The 2010 NHL Draft may be remembered for which hyped prospect would be picked first overall by the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers selected Taylor Hall and the Boston Bruins chose Tyler Seguin as their second pick. Aside from the "Taylor or Tyler" storyline, there were other members of that draft class from the later rounds that either emerged as respectable NHL players or couldn't pan out.
You look at the career of Canadiens' winger Brendan Gallagher, what Mark Stone of the Senators has accomplished, and Bryan Rust who's earned two Stanley Cups for the Pens in his young career. But former Dallas Stars draft choice and goalie Jack Campbell played two NHL games because he wasn't the player that every fan hoped he'd become, and Erik Gudbranson of the Canucks doesn't look like an elite first-round draft pick several years later. Current Wild forward and former fifth overall pick Nino Niederreiter appeared to be a draft bust after two bad years for the Islanders, then became a 20-goal scorer and a modest success in Minnesota. With that said, let us look at the eight draftees who went on to succeed and seven others who turned out to be duds in the league so far.
15 SUCCEEDED: JOHN KLINGBERG
The Dallas Stars are quite lucky to have Swedish defenseman John Klingberg on their blue line. The team selected him in the fifth round, then made his Stars debut in the 2014-15 season.
The smooth-skating Klingberg did not disappoint, scoring 11 goals and 40 points in his rookie season. As a result, they signed him to a seven-year contract worth nearly $30 million! His last two seasons in Dallas were impressive, collecting a whopping 58 points in 76 games during 2015-16, and had 49 last year. He's played 13 playoff games in 2016 and earned a few points as well. The Stars seem to have found their answer in net by signing former Lightning goalie Ben Bishop and made a stunning trade for defenseman Marc Methot from Vegas, so the future looks very bright for the soon to be 25-year-old Klingberg.
14 BUST: ERIK GUDBRANSON
The Florida Panthers drafting defenseman Erik Gudbranson as their third overall choice should be viewed as a disappointment to their fans. Although Gudbranson is built for the NHL with his six-foot, five-inch frame, he hasn't played to his full potential on the back end. Gudbranson played six years in Florida, where he put up underwhelming point totals and ended up being a minus player.
He joined the Canucks for the 2016-17 campaign, but only scored six points and dressed for 30 games thanks to a season-ending wrist surgery last December. Despite the injury-shortened season, the Canucks signed him to a low-risk, one-year extension this past June. It doesn't seem like he'll be a long-term fixture on their blue line and will likely be down in the minors.
13 SUCCEEDED: JEFF SKINNER
It seemed the Carolina Hurricanes struck gold with their draft selection of Jeff Skinner in 2010. Skinner has been playing for the Canes since the 2010-11 season, where he shined as a rookie with 31 goals and 63 points. Skinner won the Calder Trophy in 2011, then followed up his early success with two 50-point seasons and another 60-point year in 2016-17 for a Canes team that missed the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The prime of Skinner's career is still to come, in part to his team's re-tooling this summer. Carolina's acquisitions of ex-Blackhawks Marcus Kruger, goalie Scott Darling, three-time Cup champion Justin Williams, along with their young core of Sebastian Aho, Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin should help Skinner's chances of making the playoffs for the first time ever.
12 BUST: BRETT CONNOLLY
Lightning fans might look back on their team's decision to draft forward Brett Connolly sixth overall as a short-sighted one. Quite frankly, Connolly was not a good fit in Tampa Bay. Thanks to a couple stints with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch, he played a total of 134 games for the Bolts and collected a disappointing 32 points. In fact, Connolly fared better in Syracuse with 63 and 57 points from 2012 to '14.
The Lightning parted ways with Connolly by trading him to the Boston Bruins on March 2, 2015, where he enjoyed a 25-point campaign in 2015-16. To this day, Connolly has been a member of the Washington Capitals since 2016-17. He scored 15 goals and eight helpers last season, then agreed to a two-year extension worth $3 million to stay with the Caps. But it seems like a longshot that Connolly will record 40-45 points on a star-studded Caps team with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom leading the way.
11 SUCCEEDED: JUSTIN FAULK
The Carolina Hurricanes drafted another gem in Justin Faulk as their 37th overall pick seven years ago. The Minnesota-born defenseman played a year of collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and helped them win a national championship in 2011.
Faulk made his NHL debut in 2011-12 and proceeded to score eight goals and 14 assists during his rookie year. Since then, he's become one of the league's elite skaters who has offensive creativity on the power play. Faulk has posted respectable point totals, averaging 32 points or better his last four years, but has struggled at times in his own zone. Despite being exposed defensively, a re-vamped Hurricanes roster could help him emerge as a potential Norris Trophy candidate, provided that his offensive production doesn't decline and improves on his plus-minus ratings.
10 BUST: PATRIK NEMETH
Patrik Nemeth hasn't enjoyed the same level of success that Klingberg's enjoyed in Big D. Dallas drafted Nemeth in the 2nd round ahead of Klingberg. He's played four seasons there and has failed to score a single goal in 108 NHL games. That is crazy to think about, considering that the Stars are built for a high-octane offense. But the reality is that Nemeth hardly provides little offense to speak of. The Stars demoted Nemeth to their AHL affiliate for the last three seasons, yet they retained him for a one-year extension worth $945,000.
It seems possible this guy could head to Europe after the 2017-18 season thanks to the Stars' collection of blueliners with Dan Hamhuis, Stephen Johns, Methot, and Klingberg.
9 SUCCEEDED: TAYLOR HALL
Left winger Taylor Hall was picked first overall by the Edmonton Oilers over seven years ago. His tenure in Edmonton had its ups and downs, from an 80-point season in 2013-14, a disappointing 2014-15 season where he tallied 14 goals and 24 helpers and being a part of multiple non-playoff teams.
Despite playing one season with fellow first overall pick Connor McDavid in 2015-16, the Oilers traded their former first overall pick to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson last June. Although his point production is somewhat like a roller coaster, Hall still has a lot left in the tank and has 2017 first overall pick Nico Hischier on his side. A potential line of Hall-Hischier should do some damage for the Devils.
8 BUST: DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY
The inclusion of winger Devante Smith-Pelly doesn't seem surprising. A second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks, Smith-Pelly had two solid seasons in his OHL career then joined the Ducks for the 2011-12 season.
But he didn't fare well in Anaheim, scoring 14 goals in four seasons. Despite his inability to find the scoresheet, Smith-Pelly channeled his inner John Druce in the 2014 playoffs with five goals in 12 games, but the Ducks fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings in seven. Anaheim dealt Smith-Pelly to the Canadiens for Jiri Sekac on February 24, 2015.
His time in Montreal was more of the same, generating little offense with 12 points during the 2015-16 season. A year later, Montreal traded him to the Devils for Stefan Matteau. Although he scored a career-high eight goals following the February 2016 trade with New Jersey, his point production did not improve last season (4 G, 5 A). He signed a deal with the Capitals this offseason, but his NHL career has been a disappointment overall.
7 SUCCEEDED: EVGENY KUZNETSOV
Evgeny Kuznetsov might play second-fiddle to Alex Ovechkin in Washington, but he's developed into a proven point producer for the Capitals.
After honing his skills with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL for three seasons, he joined the Caps in March 2014 and made his long-awaited debut vs. Pittsburgh. In the 2015 playoffs, Kuznetsov scored one of the biggest goals of his career in a first-round Game 7 against the Islanders. But his breakout season came a year later, scoring exactly 20 goals and 77 points for a Caps team that claimed the President's Trophy. Kuznetsov had 59 points in 2016-17, then accepted Washington's eight-year contract extension worth $62.4 million during this offseason, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he excels in the prime of his career.
6 BUST: ALEX BURMISTROV
Remember the Atlanta Thrashers? Their first-round selection of Alex Burmistrov was the last in the Thrashers era before they moved to Winnipeg following the 2010-11 season. His rookie season occurred during the 2010-11 season, showing some promise with 20 points. He scored 28 goals during the Winnipeg Jets' first season in Manitoba but struggled during the 2012-13 season with 10 points in 44 games. Burmistrov returned to the KHL for a couple seasons and seemingly rejuvenated his game with 37 points in 2013-14.
Since the Jets still held his NHL rights, he decided to return to Winnipeg for 2015-16 and went on to underperform in his second stint. Burmistrov recorded 23 points in his last two seasons for the Jets, then placed him on waivers. The Arizona Coyotes claimed Burmistrov this past January, but his 14 points in 26 games capped off a disappointing 2016-17 season. Burmistrov recently signed a free agent deal with the Vancouver Canucks, so he'll have to make a good impression during the team's training camp next month.
5 SUCCEEDED: CAM FOWLER
The Ducks drafted a fine defenseman in Cam Fowler, who's done amazing things on the blue line since the 2010-11 season.
Best known as a mobile playmaker, Fowler had an incredible rookie year with 40 points, while helping the Ducks move on from having the likes of defensemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger from their 2007 Stanley Cup team to possessing a deep defensive unit. For the last three seasons, he's collected 28 points or more and scored a career-best 11 goals last year.
On July 1st. 2017, Fowler earned himself an eight-year extension worth $52 million, which begins in the 2018-19 season. The re-signing of Fowler means that the Ducks should keep him for their long-term future and Fowler should enjoy much more success in Anaheim.
4 BUST: EMERSON ETEM
Former Anaheim Ducks draft pick Emerson Etem lands on this list for his underwhelming NHL career. The California-born Etem was taken 29th in the draft by the Ducks. Etem picked up 107 points during his last WHL season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, so there was a lot of expectations going into his first season in Anaheim.
He played 38 games for Anaheim in the lockout-shortened 2013 season, scoring three goals and seven helpers, then chipped in five playoff points as a rookie! Etem played 29 games in 2013-14, but had 11 points. The next few years for Etem turned out to be forgettable by failing to register a 20-point season for the Ducks, Rangers, and Canucks. He recently signed a two-way deal with the Arizona Coyotes for next season. The Long Beach native has collected 46 career points in 173 NHL games so far, and the success he had in junior hockey hasn't translated to the pro level.
3 SUCCEEDED: VLADIMIR TARASENKO
Affectionately known as "Tank", Vladimir Tarasenko has been a goal-scoring threat for the St. Louis Blues. The organization drafted the Russian-born forward 16th overall that year. Tarasenko made his Blues debut during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and scored two goals against the Red Wings. Following his first 70-point campaign in 2014-15, the Blues signed Tarasenko to an eight-year deal worth $60 million. For the last two seasons, he's reached career-bests in goals (40) and points (75).
Although Tarasenko is the proud owner of 284 points in 341 NHL games, the one thing missing from his resume is a Stanley Cup, and the Blues have some solid pieces needed to bring a championship to the Gateway City. A core that consists of goaltender Jake Allen, key forwards Paul Stastny, Alex Steen, Brayden Schenn, and two quality defensemen in Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko should increase Tarasenko's chances of hoisting the Cup.
2 BUST: BEAU BENNETT
Beau Bennett takes his spot as the top draft bust from 2010. The Penguins decided to select the California-born winger 20th overall, ahead of fellow California native Emerson Etem. The draft also happened to take place in Los Angeles, which isn't far from Bennett's hometown of Gardena. He had an incredible 2009-10 season for the BCHL's Penticton Vees with 120 points. Unfortunately, he could not catch a break with injuries during his time in Pittsburgh.
Bennett went on to play 129 games for the Pens and collected 45 points in four seasons. He played one playoff game in 2016, but Pittsburgh eventually won the Stanley Cup against the Sharks of all teams and Bennett did not appear in the Final. He dressed for 33 games in 2015-16, which meant that his name would not be engraved on the Cup. Bennett joined the Devils last season and picked a career-best 19 points in 65 games, then signed a free agent deal with the St. Louis Blues.
1 SUCCEDED: TYLER SEGUIN
What more can you say about the talented Tyler Seguin? A guy who tends to find the back of the net often has established himself as one of the league's elite centers.
Seguin could've been drafted by the Maple Leafs if the Phil Kessel trade didn't happen, but the Bruins used that first-round pick from Toronto to select him second overall. He had 22 points during his rookie year and helped the Bruins win the Cup in 2011.
Seguin played a key role during Boston's 2013 playoff run with eight points in 22 games, but then-Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli shocked the hockey world by trading him to the Stars for Loui Eriksson and three prospects. The reasons why Chiarelli shipped Seguin to Dallas included his partying lifestyle, overnight visits to Boston's bars, and not playing to his true potential with the Bruins. Ever since he came to the Stars, he's excelled with three 30-goal seasons and averages over 70 points a year. It also helps that Seguin has winger Jamie Benn as his linemate to generate the Stars' explosive offense. The Brampton native has 427 points in 508 games, so it's safe to say Seguin is still in his prime.
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