In any professional sport, a draft for entry-level rookies can be a game of chance. There are true superstars to be found as general managers and supporting front office staff try to find through evaluations. In the National Hockey League, professionals come into the league as young as 18.
Some do go through the collegiate ranks or spend an extra year in junior, but even then, the sample size can be small. Big numbers here and there could be a sign of the next NHL superstar. But there are times when the big fish in a small pond is unable to swim with the sharks at the NHL level. Since 2000, there has been quite a range of talent that has been selected with the first overall selection in the NHL Entry Draft.
There are some players who were able to exceed expectations like Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby. Some players were able to do well and fall under a second-tier. However, not every player chosen first in the draft has found success. It makes hockey analysts look back to who was second overall to see if the wrong player was chosen first. But even the second pick can have the same risk and reward.
The following is a list that ranks all of the first and second overall selections in the annual NHL Entry Draft since 2000. Some players have established their spot in this time period while others who have joined the league since 2015 may still be on the rise or fall, depending on what happens down the road.
34. 2000 First – Rick DiPietro (NY Islanders)
After having quite a collegiate career at Boston University, goaltender Rick DiPietro was the first overall selection in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. His first stint at the NHL level made some fans worry he was a bust – a 3-15-1 record with a 3.49 goals against average. But over time, those numbers improved. He had a much better performance in the 2003-04 season with a 2.36 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
He put up his best overall numbers during the 2007-08 season with 63 starts. With a 32-19-9 record, DiPietro had a .919 save percentage. However the indictment on his career was the ridiculous 15-year contract the Islanders gave him and he could never live up to those expectations. His performance fell in the later years of his career before deciding his last NHL season in 2012-13. DiPietro finished his career with an overall save percentage of .902.
33. 2006 First – Erik Johnson (St. Louis)
It originally looked like the St. Louis Blues made a good decision by drafting defenseman Erik Johnson first overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He’s been known for delivering a good number of hits and blocks throughout his career. But his best numbers came after he was traded from the Blues to the Colorado Avalanche during the 2010-11 season. Johnson’s best season was 2013-14 with 136 hits and 130 blocks at even strength.
He was selected to the 2015 NHL All-Star game as the leading goal scorer among defensemen. He had nine in 2013-14, another 12 goals in the 2014-15 season and 11 in the 2015-16 season. Overall, Johnson has 231 points, but he has a minus-45 career rating on the ice. His numbers aren’t among the worst at his position, but they could be better for someone who was a first overall pick.
32. 2012 First – Nail Yakupov (Edmonton)
The one thing that’s worth noting is that Nail Yakupov could have one of the coolest names of anyone playing in the NHL. That’s probably one of the most positive things that can be said about Yakupov. He was the first overall selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. As a right winger, one would assume he would provide some offense to a struggling franchise. So far in a young career, that has not been the case.
In the 2013-14 season, Yakupov scored only 24 points while he earned a minus-33 rating for the year. While his scoring improved in 2014-15 with 14 goals and 19 assists, he still got tagged with a minus-35 rating. Last season saw a big dip with eight goals and 15 assists. He was traded before this season to the St. Louis Blues. But after 111 points in 252 games with Edmonton, expectations are not that high.
31. 2005 Second – Bobby Ryan (Anaheim)
When coming out of the same draft class as Sidney Crosby in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, there might be some unfair comparisons. Crosby is not your typical center. However, Bobby Ryan doesn’t have the kind of numbers that would have been expected when he was selected second overall in 2005 by the Anaheim Ducks. Two years after being drafted, Ryan played 23 games in the 2007-08 season; scoring just five goals.
Ryan still has respectable numbers overall with more than 450 career points. But with the players who come out of the first and second overall selections during this time, Ryan’s career numbers do look very small in comparison. His best season came in the 2010-11 season with 34 goals and 37 assists for 71 points.
30. 2006 Second – Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh)
Jordan Staal is the younger brother who followed his older brother into the NHL. His brother Eric, was selected second overall in 2003. Jordan Staal was the second overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Considering his older brother was successful through his career, there were some high expectations for Jordan when Pittsburgh chose him at the draft. However, he hasn’t put up the same kind of numbers with a little more than 400 points in more than 700 career games.
He had a promising start with 29 goals in his rookie season in 2006-07. But he never got above 25 goals after that. His best individual season was in the 2011-12 season, his last with Pittsburgh, where he had 25 goals and 25 assists. He would make the jump to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2012 and he’s done okay, but has never able to meet the level of his brother.
29. 2011 First – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton)
When a team drafts a center with the first overall selection like Edmonton did with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011, one of the most important statistics would be regarding face-offs. However, Nugent-Hopkins has been below 50 percent when it comes to winning faceoffs at even strength. Part of that can be attributed to the abysmal 37.5 percent win rate during his rookie season. But that number has never reached above 46 percent in any given year.
Aside from that, Nugent-Hopkins has also struggled to find scoring consistency. There were two consecutive 56-point seasons from 2013 to 2014-15. But last year saw a big dip in production with only 34 points; although he only played in 55 games. At age 23, he has some time to grow, but with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl ahead of him on the depth chart, RNH will always be a third line center in Edmonton. That’s not really what you expect from a no.1 pick.
28. 2013 First – Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado)
As a young, 18-year-old hockey star selected first in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by Colorado, there was a lot of hope for center Nathan MacKinnon. The recipient of the 2014 Calder Memorial Trophy was able to play a full season with 24 goals and 39 assists with a plus-20 rating. The only blemish was that he only won 42.9 percent of his face-offs at even strength. Unfortunately, he’s struggled to repeat those kinds of numbers in recent years.
In the 2014-15 season, MacKinnon scored just 38 points with a minus-7 rating. He did have a better year last season as he scored 21 goals and 31 assists. This year, he’s on pace to beat that point total. But his impact has not made much of a difference for a struggling Avalanche franchise that is at the bottom of the NHL.
27. 2013 Second – Aleksander Barkov (Florida)
Aleksander Barkov has been a quiet contributor for the resurgent Florida Panthers franchise. Still early in his professional career, there is some potential still untapped within Barkov as a second overall choice in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. It was seen in flashes during his rookie season in 2013-14 with 24 points in 54 games. He slowly got more involved in recent years; starting with a jump to 20 assists in the 2014-15 season.
Last season was a breakout year of sorts as the center was able to score 28 goals and 31 assists in 66 games for the Panthers. Barkov also started to develop a reputation of being one of the good guys in the league, finishing second in the voting for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. This season will be a good indicator of Barkov’s development. But there’s a lot of upside left.
26. 2007 Second – James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia)
It’s rough to be in the same draft class as Patrick Kane, especially when he’s put up the numbers that he has since the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The Philadelphia Flyers selected left winger James van Riemsdyk second overall, but he didn’t jump into NHL play right away like Kane did. A few years later, he would play 78 games and score 35 points in the 2009-10 season. The Flyers would eventually let him leave after three disappointing seasons for how high they drafted him.
Since joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, van Riemsdyk had his only 30-goal season of his career in the 2013-14 season – 30 goals and 31 assists. He might be on pace to hit 30 goals with the much improved Maple Leafs team this season. But he certainly hasn’t had the success that fellow top draft choice Kane has had.
25. 2014 First – Aaron Ekblad (Florida)
As part of the Florida Panthers’ rebuilding process, they decided to select defenseman Aaron Ekblad with the first overall choice in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. A lot of good things were seen in his rookie season that led to him winning the 2015 Calder Memorial Trophy. Ekblad was able to collect 109 hits, 80 blocks and 26 takeaways in the 2014-15 season. He also scored 39 points in 81 games.
He’s not a major scoring threat for the Panthers. In the 2015-16 season, he had 15 goals and 21 assists. He’s currently on pace to fall under those makes this season. He’s only low now because his sample size isn’t big enough. There’s a lot of time for the 20-year-old to improve in the Florida Panthers’ system.
24. 2002 Second – Kari Lehtonen (Atlanta)
The Atlanta Thrashers selected Kari Lehtonen with the second overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, but didn’t bring him up to the NHL level until the 2003-04 season. He won his first four starts with a save percentage of .953. He was generally above the .900 save percentage mark with the Thrashers. But the team was never able to provide the scoring to keep his win-loss record higher than around .500. Lehtonen would take the change to sign with the Dallas Stars in 2009.
Since joining the Stars, Lehtonen has enjoyed a better win-loss record with 188 wins against 124 losses. During that time, he’s also had a .913 save percentage and a goals-against average of 2.62. His numbers have fallen a little in the previous two seasons and he’s had some struggles so far this season. However, Lehtonen has been a solid netminder through his 13 years in the NHL.
23. 2012 Second – Ryan Murray (Columbus)
Ryan Murray had some success playing amateur hockey for the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League. So much so that it earned him being the second overall choice by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was in the minors for the first season under the Blue Jackets organization. But he would get the call-up to the big league in the 2013-’14 season – 66 games with 21 points and 94 blocks.
Injuries were a problem in the 2014-’15 season as he only played 12 games. But he had a decent bounce back year last season where he had 171 blocks at even strength. He also collected 21 assists in 82 games. He is not much of a scoring threat as much as he’s good at preventing scoring opportunities for opponents. Murray is currently on pace for more than 100 blocks this season.
22. 2011 Second – Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado)
The Colorado Avalanche were able to find a solid piece of their franchise’s puzzle by drafting left winger Gabriel Landeskog with the second pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He would start his career on the right foot with a full 82-game season where he scored 22 goals and 30 assists for the Avalanche. This performance earned him the 2012 Calder Memorial Trophy and a spot on the All-Rookie Team.
He improved further in the 2013-14 season with 65 points that included 26 goals in a year when Colorado won the Central Division. The last two years saw him score more than 50 points on the ice. But the Avalanche have fallen in the last few seasons, which is reflective of Landeskog’s decreased numbers. This season has been the toughest for the former first round selection.
21. 2014 Second – Sam Reinhart (Buffalo)
It’s too early to condemn Sam Reinhart as a first round bust in the NHL. He’s only in his third season in the league after being drafted second overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. There was a lot of excitement when he scored 105 points (36 goals, 39 assists) with the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League. He had a nine-game sample in the 2014-15 season where he had one assist.
In his first full season in the NHL last year, Reinhart would score 23 goals and collect an additional 19 assists. So far through the first half of the 2016-17 NHL season, he’s hit the 30-point mark and could be on pace to put up career-highs in goals, assists and points scored. It’s a good start as Buffalo tries to rebuild.
20. 2010 First – Taylor Hall (Edmonton)
Taylor Hall is the kind of player who has put up okay numbers. Career-wise, he’s played in more than 400 games with just less than 400 total points. Not terrible statistics. But there’s something to be said about being the first overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. When you are among a number of first overall selections like Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin, expectations can be somewhat high.
Granted, Hall has been on some struggling Oiler teams in the first few years of his NHL career. He had a big year in the 2013-14 season with 80 points off of 27 goals and 53 assists. The only season close to that was the 65 points last season in his final year with the Oilers. He’s done okay in his first year with the New Jersey Devils with a chance to meet 60 points.
19. 2016 Second – Patrik Laine (Winnipeg)
The Winnipeg Jets are hoping that they found the right player to build their franchise around in right winger Patrik Laine. At age 18, there’s a lot of time for him to develop into someone who could be a dominant force in the NHL. His experience is limited to time spent playing hockey in his native Finland. In 2015-16, he was a top player for the Tappara Tampere club in SM-Liiga with 17 goals in 46 games. He also had 10 goals in 18 playoff games that postseason.
Laine is finding some early success with the Jets as he has maintained a plus-rating through the first half of the season; despite the Jets being near the bottom half of the Western Conference standings. But early on, he’s had two hat tricks during wins over Toronto (Oct. 19, 2016) and against Dallas (Nov. 18, 2016).
18. 2000 Second – Dany Heatley (Atlanta)
After spending a year in the minors after the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, left winger Dany Heatley would make his debut in 2001 with the Atlanta Thrashers. Through the first three years of his career, he had some struggles. But he would flourish with a change of scenery with the Ottawa Senators. During the 2005-06 season and the 2006-07 seasons, Heatley had consecutive 50-goal seasons with more than 100 points in each.
For most of his career, Heatley was scoring plenty of goals for the first four teams he played with in the NHL. The last he was seen was with the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014-15 season – going scoreless in six games. Overall, Heatley was a success with 791 career points (372 goals, 419 assists) in 869 games.
17. 2015 Second – Jack Eichel (Buffalo)
There was a lot of attention towards Jack Eichel in the months leading up to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Connor McDavid ended up being picked by Edmonton with the first pick, which left Eichel to the Buffalo Sabres at the number two spot. It felt like a good choice considering he was from the northeast part of the country. While he hasn’t put up the same numbers as McDavid has early on, there’s no reason to look down on the young center.
In his first season last year, he tallied 56 points off of 24 goals and 32 assists. The one blemish was a face-off win percentage of 41. That number has slightly improved this season, but still well below the .500 mark you would want in a center. Eichel has some upside considering he’s only in his second season in the league. Only time will tell how much he will grow overall.
16. 2001 First – Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta)
The Atlanta Thrashers had a good selection in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft with left winger Ilya Kovalchuck. The Russian hockey player was probably one of the few bright spots on an Atlanta team that struggled for most of the 2000s. Aside from one playoff appearance after winning the 2006-’07 Southeast Division with 97 points, the Thrashers were usually below .500 and Kovalchuk was burdened with a career minus-116 rating.
But his numbers were still good in terms of scoring. Through 816 career games, Kovalchuk had 417 goals with 399 assists for 816 career points. He scored more than 30 goals in eight of his 11 NHL seasons. His best individual season was with Atlanta in 2005-06 where he had 52 goals and 46 assists for a 98-point season.
15. 2008 Second – Drew Doughty (Los Angeles)
Defensemen in hockey aren’t usually known for scoring a lot of points. But Drew Doughty is not like most defenders in the NHL. The Los Angeles Kings certainly saw some potential when they chose him second overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He had some success in his early years, but would start to get into a groove on the Kings defense in the 2013-14 season where he had 180 hits on the ice.
Last season, Doughty won his first Norris Memorial Trophy for the best defenseman in the NHL. Along with 125 hits and 105 blocks at even strength, Doughty played all 82 games and scored 51 points on the season. But the most important stat that matters to Doughty is that he was a big contributor to Los Angeles winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.
14. 2016 First – Auston Matthews (Toronto)
Auston Matthews had a very rare first game in the NHL. Despite losing in overtime to the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 12, 2016, Matthews scored four goals in the 17 minutes he spent on the ice. The 19-year-old center quickly showed why the Toronto Maple Leafs made the right choice with the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. He’s even had a few game-winning goals early in his NHL career.
Previous to being drafted, Matthews was a key contributor for the U.S. National Under-18 Team from 2014 to 2015 – scoring 20 goals with 28 assists. He also spent a season with Zurich SC in Switzerland with another 24 goals in 36 games. Scoring was a big part of why Toronto picked him up. It’s early, but Matthews could be key to turning around the Original Six franchise.
13. 2009 First – John Tavares (NY Islanders)
While this season as been a little rough for the New York Islanders, they still have a consistent center with John Tavares. Selected first overall by the Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Tavares has been a big part of the team’s rebuilding process that led to two 100-point seasons going into this season. In the 2014-’15 season, Tavares scored 38 goals with 48 assists. He followed that up with 33 goals and 37 assists in the 2015-’16 season.
The Islanders are struggling at the moment, but Tavares will likely be part of the team’s plans moving forward. Earlier this season, he reached the 500-point career mark and could be on pace to hit 1,000 if he stays healthy. The two-time NHL All-Star is still entering the prime years of his career at age 26.
12. 2009 Second – Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay)
Defensemen are not going to usually score your team the most points in any given season. But they are usually graded on their plus-minus rating through a season. Victor Hedman was the second overall selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. After three rough season where he had a minus-9 rating, he’s improved from his fourth season on with improved scoring and defense.
He’s on pace for a fourth-consecutive season with at least 10 goals, which is impressive for a defenseman in the NHL. His best individual season was the 2013-14 season where he scored 13 goals and 42 assists for a 55-point season. While he’s viewed as one of the top 10 defenders in the league, he still has yet to be named an All-Star, nor has he won the Stanley Cup.
11. 2003 First – Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh)
Marc-Andre Fleury might be having a down season this year and the Pittsburgh Penguins may have found a new main netminder in Matt Murray, but nothing should be taken away from the good career that Fleury has had up until now. Drafted in 2003, it took a few seasons before he started to get into a groove as the Penguins goalie. In the 2006-07 season, Fleury had 40 wins with 2.83 goals against average.
He had his best save percentage in the 2007-08 season with .921 in a year when Pittsburgh lost to Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals. Fleury followed that up with a .912 save percentage and 35 wins in the 2008-09 season; finishing with a Stanley Cup win. Overall, Fleury has decent career numbers. His career save percentage is above .910 and his GAA is well under 3.00.
10. 2015 First – Connor McDavid (Edmonton)
It didn’t take long for Connor McDavid to show why he was worthy of being the first overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The Edmonton Oilers are certainly happy about landing the young Ontario native as he’s been able to score more than 100 career points in less than 100 career NHL games. McDavid didn’t play a full season last year. But he showed what he could do in just 45 games.
McDavid had 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points last season. He was able to match that 16-goal mark in the first 50 games on this season. He’s also at the top of the league in assists and points. McDavid is still a very young hockey star in the NHL. But the upside is strong in this one and he’s worthy of being high on this list.
9. 2010 Second – Tyler Seguin (Boston)
The Boston Bruins decided to draft a center with the second overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. While his numbers were low in his rookie season (11 goals, 11 assists) in 2010-11, he still got his name on the Stanley Cup that season. His opportunities grew in years two and three with Boston as he posted 67 points in 2011-12 and then 32 points in the shortened 2012-13 season – again competing for the Stanley Cup in a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
But Seguin would find himself with the Dallas Stars for the 2013-14 season, where he had his best season yet. In 80 games, Seguin scored 37 goals with another 47 assists. He’s also scored more than 30 goals in each of the past two seasons and has a chance to make it a fourth-consecutive season this year.
8. 2002 First – Rick Nash (Columbus)
In the beginning of their first season as an NHL expansion team, the Columbus Blue Jackets decided to take left winger Rick Nash as their first overall selection. As far as his position, Nash hasn’t put up elite numbers. But they’ve been consistent and above average throughout his nine years with Columbus and now entering his fifth season with the New York Rangers. His career started slow with a 39-point season at age 18 in the 2002-03 season.
But he would bounce back with 41 goals in the 2003-04 season. Overall, he’s scored more than 30 goals in eight seasons in the NHL. He’s recently provided depth at the position for the New York Rangers. He’s still scoring goals with a 42-goal season in the 2014-’15 season. Nash has had a good career so far with more than 400 goals and more than 300 assists.
Had Nash not been playing with the Blue Jackets through his prime years, his career numbers would likely be a lot higher.
7. 2001 Second – Jason Spezza (Ottawa)
Jason Spezza is another player who was given a year to develop more in the minor leagues before making his NHL debut. Spezza was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 2001 and it took him a little time to grow as a center. He had 55 points in 78 games in his second NHL season. He then saw growth with 71 assists for 90 points in the 2005-06 season. His best year was with the Senators in the 2007-08 season – 34 goals and 58 assists for 92 points.
Spezza spent 11 seasons with the Senators before joining the Dallas Stars in 2014. He might not be putting up as high of numbers as he had in Ottawa, but Spezza is still someone that will get the puck to his teammates for good scoring opportunities. That trend has continued while he’s currently in his 14th season in the NHL with the Stars.
6. 2004 Second – Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh)
Evgeni Malkin could have been a first overall selection in just about every NHL Entry Draft. He just happened to be in the same draft class as Alex Ovechkin. Regardless, the Pittsburgh Penguins are still happy with taking Malkin second overall in 2004. Malkin has been a great center for the Penguins as part of a high-scoring offense. It just took a few seasons for Malkin to hit his scoring groove.
After a few seasons in the minors, Malkin debuted in the 2006-07 season with 85 points in 78 games. He would follow that up with 106 points in the 2007-08 season and then 113 points – thanks to a league leading 78 assists – in the 2008-09 season. Malkin is playing in his 11th NHL season with more than 800 career points and a plus-69 rating.
5. 2008 First – Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay)
The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to find a great player to build around when they chose center Steven Stamkos first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, Stamkos is on pace to reach 600 career points not long from now. He was one of the few players on this list to be able to start playing in the NHL at age 18 – scoring 23 goals during his rookie year in the 2008-’09 season.
Stamkos would have his first 50-goal season pretty quickly, as he had 95 points in the 2009-10 season – the first of three consecutive 90-point seasons. His best individual season came in the 2011-12 season with 60 goals that contributed towards 97 points on the season. Stamkos has earned two league scoring titles while being selected to the All-Star team three times. The only thing missing is a Stanley Cup.
4. 2003 Second – Eric Staal (Carolina)
There’s a good chance that Eric Staal will be known as one of the greatest Carolina Hurricanes in franchise history. Since being drafted second overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Staal was a consistent center for the Hurricanes. After only 31 points in 81 games in his rookie season, Staal spent some time in the minors before being called up for the 2005-06 season. Staal surprisingly finished with 45 goals and 55 assists in a 100-point season where Carolina won the Stanley Cup.
Staal would spend most of his young his career with the Hurricanes before being traded to the New York Rangers last season. Down in Raleigh, Staal had 775 points in 909 career games. Currently with the Minnesota Wild, Staal has found some resurgence on a team that is competing with the Chicago Blackhawks for the Central Division crown.
3. 2005 First – Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
One year after picking up Evgeni Malkin, the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to pick up another great center with the first overall selection in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Unlike Malkin, Sidney Crosby would make an immediate debut to the NHL without a stop in the minors. Crosby played 81 games in the 2005-06 season with 39 goals and 63 assists. That number jumped to 36 goals and 84 assists in the 2006-’07 season.
Crosby has scored more than 100 points in five seasons and he’s currently on pace to make this season his sixth. He will almost certainly reach 1,000 career points by the end of this season and could very well surpass teammate and fellow Pittsburgh center Malkin very soon. Both Crosby and Malkin have been essential for Pittsburgh’s two Stanley Cups in the past decade.
2. 2007 First – Patrick Kane (Chicago)
One of the main reasons for the Chicago Blackhawks winning three Stanley Cup championships in the last seven years is the play of Patrick Kane. He was certainly the right choice for Chicago with the first overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Kane has been a perfect fit for the team that the Blackhawks have built in the last decade. Kane has put up great numbers as the team’s right winger as he enters his 10th NHL season.
Kane’s numbers have been impressive for a while, but it was the 2015-16 season where he had his biggest numbers with 46 goals and 60 assists to lead the NHL with 106 points. With more than 700 points in more than 700 career games, Kane could be on pace to put up Hall of Fame numbers, especially since he’s still under the age of 30 and still in the prime of his career.
1. 2004 First – Alex Ovechkin (Washington)
While many might be surprised to not see Sidney Crosby here, Ovechkin takes our top spot. While he has yet to win a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals, he was the right choice with the first overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He finished with 52 goals in a 106-point season in his rookie year after a lockout wiped out what would have been his rookie 2004-05 season. Not long after, he led the NHL with 65 goals in the 2007-08 season.
In his 12th season with Washington, Ovechkin has scored more than 500 goals and has collected more than 1,000 points. He’s been an All-Star five times with a number of awards that include the Hart Memorial Trophy for NHL MVP three times and the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for most goals six times.
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