A Decade Of 1st Overall Picks and Connor

June is the month of McDavid as we lead up to the draft on
June 26th. As such I think it’s only fitting that we start by looking
at how Connor McDavid’s point production rates compared to the last several 1st
overall picks.

Is the game of hockey all about points? No, of course not.
That said, nobody gets picked 1st overall because they are great
glue guys in the locker room. First overall picks are dynamic (usually
offensively) on the ice and are generally dominant among their peers. I’ve
compiled a list of the top draftees from 2004-2014  with their production in their draft year and
their most productive year in the NHL.

THE PICKS

2014: Aaron Ekblad

Draft Year: 58GP, 23-30-53, 0.914 P/G

Best NHL Year: 81GP, 12-27-39, 0.481 P/G

Man-child of a defenseman who stepped onto an NHL club at 18
years of age and was immediately on their top line. A few people want to rob
him of any credit because he played with a quality defensive partner for the
majority of his season but let’s get real. The kid is a stud defender and
should lead Florida from the blueline for the next decade.

2013: Nate MacKinnon

Draft Year: 44GP, 32-43-75, 1.705 P/G

Best NHL Year: 82GP, 24-39-63, 0.768 P/G

Nate MacKinnon hit a sophomore slump in his second
NHL season but the skills are obvious. He has blinding speed that can make any
NHL defender look like Mark Fraser wearing snowshoes. It’s too young into his
career to pass too much judgment except to say the tools are there to be an
explosive player.

2012: Nail Yakupov

Draft Year: 42GP, 31-38-69, 1.64 P/G

Best NHL Year: 48GP, 17-14-31, 0.646 P/G

A personal favourite but surrounded by question marks. His
shot is lethal and his shooting rates are pretty good but the entire Dallas
Eakins period of his career was a disaster by 1st overall standards.
Might be the only 1st overall pick in this list that was not gifted
top six minutes right out of the gate, perhaps because his defense has been
questioned. You probably know where I stand on this player. If you don’t, then
know that I still think the future is bright for Nail Yakupov but he has to
deliver soon.

2011: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Draft Year: 69GP, 31-75-106, 1.536 P/G

Best NHL Year: 76GP, 24-32-56, 0.737 P/G

Injury marred his earliest seasons in the NHL but he
developed into Edmonton’s 1C relatively quickly. He had the second
highest TOI/G in the NHL among forwards last year and still looks like he has
an extra gear. He is a cerebral player with incredible skating talent and is a
responsible defensive player. One of Edmonton’s irreplaceable assets, to my eye.
If this hockey thing doesn’t work out he will probably resume his paper route,
if his mom thinks he can stay focused on his studies.

2010: Taylor Hall

Draft Year: 57GP, 40-66-106, 1.860 P/G

Best NHL Year, 75GP, 27-53-80, 1.067 P/G

One of the NHL’s best left wingers. Period. He is a dynamic
skater with speed to burn driving to the outside and fearlessly willing to put
himself in the danger areas on the ice. Has pushed the river of possession since
he arrived in the NHL and seems very comfortable with who he is as a player and a person. A healthy Taylor Hall is a name the opposition has to watch out for.

2009: John Tavares

Draft Year: 56GP, 58-46-104, 1.857 P/G

Best NHL Year: 82GP, 38-48-86, 1.049 P/G

He is a fantastic player, a star in the NHL. He has great
playmaking and passing ability. Beyond that he has put the Islanders on his
back. They love him in the East and many consider him a Super Star. He was a
point away from being the NHL’s scoring Champion and he’s just 24 years old.

2008: Steven Stamkos

Draft Year: 61GP, 58-47-105, 1.721 P/G

Best NHL Year: 82GP, 60-37-97, 1.183 P/G

One of the NHL’s true Super Snipers. Scored 23 goals in his
rookie season. Since then he has scored 40 or more goals in every year full
season he’s played. His shot is rivaled by maybe Alex Ovechkin and nobody else.
This guy is nightmare fuel for goalies around the NHL.

2007: Patrick Kane

Draft Year: 58GP, 62-83-145, 2.500 P/G

Best NHL Year: 82GP, 30-58-88, 1.073 P/G

His OHL scoring numbers are significantly more impressive
than his NHL production but this is a Stanley Cup winner and an elite offensive
player. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and can make plays that leave you
scratching your head wondering how he did it. His shot is under-utilized, in my
humblest opinion, because he can wire it. But he’s only ever hit 30 goals one
time.

2006: Erik Johnson

Draft Year: 11GP, 4-11-15, 1.364 P/G

Best NHL Year: 80GP, 9-30-39, 0.488 P/G

Um…yeah. He’s a big defenseman and certainly an OK to Good
NHL player. Let’s face facts. The Blues really screwed up. But who knew taking
a defenseman who played so few games was a bad gamble? Who? That’s alright.
The team selecting second overall screwed up too. They passed over
Jonathan Toews to pick Jordan Staal instead. So at least they have company on
this one. Johnson is a solid second pairing guy.

2005: Sidney Crosby

Draft Year: 62GP, 66-102-168, 2.710 P/G

Best NHL Year: 79GP, 36-84-120, 1.519 P/G

For my money, Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL.
He has five 100+ point seasons and won numerous trophies in the NHL. He scored 102
points as a raw rookie. They said he wasn’t much of a goal scorer and then he
went on to win the NHL’s Rocket Richard trophy, too. He can do it all. It’s
actually difficult to come up with more to say than to simply write, “He’s the
best.”

2004: Alex Ovechkin

Draft Year: 53GP, 13-10-23, 0.434 P/G

Best NHL Year: 82GP, 65-47-112, 1.366 P/G

The only serious contender to Sidney Crosby to be considered
the best player in the game. And don’t give me crap about Toews. His ability to
score goals is pure unadulterated genius. In the conversation of who the best
pure sniper of all-time is, Alex Ovechkin’s name needs to be mentioned repeatedly. He’s
a power forward with one of the best shots ever. EVER.

McDAVID?

What about Connor? Where does he rate? Well, frankly, his numbers
in the OHL are pretty fantastic.

I mean look at this production: 56GP, 29-71-99, 1.768 P/G

That production was better than most of the former first
overall picks in the list. Only Hall, Tavares, Kane, and Crosby were better
than McDavid’s numbers.

Oh, and I should mention those were the scoring numbers from
McDavid’s 16 year old season!

Here is what he looks like compared to the other first
overall picks


2015: Connor McDavid

Draft Year: 47GP, 44-76-120, 2.553 P/G

Best NHL Year: ?????

The highest touted draftee since Sidney Crosby. Wayne
Gretzky believes he’s the best Junior player in 30 years. Projections range from 60+
to 80+ points in his rookie season with the Oilers. He is a dynamic skater,
shooter, and playmaker. He is also one of the best back-checkers on his OHL
squad. Smart player who has won the Scholastic Player of the Year two times along
with every individual award imaginable. Compared to the production of those who
came before him, Connor McDavid outclasses every first overall pick
except for Sidney Crosby.

What can we expect from Connor McDavid? Expect to be lifted
out of your seat every night. Expect his peer group in the NHL to be a very
small. Expect magic.

June is the Month of McDavid. Make it a good one.

  • CMG30

    Oh look: Petry just signed for 6 years in Montreal for 7 million a year to start. To think that MacTavish could have had him locked up for 4+ million/year in 2014 if he had only pulled his you-know-what out of his you-know-where long enough to see what kind of talent he actually had.

    I guess this is why he doesn’t have a GM job today.

    • ThinkingOutLoud

      Kudos for Petry for signing a good contract to play in a hockey mad city like Montreal. Not to belabor the tedium of tax rates but that 5.5 million per year in Montreal works out to about 2.77 million after taxes compared to about 3.37 mill in Edmonton after taxes. I guess money isn’t everything…

      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        He was bound for UFA but that was a bed MacT created. We could of had a decent two year contract or gone longer term for less money. The Oilers totally blew that situation. It would be bad if we had numerous defenceman and he was a hot prospect. In this case we signed players at the end of their usefulness and let a player who showed growth every year walk for nothing. To excuse the loss of Petry to Montreal because he was headed for UFA status ignores the major screw-up from the summer before. I also believe if we had kept him the MacDavid/New coach/ New GM Reality might have landed a contract now even this close to FA day. I am Happy for Petry but we got shafted by MacT on that.

      • Zarny

        No, Petry wasn’t bound for UFA during the 2013-14 season. He wasn’t bound for UFA one year ago today.

        He wasn’t bound for UFA until the Oilers chose to only sign him for 1 year.

        And there is no doubt that had the Oilers wanted to sign Petry to a long term contract at the end of last season it would have cost less than what it cost Mtl.

        There was nothing inevitable about Petry leaving. It was a choice by Oilers management and it was a poor one.

  • YakCity1039

    I don’t understand why they say Tavares is a superstar and Hall is only considered “the best left winger in the game” when he and Tavares have basically the same career numbers.

    Tavares: 174 – 227 – 401 in 432 games = 0.93ppg

    Hall: 106 – 157 – 263 in 299 games = 0.91ppg

    Somebody please explain. I don’t hate Tavares, I actually like him and the Islanders, but it just makes no sense to me.

  • Chet.

    Way too much for petry. At that kind of $$$ the player should be a physical presence and a team leader. Just don’t see petry as that type of player. KBom and nurse will fill his role easily and then some.

  • YFC Prez

    I would love to have Petry back on the oil. But at the 4 million per season for the next 4 years Mac T should have signed him to.

    5.5 should buy more than Petry brings.

    Congrats to him though.

  • Harry2

    You can not honestly tell me that Ovechkin is better than Jonathan Toews.

    He may be a better goal scorer, bad that is about it.

    When it matters most Toews is pound for pound the best skater in the NHL. PERIOD

    • Harry2

      Name me two forward teammates that Ovechkin has that are as good as Hossa and Kane.

      Name me two defensemen that Ovevchkin has that are as good as Keith and Seabrook.

      • ThinkingOutLoud

        He was also the best player on the best Olympic roster of all time… Maybe in contention with doughty and price…
        To stand out the way he does among good company in Canada and with the Hawks, it’s a pretty solid arguememt…
        Ovi is awesome but ask the Hawks if they would do a straight trade for toews and I am sure they decline. Especially if he holds the cup one more time…

      • Harry2

        Nicklas Backstrom has been known to be one of the best offensive forwards in the game for some time now. And Semin had his warts but could definately fill the next.

        Washington was a dominant team in the east for many years. They were/are the San Jose of the east. Its not like Ovechkin is Crosby and playing with nobodies.

        Not saying Ovechkin is bad just that Toews is easily IMO the better player

  • Alsker

    Whale of a deal from Petrys side…often wonder if the 1 year “challenge” contract was MacTs’ idea or Jeff’s. Gave MacT a year to show improvement within the organization or he splits. Either way MacT failed horribly.

    • ThinkingOutLoud

      I think that the ‘ challenge year’ was McTavish’s way of selling a bad deal to the media. He knew then they Petrey wouldn’t be back but he couldn’t tell the press his best defenceman wasn’t planning on sticking around.

  • dcsj

    I saw a game in Atlanta years ago, Oilers vs. Flames. One of the moves McDavid made on that video reminded me of a play in that game when Gretzky kicked things up a notch to take over the game and salvage a tie, if I recall correctly. Split the defense and scored with a defender still desperately trying to hang all over him. 1980 or 81, I think.

    I’m thinking this kid is a player.

  • SSB1963

    When will the move affair be ocer?

    The Oilers need to dip the pick and secure two lottery selections.

    With this lucks they should select two of the following three: provorov, werenski or hanifin.

    With the #16 they should select zboril.

    On the free market they should pouch Dougie Hamilton.

    Within 3 years, they would be a top 3 team..

    End if story…

    St. Provorov 4Lyfe

  • Blue Bullet

    I did a post that uses my NHLP formula for predicting potential NHL upside projected over an 82 game season for forwards. It factors in PP vs non PP scoring and also age. Here are the projections:

    Crosby 46-64-110
    McDavid 41-61-102
    Kane 42-53-95
    Lecavalier 35-53-88
    MacKinnon 33-50-83
    Hall 33-46-79
    Tavares 43-32-75
    Stamkos 45-29-74
    Nuge 24-46-70
    Yak 31-37-68

    https://bluebulletreport.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/nhl-projections-not-all-top-five-picks-are-created-equal/

    The difference between Crosby and McDavid is that Crosby put up better PP numbers in his draft year. Crosby and McDavid’s even strength numbers are head of the class

    Crosby 36-37-73
    McDavid 35-38-73
    Kane 30-26-56
    Lecavalier 28-29-57
    MacKinnon 23-34-57
    Hall 24-31-55
    Tavares 32-16-48
    Stamkos 32-18-50
    Nuge 18-23-41
    Yak 23-25-48