With 2019 coming to an end, it brings the end of a decade with it. This past decade has brought some of the best players to ever play the game into the NHL through everyone’s favourite event: the NHL Entry Draft. Thinking about this, I decided to go back through every draft of the 2010s and pick the best selection at each spot for the top-31 draft picks.
Keep in mind though, players drafted prior to 2017 have an advantage right now. They’ve had longer to make an impact and therefore they currently represent the player at that selection that has had the biggest impression in the league. So, I’ll be reviewing this list every year, to see if there are any changes – which there inevitably will be. Many of the 2018 and 2019 draftees haven’t even played an NHL game yet, so they didn’t make the list – yet.
So here it is, the all-decade NHL Draft: 2010s edition. Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below – keeping in mind that this list will be a living document and will change for many years to come still.
1st Overall: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (2015)
When you draft the player who becomes the best in the world, it’s a win. Granted, the Edmonton Oilers were largely competing with themselves on this one, having selected four first-overall picks in the 2010s. But, Connor McDavid is the obvious choice here and this one won’t be touched. In the 2010s alone, he’s already a three-time All-Star, a two-time Art Ross and Ted Lindsay winner and a Hart Trophy recipient. He already has four 100+ point seasons too.
Honourable Mentions: Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (2013) and Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (2016)
2nd Overall: Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (2015)
Just after McDavid in the same year, we’ll find our second overall pick of the decade in Jack Eichel. The Buffalo Sabres drafted Eichel, who just keeps getting better and better. Florida Panthers’ 2014 selection in Alexsander Barkov is a close second to Eichel right now, although Eichel could really pull away if he keep his trajectory up. Looking to the future, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 2019 New York Rangers selection, Kaapo Kakko, on this list either.
Honourable Mentions: Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers (2014) and Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche (2011)
3rd Overall: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (2014)
The Oilers got another solid pick the year before McDavid, drafted the scoring machine, Leon Draisaitl. In 2018-19, he hit 50 goals and over 100 points, marks that he’s sure to duplicate throughout his career. There’s a Rocket Richard Trophy in Draisaitl’s future. Keep an eye on honourable mention Miro Heiskanen of the Dallas Stars though. The defender could give Draisaitl a run for this spot in the not-too-distant future.
Honourable Mentions: Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars (2017) and Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (2011)
4th Overall: Mitchell Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (2015)
The 2015 NHL Draft was absolutely stacked. Through four picks in this all-decade draft, you can see why. The fourth-overall pick of the decade is Toronto Maple Leafs’ winger, Mitch Marner. He finished just six points short of 100 in 2018-19, a target that he’s likely to cross very soon in his young career. Marner’s position may be up for grabs very early though, with the play of the Colorado Avalanche’s 2017 selection, Cale Makar. He’s having a historic start in the NHL and if it continues, this spot will be his sooner rather than later.
Honourable Mentions: Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (2017) and Seth Jones, Nashville Predators (2013)
5th Overall: Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (2017)
Frankly, the Vancouver Canucks got an absolute steal in the 2017 draft at the fifth spot. Elias Pettersson has blossomed into one of the best players in the league and shows no signs of slowing down. In his first NHL season, he put up 66 points to win the Calder trophy. It’s very likely that Petterson runs away with this designation as the best fifth-overall taken in the 2010s, but there is still plenty of time for someone to take this spot. Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly is an extremely close second here though, but I think Petterson will lock this spot down.
Honourable Mentions: Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (2012) and Noah Hanafin, Carolina Hurricanes (2015)
6th Overall: Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (2016)
The Calgary Flames did well in this spot over the decade, selecting Sean Monahan in 2013 and Matthew Tkachuk in 2016. Tkachuk takes the cake here though. He puts up points (77 in 2018-19) and gets under the opponent’s skin (I’m looking at you, Drew Doughty). Vegas Golden Knights 2017 selection Cody Glass could challenge Tkachuk for this spot soon enough, and don’t sleep on the Detroit Red Wings 2018 pick, Filip Zadina. For now, this belongs to Tkachuk.
Honourable Mentions: Sean Monahan, Calgary Flames (2013) and Cody Glass, Vegas Golden Knights (2017)
7th Overall: Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets (2011)
Winnipeg Jets’ 2011 selection Mark Scheifele has become one of the most consistent players in the NHL. The star forward has twice hit 30 goals and 80 points, becoming a point-per-game player. However, I don’t think this spot is going to be safe for too long. The Canucks’ 2017 Quinn Hughes selection and Sabres’ choice of Dylan Cozens in 2019 could start pressuring Scheifele’s spot here very soon.
Honourable Mentions: Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks (2017) and Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes (2010)
8th Overall: Sean Couturier, Philadelphia Flyers (2011)
A very underrated player, Sean Couturier has become a star for the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s taken him some time to fully develop into the player he is today (which is exactly why this is an evolving list), but there’s no question that he’s become a force to be reckoned with for the Flyers. For direct competition to Couturier, keep an eye on 2018’s pick in this spot, Adam Boqvist of the Chicago Blackhawks. It will be some time before he could dethrone the Flyers forward, but it’s very possible.
Honourable Mentions: Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets (2015) and William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs (2014)
9th Overall: Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (2013)
There’s no question for me with this selection, as the Canucks captain Bo Horvat takes the ninth-overall spot of the decade – for now. Horvat is part of the core in Vancouver, thanks to his strong two-way game. He’s a consistent point-producer who has been improving every season. New York Rangers’ Vitaly Kravtsov (2018) and Anaheim Ducks’ Trevor Zegras (2019) could one day give Horvat a run for his money though.
Honourable Mentions: Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg Jets (2012) and Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets (2014)
10th Overall: Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche (2015)
If it wasn’t for the Canucks’ 2019 pick of Vasily Podkolzin, I’d probably say that this pick is a lock. It still could be, but we’ll need to see what Podkolzin does first. In the meantime, the 10th overall selection of the decade is held by Colorado Avalanche star Mikko Rantanen. The forward broke out in 2017-18 and is now an over a point-per-game player. He’s usually part of one of the best lines in hockey, involving two honourable mentions on this list in MacKinnon and Landeskog, so it’s likely this spot remains his for a long time.
Honourable Mentions: Tyson Jost, Colorado Avalanche (2016) and Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (2011)
11th Overall: Filip Forsberg, Washington Capitals (2012)
Now we get into a fun pick. There’s no question that Filip Forsberg has been the best 11th-overall pick from the 2010s. The only think about Forsberg, is that he didn’t play for the Washington Capitals. Instead, he was traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. It hasn’t been for the Capitals, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is the best pick at this selection through the 2010s.
Related: Filip Forsberg Trade Revisited
Honourable Mentions: Kevin Fiala, Nashville Predators (2014) and Lawson Crouse, Florida Panthers (2015)
12th Overall: Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks (2010)
While Cam Fowler doesn’t exactly rack up the points for the Anaheim Ducks, he’s grown into a consistently steady defender. He still contributes, hovering around 30 points most seasons. Getting a contributing defender like that isn’t easy, so for now, he holds this title. This spot is very much up for grabs though. Arizona Coyotes pick Max Domi could be the one to steal it, but keep an eye on the 2017 pick from the Carolina Hurricanes, Martin Necas, as well.
Honourable Mentions: Max Domi, Arizona Coyotoes (2015) and Mikhail Grigorenko, Buffalo Sabres (2012)
13th Overall: Jakub Vrana, Washington Capitals (2014)
Anytime a draftee can help to team to a Stanley Cup, it counts for something. Even without the Cup though, Jakub Vrana would be in strong consideration for this spot. He has been getting better every season and looks like he’ll set new career-highs in 2019-20. He’s still growing, which will just further his grasp on this spot. That being said, there are numerous younger guys that could challenge this in the future (Hurricanes’ Jake Bean, Golen Knights’ Nick Suzuki, Stars’ Ty Dellandrea, and Panthers’ Spencer Knight).
Honourable Mentions: Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets (2013) and Sven Baertschi, Calgary Flames (2011)
14th Overall: Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins (2016)
The Boston Bruins should try to get the 14th overall pick more often. After drafting Jake DeBrusk in 2015, the Bruins had the same pick in 2016, landing Charlie McAvoy. The team will now have the benefit of transitioning from number one defender Zdeno Chara to McAvoy. The 2018 All-Rookie looks to be one of the next best defenders in the league and proved that in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs run. The Philadelphia Flyers 2018 selection, Joel Farabee, looks like he could challenge this very soon though.
Honourable Mentions: Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues (2010) and Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (2015)
15th Overall: Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings (2014)
For now, the 2014 15th overall pick from the Red Wings has a firm grasp on this spot. Dylan Larkin and his speed have become one of the best forwards in the league, despite playing on a poor team in recent years. He eclipsed 70 points in 2018-19, something that everyone should expect to see a lot more of – especially if the team starts to improve. There’s one player that I think you at least need to be aware of at this spot though, and that’s the Montreal Canadiens 2019 pick, Cole “Goal” Caufield. It might not be long before he’s scoring his way into this spot.
Honourable Mentions: Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders (2013) and J.T. Miller, New York Rangers (2011)
16th Overall: Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (2010)
When you become one of the best goal-scorers in the league, it’s going to be hard not to make any sort of list like this. When you then help that team to a Stanley Cup after a lengthy drought, it gets even better. Vladimir Tarasenko has been one of the best players of the 2010s, and that should continue into the 2020s. He’s eclipsed the 30-goal make five times, hitting 70 points three times. Despite Tarasenko’s performance over the decade, he might not have a lock on this spot. Islanders’ Mathew Barzal has been rising quickly and could challenge this in the coming years. Leading the Isles to a Cup would be a big boost to that argument.
Honourable Mentions: Mathew Bazal, New York Islanders (2015) and Nikita Zadorov, Colorado Avalanche (2013)
17th Overall: Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets (2015)
Kyle Connor is another player who we’re just starting to see him start to reach his peak. He’s been improving every season, becoming a core member of the Jets’ lineup. San Jose Shark Thomas Hertl is a very close second here, and there could even be a case that he should be in this spot. In the future update to this piece, that could happen. 2018 Devils’ pick Ty Smith and 2019 Golden Knights’ Peyton Krebs will likely be in consideration one day too.
Honourable Mentions: Thomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks (2012) and Nathan Beaulieu, Montreal Canadiens (2011)
18th Overall: Thomas Chabot, Ottawa Senators (2015)
The pride of Canada’s capital, Thomas Chabot took over the number one defenseman spot after the team traded Erik Karlsson and ran with it. He’s become the best player on the rebuilding Ottawa Senators and proved that when he crossed 50 points in 2018-19. Teuvo Teravainen, now with the Carolina Hurricanes, could be Chabot’s biggest challenger right now and moving forward, along with 2019 pick Thomas Harley – who has even been called the next Chabot.
Honourable Mentions: Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks (2012) and Alex Tuch, Minnesota Wild (2014)
19th Overall: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning (2012)
The Tampa Bay Lightning hit a home run with this pick in 2012, selecting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy who would become their starting netminder. He led the NHL in wins in 2017-18 and 2018-19, winning the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie in 2019. He’s one of the best backstops in the league right now and is just 25 years old. It’s very likely that Vasilevskiy never lets go of this title.
Honourable Mentions: Nick Bjugstad, Florida Panthers (2010) and Oscar Klefbom, Edmonton Oilers (2011)
20th Overall: Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings (2013)
The Detroit Red Wings are notorious for taking their time with prospects, and that worked out very well for 2013 selection, Anthony Mantha. Since hitting the league full time in 2016-17, he’s been growing leaps and bounds. As he continues to improve, it will be hard for any other player to touch him at this spot. However, the last two picks in this spot of the decade, Kings’ Rasmus Kupari and Jets’ Ville Heinola, will be interesting to keep an eye on.
Honourable Mentions: Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks (2014) and Scott Laughton, Philadelphia Flyers (2012)
21st Overall: Riley Sheahan, Detroit Red Wings (2010)
The Detroit Red Wings get back-to-back draft picks here. Alright, this one was three years prior, but you get the point. Riley Sheahan might not be the most well-known name, but he’s had a solid career so far. He’s had two seasons of over 30 points so far. This is one where I don’t think he’ll hold onto this spot. 2014 selection Robert Fabbri won a Stanley Cup with the Blues before being traded to the Red Wings, and watch out for Filip Chytil of the Rangers.
Honourable Mentions: Filip Chytil, New York Rangers (2017) and Robert Fabbri, St. Louis Blues (2014)
22nd Overall: Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins (2012)
This is another pick that I don’t think will hold up. For now, though, Ollie Maatta has had the biggest impact. He helped the Pittsburgh Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cups which is an extremely difficult task. They have another pick who may pass Maatta – although he doesn’t play for the Pens – in Kasperi Kapanen. With the Maple Leafs, he’s become an extremely productive forward. The name to watch though is Ilya Samsonov, goaltender for the Capitals who looks to be the heir to Braden Holtby. 2018’s K’Andre Miller for the Rangers should be another one to keep an eye on.
Honourable Mentions: Kasperi Kapanen, Pittsburgh Penguins (2014) and Ilya Samsonov, Washington Capitals (2015)
23rd Overall: Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (2015)
Speaking of players that keep getting better and better, Canucks’ Brock Boeser seems to improve every single season. He was an All-Rookie in 2017-18, as well as making the All-Star game in that campaign. He has yet to play a full season but has twice exceeded 50 points. Through a healthy campaign, it’s not out of the question to see him cross 70 points. Of course, there’s a chance that someone emerges to take over this spot, but for now, Boeser has a solid grasp on this spot.
Honourable Mentions: Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals (2013) and Michael Matheson, Florida Panthers (2012)
24th Overall: Kevin Hayes, Chicago Blackhawks (2010)
This was a tough one. The Flyers’ Travis Konecny makes a strong case for this spot, but longevity helps Kevin Hayes here – even though he never even played for the Chicago Blackhawks. Hayes went unsigned, walking into free agency and signing with the Rangers. In 2019, he was traded to the Jets, just to leave in the offseason and sign with the Flyers. He has three seasons of over 40 points, hitting 50 in 2018-19. I don’t believe this spot will be his forever though – I’m looking at you Philip Tomasino (the Predators’ 2019 pick).
Honourable Mentions: Jared McCann, Vancouver Canucks (2014) and Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers (2015)
25th Overall: David Pasternak, Boston Bruins (2014)
After a not-so-easy choice, it’s nice to get an obvious one. David Pasternak has developed into one of the top NHL players in the league, practically becoming an unstoppable force. In 2016-17, he hit 70 points, hitting 80 a year later and 81 in 2018-19. He helped the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, falling to the Blues. In 2019-20 he’s been one of the best players yet again, running away from the pack for this list. Alright, I’ll mention the Capitals’ 2019 selection, Connor McMichael, here too.
Honourable Mentions: Jack Roslovic, Winnipeg Jets (2016) and Ryan Poehling, Montreal Canadiens (2017)
26th Overall: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington Capitals (2010)
Another player who has become a star from the 2010 draft, Evgeny Kuznetzov has done just that in Washington. After collecting 37 points in his rookie season, he jumped up to 77 points in 2015-16. He topped that in 2017-18, hitting 83 points and adding 32 in 24 playoff games en route to the Stanley Cup. It’s very possible that the Russian forward never lets this spot go.
Honourable Mentions: Shea Theodore, Anaheim Ducks (2013) and Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens (2011)
27th Overall: Vladislav Namestnikov, Tampa Bay Lightning (2011)
And now we’re back to a hard choice. The 27th overall pick has not been great through the 2010s, but out of the choices, Vladislav Namestnikov stands out – for now. The Russian forward has been the most productive out of the bunch, but there are some younger players that will be in consideration very soon. The Lightning’s choice of Brett Howden in 2016 (now with the Coyotes) and the Flyers Morgan Frost from 2017 are two players that could take this title in just a few short years.
Honourable Mentions: Nikolay Goldobin, San Jose Sharks (2014) and Marko Dano, Columbus Blue Jackets (2013)
28th Overall: Charlie Coyle, San Jose Sharks (2010)
Is it too early to put the Rangers 2018 pick, Nils Lundqvist here? Yes? Alright, we’ll go with 2019 selection Charlie Coyle. Coyle never played for the San Jose Sharks, instead getting sent to the Minnesota Wild in a trade that saw Brent Burns head to California. Yeah, the Sharks won that trade.
Coyle, however, did become a reliable and consistent player, five times crossing the 30-point mark. He reached 56 points in 2016-17 and after a trade to the Bruins in 2019, helped the club to the Stanley Cup Final.
Honourable Mentions: Anthony Beauvillier, New York Islanders (2015) and Brady Skjei, New York Rangers (2012)
29th Overall: Henri Jokiharju, Chicago Blackhawks (2017)
One of few 2017 draftees to reach this list (so far), Henri Jokiharju has stepped into the league and played well. He was traded in 2019 to the Sabres for Alex Nylander. It’s still very early in the Finnish defenseman’s career, but honestly, many of the 29th picks from this decade haven’t really panned out. On top of the honourable mentions, the Dallas Stars 2013 pick, Jason Dickinson, is close, but Jokiharju looks better so far. This is one of those picks where only time will tell.
Honourable Mentions: Adrian Kempe, Los Angeles Kings (2014) and Emerson Etem, Anaheim Ducks (2010)
30th Overall: Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks (2011)
Although the 29th pick hasn’t been great, the 30th has brought a number of solid NHLers into the league. Leading the pack right now, Rickard Rakell is the top choice. The Ducks forward is already a two-time 30-goal scorer, hitting 69 points in 2017-18. The Kings’ 2012 selection of Tanner Pearson could be argued to deserve this spot after helping the team to a Stanley Cup in 2014, but Rakell’s output has been better. This will be an interesting spot to follow, with Ducks’ 2016 pick Sam Steel, Predators’ Eeli Tolvanen from 2017, and Joe Veleno being the 2018 pick of the Red Wings.
Honourable Mentions: Brock Nelson, New York Islanders (2010) and Tanner Pearson, Los Angeles Kings (2012)
31st Overall: Tyler Pitlick, Edmonton Oilers (2010)
Finally, the last pick of the first round and this list. Alright, it’s slightly underwhelming. Tyler Pitlick really only takes this spot due to longevity, and some not-so-great selections with the 31st pick in the 2010s. Pitlick has two seasons of 20 points to his name, as more of a depth player. It’s probable that he will be keeping this seat warm for either the Capitals’ pick in 2018, Alexander Alexeyev, or the Sabres’ 2019 pick, Ryan Johnson.
Honourable Mentions: Brendan Lemieux, Buffalo Sabres (2014) and Oscar Dansk, Columbus Blue Jackets (2012)
There you have it, the 2010s all-decade NHL draft for the top-31. Who do you love? Who shouldn’t be here? Who do you think will take over a spot in the coming years? Leave your thoughts below!
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