Power Ranking the Last 20 No. 1 Overall NHL Draft Picks

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystJune 29, 2013

Power Ranking the Last 20 No. 1 Overall NHL Draft Picks

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    The Colorado Avalanche are slated to select first overall in the 2013 NHL draft on Sunday, presenting the team with an opportunity to alter its course. During the past two decades, we've witnessed franchise fortunes change forever as a result of what happens at that hallowed No. 1 spot.

    Some players pay immediate dividends, charging out of the gates with strong rookie seasons that ultimately lead to lengthy successful careers. Other highly touted prospects never quite find their footing in the NHL and debilitate an organization for years. 

    We examined every No. 1 draft pick since 1993 before ranking them. Individual achievements, historic accomplishments and the player's overall impact on his team were chief factors considered when sorting out the final order.

20. Patrik Stefan, Atlanta Thrashers, 1999

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Seven seasons, 455 games, 64 goals, 124 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    No postseason appearances

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    No notable NHL awards or achievements

     

    Assessment

    Stefan is the definition of a draft bust. He never scored more than 14 goals in a season and his inability to produce damaged Atlanta's organizational growth.

    After being traded to Dallas in 2006, Stefan fizzled out of the league at season's end.

19. Alexandre Daigle, Ottawa Senators, 1993

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    10 seasons, 616 games, 129 goals, 198 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Two postseasons, 12 games, zero goals, two assists

    Awards/Achievements

    No notable NHL awards or achievements

     

    Assessment

    Daigle, a right wing, is regarded as an all-time draft bust. He lasted four-and-a-half seasons in Ottawa before being shipped to Philadelphia in 1998.

    He was involved in two more trades before leaving the NHL in 2006. Daigle played for the Senators, Flyers, Lightning, Rangers, Penguins and Wild.


18. Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders, 2000

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    11 seasons, 318 games, 130-136-8-28 record, 2.87 GAA, .902 save percentage

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Three postseasons, nine starts, 2-7 record, 2.60 GAA, .904 save percentage  

     

    Awards/Achievements

    No notable NHL awards or achievements

     

    Assessment

    Despite the fact that DiPietro remains an Islander, the American goalie has never seized the full-time franchise gig. Since a string of three straight season with 60-plus starts (2005-'08), he has started a total of 47 contests.

    DiPietro, who has struggled to stay healthy, is under contract with New York through 2021. He currently competes for the team's AHL affiliate. 

17. Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues, 2006

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Five seasons, 329 games, 27 goals, 104 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    No postseason appearances

    Awards/Achievements

    No notable NHL awards or achievements

     

    Assessment

    Johnson is the only defenseman selected No. 1 since 1996. His career has been largely quiet, and he quickly fell off the national radar.

    A freak golf course injury cost the Minnesota native the entire 2008-'09 season. St. Louis traded Johnson to Colorado in 2011. He has become a reliable part of the team's rotation and signed a four-year extension with the Avalanche last summer.

16. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers, 2011

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Two seasons, 102 games, 22 goals, 54 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    No postseason experience

    Awards/Achievements

    2012 Calder Memorial Trophy finalist

     

     

    Assessment

    The young center took a step back in his second season with Oilers after a highly productive rookie run. Nugent-Hopkins, who turned 20 in April, managed just four goals in 40 games. 

    He did pick up 20 assists during his sophomore campaign and carried a plus-three rating. Edmonton is counting on him to build consistency in a pivotal third NHL season.

15. Chris Phillips, Ottawa Senators, 1996

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    15 seasons, 1,073 games, 70 goals, 200 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    13 postseasons, 114 games, six goals, nine assists

    Awards/Achievements

    No notable NHL awards or achievements

     

    Assessment

    The defenseman remains in Ottawa, where he has spent his entire career. Phillips serves as the Senators' alternate captain and is a stalwart locker room presence.

    He rarely gets involved on the offensive end, but has always been regarded as a steady, but not superb, stay-at-home defender.

14. Bryan Berard, Ottawa Senators, 1995

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    10 seasons, 619 games, 76 goals, 247 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Two postseasons, 20 games, two goals, eight assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    1997 All-Rookie Team

    1997 Calder Memorial Trophy

    2004 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

     

    Assessment

    The Rhode Island native suffered a severe eye injury early in his career and was plagued by health setbacks throughout much of his NHL tenure. Berard, the 1997 NHL Rookie of the Year, played fewer than 70 games in seven of his 10 seasons.

    The defenseman received a two-year ban from international play in 2006 for using an anabolic steroid. Berard wrapped up his career with the New York Islanders in 2008. 

13. Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers, 2010

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Three seasons, 171 games, 65 goals, 80 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    No postseason experience

    Awards/Achievements

    No notable NHL awards or achievements

     

    Assessment

    Hall finished ninth in the NHL in scoring this season. His 34 assists were good enough for eighth in the league.

    The Calgary native missed 21 games due to shoulder surgery during his second year but bounced back tremendously in 2013. He signed a seven-year, $42 million extension with Edmonton last summer.

12. Ed Jovanovski, Florida Panthers, 1994

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    17 seasons, 1,091 games, 136 goals, 359 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Nine postseasons, 76 games, 11 goals, 19 assists

    Awards/Achievements

    1996 All-Rookie Team

    Five-time NHL All-Star

     

    Assessment

    Jovanovski is a rare defenseman selected with the first pick. He never lived up to the hype in Florida after a strong rookie campaign and was traded to Vancouver in 1999.

    Jovanovski helped the Canucks reach four consecutive postseasons and polished his game in his native Canada. He received All-Star honors three times in Vancouver (2001-2003) and twice as a Phoenix Coyote (2007 and 2008).

    The veteran returned to the Panthers in 2011, signing a four-year deal. He played in just six games this year, undergoing season-ending hip surgery.

11. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins, 2003

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Nine seasons, 467 games, 249-151-2-39 record, 2.66 GAA, .910 save percentage

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Seven postseasons, 79 starts, 45-34 record, 2.73 GAA, .903 save percentage      

     

    Awards/Achievements

    One-time NHL All-Star

    Stanley Cup champion (2009)

     

    Assessment

    Fleury's career has featured peaks and valleys. The Canadian netminder was voted team MVP in 2011 when he made his lone All-Star Game appearance; he also anchored the back end of a Stanley Cup champion in 2009. 

    Recently, he's faltered badly during the postseason. Fleury allowed 26 goals in a six-game series loss to Philadelphia in 2012 and followed that performance with 3.51 GAA against the Islanders in opening-round action this year.  

    He was pulled in favor of backup Tomas Vokoun midway through the first round, but Pittsburgh still seems to support him as starter moving forward.

10. Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers, 2012

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    One season, 48 games, 17 goals, 14 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    No postseason experience

    Awards/Achievements

    NHL Rookie of the Month (April 2013)

     

    Assessment

    It looks like the Oilers landed a superstar. Yakupov was extremely productive while playing every game of his rookie season. 

    The 19-year-old finished with a flurry. His 11 goals in April ranked second only to fellow Russian winger Alexander Ovechkin. Yakupov, the third straight No.1 draft pick selected by Edmonton, should be fun to watch for a long time.

9. Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets, 2002

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    10 seasons, 718 games, 310 goals, 279 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Two postseasons, 16 games, two goals, six assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Five-time NHL All-Star

    2003 All-Rookie Team

    2004 NHL Rocket Richard Trophy (tied)

     

    Assessment

    Nash was drafted by a fledgling Columbus franchise searching for a superstar to build around. The forward earned five All Star nods as  Blue Jacket but played in just four playoff games during his nine-year tenure there.

    He was shipped to the New York Rangers prior to the 2013 season. 

8. John Tavares, New York Islanders, 2009

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Four seasons, 291 games, 112 goals, 137 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    One postseason, six games, three goals, two assists

    Awards/Achievements

    2013 Hart Memorial Trophy finalist

     

    Assessment

    Tavares and the Islanders made monumental strides in 2013, as the team returned to the playoffs for the firs time since 2007. New York fought top-seeded Pittsburgh valiantly, and its rising star center held his own against some of the league's most accomplished stars.

    The Ontario native tallied 47 points while playing in all 48 regular-season games. Tavares can expect a significant increase in attention from opposing defenses and the national media next season.

7. Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning, 1998

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    14 seasons, 1,037 games, 383 goals, 491 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Five postseasons, 63 games, 24 goals, 28 assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Four-time NHL All-Star

    2007 NHL Rocket Richard Trophy

    2008 King Clancy Memorial Trophy

    Stanley Cup champion (2004)

     

    Assessment

    Lecavalier, an explosive center, became an unrestricted free agent this week when the remainder of his contract was bought out by Tampa Bay. He was a franchise centerpiece throughout his tenure with the Lightning and helped lead the team to its only Stanley Cup in 2004.

    His 52-goal outburst in 2007 led the league.

6. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2008

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Five seasons, 373 games, 208 goals, 178 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    One postseason, 18 games, six goals, seven assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Lightning record for most single-season goals (60)

    Two-time NHL All-Star

    Two-time NHL Rocket Richard Trophy winner

     

    Assessment

    Stamkos ranks among the game's most feared scoring threats. He is a relentless attacker and continues to improve each season. 

    Tampa Bay's star center is established as the foundation of a franchise in transition.

5. Ilya Kovalchuk, Atlanta Thrashers, 2001

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    11 seasons, 816 games, 417 goals, 399 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Three postseasons, 32 games, 11 goals, 16 assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Three-time NHL All-Star

    2004 NHL Rocket Richard Trophy (tied)

    2002 All-Rookie Team

    Holds Atlanta Thrashers record for single-season goal total (52)

     

    Assessment

    Although the Russian winger hasn't experienced much team success in his career, aside from New Jersey's 2012 journey to the Stanley Cup, he has piled up individual accomplishments. Kovalchuk scored at least 40 goals in five straight seasons (2003-2009).

    His success in Atlanta translated into a 15-year, $100 million with the New Jersey Devils.  

4. Joe Thornton, Boston Bruins, 1997

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    15 seasons, 1,125 games, 331 goals, 787 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    13 postseasons, 125 games, 22 goals, 75 assists

     

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Six-time NHL All-Star

    2006 Art Ross Trophy

    2006 Hart Memorial Trophy

    Third player in NHL history to record consecutive 90-assist seasons

     

    Assessment

    Thornton is one of the premier centers of his generation, particularly when it comes to his ability to distribute the puck. He is an exemplary assist man and currently serves as captain of the Sharks.

    San Jose acquired him from Boston in a blockbuster 2005 trade.

3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 2007

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Six seasons, 446 games, 149 goals, 274 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Five postseasons, 74 games, 29 goals, 42 assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    2013 Conn Smythe Trophy

    2008 Calder Memorial Trophy

    Three-time NHL All-Star

    2008 NHL All-Rookie Team

    Two-time Stanley Cup champion (2010 and 2013)

     

    Assessment

    Kane has accomplished some special things before his 25th birthday. The Buffalo native stars on the wing for Chicago, leading a sensational offensive attack that took the league by storm.

    Kane claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy this year as the Blackhawks won a second Stanley Cup in four years. In 2010, he became the youngest player to notch a title-clinching goal when he scored to end Game 6 against Philadelphia.

2. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, 2005

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Eight seasons, 470 games, 238 goals, 427 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Six postseasons, 82 games, 40 goals, 65 assists

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Four-time NHL All-Star

    2007 Art Ross Trophy

    2007 Hart Memorial Trophy

    2006 All-Rookie Team

    2010 Rocket Richard Trophy (tied)

    Stanley Cup champion (2009)

     

    Assessment

    Pittsburgh won the Sidney Crosby sweepstakes in 2005, and Penguins fans fell in love almost immediately. Crosby claimed an NHL MVP award in his second season and led the team to a league title two years later.

    Sid the Kid is the most divisive superstar in the sport, especially since his gold-medal-clinching goal in overtime against the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Many expect Crosby to claim a spot among the game's all-time greats by the end of his career.

1. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, 2004

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    Career Regular-Season Statistics

    Eight seasons, 601 games, 371 goals, 364 assists

    Career Playoff Statistics

    Six postseasons, 58 games, 31 goals, 30 assists

     

     

     

    Awards/Achievements

    Five-time NHL All-Star

    Three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner

    2006 Calder Memorial Trophy

    2008 Art Ross Trophy

    Three-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner

     

    Assessment

    Still just 27 years old, Ovechkin is one of eight players in league history to earn three Hart Trophy nods. He is a prolific offensive machine and led the league in goals again this season. Ovechkin has missed more than four games in a regular season just once (he sat out 10 contests during the 2009-10 campaign).

    The Russian superstar has delivered five division titles to Washington in the past six years. However, he still lacks postseason clout on his resume despite averaging more than a point per game in the playoffs. The Capitals have never advanced beyond the Eastern Conference semifinals during his career.