A look back at the 2011 NHL Draft: Gaudreau may be best in class

Candice Ward / USA TODAY Sports

Five years. It's a lifetime in sports. So, ahead of the 2016 NHL Draft, we thought it would be fun to look back at the 2011 draft and commence the second-guessing.

The Edmonton Oilers had the first pick five years ago - obviously. They were followed by the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers, to round out the top three.

Seven first-round picks from 2011 have over 100 points in the NHL. Two second-round picks have hit the century mark, one fourth-rounder, one fifth-rounder, and one seventh-rounder.

The Century Club

Player Team  Round Drafted Number  GP Points PPG
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Oilers  1 1 313 222 0.71
Gabriel Landeskog Avalanche 1 2 356 246 0.69
Jonathan Huberdeau Panthers 1 3 272 172 0.63
Mika Zibanejad Senators 1 6 281 151 0.54
Mark Scheifele Jets 1 7 227 145 0.64
Sean Couturier Flyers 1 8 350 157 0.45
Dougie Hamilton Bruins/Flames 1 9 260 126 0.48
Brandon Saad Blackhawks/Blue Jackets 2 43 286 179 0.63
Nikita Kucherov Lightning 2 58 211 148 0.70
Johnny Gaudreau Flames 4 104 160 143 0.89
Andrew Shaw Blackhawks 5 139 322 137 0.43
Ondrej Palat Lightning 7 208 232 166 0.72
  • Johnny Gaudreau's sample size is the smallest at 160 games, but he may be the best player to come out of the draft, averaging a superb 0.89 points per game. The Calgary Flames are going to lock him up long term - they don't really have a choice.
  • You can't say the Oilers erred in drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He's one of only four players averaging more than 0.70 points per game.
  • The other two outside of Gaudreau and Nugent-Hopkins are Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, who was the fourth-last player selected in the draft. Three months prior to drafting Kucherov and Palat, the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Tyler Johnson to an entry-level contract as a free agent. In other words, the spring of 2011 was one of the most crucial in Lightning franchise history.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks had a decent draft, considering their two first-round picks - Mark McNeill, 18th overall, and Phillip Danault, 27th overall - didn't pan out. While they eventually had to part with Brandon Saad, a Stanley Cup is forever.

1st-round Busts

Player Team Round Drafted Number GP Points
Duncan Siemens Avalanche 1 11 1 0
Joel Armia Sabres/Jets 1 16 44 10
Mark McNeill Blackhawks 1 18 1 0
Stefan Noesen Senators/Ducks 1 21 2 0
Tyler Biggs Maple Leafs 1 22 0 0
Matt Puempel Senators 1 24 39 6
Stuart Percy Maple Leafs 1 25 12 3
Phillip Danault Blackhawks/Canadiens 1 26 53 10
Zack Phillips Wild 1 28 0 0
Nicklas Jensen Canucks 1 29 24 6

The Gems

  • Boone Jenner turned out to be a nice find for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Taken in the second round, 37th overall, he has 95 career points in 185 games, and became a 30-goal scorer last season.
  • The Carolina Hurricanes took Victor Rask 42nd overall in the second round, and he potted 21 goals last season. He's a big piece of the Raleigh rebuild.
  • The Florida Panthers nabbed Vincent Trocheck in the third round, 64th overall, and he broke out in a huge way last season, scoring 25 goals and finishing with 53 points.
  • The Lightning drafted Nikita Nesterov 148th overall in the fifth round, and he played 57 games on the Tampa Bay blue line last season.

According to Hockey Database, 107 of the 211 players (107) taken in the 2011 draft have played in the NHL - 50.7 percent. Almost exactly the odds of a coin flip.

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A look back at the 2011 NHL Draft: Gaudreau may be best in class
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