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Recent history of first overall picks in the NHL Draft

We go over recent history of No. 1 selections in the NHL draft.

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NHL Draft will get underway on Thursday, July 7 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC. The first round will begin at 7 p.m. ET with ESPN broadcasting the festivities.

The host Montreal Canadiens will have the No. 1 overall pick, giving their fans an opportunity to get a glimpse of their future firsthand. All signs point towards the Habs drafting All signs point towards the Habs drafting top-rated prospect Shane Wright from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. The hope will be one for the 18-year-old center to become a franchise cornerstone in Montreal for several years to come.

Before the Canadiens makes their selection on Thursday, we’ll take a look at No. 1 overall picks over the last 20 years.

History of recent No. 1 picks at NHL Draft

2002: Columbus Blue Jackets - Rick Nash, LW
2003: Pittsburgh Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury, G
2004: Washington Capitals - Alexander Ovechkin, LW
2005: Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby, C
2006: St. Louis Blues - Erik Johnson, D
2007: Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Kane, RW
2008: Tampa Bay Lightning - Steven Stamkos, C
2009: New York Islanders - John Tavares, C
2010: Edmonton Oilers - Taylor Hall, LW
2011: Edmonton Oilers - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C
2012: Edmonton Oilers - Nail Yakupov, RW
2013: Colorado Avalanche - Nathan MacKinnon, C
2014: Florida Panthers - Aaron Ekblad, D
2015: Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid, C
2016: Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews, C
2017: New Jersey Devils - Nico Hischier, C
2018: Buffalo Sabres - Rasmus Dahlin, D
2019: New Jersey Devils - Jack Hughes, C
2020: New York Rangers - Alexis Lafrenière, LW
2021: Buffalo Sabres - Owen Power, D

Over the last 20 seasons, a handful of No. 1 overall picks have turned into generational players. Within the group, six have made an immediate impact by winning the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year. 10 Hart Trophy’s have been shared among the group with three belonging to Ovechkin, two to Crosby and McDavid, respectively, and one belonging to Hall, Kane, and Matthews.

To cap it off, three of these players have won the Conn Smythe Trophy for Stanley Cup Final MVP. That group includes Crosby winning it twice while Kane and Ovechkin each own one, respectively.