With the NHL season slowly starting to re-launch its season, many are wondering when will the draft be? The draft will most likely occur remotely just like the NFL draft did. It will likely happen whenever the Stanley Cup Playoffs wrap up, which at this rate looks to be September.
However, I figured to do something a little interesting. Since 2020 is the start of a new decade, I figured hockey fans may feel a bit nostalgic. So I decided to look back on the top 10 overall picks in the last decade of hockey and review their careers.
1. Edmonton Oilers: F Taylor Hall
2010s first overall pick was a tough decision for the Oilers. Many were not sure who would go first between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. The Oilers GM at the time, Steve Tambellini, made the decision to select Taylor Hall from the Windsor Spitfires.
Hall’s tenure in Edmonton recorded 328 points (132 goals, 196 assists) in 381 games. However during this time, the Oilers failed to make the playoffs for all 6 of Hall’s seasons in Edmonton. On June 29th 2016, Hall was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson. A trade that rocked the Hockey world until P.K. Subban was traded for Shea Weber just moments later.
In 4 seasons with the Devils, Hall recorded 208 points (76 goals, 132 assists) in 211 games. He made the playoffs with New Jersey for the first time in his career in 2017-18 after recording a career high 93 points in 76 games.
After a Hart Memorial Trophy win that following season, Hall played 95 games for the next 2 seasons in New Jersey before being traded once again on December 16th, 2019 to the Arizona Coyotes. The trade was Taylor Hall (50% salary retained) along with Blake Speers in exchange for a 2020 conditional first round pick, a 2021 conditional third round pick and for prospects: Nick Merkley, Nate Schnarr, Kevin Bahl. While the 2020 season is still on pause as of this moment, Hall put together a solid 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 35 games since the trade.
2. Boston Bruins: F Tyler Seguin
This selection hits home for many Toronto Maple Leaf fans (myself included). With the 2nd overall selection in the 2010 draft, the Bruins selected Centre Tyler Seguin. This trade is bitter for Leafs fans as it was the 2010 first round pick that the Leafs traded, along with a 2011 first round pick in exchange for Phil Kessel. More on the second pick in next draft. Seguin was quickly utilized in Boston as he won the Stanley Cup with the Bruins as a 19-year-old rookie. He spent the next 3 seasons in Boston recording 121 points (56 goals, 61 assists) in 203 games.
On July 4th, 2013, Seguin was surprisingly traded to the Dallas Stars in a blockbuster deal. The trade was: Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to the Stars. The Bruins acquired: Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser, Joe Morrow and Reilly Smith.
Seguin was the corner piece of that trade for Dallas and since then he has done nothing but shatter his expectations. In 7 seasons with the Stars, Seguin recorded 514 points (223 goals, 291 assists) in 593 games. Needless to say, this is a trade Boston wished they could take back.
3. Florida Panthers: Erik Gudbranson
Erik Gudbranson in todays NHL is an odd discussion. Back in 2010 however, many scouts and player profiles labeled him as a big giant shutdown defenceman with a lot of grit. Standing at 6’5, 217 lbs and being Labeled as a Chris Pronger like defenceman at the time. Surely this pick was a slam dunk, right? Hence why the Florida Panthers selected him 3rd overall. So how did that work out? Well…
Gudbransons career in the NHL was very strange to say the least. His final season in junior with the Kingston Frontenacs saw him put up 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) in 44 games. In his 5 seasons with Florida, he put up just 43 points (11 goals, 32 assists) in 309 games. He was also a -49 which was not a good sign for a shut down defenceman.
He was then traded to the Vancouver Canucks on May 25th, 2016 along with a 5th round pick in 2016 (Cole Candella) in exchange for Jared McCann, a 2016 second round pick (Rasmus Asplund) and a 2016 fourth round pick (Johnathan Ang)
In Vancouver Gudbranson struggled just as much putting up just 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists) in 139 games. Fun fact: he actually recorded almost as many penalty minutes as he has games played with 136 minutes in Vancouver.
Gudbranson was then traded 2 more times to date. The first was sending him to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Tanner Pearson. The second was sending him to the Anaheim Ducks for Andreas Martinsen and a 2021 seventh round pick. For his career, Gudbranson currently sits with 73 total points in 518 games split across 4 different NHL teams.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Johansen
4th overall from the Portland Winterhawks comes Center Ryan Johansen. With 69 points in 72 games during his draft year, the Columbus Blue Jackets found their potential new #1 center. After a rocky start in his first 2 professional seasons, (only 32 points across 107 games) Johansen turned it on in 2013-14 recording a 63 point season, (33 goals, 30 assists) followed by a career high 71 point season (26 goals, 45 assists) the following year in the 2014-15 season.
After a very poor start to the 2015-16 campaign which led to John Tortorella being named new head coach in mid November. Johansen was quickly losing playing time due to conflict with his new coach. On Janurary 6th, 2016, Johansen was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenceman Seth Jones. Johansen finished his career in Columbus with 193 points in 309 games with the Blue Jackets.
Looking back on the deal now, the trade worked out for both parties involved. Jones quickly established himself as a fan favorite in Columbus. To date, Jones has 195 points (45 goals, 150 assists) in 325 games in Columbus. While Johansen quickly became the #1 center in the Predators organization. Since the trade, he put up 34 points (8 goals, 26 assists) in 42 games in Nashville. In 5 seasons in Tennessee, Johansen has recorded 249 points (65 goals, 184 assists) in 341 games
Today, Johansen currently sits with 442 points (144 goals, 249 assists) in 660 games. Fun Fact, both Johansen and Jones were both selected 4th overall in each of their respective drafts. (Johansen in 2010, and Jones in 2013)
5. New York Islanders: Nino Niederriter
Nino Niederreiter is was selected 5th overall by the New York Islanders in 2010. His tenure in Long Island though was very lackluster. He had just two points in 64 games with New York and many were labeling him as another bust pick for the Islanders.
On June 30th, 2013, Niederriter was traded to the Minnesota Wild for Cal Clutterbuck and a 2013 third round pick (Eamon McAdam). This trade is one that many Islanders look back and lament at, mainly due to how the player they traded away began to flourish.
In 434 games with the Wild, Niederriter put up 228 points (110 goals, 118 assists). Niederriter’s trade history continued on January 17th, 2019 where he was traded once more to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Victor Rask. Since the deal, Niederriter has put up 59 points (25 goals, 34 assists) in 109 games in Raleigh.
Since being drafted and playing 601 career NHL games, Niederriter has recorded 290 points (137 goals, 153 assists)
6. Tampa Bay Lightning: Brett Connolly
Brett Connolly went 6th overall to the Tampa Bay Lightning. A year after the Lightning got Victor Hedman second overall and current captain Steven Stamkos first overall in 2008, optimism was high in Tampa Bay.
Unfortunately, things went sideways for Connolly. Only 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 134 games in Tampa did not hold up to the hype that was promised. After being moved up and down from their AHL affiliate, Connolly was dealt to the Boston Bruins for two second round picks in the 2015 and 2016 drafts. Those picks turned into Matthew Spencer and Boris Katchouk.
Connolly signed a 1 year, $1.025 million dollar deal with the Bruins for the 2015-16 season where he only recorded 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists) in 71 games. After Boston, Connolly spent the next 3 seasons with the Washington Capitals where he put up 96 points (52 goals, 44 assists) in 217 games, where he also won the Stanley Cup with them in the 2017-2018 season.
Connolly signed a big 4 year, $14 million dollar deal with the Panthers on July 1st, 2019 and has tallied 33 points in 69 games with Florida. To date he has a total 188 points (98 goals, 90 assists) in 496 NHL games split across 4 teams.
7. Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner went next to Carolina with the 7th overall selection. Skinner had a dominate year with the Kitchnener Rangers upon being eligible for the NHL draft with 90 points (50 goals, 40 assists) in 64 games. Skinners tenure in Carolina was pretty dominate as won the Calder trophy the following season in 2010-11. In 579 games in Carolina, Skinner recorded 379 points. (204 goals, 175 assists)
On August 2nd, 2018, Skinner was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Cliff Pu, a 2019 second round pick, a 2020 third round pick and a 2020 sixth round pick.
The Skinner deal was one that really shook things up in Sabres land. Skinner recorded his best season in Buffalo where he matched his career high in points (63) and notched a career high in goals. (40) The deal rewarded Skinner an 8 year, $72 million dollar contract extension with the Sabres. Despite some injury troubles this past year, Skinners career totals stretching from Buffalo and Carolina is actually the third highest point total among the top 10. Skinners current numbers are a total of 465 points in 720 career games. (Tyler Seguin 1st with 635, Taylor Hall 2nd with 563)
8. Atlanta Thrashers: Alexander Burmistrov
Oh Hey! Atlanta Hockey was a thing! As a matter of fact, this is the last draft for the Thrashers before relocating to Winnipeg for the second incarnation of the Jets. Considering the Thrashers were a struggling franchise who only made the playoffs once in it’s 11 years of existence, they always had high draft picks. Ilya Kovalchuk, Dany Heatley and just the year prior to this one, Evander Kane.
With the 8th overall selection, Atlanta Selected Alex Burmistrov. Needless to say the pick did not turn out. Burmistrov spent his whole NHL career wit the now Thrashers turned Jets and did not hit higher than 30 points. His career high was in his sophomore season tallying 28 points in 76 games. After seasons with the Jets he left to play in the KHL with the Kazan-Ak-Bars from the 2013 to 2015.
He returned to Winnipeg in 2015-16 with 21 points over an 81 game pace. After a poor showing the following year with just 2 points over 23 games, Burmistrov was waived then claimed by the Arizona Coyotes where he put up a respectable pace of 14 points in 24 games with Arizona.
Burmistrov then signed a 1 year, $900,000 contract with the Vancouver Canucks. After just 6 points in 24 games, Burmistrov announced on Christmas Eve of 2017 he would be retiring from the NHL at age 26.
Burmistrov has since returned to the KHL in Russia where he has played with the Kazan-Ak-Bars and currently plays for the Ufa Salavat Yulayev. He finishes his NHL career with just 101 points in 348 career games.
9. Minnesotta Wild: Mikael Granlund
Granlund is an interesting player to evaluate. After spending 2 years continuing to play hockey in Finland, Granlund signed his Entry- Level Contract on May 25, 2012.
After putting up 28 points in 29 games with the Houston Aeros, he was called up to the NHL. With just 8 points in 27 games with the Wild, many were wondering when he would break out. The answer was the following season where Granlund put up 41 points. Across 7 seasons with the Wild, Granlund put up 317 points in 461 games.
On February 25th 2019, Granlund was traded to the Nashville Preadators in exchange for Kevin Fiala. Granlund going to Nashville was huge for the Preds as they got themselves a new top line scorer. Unfortunately, across 79 games with the team he has only recorded 35 points during his time in Nashville. Granted slumps do happen. However, it is big for Granlund who is set to hit the free agency in the summer of 2020. Current Struggles aside, a career 352 points over 416 games is pretty good. Looking back the Wild made a really good pick on Granlund.
10. New York Rangers: Dylan McIlrath
Wrapping up the top 10 selections are the New York Rangers. Now granted the 2009-10 season for the Rangers ended horrifically with their shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 82, the draft gave Rangers fans some promise.
Enter Dylan McIlrath. If you though 6’5 217 lbs of Erik Gudbranson was big, Dylan McIlrath is 6’5 and 230 lbs. Needless to say he was a big boy. He was labeled as a Scott Stevens like defenceman who can shutdown play and throw his body around. He was described as a physical defenceman, which show you how much the values of players have changed over the years.
McIlrath played his first NHL game in 2013-14 after several years of going through the AHL and back in the WHL. He was then recalled and sent down multiple times throughout his career. McIlrath was traded on November 8th, 2016 to the Florida Panthers for Steven Kampfer and a conditional seventh round pick in the 2018 draft.
After arriving in Florida, McIlrath played 5 games with the Panthers before being waived and sent down to the AHL. He was traded on March, 1st 2017 to the Detroit Red Wings along with a conditional third round pick (Kasper Kotkansalo) for Thomas Vanek.
Since going to Detroit, McIlrath has rarely seen NHL ice time in the recent few years and has spent a majority of his time in the AHL. 10 years after being drafted, McIlrath recorded only 5 points in 66 NHL games.
Honorable Mentions from the first round.
Now I could talk about all of the notorious picks from the first round such as Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko going to the St. Louis Blues with 14th and 16th overall picks. Or I could talk about Evgeny Kuznetsov going 26th overall to the Washington Capitals.
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