The 10 best first picks in history - TVA Sports

The 10 best first picks in history – TVA Sports

We often talk about the worst players who were selected first in the National Hockey League draft, but we rarely talk about the best.

The talent was so present that we had to make very difficult decisions, especially towards the end, but that’s the beauty of it all.

Here’s a top 10 of the best players who first heard their name at amateur auctions over the years…

1. Mario Lemeux

Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux? This eternal debate does not take place here since Gretzky was never drafted into the NHL. It is therefore the great player from the center of Quebec who receives the palm of this list.

In addition to his unmistakable talent on the ice, Lemieux pulled the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the NHL slump by producing at a breakneck pace while improving teammates. He was voted the best player in the National League four times by his teammates, in addition to winning the Art-Ross Trophy six times. He won the Stanley Cup two years in a row, winning the Conn-Smythe Trophy each time.

In short, “The Magnificent” deserves to be at the top of this top 10.

2. Sidney Crosby

In second place we find none other than Mario Lemieux’s runner-up, Sidney Crosby. The Penguins captain even got a chance to play a few games with his owner before retiring. Let’s just say he’s still special.

Like Lemieux, Crosby brought the Penguins out of the deep end with the quality of his play and his leadership, leading them to three Stanley Cup wins, including winning the Conn-Smythe Trophy twice in a row. He also allowed his team to make the playoffs 16 years in a row, which is still amazing.

We could go on for a long time with the individual honors Crosby received over the years, but let’s end with his two Olympic gold medals when he scored the golden goal against the United States in Vancouver in 2010 and the insurance goal against Sweden. in Sochi in 2014.

3. Alexander Ovechkin

If there has always been a debate about Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, there has also been a debate about Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. However, these are tedious discussions as they are, in both cases, very different players.

In Ovechkin’s case, the real debate would be whether he is the all-time leading scorer in NHL history. The Russian has won the Maurice-Richard trophy…nine times. The trophy was born in the 1998-99 season, but if it had always existed, Bobby Hull would be his closest pursuer with seven conquests of the top scorer trophy.

Ovechkin has long been criticized for being an individual player and not playing defense well enough to win the Stanley Cup. However, he silenced those critics in 2018 when he led the Washington Capitals to the finish, winning the Conn-Smythe Trophy in the process.

Photo Credit: Reuters Photo, Ellen Ozier

4.Guy Lafleur

Like the players mentioned above, Guy Lafleur is a hockey legend. During his best years, the Quebecer won the Stanley Cup four years in a row with the Montreal Canadiens. And for the first three years, he was also voted the best player in the NHL by his teammates and won the Art-Ross Trophy every time.

The beginnings and ends of his career were more difficult, but the truth is that for six consecutive years he accumulated between 119 and 136 points. He was at the time considered one of the best, if not the best. He is also the most spectacular player of his generation.

5. Connor McDavid

Although he is only 25 years old, Connor McDavid deserves to be high on this list. Having played in a more defensive era than Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, the Edmonton Oilers captain currently ranks fourth all-time in points per game…behind Gretzky, Lemieux and Mike Bossy.

He was injured extensively in his first NHL season, but has since won the Art Ross Trophy four times in six seasons. He was also voted MVP on the Bettman Tour three times by his teammates.

Some might say he hasn’t taken the Oilers to the Stanley Cup yet, but it’s not like he hasn’t tried by scoring a whopping 33 points in just 16 playoff games this year. He will one day lift the prized trophy and, if all goes well, he very well could find himself higher up in that top 10 in a few years.

Photo Credit: Photo Archives, AFP

6. Denis Potvin

Surprisingly, Denis Potvin is the only defender in this top 10. Bobby Orr, Raymond Bourque, Brian Leetch, Al MacInnis, Paul Coffey and company were not selected first in their respective drafts… as were Victor Hedman and Cale . Makar, by the way, who are currently the best defensemen on the Bettman tour.

But back to Potvin. The New York Islanders legend was at the core of this dynasty that won the Stanley Cup four years in a row. Although he did not win the Conn-Smythe Trophy, he dominated with 85 points in 78 playoff games during that streak.

The third-ranked defenseman in NHL history in points per game also won the Norris Trophy three times in four years, from 1975 to 1979. He may be the only defenseman on the list, but he’s all one.

7.Patrick Kane

Though he surely still has some good seasons left in the corps, Patrick Kane sits seventh on this list thanks to his undeniable talent, but also thanks to his three Stanley Cups, his Conn-Smythe Trophy and his 1,180 points.

At the end of the 2021-2022 season, he ranked 52nd in NHL history in scoring, but if all goes well, he should crack the top 30 and maybe even the top 20. Add to that his notable playoff performances , he who amassed 132 points in 136 playoff games in a defensive era in addition to scoring very important goals.

The 2015-2016 campaign will have been a dominant one for the 33-year-old American. He won the Art-Ross, Ted-Lindsay and Hart trophies with 106 points, while the NHL’s second-leading scorer had only 89 points.

Photo credit: REUTERS/John Sommers (UNITED STATES)

8. Dale Hawerchuk

Despite playing for regular teams more often than not, Dale Hawerchuk managed to rank 21st in NHL history in points and 14th in points per game. He had six seasons of 100 or more points and three more of more than 95 points.

Unfortunately, he never won the Stanley Cup. He only made it to the Finals once and that was the last year of his career, in 1997, with the Philadelphia Flyers. However, they lost their flag against the Detroit Red Wings.

9.Auston Matthews

Like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews still has many years of hockey ahead of him, but he still earned his place in ninth place in the top 10 as he looks like the worthy successor to Alex Ovechkin with two consecutive Maurice-Richard trophies.

In his last 125 matches, the 24-year-old American has scored no fewer than 101 goals, which is simply unbelievable. He was also voted the best player by his teammates last season and even won the Hart Trophy.

His next mission will be to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs beyond the first round of the playoffs. We thought he was going to be successful this year, but the Tampa Bay Lightning ultimately won in seven despite Matthews’ nine points. The curse should end one day…

Photo credit: AFP

10. Gilbert Perreault

Like the two players before him on this list, Gilbert Perreault didn’t win the Stanley Cup, but it wasn’t for lack of trying, as his 103 points in 90 playoff games attest.

The Quebec forward ranks 24th in NHL history in points per game and ninth in most points with a single team, the Buffalo Sabers.

Finally, let’s add to this that it was the centerpiece of the famous “French Connection” with René Robert and Richard Martin in the 1970s.

honorable mentions

The term “Honorable Mention” here might as well be changed to “Most Honorable Mention” as these are very big stars in NHL history.

Here are the players who came very close to making this list. And in the case of one player in particular (you’ll guess which one), he might end up in that top 10 one day…

  • Pierre Turgeon
  • joe thornton
  • sundin mats
  • mike modano
  • Steven Stammos
  • Nathan Mackinnon
  • eric lindros

#picks #history #TVA #Sports

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *