Ranking the top 5 NHL draft classes of the decade

Dave Sandford / National Hockey League / Getty

From top to bottom, the NHL boasts arguably the most talent it's had in its history. With players now coming from more leagues around the world than ever, drafting and scouting have become trickier processes than they used to be. It's not always clear who to select with the No. 1 pick, and it gets even murkier as the draft goes on.

Let's take a look at which years have yielded the most talent to date.

5. 2014

The 2014 draft, headlined by Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad going first overall, is one of the most solid of the decade. The Boston Bruins really hit the lottery by scooping up Czech forward David Pastrnak 25th overall. This class has the potential to get even better as some players have yet to break through or hit their peaks.

Top 5 scorers

Player Team Pick GP Points
Leon Draisaitl EDM 3 391 373
David Pastrnak BOS 25 358 338
Dylan Larkin DET 15 356 235
Sam Reinhart BUF 2 369 235
Brayden Point TBL 79 261 228

Notable players: Nikolaj Ehlers, Viktor Arvidsson, Aaron Ekblad, William Nylander, Nick Schmaltz, Jakub Vrana, Alex Tuch

4. 2011

The Edmonton Oilers' woes weren't solved by the addition of No. 1 pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as they won the draft lottery in 2012 as well. The top 10 from the 2011 class have fared extremely well, and the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames found hidden gems in Nikita Kucherov and Johnny Gaudreau in the second and fourth rounds, respectively.

Top 5 scorers

Player Team Pick GP Points
Nikita Kucherov TBL 58 481 502
Gabriel Landeskog COL 2 600 430
Johnny Gaudreau CGY 104 433 416
Mark Scheifele WPG 7 485 410
Jonathan Huberdeau FLA 3 503 407

Notable players: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier, John Gibson, Mika Zibanejad, Dougie Hamilton, J.T. Miller, William Karlsson, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Vincent Trocheck, Rickard Rakell

3. 2010

The decade kicked off with the great debate about whether Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin should be selected first. The choice still isn't clear ten years later as the pair have become two of the game's biggest stars. Hall has a Hart Trophy on his resume and Seguin's name is inked on the Stanley Cup. While the two lead the class in terms of points, talent oozed throughout the draft. Mark Stone slipped all the way to the sixth round while Brendan Gallagher and John Klingberg lasted until the fifth.

Top 5 scorers

Player Team Pick GP Points
Tyler Seguin BOS 2 710 615
Taylor Hall EDM 1 596 539
Jeff Skinner CAR 7 699 461
Ryan Johansen CBJ 4 628 431
Vladimir Tarasenko STL 16 507 428

Notable mentions: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Mark Stone, Brendan Gallagher, Jaden Schwartz, John Klingberg, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Frederik Andersen

2. 2013

It was debated all year long who should be taken atop the 2013 draft, as there wasn't a consensus No. 1 pick right until draft day. The Colorado Avalanche ended up going with Nathan MacKinnon, who's blossomed into one of the league's most dangerous players. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin and Seth Jones were the next three selections, and they all proved to be game-changing players in their own regard.

Top 5 scorers

Player Team Pick GP Points
Nathan MacKinnon COL 1 493 457
Sean Monahan CGY 6 510 393
Aleksander Barkov FLA 2 449 385
Elias Lindholm CAR 5 494 294
Bo Horvat VAN 9 415 250

Notable mentions: Seth Jones, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, Jake Guentzel, Rasmus Ristolainen, Anthony Mantha, Anthony Duclair, Andre Burakovsky, Shea Theodore

1. 2015

For years, people predicted that Connor McDavid would be the first overall pick of the 2015 draft and one of the league's generational talents. He has surpassed all expectations that were set of him, dominating the league since his rookie season. What wasn't anticipated, though, was how good the rest of his draft class would be. With only a handful of seasons under their belts, nine players selected in 2015 have already reached the All-Star Game, including second-round steal Sebastian Aho. A number of players have already secured lucrative long-term deals with their teams, meaning we'll see a ton of action from this draft class for years to come.

Top 5 scorers

Player Team Pick GP Points
Connor McDavid EDM 1 327 434
Jack Eichel BUF 2 323 310
Mitch Marner TOR 4 268 259
Mikko Rantanen COL 10 260 234
Sebastian Aho CAR 35 279 231

Notable players: Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor, Brock Boeser, Zach Werenski, Thomas Chabot, Ivan Provorov, Timo Meier, Dylan Strome, Travis Konecny, Noah Hanifin, Jake DeBrusk

Ranking the top 5 NHL draft classes of the decade
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