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 1st 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: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
After taking a deep dive into the history of the 32nd, 31st, 30th, 29th and 28th overall picks through the last decade, the series continues today with the sixth piece in the series and a look at the history of the 27th overall pick.
Similar to the 29th and 28th overall picks of the last decade, the 27th pick has been largely dominated by forwards. Between 2010 and 2020, eight forwards have been drafted with that selection. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes, and Anaheim Ducks have also been prominent players with the pick too, figuring into seven of the last 11 drafts. As for the success of the picks, all but one (Jacob Perreault – 2020) have played a game in the NHL, and Vladislav Namestnikov has seen the most success with 478 games and 206 points on his resume.
2010 – Mark Visentin (G, Phoenix Coyotes)
One of the relatively few goaltenders to get drafted in the first round, Mark Visentin spent his draft year playing with the Niagara IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He didn’t have a banner season, finishing with a pedestrian 2.99 goals-against average (GAA) and .911 save percentage (SV%) over 55 games. Though, Coyotes’ scouts must have seen something in his game to warrant using a first-round pick on him because that’s exactly what they did when they passed over Charlie Coyle and Brock Nelson to select him in 2010.
Visentin rewarded the Coyotes’ confidence in him with a standout performance at the 2011 World Junior Championship where he backstopped Team Canada to a silver medal with a 2.01 GAA and .923 SV% over four games. He then posted a career-best 1.99 GAA and .926 SV% along with an OHL-high 10 shutouts the following season. Seemingly destined for a career in the NHL, he graduated to the pro game in 2012 with the AHL’s Portland Pirates and made his first NHL start during the 2013-14 season with the Coyotes.
Unfortunately, that’s all the NHL action he has seen since then. After stints with the Rockford IceHogs, Milwaukee Admirals, and the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, Visentin attempted to continue his career in the Italian League with Fehérvár AV19 where he only saw one start during the 2017-18 season. He announced his retirement from hockey in 2018 and declared that he would be studying Business Commerce at the University of Guelph to decide the next phase of his career.
2011 – Vladislav Namestnikov (C, Tampa Bay Lightning)
After a draft year that saw him record 30 goals and 68 points in 68 games with the London Knights, Namestnikov was selected in 2011 by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the 27th overall pick. Unlike many of his Russian brethren, he decided to forge a path in the OHL instead of the KHL and finished with 52 goals and 139 points in 131 games and an OHL championship.
Namestnikov turned pro with the Syracuse Crunch in 2012 and basically never looked back. After three seasons between the AHL and the NHL, he graduated to the NHL full time in 2015 and has since accumulated 206 points in 478 games. Since being drafted, he’s played for five teams, including four in the last two seasons suiting up for the New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, and Detroit Red Wings. He is currently playing out a two-year contract he signed as a free agent with the Red Wings in 2020.
2012 – Henrik Samuelsson (C/RW, Phoenix Coyotes)
Swedish by name alone, Henrik Samuelsson was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and although he decided to play a part of his draft year split between Sweden’s Elitserien and their J18 and J20 junior leagues, he ultimately made a name for himself in the WHL playoffs with the Edmonton Oil Kings. During a run that saw his team win their first WHL championship over the Portland Winterhawks, he was one of their key players finishing with four goals and 14 points in 17 games. Influenced by that performance, the Coyotes decided to make him their first-round pick only a few weeks later.
Samuelsson went on to have an impressive WHL career after that, racking up two 30-goal seasons, another WHL championship, and the ultimate CHL prize, the Memorial Cup. Unfortunately, that success didn’t follow him to the professional ranks, as he only ever saw three NHL games with the Coyotes during the 2014-15 season. Since then, he has bounced around the AHL and ECHL where he has failed to produce more than 18 goals and 43 points over a full season. He spent the 2020-21 campaign with HK Levice in the Slovakia2 league where he played only one game.
2013 – Marko Daňo (C, Columbus Blue Jackets)
Despite playing only 37 games in the KHL with HC Slovan Bratislava, Marko Daňo managed to catch the eye of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Though it was probably not his stint in the KHL that got them excited about his potential. No, that likely came because of his performance at the 2013 World Juniors. That tournament he was all over the place, leading his Slovakian team in scoring with four goals and nine points in six games. The Austrian-born forward didn’t lead them to a medal but did everything he could to stand out amongst his peers.
The following season, Daňo split his time between HC Slovan Bratislava and the AHL’s Springfield Falcons where he recorded five goals and 11 points in 51 games. Since then, he has tried to gain a foothold in the NHL by bouncing around as a callup between parent clubs and the AHL. Suiting up for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, and Colorado Avalanche, he has accumulated 19 goals and 45 points in 141 games.
Daňo’s best season came back in 2014-15 where he had eight goals and 21 points in 35 games. Now 26-years-old, he is firmly ensconced as a career-AHLer with the ability to fill in temporarily as an injury stopgap in the bottom six.
2014 – Nikolay Goldobin (LW/RW, San Jose Sharks)
One of the more highly-touted Russians to come out of the 2014 Draft, Nikolay Goldobin put on a show for Sarnia Sting fans during his draft year. With a career-high 38 goals and 94 points, the skilled winger showcased his soft hands and natural goalscoring talent throughout the season, catching the eyes of NHL scouts in the process. The Sharks were enamored so much by his potential that they made him their 27th overall pick.
Unfortunately, like many purely offensive players, Goldobin struggled with the defensive side of the game. After a 2017 trade deadline deal that saw him go to the Vancouver Canucks for the versatile Jannik Hansen, he frustrated fans and coaches alike with his inconsistent production and overall two-way game as he recorded only 19 goals and 46 points in parts of four seasons. After another unproductive season in 2018-19, he was jettisoned to the AHL’s Utica Comets where he dominated with 19 goals and 50 points in 51 games. However, despite that performance, he never saw more than one game with the Canucks.
After the Canucks declined to submit a qualifying offer in 2020, Goldobin decided to take his talents to the KHL. Split between CSKA Moskva and Metallurg Magnitogorsk, he scored six goals in 50 games, culminating in a solid playoff run with the latter where he recorded nine points in 12 games.
2015 – Jacob Larsson (D, Anaheim Ducks)
Needing skilled, puck-moving defenceman to support Cam Fowler, the Anaheim Ducks turned to the smooth-skating Jacob Larsson to fill that particular need in their prospect pipeline. It took a few seasons in the SHL to get him over to North America, but the early returns look relatively good as he just completed his third full season in the NHL.
Larsson may not be putting up the points the Ducks expected when they drafted him in 2015, but he’s still developed into a solid option on the backend. At 24-years-old and only three goals and 23 points in 159 games, he’s likely not going to transform into a point-producer, but he’s still proven to be a valuable piece of the team. Playing an average of 17 minutes a night in the past three seasons, he’s clearly earned the trust of his coaches. With Jamie Drysdale and possibly Luke Hughes, Brandt Clarke, or Simon Edvinsson joining the team in the next few years, he’s going to need to keep improving to keep his spot in the lineup.
2016 – Brett Howden (C, Tampa Bay Lightning)
A star with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Brett Howden carved out a memorable three seasons in the WHL, finishing with 109 goals and 267 points in 248 games. Selected by the Lightning after a 24-goal season, he was named captain of the Warriors and made his pro debut shortly after with the Syracuse Crunch and impressed with three goals and four points in five games. Sent back to the Warriors the following season, Howden won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2018 World Juniors, capping off his junior career with a bang.
Traded to the New York Rangers in 2018 along with Namestnikov and Libor Hajek in exchange for J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh, Howden made his NHL debut a few months later and finished his rookie season with 23 points in 66 games. Since then, he’s become a full-time NHLer and recorded 16 goals and 49 points in 178 games.
2017 – Morgan Frost (C, Philadelphia Flyers)
Eventually becoming an OHL superstar, Morgan Frost was just scratching the surface when he posted 20 goals and 62 points during his draft year in 2016-17. Flyers’ scouts obviously saw that potential when they recommended him to then-general manager Ron Hextall because Frost proceeded to dominate the OHL ranks to the tune of 79 goals and 221 points over his next two seasons.
Having recently turned pro during the 2019-20 season, Frost has shown flashes of his offensive wizardry already. Split between the Leigh Valley Phantoms and the Philadelphia Flyers, he scored his first two goals in the NHL and finished his first AHL season with 13 goals and 29 points and an AHL All-Star Game nod. He only got into two games during the COVID-19 shortened 2020-21 season, but should be a full-time member of the Flyers’ top nine as early as next season.
2018 – Nicolas Beaudin (D, Chicago Blackhawks)
One of the few defencemen selected with the 27th overall pick in the last decade, Quebec native Nicolas Beaudin was an offensive dynamo with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in his draft year. Finishing with 12 goals and 69 points in 68 games, he was arguably one of the best offensive blueliners in the QMJHL that season. Eventually drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018, he played one more season in the Q before he started his pro career with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL where he finished with 15 points in 59 games.
Traveling between the IceHogs, Blackhawks, and their Taxi Squad, Beaudin got into 19 games during the 2020-21 season and occasionally saw some significant minutes in the top four. By the end of it all, he had scored his first two goals in the NHL and made his international debut with Team Canada at the 2021 World Championship where he walked away with a gold medal around his neck. If all goes well in 2021-22, he won’t be seeing the AHL very often, as he will be a full-time NHLer with the Blackhawks.
2019 – Nolan Foote (LW, Tampa Bay Lightning)
Yet another Lightning 27th overall draft pick, Nolan Foote has become one of the NHL’s top prospects since being drafted in 2019. A former captain and 36-goal scorer with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, he is just starting to find his way after graduating from the hockey factory that is the Rockets. Boasting picks like Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Jamie Benn and Leon Draisaitl, Foote is poised to become another successful product in a long assembly line of NHL stars.
Like Howden before him, Foote didn’t suit up for his first NHL game with the team that drafted him. The son of long-time NHLer Adam Foote was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Blake Coleman and eventually made his debut with them earlier this season. He spent most of his time in the AHL with the Binghamton Devils but did manage to score his first NHL goal. He will look to parlay his successful rookie season in the AHL to more games with the parent club next season.
2020 – Jacob Perreault (RW, Anaheim Ducks)
After using their sixth overall pick to select highly-coveted defenceman Jamie Drysdale, the Ducks decided to go the forward route for their second first-round pick and select Jacob Perreault from the Sarnia Sting. Having just completed a season with 39 goals and 70 points, he was almost a no-brainer at the 27th spot.
Since then all Perreault has done is further confirm his status as a first round pick. With the OHL delaying and eventually canceling the season due to the pandemic and the AHL allowing underage players like him to play, he excelled to the tune of 17 points in 27 games with the San Diego Gulls. He never got into an NHL game as Drysdale did, but he did a lot to solidify his spot as a top prospect with the Ducks. If he continues to progress in the OHL next season, he could be seeing a lot of time in the NHL as soon as 2022-23.
Players Who Could Be Drafted 27th Overall in 2021
ALL TIME PLAYERS TAKEN 27TH OVERALL
1969 – Gregg Boddy (D, Los Angeles Kings)
1970 – Dan Bouchard (G, Boston Bruins)
1971 – Tom Williams (LW, New York Rangers)
1972 – Randy Osburn (LW, Toronto Maple Leafs)
1973 – Colin Campbell (D, Pittsburgh Penguins)
1974 – Jacques Cossette (RW, Pittsburgh Penguins)
1975 – Ed Staniowski (G, St. Louis Blues)
1976 – Jeff McDill (RW, Chicago Blackhawks)
1977 – Neil Labatte (C/D, St. Louis Blues)
1978 – Merlin Malinowski (C, Colorado Rockies)
1979 – Gaston Gingras (D, Montreal Canadiens)
1980 – Ric Nattress (D, Montreal Canadiens)
1981 – Dave Donnelly (C, Minnesota North Stars)
1982 – Mike Heidt (D, Los Angeles Kings)
1983 – Sergio Momesso (LW, Montreal Canadiens)
1984 – Scott Mellanby (RW, Philadelphia Flyers)
1985 – Joe Nieuwendyk (C, Calgary Flames)
1986 – Benoit Brunet (LW, Montreal Canadiens)
1987 – Patrik Ericksson (C, Winnipeg Jets)
1988 – Tie Domi (RW, Toronto Maple Leafs)
1989 – Michael Speer (D, Chicago Blackhawks)
1990 – Chris Taylor (C, New York Islanders)
1991 – Steve Staios (D, St. Louis Blues)
1992 – Boris Mironov (D, Winnipeg Jets)
1993 – Radim Bicanek (D, Ottawa Senators)
1994 – Rhett Warrener (D, Florida Panthers)
1995 – Marc Moro (D, Ottawa Senators)
1996 – Cory Sarich (D, Buffalo Sabres)
1997 – Ben Clymer (RW, Boston Bruins)
1998 – Scott Gomez (C, New Jersey Devils)
1999 – Ari Ahonen (G, New Jersey Devils)
2000 – Martin Samuelsson (RW, Boston Bruins)
2001 – Jeff Woywitka (D, Philadelphia Flyers)
2002 – Mike Morris (RW, San Jose Sharks)
2003 – Jeff Tambellini (LW, Los Angeles Kings)
2004 – Jeff Schultz (D, Washington Capitals)
2005 – Joe Finley (D, Washington Capitals)
2006 – Ivan Vishnevskiy (D, Dallas Stars)
2007 – Brendan Smith (D, Detroit Red Wings)
2008 – John Carlson (D, Washington Capitals)
2009 – Philippe Paradis (C, Carolina Hurricanes)
Catch Up on the Series So Far
- NHL Draft History – 32nd Pick Overall
- NHL Draft History – 31st Pick Overall
- NHL Draft History – 30th Pick Overall
- NHL Draft History – 29th Pick Overall
- NHL Draft History – 28th Pick Overall
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, editor, part-time journalist, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.