Power Ranking: NHL 1st Overall Picks 1985-2009
Over the past 25 years, there have been approximately 5250 players drafted into the NHL. Every team covets that First Overall Draft Pick. But that first overall draft pick does not always turn out to be the superstar he is expected to be.
The following is a list (from worst to best) of the last 25 years first overall picks.
Please keep in mind it is hard to rank players from 2000 to 2009 because most of them have years ahead of them.
Drafted in 1999 by the Atlanta Thrashers, Stefan was supposed to be the cornerstone for their franchise for years to come. That didn't work out as planned.
In 455 GP, spanning from 1999-2006, he amassed 64 G - 124 A - 188 PTS.
It's even worse that a first overall pick is known for nothing more than missing an empty net and the other team scoring and tying off his mistake.
Currently 29 and out of hockey since 2007, this is the biggest bust at first overall of all time.
The Sedins were selected behind Stefan second and third and Martin Havlat was selected 26th.
With the first pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators select Alexandre Daigle, Victoriaville Tigers of the QMJHL.
That was pretty much the most success Daigle had in the NHL.
He played 616 games from 1994-2000, then a two year sabbatical, then 2002-2005 in the NHL. In this time, he only amassed 129 G - 198 A - 327 PTS.
For a first overall draft pick, that's pretty bad. His career eventually flamed out and he is now playing in the Swiss league for SCL Tigers.
Chris Pronger went second overall, Paul Kariya went fourth overall, Saku Koivu went 21st and Todd Bertuzzi went 23rd.
Chris Phillips was drafted first overall in 1996. He was supposed to be a defensive stalwart for the Senators, but instead he has been a solid second defensive pairing defenseman.
In 863 GP, Phillips has put up 59 G - 169 A - 228 PTS.
Although he is a defenseman, these numbers still aren't that great, and Phillips' defensive play has been inconsistent.
Marco Sturm was taken 21st and Daniel Briere was taken 24th that season.
When I first looked up Rick DiPietro, all I could find was "Rick DiPietro on the mend..." and "Rick DiPietro injury update..."
That pretty much sums up his career so far.
Drafted first overall in 2000, he has not produced anywhere near where a number one overall selection, let alone a goalie should produce. To be fair, he is 28 and still has time to make up for it, but so far, he has been a bust.
In 273 GP, he is 117-112-8-21, with a GAA of 2.79 and a SV% of .905.
Joe Murphy was drafted first overall in 1986 by Detroit. After having a very solid junior career, the Red Wings felt he was their best option at the number one spot. Unfortunately, they were wrong.
He played 779 games, and in those he totaled 233 G - 295 A - 528 PTS.
For a first overall pick, these numbers are very mediocre, however he did win a Stanley Cup as a member of the 1990 Edmonton Oilers.
Brian Leetch was selected 9th that same year.
As much love as I have for Wendel and as big of a Leaf fan I am, Wendel has got to be up here. As a leader he was great, but as a hockey player he was nothing special. Especially for a first overall pick in 1985.
Playing 793 games, he scored 330 G - 234 A - 564 PTS.
These numbers are nothing special.
He went on to become captain of the team that selected him, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Joe Nieuwendyk went 27th overall that same draft.
Drafted first in 1995 by Ottawa (this is a recurring theme), Berard won the Calder Memorial trophy that season for Rookie of the Year. But after that, he never amounted to much of an NHL player.
In 619 GP, he scored 76 G - 247 A - 323 PTS.
Berard is currently a free agent and hasn't played since the 08-09 season, which he spent in the KHL.
Jarome Iginla went 11th in the 1995 NHL Draft.
I know what you're thinking, Roman Hamrlik was drafted 1st overall?
Yes, by Tampa Bay in 1992. When he was drafted he was expected to be a force on their blue line, but instead he has journeyed around the NHL as a mediocre defenseman.
Although he hasn't been the greatest defenseman, gotta give him credit for lasting so long.
1232 GP - 148 G - 442 A - 590 PTS
These numbers aren't great, but aren't horrible. But if you're going to pick a defenseman first overall, you either hope he turns into a huge +/- defenseman or a point producer. Hamrlik has been neither.
Alexei Yashin was taken second behind Hamrlik, Sergei Gonchar was taken 14th and Martin Straka was taken 19th
Owen Nolan was drafted first in 1990 by the Quebec Nordiques. It was their second of three successive first overall picks. Nolan had a very successful NHL career, however for a first overall pick, he didn't put up superstar numbers.
1200 GP - 422 G - 463 A - 885 PTS
Very solid numbers, but not superstar numbers.
Keith Primeau was taken third and Jaromir Jagr was taken fifth that same year.
Here's where it gets tough. Erik Johnson has not been in the NHL long enough for us to judge whether or not he has been a bust at the first overall slot. He is a very solid defenseman right now and hopefully he continues to improve.
158 GP - 15 G - 57 A
Not amazing numbers, but he is a very solid defensive player.
Jordan Staal went second, Jonathan Toews went third and Phil Kessel went fifth in the 2006 Draft.
Rick Nash was drafted first overall in 2002. He has been a very successful forward in the NHL, but has not reached that star potential. Yet.
He is a very capable goal scorer and has one shared Maurice Richard Trophy.
517 GP - 227 G - 195 A - 422 PTS
Not quite the superstar numbers he could have with a better center, but seeing as he is only 26, there is lots of time.
Fleury was drafted first overall in 2003 and has had success in his short career.
He led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009 (with help from a guy named Crosby) and performed spectacularly in the last couple regular seasons.
However in the 2010 playoffs, Fleury had a bit of a choke and who knows if he'll ever get as good as he might be able to.
302 GP - 148 - 106 - 30 - GAA- 2.45 - SV%- .916
Eric Staal was taken second, Dion Phaneuf ninth and Jeff Carter 11th.
Jovanovski was drafted in 1994 as a big bodied offensive defenseman. Although he never had amazing numbers, he has had a long and successful career and has been a top four defenseman his whole NHL career.
969GP - 128 G - 339A - 467 PTS
Ryan Smyth went sixth overall in that draft and Matthias Ohlund went 13th.
When Eric Lindros was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991, he had already tarnished his reputation. Refusing to sign, he was traded the next year to the Flyers. He was a big body that could move and put the puck behind the goalie. But concussion problems shortened his career. What could have been...
760 GP - 372 G - 493 A - 865 PTS
Scott Niedermayer was selected third, Peter Forsberg sixth, Brian Rolston 11th, Alexei Kovalev 15th and Markus Naslund 16th
Hype. Skill. Future. John Tavares.
That's about as much as we can say about his NHL career. We don't even know if he won the Calder.
82 GP - 24 G - 30 A - 54 PTS
Drafted in 1997, Thornton is a huge body that can move on the ice really well. His flaws are that he doesn't use his size as much as he could/should and his weak playoff showings. He just doesn't step up. Winner of one Hart and one Art Ross, he has the superstar hardware.
915 GP - 285 G - 646 A - 931 PTS
Patrick Marleau was drafted second, Olli Jokinen third, Roberto Luongo fourth and Marian Hossa 12th that year.
In Kane's short but sweet career, he has achieved some goals most only dream of in lengthy careers. Not many can say they scored an OT winner to clinch the Cup, quenching an Original Six team's thirst for their first cup in almost 50 years! Not to mention capturing the Calder trophy in his rookie campaign.
244 GP - 76 G - 154 A - 230 PTS
Mike Modano. The greatest hockey player from the US thus far. He has enjoyed immense success in the NHL. After winning the Stanley Cup in 1999, he continued to put up great numbers.
1459 GP - 557 G - 802 A - 1359 PTS
Trevor Linden went second, Jeremy Roenick eighth, Rod Brind'Amour ninth and Teemu Selanne 10th that same year.
Turgeon is one of the more unsung, overlooked stars in the history of the NHL. He put up unbelievable numbers and won a Cup with the Habs in '93. He was a great player from his rookie season until his final season.
1294 GP - 515 G - 812 A - 1327 PTS
Brendan Shanahan went second, Glen Wesley went third and Joe Sakic went 15th in that same draft.
As a Leafs fan, I love Mats Sundin. He was the heart of so many mediocre Leaf teams.
He was a big body. He could skate. He could score and he could lead. He could do it right up 'til the end of his career. It's a shame the poor guy never got a Cup. He deserved it.
1346 GP - 564 G - 785 A - 1349 PTS
Bill Guerin went fifth in that same draft.
Still young, but in his prime, Lecavalier is considered one of the games premier players right now. In a small market, he still makes a big splash and on a team with minimal support, putting up solid numbers. He led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup.
869 GP - 326 G - 413 A - 739 PTS
Simon Gagne went 12th in the 1998 Draft.
Stamkos, at age 20, is one of the top 10 forwards in the NHL. Hands down. Fresh off of his first 50 goal season (second season in the NHL), he has been turning heads since he was 17. He has great hockey sense and will be a superstar in the NHL for years and years.
161 GP - 74 G - 67 A - 141 PTS
Kovalchuk is probably the best pure scorer in the NHL. The numbers he has put up, combined with the lack of talent he has been surrounded by, are astounding. He was always considered to be a superstar, but he has got to be one of the best in the game. 100%.
621 GP - 338 G - 304 A - 642 PTS
Jason Spezza went second and Ales Hemsky went 13th in the 2001 Draft.
He is easily one of the most exciting players in the NHL. Ever. He is big, strong, fast and has a wicked shot. He has all the makings of a superstar on and off the ice. He has an Art Ross, a Hart and the Calder. Now for a Cup... He was a lock for first overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft.
396 GP - 269 G - 260 A - 529 PTS
Evgeni Malkin went second and Mike Green went 29th in the same draft.
Sid the Kid. Captain Crosby. The Golden Hero. The nicknames are endless, as is the potential. It seems that with every season, Crosby adds a new dimension to his game. The most complete player in the world, all he needs is wings..
370 GP - 183 G - 323 A - 506 PTS
Bobby Ryan went second, Jack Johnson was taken third Anze Kopitar was taken 11th in the 2005 NHL Draft.