Evaluation of Forwards Selected in the First-round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft

Washington Capitals

The 2010 NHL Entry Draft was perceived to be a draft in which the consensus Top 2 picks were Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin – the Taylor and Tyler draft. But that particular draft was perceived to be a fairly deep draft in general. Last year, NoVa Caps examined the forwards who were chosen in the first round of that draft and their relative productivity. This is an updated examination to include data from the 2016-2017 season and notes some forwards who were relatively late bloomers in that draft class. This article, like the one featuring the 2009 draft class, is not focused on the defensemen, although several good defensemen were chosen in this draft. 

Taylor and Tyler

Taylor Hall, who was chosen first overall, had developed into an excellent player with the Edmonton Oilers prior to getting traded to the New Jersey Devils before the 2016-17 season. He generally scores 20 or more goals per year. In his first season with his new team, he had 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points and a career total of 152 goals and 229 assists for 381 points in 453 games played. Still, the Oilers would probably have been better off choosing Tyler Seguin, who was chosen second overall.

The Boston Bruins had obtained the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round pick in the trade and used that particular pick to draft Seguin, but traded him to the Dallas Stars after the 2012-13 season, where he has really blossomed playing alongside Dallas superstar Jamie Benn. This year, he scored 26 goals and added 46 assists for 72 points in 82 games played. His goal total was lower than last year’s total of 33 goals. He was second in assists and points among players from his draft class this year. Career-wise, he leads all forwards from his draft class with 189 goals, 238 assists, and 427 points overall. Hall is second in points with 381.

Other Early Producers

The next forward chosen was Ryan Johansen who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the fourth overall pick. Johansen initially arrived in the NHL during the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season. He was an extremely productive goal-scorer during his first two full seasons in the NHL (2013-2014 and 2014-2015), scoring 33 goals and 26 goals respectively and contributed 75 total assists over that span as well. He has not been as prolific in scoring goals over the last two seasons, scoring 14 goals in each of them. During the 2015-2016 season, he battled with mono, as well as had a coach whose coaching style was incompatible with his playing style (John Tortorella). This lead to him being traded to the Nashville Predators midway through the 2015-2016 season. He contributed 47 assists this past season, helping the Predators reach their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history. Career-wise he has 101 goals, 187 assists, and 288 points in 433 games played in the NHL.

Jeff Skinner, the seventh pick overall, has certainly been better than where he was drafted in terms of offensive productivity. He made the Carolina Hurricanes the fall after being drafted and has compiled 180 goals and 150 assists for 330 points in 497 games played. He had a great year in 2016-2017 with 37 goals and 26 assists and was second among the members in his draft class for goals and overall points. Coincidentally or not, he also ranks second in his draft class for both goals and overall points in his career.

Blues Brothers

Vladimir Tarasenko, chosen by the St. Louis Blues with the 16th overall pick, has 145 goals and 284 points overall in his relatively short NHL career, which did not start until the 2012-13 season, as he began his pro career in the KHL. This year he scored 39 goals and added 36 assists for 75 points overall. He led his draft class in both goals and points. Tarasenko’s teammate, Jaden Schwartz, who was drafted just two spots ahead of Tarasenko, scored 19 goals and had 36 assists for 55 points in 78 games played. Career-wise, he has scored 89 goals and added 123 assists for 212 points in 318 games played. The Blues did well in this particular draft. They had chosen Schwartz with their own pick and acquired the pick used to pick Tarasenko in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. Tarasenko and Schwartz are important cogs in the Blues’ lineup and have contributed greatly to the team qualifying for the playoffs for every year since the 2012-13 lockout.

Late First-Round Steals

Near the end of the round, there are three players who could be considered “steals” for their teams: Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th overall), Charlie Coyle (28th overall), and Brock Nelson (30th overall). Kuznetsov is now an important player for the Capitals, but played four years in the KHL and came over at the tail-end of the 2013-2014 season. This past year he had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points in 82 games played. In addition, he has filled the Caps’ long-time need as the second-line center. Charlie Coyle, after playing two years at Boston University and a partial season in Canadian junior hockey, came up with the Minnesota Wild during the 2012-13 season. The San Jose Sharks had originally drafted him, but traded him to the Wild as part of a trade where the Sharks acquired both former NHLer Dany Heatley and recent Norris Trophy best defenseman winner Brent Burns. After averaging 10 goals a year in his first three seasons, he exceeded 20 goals in 2015-2016. In 2016-2017, he came close to that mark by scoring 18 goals and adding a career-high 38 assists for 56 points in 82 games played . Brock Nelson, the last forward drafted in the round, has improved his goal-scoring in each of his first three NHL seasons. He made his way through the New York Islanders’ minor league teams, making his NHL debut in the 2013-14 season in which he scored 14 goals. He then improved to 20 goals and then 25 over the following two seasons. During the 2016-2017 season, he scored 20 goals, but greatly improved his assist total to 25 for 45 points in 81 games played.

Late Bloomers

Forward Nino Nieterreitter, who was drafted by the New York Islanders with the fifth pick, struggled to find his scoring touch on Long Island, but became a very productive player after being traded to the Wild before the 2013-2014 season. In his first season in Minnesota he scored 14 goals, but has exceeded 20 goals the past three recent seasons. He had a career-high in goals and assists in 2016-2017, with 25 and 32 respectively. In his NHL career, he has 85 goals, 91 assists, and 176 total points in 389 games played.

Mikael Granlund, chosen by the Minnesota Wild with the ninth overall pick, was a relatively late bloomer for a first-rounder in this draft, but he certainly blossomed for the Wild during the 2016-2017 season. He scored 26 goals and had 43 assists for 69 points in 81 games played. He scored twice as many goals as his previous career-high of 13 which came during the 2015-2016 season. He now has 57 goals and 144 assists and 201 points in 321 games played in his career. Over the course of his career, he has either equaled or surpassed his previous year’s goal total. The Wild have been the beneficiary of two late bloomers in the first-round of the 2010 draft, one being a homegrown player in Granlund and the other being Nieterreiter, who was acquired in a trade. They also had acquired fellow 2010 draft pick in Coyle. The Wild have been benefiting a great deal from this draft over the long run.

After a relatively slow start to his career, forward Kevin Hayes had 17 goals and 32 assists in the 2014-15 season, his first in the NHL. While drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, he did not earn a full-role in the NHL until after he was traded to the New York Rangers. Hayes had played at Boston College for four years before joining the NHL. In his three-year NHL career, he has 48 goals, 82 assists, and 130 points .

Forwards Drafted Past Round 1

There are three other notable forwards in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft who were drafted past the first round. This includes Mark Stone of the Ottawa Senators who was drafted in the sixth-round and has exceeded 20 goals and 30 assists in each of the last three seasons, including 22 goals and 32 assists in 2015-2016; forward Tyler Toffoli who was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings and had 16 goals last season, but scored 31 goals in 2015-2016 and has a career total of 84 goals; and forward Brendan Gallagher, who was drafted in the fifth-round by the Montreal Canadiens. Injuries held him to only 10 goals in 2016-2017, while in 2015-2016 he scored 19 goals in just 53 games, having missed time due to injury. His career-high in goals is 25 which came in 2014-2015.


The first-round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft was a much better draft for forwards than for defensemen. Cam Fowler, who the Anaheim Ducks drafted with the twelfth pick overall, has played the most games in the NHL of any defenseman in the draft. Other first-round defensemen who have played a significant number of games in the NHL include Erik Gudbranson and Mark Pysyk. Another good defenseman drafted, but later than the first-round, was Justin Faulk, who the Carolina Hurricanes drafted in the second round.

2016-2017 Season

Overall, all the forwards drafted in Round 1 of the 2010 draft made it to the NHL at some point or another, whether in a full-time role or just a handful of games. There were relative busts among the forwards such as Joey Hishon, who was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche 17th overall, and Quinton Howden, who was drafted by the Florida Panthers 25th overall. Hishon played just 13 games in the NHL during his career and has not played in the NHL since the 2014-2015 season. Howden, drafted later in the round, has played a total of 97 games in the NHL, but only five games during the 2016-2017 season. Emerson Etem is another bust who has bounced up and down between the NHL and the minors and only played in three games in the NHL in 2016-2017.


Team-wise, the St Louis Blues drafted two important forwards in the first round, Tarasenko and Schwartz. Although the Minnesota Wild originally drafted only one player in the first round (Granlund), they ended up with three players, as they acquired Coyle and Niederreiter.

By Diane Doyle

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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