Jack Eichel and Patrik Laine, the respective No. 2 overall picks in the 2015 and 2016 NHL drafts, both excelled as they went right to the NHL a few months after they were drafted.
But most players drafted in that spot — as Nolan Patrick was in June — needed time to blossom.
In the last 20 years, 16 forwards were chosen with the No. 2 overall pick, and only eight of them went right to the NHL the next season. Just three of those eight players had 20 goals or more in their rookie year.
Here are the forwards who were selected No. 2 overall in that span and what they did in their first season after the draft:
|Year||Player||Drafting team||Season after the draft|
|1997||Patrick Marleau||San Jose||13 goals, 19 assists, 32 points|
|1998||David Legwand||Nashville||Played mostly in juniors|
|1999||Daniel Sedin||Vancouver||Played in Sweden|
|2000||Dany Heatley||Atlanta||Played at University of Wisconsin|
|2001||Jason Spezza||Ottawa||Played in juniors|
|2003||Eric Staal||Carolina||11 goals, 20 assists, 31 points|
|2004||Evgeni Malkin||Pittsburgh||Played in Russia|
|2005||Bobby Ryan||Anaheim||Played in juniors|
|2006||Jordan Staal||Pittsburgh||29 goals, 13 assists, 42 points|
|2007||James van Riemsdyk||Flyers||Played at University of New Hampshire|
|2010||Tyler Seguin||Boston||11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points|
|2011||Gabriel Landeskog||Colorado||22 goals, 30 assists, 52 points|
|2013||Aleksander Barkov||Florida||8 goals, 16 assists, 24 points|
|2014||Sam Reinhart||Buffalo||Played mostly in juniors|
|2015||Jack Eichel||Buffalo||24 goals, 32 assists, 56 points|
|2016||Patrik Laine||Winnipeg||36 goals, 28 assists, 64 points|