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Friday night the Montreal Canadiens will have a make or break opportunity to possibly a player who could potentially be a quick fix for their organization. It will be the first time that the Habs make a third overall selection in the modern draft format. The third pick has traditionally also been a make or break affair for the teams who have made the selections. The majority of the selections at number three have produced players who have been at least good if not elite at the NHL level. However, that majority is almost balanced out by the number of decent or less then decent players. For every Jonathan Toews or Denis Savard there is a Alexander Svitov. When Montreal make their selection they will hope that their pick will more resemble the first two then the third. Below we take a look at the history of the NHL 3rd overall pick since 1980 and provide their stats, team and year drafter as well as what category of draft pick they have been placed in.
Elite Picks- 6 (23%)
Good Picks- 8 (31%)
Decent Picks- 6 (23%)
Poor Picks- 6 (23%)
By Team (Elite-Good-Decent-Poor)
Blackhawks 2-1-1-0 (4 picks)
Islanders 1-0-1-0 (2 picks)
Canucks 1-0-0-0 (1 pick)
Wild 1-0-0-0 (1 pick)
Devils 1-0-0-2 (3 picks)
Panthers 0-2-0-0 (4 picks*)
Los Angeles 0-2-0-1 (3 picks)
Capitals 0-1-0-0 (1 pick)
Red Wings 0-1-0-0 (1 pick)
Bruins 0-1-0-0 (1 pick)
Senators 0-0-1-0 (1 pick)
Lightning 0-0-1-0 (1 pick)
Nordiques 0-0-1-0 (1 pick)
Sharks 0-0-1-1 (2 picks)
Maple Leafs 0-0-0-2 (2 picks)
Phoenix (1 pick*)
Thrashers (1 pick*)
Avalanche (1 pick*)
* picks unrated
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Blackhawks in 1980
Stats: 1196 GP 473 G 856 A 1338 P
This one will have particular meaning for the Montreal Canadiens fans as Montreal missed on an opportunity to select Savard in the 1980 draft. Savard would go on to have an incredible NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks before joining Montreal for three seasons including their Stanley Cup winning season of 1993 during which he had 5 playoff points. Savard also spent time with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Elite Draft Picks
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Islanders in 1983
Stats: 865 GP 468 G 545 A 1013 P
Quite possibly one of the best players to ever play the game, if his career wasn’t cut short by concussion problems his stats would be even more impressive. Spent all of his NHL career with the Islanders, Sabres and Rangers.
Good Draft Picks
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Capitals in 1981
Stats: 1178 GP 320 G 408 A 728 P
After being selected by the Capitals Carpenter would go on to have a solid career with the Capitals, Kings, Rangers, Bruins and Devils.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Blackhawks in 1984
Stats: 1031 GP 342 G 452 A 794 P
An American national team member Olczyk had a solid NHL career with the Blackhawks, Leafs, Jets, Rangers, Penguins and Kings.
Poor Draft Picks
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Maple Leafs in 1982
Stats: 608 GP 32 G 139 A 171 P
Nylund was a minus for the majority of his NHL career spent with the Leafs, Blackhawks and Islanders.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Devils in 1985
Stats: 695 GP 40 G 133 A 173 P
Wolanin would have been a good enough pick, that is if he was in the second round. At 3rd overall playing under 700 NHL games with less then 200 points even for a Defencemen is not good enough.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Red Wings in 1990
Stats: 909 GP 266 G 353 A 619 P
Primeau is a bit of a shining light during an era of poor 3rd overals. Injury ended and impaired a career that had some solid seasons, especially with a Red Wings team that was a couple of seasons away from winning their back to back Stanley Cups. Primeau also spent time with the Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Hartford Whalers.
Good Draft Picks
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Bruins in 1987
Stats: 1457 GP 128 G 409 A 537 P
Wesley had a solid NHL career that culminated in him winning the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Solid selection by the Bruins.
Decent Draft Picks
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Nordiques in 1988
Stats: 1033 GP 47 G 165 A 212 P
A very serviceable defenceman during his 1033 NHL games with Quebec, Colorado, Washington, Hartford, Carolina, Minnesota and Ottawa.
Poor Draft Picks
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Devils in 1986.
Stats: 89 GP 9 G 22 A 31 P
With almost unlimited selection being only the 3rd pick in the draft you would expect teams to select players who would play more then slightly more then a season with their franchise.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Maple Leafs in 1989
Stats: 941 GP 144 G 141 A 285 P
Disappointing stats for a forward selected third overall. Has the dubious 'honour' of being dealt for former Hab Juha Lind.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Devils in 1991
Stats: 1263 GP 172 G 568 A 740 P
Niedermayer is widely considered one of the best defencemen to ever play in the NHL. Having won almost everything there is to win in the NHL he added two Olympic Gold Medals with Team Canada at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. In 2010 Niedermayer held the prestigious title of Captain Canada.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Lightning in 1993
Stats: 1092 GP 214 G 354 A 568 P
Gratton had a solid enough NHL career that ended in 2009 when he was a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Other then the Lightning and the Jackets, Gratton spent time with the Panthers, Avalanche, Coyotes, Sabres and Flyers.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Senators in 1994
Stats: 969 GP 194 G 303 A 497 P
Bonk, who was once a member of the Canadiens, had several good seasons as a member of the Senators. He is still playing professionally in the Czech Republic.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Sharks in 1992
Stats: 768 GP 30 G 150 A 180 P
Rathje certainly didn’t have the worst of NHL careers but with only 30 goals to his name in his career he doesn’t fit into the hype of the third overall pick.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Kings in 1995
Stats: 606 GP 15 G 70 A 85 P
The only memories I have of Aki Berg is Habs players beating him en route to scoring goals when he was a member of the Leafs. This is not a good thing to be remembered for.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Canucks in 1999
Stats: 892 GP 171 G 576 A 747 P
Henrik is far from done his career yet he has already established himself as an elite player in the league. He has spent all of his career as a member of the Vancouver Canucks alongside brother Daniel. He is a Hart Trophy and Art Ross winner.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Wild in 2000
Stats: 722 GP 324 G 323 A 647 P
Gaborik is a pure goal scorer and has demonstrated this with both of the teams he has been a part of in the Wild and the Rangers.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Kings in 1997
Stats: 1042 GP 292 G 391 A 683 P
Jokinen may never have been a truly elite NHL player but he has managed to have himself considered a solid player on almost every team he was a member of. Had a good season with the Flames this past year and will be a sought after UFA in July.
Drafted: 3rd overall by the New York Islanders in 1996
Stats: 822 GP 214 G 309 A 523 P
Dumont had a decent NHL career but took a while to get there as a bit of a late bloomer. He still plays to this day as a member of Bern in the Swiss A Division.
Drafted: 3rd overall by the San Jose Sharks in 1998
Stats: 876 GP 74 G 231 A 305 P
Stuart has been a very serviceable NHL defenceman since joining the league in 1998. His 305 points are solid for a d-man who has played under 900 games.
Drafted: 3rd overall by the Blackhawks in 2006
Stats: 361 GP 144 G 180 A 324 P
Toews is still very young yet he has already established himself as a solid force in the NHL. As the Captain of the Blackhawks he led them to the Stanley Cup, ending a long drought for the franchise. He was also the best forward for Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Toews, at least so far in his career is the model of what you want a 3rd round pick to amount to.
Drafted: 3rd overall by the Panthers in 2002
Stats: 717 GP 65 G 220 A 285 P
Bouwmeester has been a very good NHL defenceman during his career. A member of the Canadian Olympic Team, he had a solid tournament at the World Championships that may have earned him another look for the Sochi 2014 squad.
Drafted: 3rd overall by the Panthers in 2003
Stats: 548 GP 185 G 195 A 380 P
The second of two Panthers third overall picks in a row Horton is also no longer with his original team. Injuries have plagued what has been thus far an impressive career.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Kings in 2005
Stats: 364 GP 34 G 104 A 138 P
He was sacrificed by the Kings in order to acquire forward Jeff Carter but still remains one of the most promising young defenders in the game today.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Blackhawks in 2004
Stats: 296 GP 21 G 73 A 94 P
Barker was a bit of a missed pick for the Blackhawks but has put up good enough stats to warrant himself a “decent” instead of “poor” tag. This could change, however, by the time he retires.
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Lightning in 2001
Stats: 179 GP 13 G 24 A 37 P
Svitov never amounted to much at the NHL level and remains one of the worst 3rd overall picks of all time. He hasn’t even really established himself in his career in the KHL.
Still remains to be seen…Kyle Turris
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Coyotes in 2007
Stats: 186 GP 31 G 44 A 75 P
Prediction: Decent Pick
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Thrashers in 2008
Stats: 264 GP 29 G 60 A 89 P
Prediction: Poor Pick
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Avalanche in 2009
Stats: 219 GP 65 G 85 A 150 P
Prediction: Elite Pick
Drafted: 3rd Overall by the Panthers in 2010
Stats: 72 GP 2 G 6 A 8 P
Prediction: Decent Pick