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John Tavares, the first player taken in the 2009 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 17 years of age 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 2010 210 players were selected over seven rounds.[2]

A total of 50 different players have been selected first. Of those, 39 have been Canadian, seven Americans, three Russians, two Czechs and one Swedish player have also been taken first. Every first overall pick taken between 1968 and 2010 has played in at least 299 NHL games.[3] Three players retired without ever having played an NHL game.

The Montreal Canadiens have had the most first overall picks of any other team, selecting five players first between 1963 and 1980. Five players have come from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, more than any other team. Ten 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 and Aaron Ekblad. 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 choices

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 Monahan, GarryGarry Monahan Flag of Canada Canada Forward St. Michael's Buzzers CJBHL
1964 Detroit Red Wings Gauthier, ClaudeClaude Gauthier
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Comité des jeunes (Rosemont) QC Midget
1965 New York Rangers Veilleux, AndreAndre Veilleux
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Montreal Rangers Jr. B QC Jr. B
1966 Boston Bruins Gibbs, BarryBarry Gibbs Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Estevan Bruins SJHL
1967 Los Angeles Kings Pagnutti, RickRick Pagnutti
Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Garson Native Sons NOHA
1968 Montreal Canadiens Plasse, MichelMichel Plasse Flag of Canada Canada Goaltender Drummondville Rangers QMJHL
1969 Montreal Canadiens Houle, RejeanRejean Houle Flag of Canada Canada Forward Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA
1970 Buffalo Sabres Perreault, GilbertGilbert Perreault
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Montreal Junior Canadiens OHA
1971 Montreal Canadiens Lafleur, GuyGuy Lafleur
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Quebec Remparts QMJHL
1972 New York Islanders Harris, BillyBilly Harris Flag of Canada Canada Forward Peterborough Petes OHA
1973 New York Islanders Potvin, DenisDenis Potvin
Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Ottawa 67's OHA
1974 Washington Capitals Joly, GregGreg Joly Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Regina Pats WCHL
1975 Philadelphia Flyers Bridgman, MelMel Bridgman Flag of Canada Canada Forward Victoria Cougars WCHL
1976 Washington Capitals Green, RickRick Green Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman London Knights OHA
1977 Detroit Red Wings McCourt, DaleDale McCourt Flag of Canada Canada Forward Hamilton Fincups OHA
1978 Minnesota North Stars Smith, BobbyBobby Smith
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Ottawa 67's OHA
1979 Colorado Rockies Ramage, RobRob Ramage Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman London Knights OHA
1980 Montreal Canadiens Wickenheiser, DougDoug Wickenheiser Flag of Canada Canada Forward Regina Pats WHL
1981 Winnipeg Jets Hawerchuk, DaleDale Hawerchuk
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Cornwall Royals QMJHL
1982 Boston Bruins Kluzak, GordGord Kluzak Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Billings Bighorns WHL
1983 Minnesota North Stars Lawton, BrianBrian Lawton Flag of the United States USA Forward Mount Saint Charles Mounties USHS-RI
1984 Pittsburgh Penguins Lemieux, MarioMario Lemieux
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Laval Voisins QMJHL
1985 Toronto Maple Leafs Clark, WendelWendel Clark Flag of Canada Canada Forward 1 Saskatoon Blades WHL
1986 Detroit Red Wings Murphy, JoeJoe Murphy Flag of Canada Canada Forward Michigan State Spartans CCHA
1987 Buffalo Sabres Turgeon, PierrePierre Turgeon Flag of Canada Canada Forward Granby Bisons QMJHL
1988 Minnesota North Stars Modano, MikeMike Modano
Flag of the United States USA Forward Prince Albert Raiders WHL
1989 Quebec Nordiques Sundin, MatsMats Sundin
Flag of Sweden Sweden Forward Nacka HK Swe-2
1990 Quebec Nordiques Nolan, OwenOwen Nolan Flag of Canada Canada Forward Cornwall Royals OHL
1991 Quebec Nordiques Lindros, EricEric Lindros
Flag of Canada Canada Forward Oshawa Generals OHL
1992 Tampa Bay Lightning Hamrlik, RomanRoman Hamrlik Flag of Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Defenceman HC Zlin CS-1HL
1993 Ottawa Senators Daigle, AlexandreAlexandre Daigle Flag of Canada Canada Forward Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL
1994 Florida Panthers Jovanovski, EdEd Jovanovski Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Windsor Spitfires OHL
1995 Ottawa Senators Berard, BryanBryan Berard
Flag of the United States USA Defenceman Detroit Junior Red Wings OHL
1996 Ottawa Senators Phillips, ChrisChris Phillips Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Prince Albert Raiders WHL
1997 Boston Bruins Thornton, JoeJoe Thornton

Flag of Canada Canada Forward Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds OHL
1998 Tampa Bay Lightning Lecavalier, VincentVincent Lecavalier Flag of Canada Canada Forward Rimouski Oceanic QMJHL
1999 Atlanta Thrashers Stefan, PatrikPatrik Stefan Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Forward Long Beach Ice Dogs IHL
2000 New York Islanders DiPietro, RickRick DiPietro Flag of the United States USA Goaltender Boston University Terriers HEA
2001 Atlanta Thrashers Kovalchuk, IlyaIlya Kovalchuk Flag of Russia Russia Forward Spartak Moscow RSL
2002 Columbus Blue Jackets Nash, RickRick Nash

Flag of Canada Canada Forward London Knights OHL
2003 Pittsburgh Penguins Fleury, Marc-AndreMarc-Andre Fleury

Flag of Canada Canada Goaltender Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL
2004 Washington Capitals Ovechkin, AlexanderAlexander Ovechkin


Flag of Russia Russia Forward Dynamo Moscow RSL
2005 Pittsburgh Penguins Crosby, SidneySidney Crosby

Flag of Canada Canada Forward Rimouski Oceanic QMJHL
2006 St. Louis Blues Johnson, ErikErik Johnson

Flag of the United States USA Defenceman United States NTDP NAHL
2007 Chicago Blackhawks Kane, PatrickPatrick Kane


Flag of the United States USA Forward London Knights OHL
2008 Tampa Bay Lightning Stamkos, StevenSteven Stamkos

Flag of Canada Canada Forward Sarnia Sting OHL
2009 New York Islanders Tavares, JohnJohn Tavares

Flag of Canada Canada Forward London Knights OHL
2010 Edmonton Oilers Hall, TaylorTaylor Hall

Flag of Canada Canada Forward Windsor Spitfires OHL
2011 Edmonton Oilers Nugent-Hopkins, RyanRyan Nugent-Hopkins

Flag of Canada Canada Forward Red Deer Rebels WHL
2012 Edmonton Oilers Yakupov, NailNail Yakupov

Flag of Russia Russia Forward Sarnia Sting OHL
2013 Colorado Avalanche MacKinnon, NathanNathan MacKinnon


Flag of Canada Canada Forward Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
2014 Florida Panthers Ekblad, AaronAaron Ekblad


Flag of Canada Canada Defenceman Barrie Colts OHL
2015 Edmonton Oilers McDavid, ConnorConnor McDavid

Flag of Canada Canada Forward Erie Otters OHL
2016 Toronto Maple Leafs Matthews, AustonAuston Matthews


Flag of the United States USA Forward ZSC Lions NLA
2017 New Jersey Devils Hischier, NicoNico Hischier

Flag of Switzerland Switzerland Forward Halifax Mooseheads QMJHL
2018 Buffalo Sabres Dahlin, RasmusRasmus Dahlin

Flag of Sweden Sweden Defenceman Frolunda HC SHL
2019 New Jersey Devils Jack Hughes Flag of the United States USA Forward U.S. NTDP USHL
  1. Wendel Clark was drafted as a defenseman.

See also


  1. NHL Draft History. National Hockey League. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.
  2. NHL Draft History–2009 Stats. National Hockey League. Retrieved on 2009-08-25.
  3. Kreiser, John (2011-06-24). Inside the Draft numbers. National Hockey League. Retrieved on 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 on 2008-06-20.
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