(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky)
The 2015 NHL draft was loaded with elite talent, so much so that virtually every team in the first round picked up a player that is playing NHL minutes. But if teams then knew what we know now about the players – who would be picked in the first round?
(All stats credited to http://www.hockeydb.com/)
1 Connor McDavid
McDavid was touted as the next big thing before he was drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers and he has not disappointed. The Ontario-native has put up 229 points in just 194 games while scoring 77 goals.
In 2016-17 McDavid won the Art Ross and Hart trophy and picked up the Ted Lindsay award. Simply put - McDavid has been sensational since entering the league.
2 Jack Eichel
The number 2 pick would still go to Eichel as he has proven at Buffalo that he is an elite center man. 166 points in 197 games for a team that is one of the NHL’s worst is good going for the second prize of the 2015 draft.
Eichel will hope that Buffalo can supplement his talent with more players of his ilk as the Sabres look a long way from contending.
3 Mitch Marner
The actual fourth overall pick from 2015 moves up a spot because of his excellent play over the last two seasons in Toronto. In 2016-17 Marner helped Toronto qualify for the playoffs where they played a thrilling series with the Capitals - they came up short in six games.
Marner has grown so much as a player since he was drafted and now looks like an elite winger who is arguably one of the most intelligent hockey players in the NHL today. Players like Marner are attributed with changing the game of hockey as he is skillful and quick.
Statistically Marner has been great too as he has put up 115 points in 145 games.
4 Mathew Barzal
The actual 16th pick of the 2015 draft has now moved up to being the fourth pick after some very impressive play with the New York Islanders this season.
Barzal has been a bright spark in a bleak season for the Islanders as they look like they could well miss the playoffs again this season. If John Tavares decides to stay on Long Island, then players like Barzal will play into his thinking - he is that good.
This season is Barzal’s rookie campaign, and he is a point per game player - 69 points in 68 games. The Canadian could well be the steal of the 2015 draft.
5 Brock Boeser
The Vancouver Canucks somehow nabbed Boeser with the 23rd pick of the draft. This season he has been a ray of light in a rather depressing season for the Canucks. Boeser offers hope for the future as the Canucks stumble through a rebuild.
His stats this season have been excellent - 29 goals and 25 assists for 54 points. And Boeser will only get better. The young American has just been ruled out for the rest of the season but that could be a blessing as he rests up and prepares for next season with a team that will hopefully be far better.
6 Noah Hanifin
The Carolina Hurricanes drafted Noah Hanifin with the fifth overall pick and the defenseman has not disappointed. He has played by far the most NHL games of anyone taken in this draft - with 228 games.
Hanifin is a minute-munching solid d-man who will undoubtedly get better and better. He is leading the youth movement in Carolina.
7 Zach Werenski
Zach Werenski is probably the best offensive d-man to be taken at the 2015 draft as he has produced 79 points from 142 games this season.
The American is playing over 23 minutes a night, phenomenal for someone of his age. He also finished third in Calder voting last season.
8 Ivan Provorov
Ivan Provorov seems to get better with every game he plays and has justified his selection in the top ten of the 2015 NHL draft.
62 points in 150 games is a great return for a young defenseman and he is playing over 24 minutes a night for a fantastic Flyers team.
9 Sebastian Aho
What a steal Sebastian Aho was for the Carolina Hurricanes who nabbed him early in the second round. One of the most exciting young players playing in the league - Aho just seems to get better and better.
Aho has scored 101 points in 146 games for the Canes and he exemplifies the importance of skill and speed in today's NHL.
10 Mikko Rantanen
Rantanen can consider himself very unlucky to fall down to tenth in my rankings list. He is a great player and is an offensive dynamo.
In a few years time - it would not surprise me if Rantanen jumped up to being a top five player from this draft. His 104 points in 150 games is phenomenal when you consider how bad Colorado were last season.
11 Brandon Carlo
Another second round steal was Brandon Carlo. The Bruins look like they may have struck out on two of their three first round picks from the 2015 draft - but they more than made up with it with their great selection of Carlo.
The young American is one of the league's best pure defensemen and is playing just shy of 20 minutes per night for the Bruins.
12 Travis Konecny
The Flyers are good because of their strong drafting and Travis Konecny is an example of this. Selected 24th overall he has solidified the Flyers top nine and proved to be a great two-way center.
His 65 points in 137 games does not jump off the page but his improvement this season does. He has 37 points in 67 games this year while playing just over 14 minutes per night.
13 Dylan Strome
The Arizona Coyotes thought they were getting a top-line center when they drafted Dylan Strome third overall. Unfortunately for them Strome is yet to establish himself as a NHLer and has played just 18 games for the big club.
I am giving Strome the benefit of the doubt because he is a great prospect - but he needs to improve his skating if he wants to make it in the big leagues.
14 Jake De Brusk
Boston Bruins fans thought their three first round picks from the 2015 draft had gone to waste. Fortunately for them Jake De Brusk has had a great season playing for a brilliant Bruins team this season.
The Canadian has 35 points this season in 61 games.
15 Thomas Chabot
Thomas Chabot has been up and down between the Senators and their minor league affiliate Belleville but he has improved enough to warrant a full time stay with the Senators.
The two-way defenseman has 18 points in 47 games while playing largely third pairing minutes.
16 Timo Meier
San Jose drafted Meier with the ninth overall pick and he could yet pan out to be a justified top ten pick. Meier has now played over 100 games for the Sharks and has posted 33 points.
He has great mentors to teach him as the Sharks possess one of the best veteran leadership cores in the league.
17 Kyle Connor
Winnipeg drafted Kyle Connor with the 17th pick and I think that was good value. It has taken two years for Connor to get going - but now he looks like the real deal on a wonderful Winnipeg team.
Connor has 41 points in 61 games this season and he is only getting better.
18 Anthony Beauvillier
The New York Islanders selected Beauvillier with the 28th pick and seemed to have gotten great value. The center man has played over 120 games for the Isles and netted just shy of 50 points.
He will hope that John Tavares stays so he can continue to learn from one of the best.
19 Markus Nutivaara
Columbus may have gotten the best value pick from the 2015 draft as they selected Markus Nutivaara with the 189th pick in the seventh round.
Nutivaara has played well over 100 games and is proving to be a great defenseman. Werenski and Nutivaara could well be important cogs for this Jackets team for years to come.
20 Denis Malgin
Another mid-late round steal was Denis Malgin for the Florida Panthers. He was selected in the 4th round with the 102 pick and has been a great value.
He has lined up in over 80 games for the Panthers and looks to be getting better and better as the Panthers chase a playoff spot.
21 Christian Fischer
Selected with the 32nd pick Fischer has proven to be a solid NHL player during the early days of his career. Arizona have been very poor since he joined the team but he has proven to be a shining light in that team.
He has netted 33 points in 70 games.
22 Dominik Simon
Current Stanley Cup Champions Pittsburgh got a fifth round steal in Dominik Simon as he has added to their strong forward depth.
Simon has 14 points in 36 games while playing fourth line minutes. Though the Penguins addition of Derick Brassard could limit his game time for the rest of the season
23 Jack Roslovic
Winnipeg have such a deep forward line, they have been able to season Roslovic who is playing at more than a point per game in the minors.
When he has been called up to the big club, he has been excellent - netting 10 points in 25 games. Expect big things from him next season.
24 Joel Eriksson-EK
Joel Eriksson-Ek was drafted by the Minnesota Wild with the 20th pick and has been a solid NHL player ever since. He has played 75 games and netted 19 points while playing predominantly fourth line minutes.
Hopefully, he can get more minutes next season show his potential.
25 Ilya Samsonov
Ilya Samsonov is the first player to feature on this list who is yet to play an NHL game. The goaltender is playing in the KHL for Magnitogorsk Metallurg and is posting great numbers - he is .929 for the season so far.
The Capitals will look to bring him over this summer and possibly give him a shot as their backup goaltender.
26 Travis Dermott
Toronto Maple Leafs fans have been crying out to see Travis Dermott play with the big club and they finally got their wish this season. Dermott has been largely playing third line minutes with Roman Polak or Connor Carrick but he has shown himself to be capable at this level.
He has nine points with the Leafs so far this season.
27 Evgeny Svechnikov
Evgeny Svechnikov has played just three games for the Red Wings this season but has shown he has talent with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL.
He will look to prove himself as the season goes on and he will be targeting the main roster next season.
28 Jacob Larsson
Jacob Larsson is probably a victim of Anaheim having such a deep defense core as he has only featured in four NHL games.
I would expect him to be pushing towards the main roster next season or he might be trade bait if the Ducks want to address another area of their team.
29 Lawson Crouse
Lawson Crouse has already been traded from the team who drafted him, the Florida Panthers, but he has played 83 games at the NHL level since moving for Arizona.
Unfortunately, he has only produced 13 points. The Coyotes have him in the AHL and they will hope that his game improves drastically for next season.
30 Vince Dunn
St. Louis drafted Vince Dunn in the second round and he has proven to be a solid addition.
Dunn has played 60 games for the Blues this season and is logging nearly 17 minutes per night.
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