The NHL Entry Draft is set for Friday and Saturday, June 27-28, in Philadelphia, with no consensus on who will be the first player taken when the Florida Panthers turn in their pick at 7 p.m. Eastern Friday.
Instead, there is a group of four players that seems to have separated itself from the rest of the pack, three centers and a defenseman from two of the top major junior leagues in North America.
Those players, in no particular order, are a pair from the Western Hockey League—centers Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice and Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders—and two from the Ontario Hockey League—center Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs and defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts.
If Florida takes Ekblad, he would be the first defenseman to go No. 1 overall since the St. Louis Blues selected Erik Johnson in 2006.
With the draft upon us, with all the hope for the future it brings, it’s time to look to the immediate past and look at the top 10 draft picks from the last 10 drafts (2004-13).
These rankings are, of course, subjective, based on a player’s impact on their team’s success. The group includes four of the last 10 No. 1 overall picks, so those teams apparently read the scouting tea leaves correctly.
Here are the 10: