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Take your pick: History on Devils' side

A look at past fourth overall selections in the NHL Draft

Wednesday, 06.15.2011 / 4:08 PM ET / Draft
By Eric Marin
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Take your pick: History on Devils\' side
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Time will tell which way the Devils go on draft day, but they’re well-positioned to land an elite young player when they choose fourth overall on June 24.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the consensus top-ranked player and most mock drafts have him wearing an Oilers jersey once his name is called at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Colorado and Florida will also get their turn at the podium before the Devils announce their choice.

Will the Devils go with a center? A winger? A defenseman? History shows the pick has been used equally on all three. Exactly 10 prospects at each position have been selected fourth overall since 1980, plus one goaltender (Roberto Luongo, 1997). Click here to the see the full list.

The Devils, who won this year’s draft lottery to move up from eighth, will have their highest pick since 1991 when they selected Scott Niedermayer third overall.

The fourth selection has produced a wealth of top-level NHL talent, including several Hall of Famers. Of the 31 selections since 1980, 16 went on to play 500 or more NHL games, with six appearing in 1,000 and three reaching the 1,500-game plateau.

They’ve also accounted for a bundle of Stanley Cup rings.

Larry Murphy (1980) won four Cups, though none with the team that originally drafted him: the Los Angeles Kings. He was traded three times before going all the way with Pittsburgh in 1990-91 and 1991-92. He went back-to-back again with Detroit in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Steve Yzerman (1983), who captained those Red Wings squads, added his third title in 2002. He finished his career with 692 goals, though that’s not the highest total by a fourth overall pick. That honor goes to Mike Gartner (1979, Washington) and his 708, which rank him sixth all-time.

Ron Francis (1981, Hartford), a two-time champion with the Penguins, has the most points (1,798; fourth all-time) and games played (1,731; third all-time).

Other Hall of Famers in the group include Steve Shutt (1972, Montreal), Lanny McDonald (1973, Toronto) and Clark Gillies (1974, NY Islanders). Shutt won five rings with the Habs, including four straight from 1975-76 to 1978-79. The next year, Gillies and the Islanders dynasty captured the first of four in a row. McDonald hoisted the Cup with Calgary in 1989.

Andrew Ladd (2004, Carolina) already has two Cups (Carolina, Chicago) in eight seasons. Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom (2006) is one of the game’s top centermen, cracking the 100-point mark in 2009-10.

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (2008) potted 11 goals and 32 assists in 2010-11, his first full NHL campaign. Another blossoming star, Evander Kane (2009) has amassed 33 goals and 36 assists during his first two seasons with Atlanta.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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