With the annual NHL draft approaching, this may not be a bad time to look back, and select the best of the previous draft selections.
Seems that many who were drafted by a team usually spent the majority of their career with that team. Then again, several players selected in lower rounds went on to have distinguished careers with other teams.
The NHL instituted the present-day draft of players in 1969 with 84 selections out of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. The first pick overall was Rejean Houle, selected by Montreal.
For nearly the next 20 years, the draft was held in Montreal but in 1987, but then selection moved to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Since, the draft has been held in a different NHL city each year. For 2011, the draft selections are slated for the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
First, a few draft tid-bits.
The oldest player taken on the first round was defenseman Rob Ramage at 20.5 years. He was Colorado's opening pick in the 1979 draft.
The youngest first round selection was defenseman Barry Gibbs at 17.7 years by Boston in 1966. That's slightly younger than Joe Thornton (Boston in 1987) and Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh in 2005), each was 17.11 years.
The first overall high school player taken was Brian Lawton by the then Minnesota North Stars in 1983. Lawton played scholastic hockey at Mount St. Charles in Minnesota.
The first United States-born college player drafted in the opening round was defenseman Mike Ramsey by the Sabres in 1979. Ramsey went on to play in 1.070 NHL games and was a member of the U.S. Olympic gold-medal team in the 1980 Lake Placid games.
Among players selected in the NHL draft processes since 1969, here are my first and second teams. Year of selection is in parenthesis.
Left Wing - Alex Ovechkin, Washington (2004)
Right Wing - Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh (1990)
Center - Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh (1984)
Defense - Larry Robinson, Montreal (1971)
Defense - Brian Leetch, NY Rangers (1986)
Goalie - Martin Brodeur, New Jersey (1990)
Coach - Scotty Bowman, Detroit
Left Wing - Rick Martin, Buffalo (1971)
Right Wing - Juri Kurri, Edmonton (1978)
Center - Bobby Clarke, Philadelphia (1969)
Defense - Scott Stevens, Washington (1982)
Defense - Denis Potvin, NY Islanders (1973)
Goalie - Patrick Roy, Montreal (1984)
COACH - Al Arbour, NY Islanders
To be sure, many favorite, and productive players were left out. So, let the debate begin.