The 5: Five best players taken at No. 5 in NHL Draft
The Arizona Coyotes hold the No. 5 pick in Friday’s NHL Draft.
The Coyotes are looking to build on a wealth of young talent, part of which took the team’s AHL affiliate, the Tucson Roadrunners, to the AHL playoffs this past season.
But it’s what they do at the NHL level that fans are anxious to see, and some previous No. 5 picks have yielded some good NHL careers. Here are the five best the NHL has seen.
No. 5 — Thomas Vanek, left wing, 2003 NHL Draft
The 34-year-old Croatian has had a productive career, having spent his first nine years with the Buffalo Sabres. In his second full season, he led the league in +/- at 47 and then followed that up two years later by leading in power play goals with 20. Last season with Vancouver and Columbus, Vanek scored 56 points in 80 games as he heads toward the latter stages of his career. Vanek has always been known for his goal-scoring ability and has lit the lamp 254 times in his career.
No. 4 — Blake Wheeler, right wing, 2004 NHL Draft
Originally drafted by the Coyotes with the No. 5 pick in the 2004 draft, Wheeler ended up signing with Boston and had a great career from there. The 31-year-old tied for the NHL lead in assists in 2017-18 with 68 as a member of Winnipeg Jets. Wheeler has scored 23 or more goals in each of the last five seasons and had 40 points on the power play alone last year.
No. 3 — Phil Kessel, right wing, 2006 NHL Draft
Kessel, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, has been one of the best players in the Eastern Conference over the last decade. The 30-year-old Wisconsin native hasn’t missed a game since the 2009-10 season and has been a steadying force on offense his entire career. Kessel scored the most points of his career in 2017-18 with 92 and still remains an elite offensive player.
No. 2 — Carey Price, goaltender, 2005 NHL Draft
As a steadying force in front of the net for the Canadiens, Price has become one of the best goaltenders in the game. The 30-year-old British Columbia native had his best season in 2014-15 when he led the league in wins, save percentage and goals against average, winning the Vezina and the Hart Trophy. He’s dealt with a fair share of injuries, but when he’s on the ice he’s a tough matchup for most offenses.
No. 1 — Jaromir Jagr, right wing, 1990 NHL Draft
One of the greatest players in recent memory, Jagr was known not only for his impressive statistics as well as his remarkable longevity. Twenty-seven seasons in the NHL and playing into his mid-40s are remarkable accomplishments. The 46-year-old native of Czechoslovakia won two Stanley Cups and was an eight-time All-Star. He scored 439 goals and 1,079 points in his career for nine different teams.
When the Coyotes are on the clock Friday, they will be looking to add a potential franchise cornerstone.
Tom Barrasso — Buffalo Sabres, 1983
Karl Alzner — Washington Capitals, 2007
Luke Schenn — Toronto Maple Leafs, 2008
Brayden Schenn — Los Angeles Kings, 2009
Morgan Rielly — Toronto Maple Leafs, 2012
Noah Hanifin — Carolina Hurricanes, 2015