- Neil Greenberg, NHL
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?
Neil Greenberg assesses this offseason's top draft picks, and analyzes whether the group -- headed by Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin and Seth Jones will stack up against the best draft classes in recent history.