The first NHL prospect draft occurred on June 5, 1963, at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. History was made when the Montreal Canadiens made Garry Monahan the first player ever taken in the NHL draft.
Since then, there have been 60 No. 1 overall picks, with four already inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and seven winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. Interestingly, only 16 of those top picks have won the Stanley Cup. But how many of those players won a championship with the team that drafted them?
After searching everyone’s player profiles, we discovered that only 12 first-overall picks had won a Stanley Cup with the team that called their name in the draft; here is the list.
Rejean Houle – Montreal Canadiens 1969
- Stanley Cup: 1971, 1973, 1977, 1978, 1979
As the top pick in the 1969 draft, Rejean Houle joined the Canadiens for the following season, playing eight games as a 20-year-old. Eventually, he became an NHL regular in 1970-71, winning his first Stanley Cup. After 11 seasons and five championships, he retired in 1983 with 408 points in 634 games.
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Guy Lafleur – Montreal Canadiens 1971
- Stanley Cup: 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979
Guy Lafleur is one of the greatest first-overall picks in NHL history, becoming the Canadiens’ all-time leading scorer with 1,246 points. Thanks to five Stanley Cup titles, three scoring titles, and six All-Star appearances, Lafleur is enshrined in the Hall of Fame and received the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2002.
Denis Potvin – New York Islanders 1973
- Stanley Cup: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
Denis Potvin was a vital member of the last true NHL dynasty, anchoring the blueline for the New York Islanders, who won four straight titles in the early 1980s. As one of the best defenders of his era and of all time, the three-time Norris Trophy winner is just one of eight defensemen in history to score over a thousand points with 1,052. Naturally, he entered the Hall of Fame upon retirement.
Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins 1984
- Stanley Cup: 1991, 1992
Mario Lemieux is considered one of the best players in NHL history, and had it not been for injuries, including cancer, he could have challenged many of Wayne Gretzky’s records.
Realistically, Lemieux’s section at the Hall of Fame doesn’t do his career the justice it deserves, including leading the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. Furthermore, in 2000, he bought the team from bankruptcy and earned three more rings as owner in 2009, 2016, and 2017.
Mike Modano – Minnesota North Stars* 1988
- Stanley Cup: 1999
Mike Modano is widely considered the greatest player in Stars’ history, with 557 goals, 802 assists, and 1,359 points, all franchise records. As one of the last Minnesota North Stars players that relocated with the team to Dallas in 1993, Modano was a key player during the Stars’ drive to the 1999 Stanley Cup championship. As one of the best American-born players in history, he is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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Vincent Lecavalier – Tampa Bay Lightning 1998
- Stanley Cup: 2004
Vincent Lecavalier is one of the top players to ever play for the Tampa Bay Lightning, joining the franchise as an 18-year-old just a few months after being drafted. After 14 years and one Stanley Cup title in 2004, he departed the franchise as their leading goal scorer (383) and point collector (874) while remaining their all-time leader in games played at 1,037.
Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins 2003
- Stanley Cup: 2009, 2016, 2017
Marc-Andre Fleury became the third goalie in draft history to go first overall, after Michel Plasse (1968) and Rick DiPietro (2000). As one of the critical pieces responsible for over a decade of success in the Penguins’ history, Fleury won three Stanley Cups with the team and is one of three NHL netminders to win more than 500 games. Ultimately, he’s most certainly a first-ballot Hall of Famer whenever he decides to retire.
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Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals 2004
- Stanley Cup: 2018
When Gretzky retired in 1999, no one believed someone would challenge his goal record at 894. However, just five years after he left the game, his potential successor, Alex Ovechkin, came into the NHL and is currently just 72 goals away.
Surprisingly, despite being among the most gifted goal scorers ever to play professional hockey, many questioned Ovechkin’s legacy since he hadn’t won a Stanley Cup. After crossing that off the bucket list in 2018, he turned his attention to the goal record, and if he remains healthy, could catch Gretzky within two full seasons.
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Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins 2005
- Stanley Cup: 2009, 2016, 2017
Sidney Crosby is a generational talent, one of the best players in the NHL for over 15 years. Whether scoring goals or setting up his teammates, Crosby will retire as one of the greatest players in Penguins’ history, second only to Lemieux.
Furthermore, with a resume full of awards, records, and Olympic gold medals, Crosby will most certainly be in the Hall of Fame and rank as one of the top players ever to play in the NHL.
Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks 2007
- Stanley Cup: 2010, 2013, 2015
Patrick Kane is one of the best players to ever play for the Chicago Blackhawks and one of the best American-born players in NHL history, sitting just 154 points short of the country’s all-time scoring record. After Chicago went without a championship for 49 years, Kane ushered in a new era in team history with three titles in six years from 2010 to 2015. Although he left the team in 2023 to try and win another Stanley Cup, he’ll join other Blackhawks legends in the Hall of Fame whenever he retires.
Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning 2008
- Stanley Cup: 2020, 2021
Steven Stamkos is now the leading scorer in Lightning history, serving as their captain since 2014-15. Another pure goal scorer, who recently passed 500 lamplighters and 1,000 points, many questioned his ability to lead and win the Stanley Cup. After leading his team to three straight finals appearances, winning back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021, he’s silenced the critics and certified himself as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
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Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche 2013
- Stanley Cup: 2022
Nathan MacKinnon is the latest first-overall pick to win the Stanley Cup with the team that drafted him, raising the silver chalice with the Colorado Avalanche in 2022. As another generational talent, he is considered one of the game’s best players, along with Crosby and Connor McDavid. At just 27, he’s got a chance to win again and continue building up his resume, ultimately leading to a plaque at the Hall of Fame.
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