This article will be part one of a six part series of the past #1 overall draft picks, starting at Taylor Hall and ending with the 2016 draft and who (Auston Matthews) should go first. I’ll be looking at the potential first overalls, their HERO charts, and look at a different order for not only the first overall but also the top 3 picks based on the first pick.
The year was 2009, the Edmonton Oilers looked to be on the rise with a young core consisting of; Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Gilbert Brule, Magnus Paajarvi, Theo Peckham, Ladislav Smid, and two promising goaltenders in Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk. This, combined with a supporting cast of Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Robert Nilsson, Lubomir Visnovsky, Ryan Whitney, Sheldon Souray, and Nikolai Khabibulin as our starting goalie made the hype going into the season quite large. This hype was escalated by the year previous with a record of 38-35-9 things were looking up for the copper… I mean orange and blue. That record, combined with the promotion of Pat Quinn from assistant to head coach, there were big expectations and the playoff seemed like a sure thing.
Fast forward to the 2010 draft and the Edmonton Oilers had broken a franchise record for their worst season, at 27-48-8 with 62 points. This marked the first time Edmonton had the honour of selecting first overall, with which they used to select Taylor Hall. A lot went wrong that year for Edmonton, but mainly it was injuries. Most notably; Ales Hemsky, who was limited to 22 games that season, along with Sheldon Souray who was limited to 37 games. Out of the 38 skaters who played an NHL game that season, only a shocking 3 players played a full 82 games. Now that’s enough Oilers backstory, lets get down to the nitty gritty draft talk.
The 09/10 rookie class had 2 elite prospects; in Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. There was lots of great talent that is now starting to sprout in the NHL with names like; Taresenko, Kuznetsov, Faulk, and Toffoli, all being drafted in the first round. TSN’s top 5 ranked prospects were in order; Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Erik Gudbranson, Brandon Gormley, and Cam Fowler (Ryan Johansen was rated 6th). Meanwhile, the top 5 picks were drafted in order: Taylor Hall by the Oilers, Tyler Seguin by the Bruins (via the Leafs), Erik Gudbranson by Florida, Ryan Johansen by the Blue Jackets and Nino Niederreiter by the New York Islanders.
#1 Edmonton Oilers:
I already talked in depth about the background so I won’t delve into it further. With the first pick Edmonton made a tough choice, selecting winger Taylor Hall over centerman Tyler Seguin ending the Taylor vs Tyler debate. Fast forward six seasons and Taylor has become one of the best left wings in the game. His HERO chart shows how prolific he’s become. His point production is elite, the only knock on him is his possession impact, which although is not bad, could be improved.
#2 Boston Bruins:
Man did Boston make a mistake. With the second overall pick (which was acquired from Toronto, in the trade that brought Phil Kessel to the Leafs) the Boston Bruins selected Tyler Seguin. The pick itself was a no brainer, but what Boston did with Seguin was a huge mistake. The Boston Bruins traded Seguin, along with Rich Peverley and prospect Ryan Button in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow, and Mark Fraser. Currently the only player that will remain with the team from the trade is Joe Morrow, as Loui Eriksson is not excpected to be resigned by the club this summer. Seguin on the other hand has become a leader for Dallas and is part of arguably the best 1-2 punch in the league along with Jamie Benn. The HERO chart shows that Seguin has become a dominant force in the league. His offensive and defensive abilities are both top line rated, showing why he was considered for #1 overall
#3 Florida Panthers
With both of the for sure bets taken off the board, the Florida Panthers chose to select Erik Gudbranson; a strong defensive defenceman, something Florida wanted. Fast forward 6 years and Gudbranson has not lived up to the hype of third overall. His HERO chart shows he has become a solid 3-4 defenceman for Florida. In a draft where Forwards Ryan Johansen, Vladmir Taresenko, and Jeff Skinner were available, along with most notably Cam Fowler on defence, this pick could have been spent better. If there were to be a re-draft this pick would probably be spent better on a forward like Johansen.
This draft marked the beginning of the Edmonton Oilers draft lottery dynasty and it started the tailspin into the current draft lottery formula. This draft yielded lots of quality players and was a rather strong draft with players like Brandon Davidson being found in the lower rounds. Next up the second year of the Oilers trifecta, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.