NHL Draft 2019: Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid among top five active No. 1 overall picks
A look at five of the best first picks around the NHL
Theis right around the corner, and with it comes the introduction of a fresh wave of talent to the ice -- including consensus No. 1 prospect Jack Hughes, the 18-year-old center from the U.S. National Development Team.
The draft, of course, is about a lot more than just one pick, but the track record of NHL teams and first overall selections is actually rather promising, especially if you're focused specifically on the last 15 or so years. Three of the last six No. 1 picks have claimed the Calder Memorial Trophy, and 11 of the last 16 have already secured multiple All-Star honors, with a plethora of 30- and 40-goal scorers among the crop.
In celebration of Hughes or whomever else is crowned the latest No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft, here's a look at the top five active first overall selections, with a familiar Russian headlining the list:
5. Taylor Hall (2010)
This spot almost went to Auston Matthews, but Hall has a lengthier resume and flashed untapped potential during his Hart Trophy breakout season with the New Jersey Devils in 2017-18. The 27-year-old is fresh off a knee injury that cost him all but 33 games this past season, and he's topped 75 games just twice in his NHL career, but when he's on, he's on. The left winger was on pace for another 30-goal campaign in 2018-19 before undergoing surgery and successfully overcame a mid-career transition from the Edmonton Oilers.
4. Sidney Crosby (2005)
Sid the Kid is no longer a kid anymore, but he's still one of the most consistently productive centers in the game. Intermittent concussion concerns are about the only knock against him other than the fact he can't always carry the Pittsburgh Penguins by himself. More often than not, however, Crosby has elevated everyone around him, not to mention offered incredible stability. A nine-time 30-goal scorer, he logged 100 points for the first time in six years at the age of 31 this past season.
3. Nathan MacKinnon (2013)
Among hockey's fastest skaters, MacKinnon has been an absolute scoring machine over his last two seasons, fueling an otherwise mercurial Colorado Avalanche team with some of the NHL's best offense. At age 23, he's got a whole lot ahead of him, and yet already he's established himself as a premier center, posting at least 39 goals and 97 points in back-to-back years. If you're going strictly off potential, MacKinnon probably deserves to be even higher than this. Either way, the Avs should be thrilled.
2. Connor McDavid (2015)
It's a shame he's been buried in the mess that is the Edmonton Oilers in recent years, especially considering how his 2017 Hart Trophy campaign seemed as if it might solidify his team's place as a steady contender. None of the surrounding chaos has proven, however, that McDavid is anything but the most gifted skater -- and one of the most automatic scorers -- in the NHL. The guy is still only 22 years old but enters 2019-20 with 112 goals and 324 points in his last three seasons. It's downright crazy.
1. Alexander Ovechkin (2004)
You might take McDavid or MacKinnon if you were building from the ground up right now, but no one better represents what you want out of a No. 1 pick, in today's NHL, than Ovi. He doesn't have the Cup collection of Crosby, but he's one of the best shooters to ever play the game. The Russian superstar has an astounding eight 50-goal seasons under his belt, including his age-33 campaign this past year, leading the league in goals more often than he hasn't over the last decade. If you want video-game numbers, he's your guy.
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