755 924

Lafontaine was an excellent player, and if concussions hadn't shortened his career he likely would have had 1500+ points. Only Yzerman ended up with more points than Lafontaine. As a Whalers fan, this draft always disgusted me. Why they choose a winger over two high scoring centres has always annoyed me. I miss the Whalers. *sheds a tear.* Great pick at #3 for the Islanders.

1984:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Pittsburgh Mario Lemieux F Laval Voisins [QMJHL] 915 690 1033 1723 834
New Jersey Kirk Muller C Guelph Platers [OHL] 1349 357 602 959 1223
Chicago Ed Olczyk C U.S. National Team [Intl] 1031 342 452 794 874
Toronto Al Iafrate D Belleville Bulls [OHL] 799 152 311 463 1301


The only first rounder taken after Olczyk with more points was Gary Roberts (12th). Some would argue they'd take Shayne Corson (8th) who played more games, was tougher and close in points, or D-man Kevin Hatcher (17th), but Olczyk carved out a solid career and finished 10th in scoring amongst his draft class. A solid pick.

1985:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Toronto Wendel Clark L Saskatoon Blades [WHL] 793 330 234 564 1690
Pittsburgh Craig Simpson L Michigan State University  634 247 250 497 659
New Jersey Craig Wolanin D Kitchener Rangers [OHL] 695 40 133 173 894
Vancouver Jim Sandlak R London Knights [OHL] 549 110 119 229 821


The only first rounders who played 1,000+ games were Dave Manson (11th) and Calle Johansson (14th). It wasn't a banner class, and Clark and Simpson still finished amongst the top-ten scorers from 1985, despite injuries cutting their careers short.

Wolanin only played one season in the OHL before being drafted. He was a stay-at-home D-man in junior and he was the same in his 13 NHL seasons. Injuries plagued him throughout his career, and when you compare him to the rest of the first round he was an okay pick, in a weak draft class.

1986:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Detroit Joe Murphy R Michigan State University  779 233 295 528 810
Los Angeles Jimmy Carson C Verdun Canadiens QMJHL 626 275 286 561 254
New Jersey Neil Brady C Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 89 9 22 31 95
Pittsburgh Zarley Zalapski D Canadian National Team  637 99 285 384 684


Neil Brady had the distinction of being the worst #3 overall pick in the past 35 years, but it wasn't solely his fault. The Devils never should have been taken that high. He only scored 81 points in 72 WHL games in his draft year. The top-ten scorers in the WHL that year ranged from 126-173 points. He was only an average scorer in junior, and he never made the jump to the NHL. I wonder if the pressure of being the #3 pick got to him, or if he just peaked as an 18 year-old. 

1987:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Buffalo Pierre Turgeon C Granby Bisons [QMJHL] 1294 515 812 1327 452
New Jersey Brendan Shanahan L London Knights [OHL] 1524 656 698 1354 2489
Boston Glen Wesley D Portland Winter Hawks [WHL] 1457 128 409 537 1045
Los Angeles Wayne McBean D Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 211 10 39 49 168


Wesley was a great pick by the Bruins. Only Shanahan played more games than Wesley, and he was a top-pairing defender for many years and also was 10th in scoring from his draft class. Joe Sakic went 15th that year, but the Bruins got a solid player. Every team between 4th and 14th missed the boat. The Bruins had the 14th pick and took Stephane Quintal (played 1,037) games so he was a strong pick, but it is strange that they took two D-men 3rd and 14th. They could have left that draft with Sakic and Wesley.

1988:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Minnesota Mike Modano C Prince Albert Raiders [WHL] 1499 561 813 1374 926
Vancouver Trevor Linden C Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 1382 375 492 867 895
Quebec Curtis Leschyshyn D Saskatoon Blades [WHL] 1033 47 165 212 669
Pittsburgh Darrin Shannon L Windsor Spitfires [OHL] 506 87 163 250 344


Leschyshyn played the 11th most games in his draft year. He was a steady, but not spectacular D-man. Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne went 8th, 9th and 10th respectively so the Nordiques missed out on some quality scorers, but the only D-men to play more games than Leschyshyn were Rob Blake (70th pick) and Bret Hedican (198th).

1989:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Quebec Mats Sundin C Nacka (Sweden) 1346 564 785 1349 1093
NY Islanders Dave Chyzowski L Kamloops Blazers [WHL] 126 15 16 31 144
Toronto Scott Thornton C Belleville Bulls [OHL] 941 144 141 285 1459
Winnipeg Stu Barnes C Tri-City Americans [WHL] 1136 261 336 597 438

Thornton finished 13th in games played, but he was never more than a solid 3rd liner. He did have one 26-goal season in San Jose, and was always a popular player in the room. Stu Barnes and Bill Guerin went 4th and 5th respectively while Bobby Holik went 12th. Seven of the 21 first-round picks played fewer than 70 NHL games. It was the start of the European dominance. The four best players in this class were Nick Lidstrom (53rd), Pavel Bure (113th), Sergei Federov (74th) and Sundin.

1990:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Quebec Owen Nolan R Cornwall Royals [OHL] 1200 422 463 885 1793
Vancouver Petr Nedved L Seattle Thunderbirds [WHL] 982 310 407 717 708
Detroit Keith Primeau C Niagara Falls Thunder [OHL] 909 266 353 619 1541
Philadelphia Mike Ricci C Peterborough Petes [OHL] 1099 243 362 605 979

All four teams missed out on the eventual best player, Jaromir Jagr went 5th to the Pittsburgh Penguins and he is 45 points shy of becoming only the 4th player in NHL history to score 1800 points. Primeau was a solid pick, but concussions cut his career short. He still finished 19th in GP and 13th in points despite his concussions.

1991:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Quebec Eric Lindros C Oshawa Generals [OHL] 760 372 493 865 1398
San Jose Pat Falloon R Spokane Chiefs [WHL] 575 143 179 322 141
New Jersey Scott Niedermayer D Kamloops Blazers [WHL] 1263 172 568 740 784
NY Islanders Scott Lachance D Boston University [H-East] 819 31 112 143 567

The Devlis selected a Hall of Famer in Niedermayer. One of the best 3rd overall picks ever. The San Jose Sharks must have had nightmares for years over passing on Niedermayer and taking Pat "Potato Head" Falloon.

1992:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Tampa Bay Roman Hamrlik D Zlin ZPS AC [Czech.] 1395 155 483 638 1408
Ottawa Alexei Yashin C Moscow Dynamo [Russia] 850 337 444 781 401
San Jose Mike Rathje D Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 768 30 150 180 491
Quebec Todd Warriner L Windsor Spitfires [OHL] 453 65 89 154 249

It was the year of D-men and Europeans. Rathje was a good NHL player, but Darius Kasparaitis (5th), Sergei Gonchar (14th) and Jason Smith (18th) became better NHL defenders. This draft produced no Hall of Famer and Gonchar is the points leader with 797.

1993:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Ottawa Alexandre Daigle R Victoriaville Tigres [QMJHL] 616 129 198 327 186
Hartford Chris Pronger D Peterborough Petes [OHL] 1167 157 541 698 1590
Tampa Bay Chris Gratton C Kingston Frontenacs [OHL] 1092 214 354 568 1638
Anaheim Paul Kariya L U. of Maine [H-East] 989 402 587 989 399

The Senators regret taking Daigle first overall. Gratton became a solid NHL player, 13th in points and 12th in GP, but Tampa missed out on Kariya and Jason Arnott (7th). Fun fact for Oilers fans, Arnott finished with the second most points from his draft class, 938.

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1994:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Florida Ed Jovanovski D Windsor Spitfires [OHL] 1128 137 363 500 1491
Anaheim Oleg Tverdovsky D Krylja Sovetov [Russia] 713 77 240 317 291
Ottawa Radek Bonk C Las Vegas Thunder [IHL] 969 194 303 497 581
Edmonton Jason Bonsignore C Niagara Falls Thunder [OHL] 79 3 13 16 34

Radek Bonk's mullet was better than Ryan Smyth's (6th pick), but Smyth became a better player. Bonk finished 8th in GP and 10th in points. The Oilers took Bonsignore instead of Jeff O'Neill (5th). That pick still stings Oiler fans today. The Nation's Jason Strudwick was drafted 63rd this year, and he overachieved playing the 29th most games in his class. Atta boy Struds.


1995:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Ottawa Bryan Berard D Detroit Jr. Red Wings [OHL] 619 76 247 323 500
NY Islanders Wade Redden D Brandon Wheat Kings [WHL] 1023 109 348 457 665
Los Angeles Aki-Petteri Berg D TPS Jrs. (Finland) 606 15 70 85 374
Anaheim Chad Kilger C Kingston Frontenacs [OHL] 714 107 111 218 363

The Kings choose a big, steady D-man over offensive skilled player like Damon Langdow (5th), Shane Doan (7th), Radek Dvorak (10th), Jarome Iginla (11th) and Petr Sykora (18th). Berg was not a great pick for the Kings.

1996:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Ottawa Chris Phillips D Prince Albert Raiders [WHL] 1143 71 214 285 744
San Jose Andrei Zyuzin D Salavat Yulajev (Russia) 496 38 82 120 446
NY Islanders J.P. Dumont R Val d'Or Foreurs [QMJHL] 822 214 309 523 364
Washington Alexandre Volchkov R Barrie Colts [OHL] 3 0 0 0 0

This was a very low scoring draft class. Dumont ended up with the 5th most points in his class. Daniel Briere (24th) was the best offensive player, 684 points, but overall this draft didn't produce much offence. Dumont was a very good pick in an otherwise average draft class.

1997:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Boston Joe Thornton C Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds  1207 342 852 1194 1021
San Jose Patrick Marleau L Seattle Thunderbirds [WHL] 1247 437 494 931 409
Los Angeles Olli Jokinen C HIFK Helsinki [SM-liiga] 1169 317 423 740 1043
NY Islanders Roberto Luongo G Val d'Or Foreurs [QMJHL] 803 0 17 17 38

That is a solid top-four. The Kings had drafted goalie Jamie Storr, 7th overall in 1994, and likely why they passed on Luongo. Marian Hossa(12th) is the only first round skater taken after Jokinen who became better. Jokinen is 3rd in GP and 4th in points. Solid pick.

1998:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Tampa Bay Vincent Lecavalier C Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL] 1106 403 508 911 790
Nashville David Legwand C Plymouth Whalers [OHL] 977 214 363 577 505
San Jose Brad Stuart D Regina Pats [WHL] 985 77 245 322 549
Vancouver Bryan Allen D Oshawa Generals [OHL] 710 29 105 134 833

Stuart became a solid NHL defender. I don't see any other first rounders the Sharks could have taken who would have been better. He had a very good career and the only D-man who people would rank higher from this class is Andrei Markov (162nd). Solid pick for the Sharks and they used Stuart as the main piece in the Joe Thornton trade.

1999:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Atlanta Patrik Stefan C Long Beach Ice Dogs [IHL] 455 64 124 188 158
Vancouver Daniel Sedin L MODO Ornskoldsvik [SEL] 979 307 498 805 420
Vancouver Henrik Sedin C MODO Ornskoldsvik [SEL] 1010 193 649 842 576
NY Rangers Pavel Brendl W Calgary Hitmen [WHL] 78 11 11 22 16

The Canucks announced Daniel and Henrik at the same time, and I think Henrik ended up third because due to the alphabet. Either way the Canucks made two outstanding picks. Henrik has the most points and GP thus far. Henrik Zetterberg (210th) is the only player in the same category as the twins. The only other players taken in the first round with 200 career points are Martin Havlat (26th), Tim Connolly (5th) and Taylor Pyatt (8th). Barret Jackman (17th) became the best D-man from this year.

2000:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
NY Islanders Rick DiPietro G Boston University [H-East] 318 0 19 19 129
Atlanta Dany Heatley L U. of Wisconsin [WCHA] 863 372 419 791 620
Minnesota Marian Gaborik L Trencin Dukla [Slovak] 810 347 357 704 414
Columbus Rostislav Klesla D Brampton Battalion [OHL] 659 48 111 159 620

Gaborik has become the most dynamic player of his class. Heatley had a great start to his career, back-to-back 50-goal seasons, but he's slowed down considerably the past four seasons. Nation overlord Brian Sutherby was the 26th pick this year. Even with his back and concussion issues he is still 32nd in GP. Not bad Suds, not bad at all.

2001:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Atlanta Ilya Kovalchuk L Moscow Spartak [Russia] 816 417 399 816 516
Ottawa Jason Spezza C Windsor Spitfires [OHL] 686 251 436 687 434
Tampa Bay Alexandr Svitov C Omsk Avangard [Russia] 179 13 24 37 223
Florida Stephen Weiss C Plymouth Whalers [OHL] 680 147 251 398 325

Svitov was a bust, he also was a spitter. He spat in Sutherby's face in the world juniors, "It almost went in my mouth. Gross." Sutherby explained. The Bolts missed on out Weiss, Mikko Koivu (6th), Dan Hamhuis (12th) and Ales Hemsky (13th). The Oilers made a great pick with Hemsky. He is 5th in points and 12th in GP thus far.

2002:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Columbus Rick Nash L London Knights [OHL] 783 336 292 628 630
Atlanta Kari Lehtonen G Jokerit Helsinki [SM-liiga] 445 0 21 21 30
Florida Jay Bouwmeester D Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 846 76 268 344 489
Philadelphia Joni Pitkanen D Karpat [SM-liiga] 535 57 225 282 484

The Panthers made a great pick in Bouwmeester. He's played the most games, is 9th in points and the only player taken after him who is better is Duncan Keith (45th). Every player in the top-15 has played 445 games or more so far except two. The Panthers hit a home run with Bouwmeester but struck out on Petr Taticek (9th), while the Oilers inexplicably took Jesse Niinimaki 15th overall. Ugh.

2003:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Pittsburgh Marc-Andre Fleury G Cape Breton Eagles [QMJHL] 531 0 12 12 42
Carolina Eric Staal C Peterborough Petes [OHL] 769 289 399 688 605
Florida Nathan Horton C Oshawa Generals [OHL] 626 202 218 420 567
Columbus Nikolai Zherdev R CSKA Moscow [Russia] 421 115 146 261 225

In most draft years Horton would be considered a very good pick, and he still was, however, the 2003 class was incredibly deep. Tomas Vanek (5th), Ryan Suter (7th), Dion Phaneuf (9th), Jeff Carter (11th), Dustin Brown (13th), Brent Seabrook (14th), Zach Parise (17th), Ryan Getzlaf (19th), Ryan Kesler (23rd), Mike Richards (24th) and Corey Perry (28th) have all become very good. The Panthers made a solid pick.

2004:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Washington Alex Ovechkin L Moscow Dynamo [Russia] 679 422 392 814 456
Pittsburgh Evgeni Malkin C Magnitogorsk [Russia] 518 240 392 632 524
Chicago Cam Barker D Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 310 21 75 96 290
Carolina Andrew Ladd L Calgary Hitmen [WHL] 610 161 197 358 362

Barker was highly regarded coming out of junior, but his junior game never transferred to the NHL. Ladd and Blake Wheeler (5th) would have been better, but the rest of the early picks weren't great. Ladislav Smid at #9 was the best D-man in the top-20. Boris Valabik (10th) played 80 games while A.J. Thelan (12th) played none. Barker was rated high, but never panned out and the worst part for the Blackhawks was that Washington won the lottery and pushed them down to third.

2005:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Pittsburgh Sidney Crosby C Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL] 550 274 495 769 463
Anaheim Bobby Ryan R Owen Sound Attack [OHL] 448 170 167 337 296
Carolina Jack Johnson D U.S. Junior National Team  490 44 146 190 331
Minnesota Benoit Pouliot L Sudbury Wolves [OHL] 371 76 84 160 257

Johnson was a solid pick. The Hurricanes had taken Cam Ward in 2002 and that could have been a factor in not choosing Carey Price (5th). Johnson is a good but not great and Marc Staal (12th), is the only amongst the top-20 picks who is better. Decent pick.

2006:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
St. Louis Erik Johnson D US National Under 18 Team 409 36 134 170 268
Pittsburgh Jordan Staal C Peterborough Petes [OHL] 561 145 174 319 297
Chicago Jonathan Toews C U. of North Dakota [WCHA] 484 195 245 440 257
Washington Nicklas Backstrom C Brynas IF Gavle [SEL] 495 127 367 494 258

Outstanding pick by the Blackhawks. Toews is the best player in his class. Had Pittsburgh taken Toews instead of Staal, how many Cups would they have right now? Scary to think of Crosby, Malkin and Toews on the same line.

2007:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Chicago Patrick Kane R London Knights [OHL] 515 178 315 493 212
Philadelphia James Van Riemsdyk L US National Under 18 Team 324 95 97 192 165
Phoenix Kyle Turris C Burnaby Express [BCHL] 316 69 93 162 133
Los Angeles Thomas Hickey D Seattle Thunderbirds [WHL] 121 5 21 26 42

Turris will be a serviceable pick, but right now it looks like more of a miss than a hit. Karl Alzner (5th), Sam Gagner (6th), Jakub Voracek (7th), Logan Couture (9th), Ryan McDonagh (12th) and Kevin Shattenkirk (14th) have all become better NHL players. Phoenix, LA, Washington, Edmonton, Columbus and Boston (3rd-8th) all wish they had seen what the Sharks did in Couture. The Sharks traded up to take Couture.

2008:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Tampa Bay Steven Stamkos C Sarnia Sting [OHL] 410 233 193 426 267
Los Angeles Drew Doughty D Guelph Storm [OHL] 442 59 162 221 347
Atlanta Zach Bogosian D Peterborough Petes [OHL] 352 37 77 114 285
St. Louis Alex Pietrangelo D Niagara IceDogs [OHL] 305 37 135 172 105

I think this is a great example of why you shouldn't rush D-men into the NHL. Bogosian played as an 18-year-old, while Alex Pietrangelo spent two more years in junior before becoming a regular in 2010/2011. I'll always wonder how much, if any, rushing Bogosian to the NHL impacted his development. He is a solid top-four D-man, but Pietrangelo is an Olympian. It is still too early to evaluate the overall class, but Bogosian looks like a solid pick.

2009:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
NY Islanders John Tavares C London Knights [OHL] 350 136 179 315 159
Tampa Bay Victor Hedman D MODO Ornskoldsvik [SEL] 333 29 115 144 298
Colorado Matt Duchene C Brampton Battalion [OHL] 337 105 158 263 88
Atlanta Evander Kane C Vancouver Giants [WHL] 324 99 101 200 329

Barring a major injury Duchene looks like an outstanding pick at #3. Right now the only major mistake in the top-10 looks like Scott Glennie who was taken 8th by Dallas.

2010:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Edmonton Taylor Hall L Windsor Spitfires [OHL] 246 92 133 225 140
Boston Tyler Seguin C Plymouth Whalers [OHL] 283 93 112 205 82
Florida Erik Gudbranson D Kingston Frontenacs [OHL] 169 5 16 21 239
Columbus Ryan Johansen C Portland Winterhawks [WHL] 189 47 49 96 79

Johansen was the classic late bloomer. He was 19th on Bob McKenzie's mid term ranking and 6th on his final one. His NHL career mirrored what the projections were. He would need some time to develop, but his overall raw skill was very high. We saw that this past season. My concern with the Gudbranson pick then and now was that everyone said he had offensive limitations. He was big, strong and physical, but I don't take a defensive D-man with a top-three pick. I think Gudbranson will have a long NHL career, but he's more like Jason Smith than Chris Pronger. A valuable player on your team, but not someone I'd use a #3 pick on.

2011:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Edmonton Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C Red Deer Rebels [WHL] 182 41 91 132 50
Colorado Gabriel Landeskog R Kitchener Rangers [OHL] 199 57 77 134 144
Florida Jonathan Huberdeau C Saint John Sea Dogs [QMJHL] 117 23 36 59 55
New Jersey Adam Larsson D Skelleftea AIK [SEL] 128 3 24 27 44

Too early to evaluate this draft. All of the top ten picks have played in the NHL already, and early on Jonas Brodin at #10, looks like a better NHL D-man than Larsson. It will be fun watching this draft class unfold over the next ten seasons.

2012:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Edmonton Nail Yakupov R Sarnia Sting [OHL] 111 28 27 55 60
Columbus Ryan Murray D Everett Silvertips [WHL] 66 4 17 21 10
Montreal Alex Galchenyuk C Sarnia Sting [OHL] 113 22 36 58 46
NY Islanders Griffin Reinhart D Edmonton Oil Kings [WHL] 0 0 0 0 0

Again, too soon to say. Eighteen of the 30 first rounders have already played in the NHL.

2013:

Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
Colorado Nathan MacKinnon C Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 82 24 39 63 26
Florida Aleksander Barkov C Tappara Tampere [SM-liiga] 54 8 16 24 10
Tampa Bay Jonathan Drouin L Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL 0 0 0 0 0
Nashville Seth Jones D Portland Winterhawks [WHL] 77 6 19 25 24

MacKinnon had an outstanding rookie season. Seth Jones was ranked #1 or #2 for most of his draft year, so time will tell if Florida and Tampa made errors or if choosing a forward was the right move.

WRAP UP

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History suggests the Oilers will get a good NHL player, and if they develop him properly they could end up with a franchise player.

Over the last 35 years we've only seen three "busts at #3:" Brady, Barker and Svitov.

The rest have all played 600 games (picks from 2005-2013 excluded), but unless they suffer a major injury most are projecting to do the same. They varied in degrees of ability, and the remaining forwards all became pretty decent NHL players. 

There is no consensus number one player in this year's draft, so it very likely that the player picked first tonight won't be the best in the future. Unless these top four players have fooled all of the scouts, the Oilers should get a solid player at #3.

I would take Leon Draisaitl, but I won't be shocked if Buffalo grabs him either. They could use a big, skilled centre as much as the Oilers.

Good luck to all the players drafted. It is a huge accomplishment just to be drafted, and hopefully they enjoy it regardless of where they are selected.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 wintoon
June 27 2014, 01:20PM
Trash it!
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With the Canucks having dealt Kesler I wonder who they will have to fill their #2C slot. Is there an opportunity here or will they be whale (Orca) hunting?

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#2 Wax Man Riley
June 27 2014, 01:21PM
Trash it!
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Can't go wrong with making the pick at #3. Pick it, don't trade it.

As much as I hate trade proposals, I hear Neal may be on the market. Any chance he could come here for Perron?

Or yak?

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#3 RomZ
June 27 2014, 01:28PM
Trash it!
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wintoon wrote:

With the Canucks having dealt Kesler I wonder who they will have to fill their #2C slot. Is there an opportunity here or will they be whale (Orca) hunting?

I'm guessing Bonino fills that role. To what extent remains to be seen.

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#4 wintoon
June 27 2014, 01:53PM
Trash it!
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RomZ wrote:

I'm guessing Bonino fills that role. To what extent remains to be seen.

While Bonino is a decent player I don't see the offensive creativity you typically want out of a #2C. He seems more of a prototypical #3 C. I also have concerns that his offensive numbers were somewhat inflated by playing with Getzlaa and Perry last year.

Would this potentially be a landing spt for Gagner? The Canucks, with the Kesler trade, have shown they are prepared to trade pretty close to home.

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#5 YakCity1024
June 27 2014, 01:53PM
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Buffalo's getting Reinhart. It's already been beaten to death, I don't know why people continue to say they're gonna go for Draisaitl.

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#6 Mike Krushelnyski
June 27 2014, 01:56PM
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wintoon wrote:

While Bonino is a decent player I don't see the offensive creativity you typically want out of a #2C. He seems more of a prototypical #3 C. I also have concerns that his offensive numbers were somewhat inflated by playing with Getzlaa and Perry last year.

Would this potentially be a landing spt for Gagner? The Canucks, with the Kesler trade, have shown they are prepared to trade pretty close to home.

Yeah he got 20 of his 47 points on the PP where he played with Perry & Getzlaf. Ryan Kesler he is not.

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#7 Bullets Hockey
June 27 2014, 01:57PM
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Buffalo has decent size at centre with Girgensons and Grigorenko........

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#8 Prongers Promises
June 27 2014, 02:10PM
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Wow great job on this article. I signed up just to post this.

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#9 d
June 27 2014, 02:14PM
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Nice article Gregor. Kariya had the most points in the '93 draft though, not Arnott.

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#10 HawaiianShirt
June 27 2014, 02:24PM
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Great article ! I'm hoping for the best of the 4 at number 3. One can dream!

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#11 Smokey
June 27 2014, 02:33PM
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Kesler is trending down, good fair deal for Casucks. I think Vancouver is doing the good job retooling on the fly, ala Detroit model, rather then the denial and death spiral ala the Oilers and Flames.

The window was closed for Vancouver, and they recogized it. I am really curious to see if Benning can find a whale in the off season. I wonder if he is serious about Spezza, and or Spezza might drop the no trade. Maybe Vancouver goes after Richards who is servicable as a second line center.

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#12 sintaxi
June 27 2014, 03:05PM
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Fantastic post. Looks like time and time again the top rated D does not end up living up to expectations or takes ages to get there. If we are paying attention to history, going with a center appears to be the smart move. Makes me wonder why so many are putting Ekblad at the top.

At the end of the day I can get excited about any of the top four. Looking forward to seeing how this shakes out.

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#13 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 27 2014, 03:13PM
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2014-15 Salary Cap comes in at $69 million

Should create a few more trade opportunities .

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#14 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
June 27 2014, 03:15PM
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Ton of work on this article. Thanks Gregor. Nice piece on draft day!

And don't we all deserve one!........on draft day......

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#15 v4ance
June 27 2014, 03:17PM
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Looking at the 2006 draft and this year, there are a lot of parallels.

Top 5 of 3 C's, 1 possible franchise D and 1 sniper of a winger with 4 N. Americans and one euro.

Erik Johnson, Toews, Staal, Backstrom and Kessel versus Ekbad, Bennett, Reinhart, Draisaitl and DalColle

Not saying the results will turn out the same between the different years but it's kinda interesting.

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#16 Serious Gord
June 27 2014, 04:02PM
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Smokey wrote:

Kesler is trending down, good fair deal for Casucks. I think Vancouver is doing the good job retooling on the fly, ala Detroit model, rather then the denial and death spiral ala the Oilers and Flames.

The window was closed for Vancouver, and they recogized it. I am really curious to see if Benning can find a whale in the off season. I wonder if he is serious about Spezza, and or Spezza might drop the no trade. Maybe Vancouver goes after Richards who is servicable as a second line center.

Kesler may be trending down but if he can stay away from getting knicked-up he could fit in very well in anaheim. I like the way he plays - hope he does well.

I thought spezza too - he makes a lot of sense. Doubt he will waive his no move.

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#17 Serious Gord
June 27 2014, 04:04PM
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wintoon wrote:

While Bonino is a decent player I don't see the offensive creativity you typically want out of a #2C. He seems more of a prototypical #3 C. I also have concerns that his offensive numbers were somewhat inflated by playing with Getzlaa and Perry last year.

Would this potentially be a landing spt for Gagner? The Canucks, with the Kesler trade, have shown they are prepared to trade pretty close to home.

In a fevered dream i see gagner going to van for bieksa.

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#18 Ed in Edmotnon
June 27 2014, 04:18PM
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Smokey wrote:

Kesler is trending down, good fair deal for Casucks. I think Vancouver is doing the good job retooling on the fly, ala Detroit model, rather then the denial and death spiral ala the Oilers and Flames.

The window was closed for Vancouver, and they recogized it. I am really curious to see if Benning can find a whale in the off season. I wonder if he is serious about Spezza, and or Spezza might drop the no trade. Maybe Vancouver goes after Richards who is servicable as a second line center.

If Kesler is trending down at 29 where does that out the twins at 32?

Did the Casucks (your word not mine) plan to retool or have things just turned out that way. Had to trade Schneider because they couldn't unload Luongo. Then Torts alienates Luongo and they had to trade him anyway, Kesler demand a trade.

Benning has been handed a tough situation, it will be interesting to see how things work out. The Canucks nation is not noted for their patience.

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#19 Ed in Edmonton
June 27 2014, 04:36PM
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I see the Canucks have sent Garisson away for a draft pick. Perhaps Benning is embracing the "re-tooling".

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#20 Brian
June 28 2014, 08:01AM
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Gregor, I've ripped writers and posters in the past but have to give kudos to you for the work you put in to write this piece. And for that matter, all the charity work you do. Hats off to you!! Well done.

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