Can 2013 draftees top 2003?

Much-hyped prospect crop has a high bar to clear

Updated: August 5, 2013, 4:57 PM ET
By Neil Greenberg | ESPN Insider

Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov & Jonathan DrouinGetty ImagesCan Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin out perform the 2003 draft class?

Ten years ago, the NHL had one of the most productive draft classes in its history. All 30 of the first-round selections have played at least one game in the NHL; 27 have played at least 200 games; 24 have played in an NHL All-Star Game; eight have been key contributors on Stanley Cup-winning teams,  and six wear the captain's "C" for their club. On average, a skater selected in 2003 has played 247 NHL games and has produced 44 career goals, 67 career assists and 111 career points -- and that includes players such as Ivan Baranka (Rangers, 50th overall) and Zack Fitzgerald (Blues, 88th).

There were a number of picks who likely would have been selected earlier, including David Backes (62nd overall) and Jimmy Howard (64th). Loui Eriksson (33rd overall), Patrice Bergeron (45th) and Shea Weber (49th) certainly would be first-round selections if that draft were re-done today.

Coming off the 2013 draft, which scouts believe may be equally star-studded, can Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin, Seth Jones and the rest of this year's picks make as big an impact as the Class of '03? And will that impact be felt as early as the coming season?


To find out how this year's crop of highly-drafted rookies will stack up against the top recent classes, plus to get access to Insider's complete NHL coverage, sign up today.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.