Welcome to a brand new series here at The Hockey Writers called “Road to the Draft.” In this series, our draft contributors will count down from 32nd overall all the way to first overall and revisit each player taken with that pick between 2010 and 2020.
The goal of this series is to reflect on some of the biggest steals and some of the biggest busts taken in the first round over the past ten years, as well as to shine a light on some players who could potentially see themselves taken with the corresponding pick at the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
With picks 32-12 in the books, we are just outside of the top-10. Now, we’ll take a look at the history of the 11th overall pick. It’s a mixed bag of results in regards to the players taken in this spot. Some have gone on to find success in the NHL, like Hall of Famer Jerome Iginla (1995) and Anze Kopitar (2005), while others haven’t seen much action despite being high picks. In addition, some have the potential to help make significant contributions to their respected franchises. Here’s a look at the history of the 11th overall picks.
2010 – Jack Campbell (G, Dallas Stars)
Campbell’s most notable moment was propelling Team USA to a gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship. As a result, the Dallas Stars selected him based on his performance.
After making the switch from the US National Development Team Program to the Ontario Hockey League, Campbell spent three seasons playing for the Windsor Spitfires and Soo Greyhounds. Throughout his OHL career, Campbell had a strong record, combining to go 45-29-11, but had a subpar .890 save percentage and a 3.62 goals against average. The Greyhounds acquired him with current Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas at the helm, who was leading a rebuild for the Greyhounds. He still struggled as he had a 0.892 SV% and a 3.58 GAA.
Campbell’s woes continued at the pro level. He’s spent most of his career in the American Hockey League and ECHL, playing for the Texas Stars and winning the Calder Cup in 2013-14. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 2016 and while he would still see time in the AHL with the Ontario Reign, he eventually earned a back up role with the Kings in 2018-19. Despite a losing record of 10-14-1, Campbell posted a .928 SV% that season.
The Maple Leafs acquired Campbell before the trade deadline in the 2019-20 season, re-uniting with Dubas as the team was in need of help in the crease. After a good showing with a 3-2-1 record and .915 SV%, Campbell assumed the starting role in 2020-21, where Fredeirk Andersen was dealing with injuries during the 56-game season. Campbell set the record for most consecutive wins by a goalie with 11, beating Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price’s record of 10 set in 2016-17. After years of trying to make it into the NHL, Campbell appears to have finally earned a starting job.
2011 – Duncan Siemens (D, Colorado Avalanche)
Drafted third overall in the 2008 Western Hockey League Draft, Siemens was once regarded as a defensive stalwart that could play a very physical game. He put up great numbers in the WHL where he tallied 107 assists and 124 points, being a very effective passer. He was a strong and steady defenseman with the ability to punish forwards with his size.
Since being drafted Siemens has had small stints in the NHL, playing in 20 games total. During that time, he’s only recorded one goal and one assist in an Avalanche jersey. He has never really found his footing at this level as he’s seen a lot of ice time at the AHL level. He has played for the Lake Erie Monsters, San Antonio Rampage and Milwaukee Admirals. In 322 games, Siemens has recorded 38 points.
There are always high expectations for first-round players– even those outside the top-10– to make a significant impact at the NHL level. Unfortunately, Siemens wasn’t one of those players that panned out.
2012 – Filip Forsberg (LW/RW, Washington Capitals)
The Capitals selecting Forsberg was a really great decision on their part. A dominant scoring winger with high-end vision, he recorded 21 goals and 40 points for Leksands IF’s J20 team. After that, he made an immediate impact with the same team in the HockeyAllsvenskan League. In his draft year, he tallied 17 points, the most by a U18 player, and went on to win a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championships. In addition, he won a silver medal at the World U18 Championship.
The Capitals looked to have struck gold until they traded Forsberg to the Nashville Predators in 2012-13 for Martin Erat and Michael Latta. While the Capitals would eventually win the Stanley Cup in 2018, they gave up a fundamental piece that could’ve helped achieve that goal sooner than later. Erat would only go on to record two goals and 25 assists in 62 games with the Capitals before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in 2013-14.
Forsberg would immediately find success with the Predators since that trade. In 2014-15, he notched 63 points and finished fourth in Calder Trophy voting. He’s been a consistent 60-point producer and has reached the 25-goal mark five times in his nine-year career. During the 2016-17 playoffs, the Predators made the Cup Finals where he finished with 16 points in 22 games.
It’s safe to say, that if the 2012 draft would’ve been redone, Forsberg could’ve easily have found himself in the top-five of that draft as he leads that class with 385 points.
2013 – Samuel Morin (D, Philadelphia Flyers)
Morin had all the tools and qualities to be an NHL player but had trouble finding that extra push to make it to the next level.
Morin was already boasting the size that intimidates the opposition. In his draft year with the Rimouski Oceanic, he recorded 16 points and amassed 117 penalty minutes. After being selected by the Flyers, Morin went back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to further his development. It seemed like things were going in the right direction as he recorded back-to-back 30-point seasons. Seeing that kind of jump in production would make anyone feel great about their development.
Morin seemed to find his footing with Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. He was chipping in offensively and was still being a menacing figure on the blue line as he had 118 and 129 PIMS in his first and second season. Since 2016-17, he has been a regular call-up with the Flyers but struggled to see steady playtime. He did manage to play in 20 games this past season, but time is running out for him to find the consistency to be a full time NHL player.
2014 – Kevin Fiala (RW, Nashville Predators)
Fiala was a highly dominant player at the junior level in Switzerland. From there he moved to Sweden in order to further his development as a player. After a 28-point season with he Malmö Redhawks J20, he recorded 25 points in 27 games with HV71’s J20 team. He added another 11 points in 17 games at the pro level and was over a point per game (nine points in five games) at the World U18 Championship.
Fiala played the start of the 2014-15 with HV71 before being reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals. From there, he didn’t look back as he notched 11 goals and 20 points in 33 games. After tallying 50 points in 2015-16 and another 19 in 22 games to start the 2016-17 season, he would eventually suit up in 54 games with the Predators finishing with 16 points. He would end up being a real offensive contributor for them from that point on.
Fiala was then traded to Minnesota Wild during the 2018-19 season for Mikael Granlund. Things seemed to have benefited the Wild greatly as Fiala recorded 54 points in 2019-20 and another 40 this past season. He has gone from being a viable third line player to a very productive top-six forward and will continue to be one of the more underrated scorers in the league.
2015 – Lawson Crouse (LW, Florida Panthers)
Coming into that draft, Crouse had the making to be a good power forward for many years. He recorded 51 points in his draft year with the Kingston Frontenacs and followed that up with 62 points in 2015-16. Before the 2016-17 season, he was traded along with Dave Bolland to the Arizona Coyotes.
Crouse was projected as a top-10 player as he has good speed to play a strong offensive game with his size. He’s still young and has been used in a bottom-six role as he’s averaged just under 13 minutes and has 76 points in 281 games for his career. He could still be an option as second liner, but it’s most likely that he’ll stay as a third liner given his strength and skill.
2016 – Logan Brown (C, Ottawa Senators)
Brown was on the path to becoming a promising prospect. He recorded 43 points as a rookie with the Windsor Spitfires in 2014-15 and followed that up with a 73-point season in 2015-16.
However, even throughout his junior career and even at the AHL level, Brown has had difficulty staying healthy. If it weren’t for a long a list of injuries Brown would’ve seen himself at the NHL level sooner than later. Even though it’s been five years since he’s been drafted, he still possesses the qualities that the Senators saw in him when they drafted him.
When healthy, Brown has been a very productive two-way centreman with the Belleville Senators. He’s totaled 79 points in 94 games played with a point per game average of 0.84. While the production may not translate to the NHL, he’s definitely a player worth having in the lineup as he can make a significant impact at both ends of the ice. Given how the Senators are rebuilding, his time to earn full time minutes might be nearing for him.
2017 – Gabriel Vilardi (C, Los Angeles Kings)
Playing for the both Spitfires and Frontenacs, Vilardi has always been regarded a steady two-way centre with great playing abilities. He had a 1.10 P/G average with 89 assists and 157 points in 143 games in the OHL. He has all the makings to be a quality centreman in the NHL.
He’s struggled to stay healthy at the AHL level with the Ontario Reign as he’s dealt with multiple back injuries over the last few seasons. Though when he plays, he’s on his game. He earned a call-up opportunity in 2019-20 where tallied seven points in 10 games with the Kings. This past season, he earned a spot on the roster, finishing with 23 points in 54 games and ranked in the top-10 in rookie scoring.
Vilardi’s season didn’t end there. He was called to play for Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships. After going 0-3 to start the tournament, Canada defied the odds to make the medal round and eventually won the gold medal.
2018 – Oliver Wahlstrom (C/RW, New York Islanders)
In his draft, Wahlstrom was a dangerous scoring threat with the US National Development. He can score in many different ways, but his shot and release was at an NHL level as he scored 48 goals and 94 points. He has great size and strength to battle and shield the puck in order to gain possession.
In 2019-20 with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL, Wahlstrom scored 10 goals and tallied 22 points in 45 games. After being loaned to AIK of the HockeyAllsvenskan until the 2020-21 NHL season resumed, Wahlstrom suited up in 44 games with the Islanders scoring 12 goals. He’s still on track to be an impact player for the Islanders forward unit as he continues to develop as potential top-six scorer.
2019 – Victor Söderström (D, Arizona Coyotes)
Söderström has been steady and reliable two-way defenseman, excelling at every level of competition that he has played in. He has such great composure and is always smart with his decision making, with and without the puck. It’s this kind of play that makes him a valuable prospect in the Coyotes system.
His smarts were on display at the World Junior Championships winning a bronze medal in 2020, tallying six points in seven games. He added another five assists at this year’s tournament where Sweden failed to qualify to move past the quarterfinals.
Söderström made the transition to North America playing for both the Tucson Roadrunners and Coyotes. In 32 games, he recorded eight assists and 10 points. He scored his first career NHL goal against the San Jose Sharks and finished with two points in four games played. With Jakob Chychrun becoming a top-pairing defenseman, Söderström could possibly be his defensive partner on the right side for the future.
2020 – Yaroslav Asakarov (G, Nashville Predators)
With the recent retirement news of franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Predators were already planning for the future well in advance with the selection of one of the most highly touted goaltending prospects coming up.
Askarov is very aggressive in the crease and has very strong lateral movements from side to side. Even when you think you’ve scored a goal, he is there to deny an opportunity with his lightning quick reflexes.
In Askarov’s rookie season, his stat line jumped off the page. In 18 games with VHL’s SKA-Neva St. Petersburg, he went 12-3-3 with a 2.45 GAA and a .920 SV%. While many were critical of his performance at the 2020 World Juniors, he still managed to help Russia win silver at the tournament. During the 2020-21 season, he saw some game time in the Kontinental Hockey League. While he went 5-4-0, his numbers were impressive as he had a 1.21 GAA and a .951 SV% at the senior level in Russia.
Askarov will take a few more years to develop, but he will definitely be one of the names to remember in the crease for the future.
Players Who Could Be Drafted 11th Overall in 2021
The Arizona Coyotes were slated to pick in this spot. As a result of the team violating the league’s combine testing policy, they will forfeit their pick and there will be no selection. Possible draft targets if they did have their pick include:
ALL TIME PLAYERS TAKEN 11TH OVERALL
1969- Ivan Boldirev (C, Boston Bruins)
1970- Norm Gratton (LW, New York Rangers)
1971- Murray Wilson (LW, Montreal Canadiens)
1972- George Ferguson (C, Toronto Maple Leafs)
1973- Terry Richardson (G, Detroit Red Wings)
1974- Lee Fogolin (D, Buffalo Sabres)
1975- Pat Price (D, New York Islanders)
1976- Paul Gardner (C, Kansas City Scouts)
1977- John Anderson (RW, Toronto Maple Leafs)
1978- Brad Marsh (D, Atlanta Flames)
1979- Mike Ramsey (D, Buffalo Sabres)
1980- Mike Blaisdell (RW, Detroit Red Wings)
1981- Randy Moller (D, Quebec Nordiques)
1982- Michael Petit (D, Vancouver Canucks)
1983- Adam Creighton (C, Buffalo Sabres)
1984- Sylvain Cote (D, Hartford Whalers)
1985- Dave Masnon (D, Chicago Blackhawks)
1986- Scott Young, (RW, Hartford Whalers)
1987- Yves Racine (D, Detroit Red Wings)
1988- Chris Govedaris (LW, Hartford Whalers)
1989- Mike Sillinger (C, Detroit Red Wings)
1990- Trevor Kidd (G, Calgary Flames)
1991- Brian Rolston (LW, New Jersey Devils)
1992- David Cooper (D, Buffalo Sabres)
1993- Brendan Witt (D, Washington Capitals)
1994- Jeff Friesen (LW, San Jose Sharks)
1995- Jarome Iginla (RW, Dallas Stars)
1996- Dan Focht (D, Phoenix Coyotes)
1997- Jason Ward (RW, Montreal Canadiens)
1998- Jeff Heerema (RW, Carolina Hurricanes)
1999- Oleg Saprykin (LW, Calgary Flames)
2000- Pavel Vorobiev (RW, Chicago Blackhawks)
2001- Frederik Sjostrom (RW, Phoenix Coyotes)
2002- Keith Ballard (D, Buffalo Sabres)
2003- Jeff Carter (C, Philadelphia Flyers)
2004- Lauri Tukonen (RW, Los Angeles Kings)
2005- Anze Kopitar (C, Los Angeles Kings)
2006- Jonathan Bernier (G, Los Angeles Kings)
2007- Brandon Sutter (C, Carolina Hurricanes)
2008- Kyle Beach (C, Chicago Blackhawks)
2009- Ryan Ellis (D, Nashville Predators)
Hockey has been a big part of my life since watching my first Leafs game to currently coaching minor hockey. I previously interned at The Hockey News and worked on Toronto Marlies broadcasts for Rogers TV. Aside from hockey, I also enjoy drumming, animation and impressions/ voices.