Most of the current stars in the NHL were drafted between 2000 and 2010. The names that will follow on this list are some of the most elite players currently in the NHL. Not every pick is a slam dunk however. Hockey history is littered with picks that were huge busts at the no.1 and no.2 positions and this era is no different
You will see one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history in Rick DiPietro on the same list as such elite players like Steven Stamkos, Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. You will have some instances where the no.2 pick has surpassed the #1 in his draft year (Tyler Seguin over Taylor Hall, Jason Spezza over Rick Nash, etc...)
The players on this list thus far have combined to win 11 Stanley Cups (Patrick Kane leads all players with three), six Art Ross Trophies (Crosby and Malkin tied with two), a breathtaking NINE Rocket Richard trophies and six Hart Memorial Trophies (Alexander Ovechkin leads the way with three).
As you can see, the players to be featured on this list are mostly the cream of the crop with a few bad apples thrown in. This list was difficult to weigh what players to put where. I settled on a combination of individual stats, team success, leadership ability and any off-ice distractions. You know a list is stacked when players like John Tavares, Drew Doughty and Tyler Seguin aren't even in the top 5.
This list is sure to spark a lot of debate on the placement of the stars. We could do this list again in 5 years and have a completely different top 10, That is how close these players are. It is now time to give a Ranking to the no.1 and no.2 overall draft picks between 2000 and 2010.
22 Rick DiPietro - no.1, 2000
Rick Dipietro is not only the worst top 2 pick of 2000-2010 but he is arguably one of the worst in NHL history. The New York Islanders were so sure that Rick DiPietro was a future star that they traded away Roberto Luongo to make room for him. He reached career highs during the 2006-07 season, winning 32 games. He cashed in, in a big way in 2006, signing a 15 year, $67.5 million deal. After signing this contract he would spend more time on injured reserve than on the ice. DiPietro only had one more solid season in 2007-08 recording 26 wins. He would never win more than eight games in a season for the rest of his career. The Islanders bought him out in 2013.
21 Erik Johnson - no.1, 2006
20 James van Riemsdyk - no.2, 2007
James van Riemsdyk has not lived up to the hype of being a 2nd overall draft pick. Originally picked by the Flyers, JVR was moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012. In a recent re-draft featured here on The Sportster. JVR was dropped all the way to 10th. JVR reached career highs in the 2013-14 season scoring 30 goals. A 30 goal season is decent for a former no.2 pick but there are many guys on this list better than that. He is still young and can play his way up this list in the future if he bounces back after a rough 2015-16 season.
19 Dany Heatley - no.2, 2000
No one ever questioned Dany Heatley's talent. Twice, he scored 50 goals in a season. His work ethic however left a lot to be desired, as did his attitude. Heatley seemed to leave burned bridges everywhere he played. He famously requested a trade out of Ottawa but then refused to waive his no trade clause. His stats dropped drastically after he joined the Minnesota Wild, scoring only 12 goals in 2013-14. Heatley was out of the NHL after a six game disaster with the Ducks in 2014-15 and is currently playing in the DEL. Heatley will end his NHL career with 791 points in 869 career games. He is ranked this low more for his toxic effect in the locker room than his on ice skills.
18 Jordan Staal - no.2, 2006
Jordan Staal never reached his full potential as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Playing behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Staal flirted with being a top star in the NHL, scoring 29 goals in his rookie season. That would be the career high for Staal at this point as his game has only regressed to this point. A trade to the Hurricanes to join his older brother was supposed to revitalize his career but his struggles continued. In 689 career games Staal has 171 goals and 391 points which ranks him 6th from the 2006 draft.
17 Bobby Ryan - no.2, 2005
Bobby Ryan had the misfortune of being the player selected after Sidney Crosby (more on him later). Ryan had all the signs of becoming an elite player in the NHL as a member of the Ducks. Having four consecutive seasons of more than 30 goals, he reached career highs in 2010-11 with 34 goals and 71 points.
As a member of the Ottawa Senators however, Bobby Ryan's stats have fallen back down to earth. The 2015-16 season was his best as a member of the Senators, scoring 56 points in 81 games. If Ryan can build off that, he may play himself up this list as time goes on.
16 Eric Staal - no.2, 2003
Eric Staal was the franchise player for the Carolina Hurricanes from 2005 until his trade to the Rangers this season. Eric led the Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup win in 2006, scoring 28 points in that magical playoff run. Eric Staal was everything the Hurricanes could have hoped for, becoming a leader not only on but off the ice as well. Staal is the leading scorer from all players drafted in 2003 but as the years have gone on his stats have dropped off a cliff so he is bound to be passed by Anaheim's Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
That doesn't take away from all he accomplished as a member of the Hurricanes. He ranks this low only because of the steep drop off he has suffered the last few seasons as his age and style of play has caught up with him.
15 Kari Lehtonen - no.2, 2002
Kari Lehtonen is the highest drafted Finnish player of all time. Kari has been a serviceable goaltender but he has never been able to lead his team to a deep run like most elite goalies have. He has 273 career wins which ranks him 39th all time. The reason why he ranks so low is how vastly worse he is in the playoffs. In the regular season he has a career 2.70 GAA, but that average jumps up to 3.30 in the playoffs. His save percentage drops from .940 to .887. Elite goalies get better when the pressure is on, Kari Lehtonen seems to wilt.
14 Taylor Hall - no.1, 2010
Taylor Hall has been one of a few bright spots on an otherwise bleak Oilers roster since being drafted in 2010. Hall hit career(so far) highs in the 2013-2014 season scoring 80 points in 75 games. Hall is ranked this high purely on potential and the fact that he is scoring equal to or better than the players that are listed below him and he is on an upward trend in his career. Being joined by generational player Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, NHL teams can no longer focus their game plan around stopping Hall. I expect Hall to advance up this list at least a few spots in the coming years.
13 Marc-Andre Fleury - no.1, 2003
Marc-Andre Fleury has been an elite goalie basically since the 2006-07 season when he broke out with a 40 win season. Fleury has been criticized for his performance in the playoffs but he has led his team to a Stanley Cup win in the 2008-09 season. Fleury ranks 18th all time in NHL history with 357 wins. Unlike Lehtonen, his stats don't drop off as drastically in the playoffs. During the regular season his career goals against average is 2.56, and in the playoffs it falls slightly to 2.65. "The Flower" has had his struggles but he ranks as the best goalie selected in the top 2 in this time period by a large margin.
12 Ilya Kovalchuk - no.1, 2001
Kovalchuk is the highest ranked player that is no longer in the NHL. During his time in the NHL Kovalchuk was an elite scorer that could take over a game at a moment's notice. Twice he scored 52 goals in a season, scoring over 40 goals on three other occasions and over 30 another four times. Plain and simple he was a goal scoring machine, scoring 417 goals in 816 career games.
His inability to lead his teams to playoff prosperity, and the fact he abandoned his NHL team to play in the KHL is what keeps him out of the top ten of this list. Despite not being in the NHL for three seasons he is still the point leader from the 2001 NHL draft (his lead is dwindling to the player picked after him).
11 Rick Nash - no.1, 2002
Rick Nash is another player who can score goals in bunches. He has scored 40 goals on three separate occasions and more than 30 on five other occasions. Much like Kovalchuk however, Nash's teams have lacked the postseason success that you would expect having such an elite scorer. Nash likely had his best chance at a Stanley Cup two seasons ago, losing in the finals to the L.A. Kings as a member of the Rangers.
If the 2015-16 season is a sign of whats to come then the future doesn't look good for Nash as he had career lows in goals and points. If Nash doesn't turn it around he could be one of the players most likely to plummet down this list in the future.
10 Jason Spezza - no.2, 2001
The Ottawa Senators were very happy to select Jason Spezza in 2001. After years of the turmoil brought on by Alexei Yashin the Sens were happy to have a player with as strong a character as Spezza. Spezza would play for the Sens from 2002-03 up until his trade in 2013-14. Spezza has scored over 30 goals on five separate occasions, most recently last season with the Dallas Stars. Spezza is still ranked 2nd in scoring from the 2001 draft, only 4 points behind Kovalchuk. The fact Spezza is still performing at a high level in the NHL is what squeaks him in to the top ten.
9 Victor Hedman - no.2, 2009
Victor Hedman is where the choices start becoming really difficult to rank. Hedman has been a reliable force for the Lightning since his debut in the 2009-10 season. Usually defensemen take time to develop but Hedman learned on the job. Hedman has been a huge part of the Lightning's recent success. He reached career heights in 2013-14 chipping in 55 points. He is forgotten sometimes when you think of elite d-men in the NHL but Hedman is as good as they come.
8 Tyler Seguin - no.2, 2010
Leading in to the 2010 NHL draft the story was Taylor vs. Tyler. Up until now it appears Tyler has definitely pulled into the lead. Seguin was drafted by the Boston Bruins and won a Cup in his rookie season. Since his trade to the Stars, Seguin has established himself as one of the elite scorers in the NHL. He hit career highs in 2013-14 scoring 37 goals and 47 assists in 80 games. Seguin has scored 30 goals per season the last three year. He and Jamie Benn have established themselves as a dynamic duo in the NHL. Seguin has 355 points in 426 career games.
7 Drew Doughty - no.2, 2008
Drew Doughty is that powerplay quarterback that teems dream for. A two time Stanley Cup Champion and two time Norris Trophy finalist, Doughty has been an elite defenseman since joining the league. Doughty hit career highs in 2009-10 with 59 points in 82 games. Doughty has consistently been thought as one of the best defensemen in the NHL. Doughty has 318 points in 606 career games. This ranks him as the best defenseman taken in the 2000-2010 time frame.
6 John Tavares - no.1, 2009
5 Steven Stamkos - no.1, 2008
How stacked is the talent here that former 60 goal scorer Steven Stamkos only reaches number 5?!?!?! Stamkos has been one of the greatest scorers of his era in the NHL. He hit career highs in the 2011-2012 season scoring 60 goals and adding 37 assists. Stamkos is a 2 time Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy winner. Stamkos has broken the 90 point plateau 3 times in his career. You can tell his value to the Lightning by how they can struggle to score without him in the lineup. Stamkos has 562 points in 569 carer games.
4 Patrick Kane - no.1, 2007
Like him or hate him, Patrick Kane delivers on the ice for the Chicago Blackhawks. A player with more off ice problems than everyone on this list combined, Kane hasn't let it affect his on-ice production. Kane has scored 663 points in 658 career games. He won the Calder back in 2007, the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012-13 and the Art Ross Trophy just this season. Kane and Toews have become the building blocks of a Chicago Blackhawks dynasty. He may cause your PR team to work overtime, but there is no team in the NHL that wouldn't love to have him.
3 Evengi Malkin - no.2, 2004
Malkin has become the ultimate wingman to Sidney Crosby. Evgeni Malkin has racked up the personal accolades in the NHL. He is a two-time Art Ross Winner, One time Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay award winner. Malkin has racked up 760 points in 644 career games. Lately however Malkin has struggled with injuries, as he hasn't played a full season since 2008-09. Malkin has scored over 100 points three times in his career thus far. Of the players ranked lower than him, only Patrick Kane has done it once. Malkin has clearly been an elite player since joining the NHL but if his health doesn't improve, he could see himself passed on this list in the future.
2 Alexander Ovechkin - no.1, 2004
Alexander Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer of his era. He has scored more than 50 goals in seven seasons, hitting a career high in 2007-08 with 65. Alex Ovechkin would be number one on this list if it wasn't for Super Sid. Ovie has achieved great regular season success, but it is his lack of post season heroics that gives Crosby the edge. Ovie has won the Rocket Richard trophy five times, the Hart Trophy three times and the Ted Lindsay award once. Ovechkin has scored 966 points in 839 career games.
1 Sidney Crosby - no.1, 2005
Was there ever any real doubt here? Sid The Kid has been the face of the NHL since joining the league. He led his Pittsburgh Penguins team to a Stanley Cup win which Ovie has yet to do for his Caps. Crosby is also the youngest captain to ever win the Stanley Cup. Sidney Crosby has scored over 100 points five times in his career. Crosby is also a two time Hart Trophy Winner, two time Art Ross and two time Ted Lindsay award winner. Crosby has 938 points in 707 games. It is clear to see that Sidney Crosby is the greatest player drafted from 2000-10.
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