List of first overall NHL draft picks

Aaron Ekblad, the first player taken in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The NHL Entry Draft, originally known as the NHL Amateur Draft, is a collective meeting in which the franchises of the National Hockey League (NHL) systematically select the exclusive rights to available amateur players who meet the eligibility requirements to play professional hockey in the NHL. First held in 1963, the draft prior to 1969 was a shorter affair. Any amateur player who was aged 17 years and older and was not already sponsored by an NHL club was eligible to be drafted. In 1969 the rules were changed so that any amateur player between the ages of 17 and 20 was eligible to be drafted.[1] The draft has grown, and in 2021, 223 players were selected over seven rounds.[2]

A total of 60 different players have been selected first. Of those, 43 have been Canadian, eight American, three Russian, two Czech, two Swedish, one Slovak and one Swiss. Every first overall pick taken between 1968 and 2016 has played in at least 299 NHL games.[3] Three players retired without having played an NHL game.

The Montreal Canadiens have had the most first overall picks of any other team, selecting six players first between 1963 and 2022. Five players have come from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, more than any other team. Eleven players have won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year: Gilbert Perreault, Denis Potvin, Bobby Smith, Dale Hawerchuk, Mario Lemieux, Bryan Berard, Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Nathan MacKinnon, Aaron Ekblad and Auston Matthews. Eight have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame: Perreault, Potvin, Guy Lafleur, Eric Lindros, Hawerchuk, Lemieux, Mats Sundin and Mike Modano.

First overall picks

bold Active in the NHL
   Expansion team
 ^  Calder Memorial Trophy winner
 *  Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
 #  Calder Memorial Trophy winner and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
 ¤  No games played in the NHL[4]
Draft Selected by Player Nationality Position Amateur/junior/former club League
1963 Montreal Canadiens Garry Monahan  Canada Forward St. Michael's Buzzers CJBHL
1964 Detroit Red Wings Claude Gauthier ¤  Canada Forward Comité des jeunes (Rosemont) QC Midget
1965 New York Rangers Andre Veilleux ¤  Canada Forward Montreal Rangers Jr. B QC Jr. B
1966 Boston Bruins Barry Gibbs  Canada Defenceman Estevan Bruins SJHL
1967 Los Angeles Kings Rick Pagnutti ¤  Canada Defenceman Garson Native Sons NOHA
1968 Montreal Canadiens Michel Plasse  Canada Goaltender Drummondville Rangers QMJHL
1969 Montreal Canadiens Rejean Houle  Canada Forward Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA
1970 Buffalo Sabres Gilbert Perreault #  Canada Forward Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA
1971 Montreal Canadiens Guy Lafleur *  Canada Forward Quebec Remparts QMJHL
1972 New York Islanders Billy Harris  Canada Forward Peterborough Petes OHA
1973 New York Islanders Denis Potvin #  Canada Defenceman Ottawa 67's OHA
1974 Washington Capitals Greg Joly  Canada Defenceman Regina Pats WCHL
1975 Philadelphia Flyers Mel Bridgman  Canada Forward Victoria Cougars WCHL
1976 Washington Capitals Rick Green  Canada Defenceman London Knights OHA
1977 Detroit Red Wings Dale McCourt  Canada Forward Hamilton Fincups OHA
1978 Minnesota North Stars Bobby Smith ^  Canada Forward Ottawa 67's OHA
1979 Colorado Rockies Rob Ramage  Canada Defenceman London Knights OHA
1980 Montreal Canadiens Doug Wickenheiser  Canada Forward Regina Pats WHL
1981 Winnipeg Jets Dale Hawerchuk #  Canada Forward Cornwall Royals QMJHL
1982 Boston Bruins Gord Kluzak  Canada Defenceman Billings Bighorns WHL
1983 Minnesota North Stars Brian Lawton  United States Forward Mount Saint Charles Mounties USHS-RI
1984 Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux #  Canada Forward Laval Voisins QMJHL
1985 Toronto Maple Leafs Wendel Clark  Canada Defenceman 1 Saskatoon Blades WHL
1986 Detroit Red Wings Joe Murphy  Canada Forward Michigan State Spartans CCHA
1987 Buffalo Sabres Pierre Turgeon  Canada Forward Granby Bisons QMJHL
1988 Minnesota North Stars Mike Modano *  United States Forward Prince Albert Raiders WHL
1989 Quebec Nordiques Mats Sundin *  Sweden Forward Nacka HK Swe-2
1990 Quebec Nordiques Owen Nolan  Canada Forward Cornwall Royals OHL
1991 Quebec Nordiques Eric Lindros *  Canada Forward Oshawa Generals OHL
1992 Tampa Bay Lightning Roman Hamrlik  Czechoslovakia Defenceman HC Zlin CS-1HL
1993 Ottawa Senators Alexandre Daigle  Canada Forward Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL
1994 Florida Panthers Ed Jovanovski  Canada Defenceman Windsor Spitfires OHL
1995 Ottawa Senators Bryan Berard ^  United States Defenceman Detroit Junior Red Wings OHL
1996 Ottawa Senators Chris Phillips  Canada Defenceman Prince Albert Raiders WHL
1997 Boston Bruins Joe Thornton  Canada Forward Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL
1998 Tampa Bay Lightning Vincent Lecavalier  Canada Forward Rimouski Oceanic QMJHL
1999 Atlanta Thrashers Patrik Stefan  Czech Republic Forward Long Beach Ice Dogs IHL
2000 New York Islanders Rick DiPietro  United States Goaltender Boston University Terriers HEA
2001 Atlanta Thrashers Ilya Kovalchuk  Russia Forward Spartak Moscow RUS-2
2002 Columbus Blue Jackets Rick Nash  Canada Forward London Knights OHL
2003 Pittsburgh Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury  Canada Goaltender Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL
2004 Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin ^  Russia Forward Dynamo Moscow RSL
2005 Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby  Canada Forward Rimouski Océanic QMJHL
2006 St. Louis Blues Erik Johnson  United States Defenceman U.S. NTDP NAHL
2007 Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane ^  United States Forward London Knights OHL
2008 Tampa Bay Lightning Steven Stamkos  Canada Forward Sarnia Sting OHL
2009 New York Islanders John Tavares  Canada Forward London Knights OHL
2010 Edmonton Oilers Taylor Hall  Canada Forward Windsor Spitfires OHL
2011 Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins  Canada Forward Red Deer Rebels WHL
2012 Edmonton Oilers Nail Yakupov  Russia Forward Sarnia Sting OHL
2013 Colorado Avalanche Nathan MacKinnon ^  Canada Forward Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
2014 Florida Panthers Aaron Ekblad ^  Canada Defenceman Barrie Colts OHL
2015 Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid  Canada Forward Erie Otters OHL
2016 Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews ^  United States Forward ZSC Lions NLA
2017 New Jersey Devils Nico Hischier   Switzerland Forward Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
2018 Buffalo Sabres Rasmus Dahlin  Sweden Defenceman Frolunda HC SHL
2019 New Jersey Devils Jack Hughes  United States Forward U.S. NTDP USHL
2020 New York Rangers Alexis Lafreniere  Canada Forward Rimouski Océanic QMJHL
2021 Buffalo Sabres Owen Power  Canada Defenceman Michigan Wolverines Big Ten
2022 Montreal Canadiens Juraj Slafkovsky  Slovakia Forward HC TPS Liiga
  1. Wendel Clark was drafted as a defenceman

See also


  • "Entry Draft Historic First selections". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  • "NHL Entry Draft–All-time first-overall picks". Slam! Sports. Archived from the original on 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  • "All-time No. 1 draft picks". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  • "Calder Memorial Trophy". National Hockey League. Archived from the original on 2006-04-23. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  • "List of honored Players". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  • "50 Years of the 1st pick". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  1. ^ "NHL Draft History". National Hockey League. Archived from the original on 2001-01-28. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
  2. ^ "NHL Draft History–2021 Stats". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2022-06-08.
  3. ^ Kreiser, John (2011-06-24). "Inside the Draft numbers". National Hockey League. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  4. ^ "HHOF Time Capsure–The 1960s–10 High Draft Picks That Failed To Pan Out". Hockey Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2003-08-23. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
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