To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first NHL Draft, NHL.com assembled a 13-member panel to select the best first-round picks of all time, based on selection number. NHL.com will feature one of the top first-round picks each day, beginning with the best No. 30 pick on June 1 and culminating with the all-time No. 1 pick on June 30, the day of the 2013 NHL Draft.
The third member of that exclusive club is Marcel Dionne, an often-overlooked superstar who played in eight NHL All-Star Games, won the Lady Byng Trophy twice and also won an Art Ross Trophy in 18 seasons.
He has been voted the best No. 2 first-round pick by NHL.com's Dream Draft panel.
The Detroit Red Wings chose Dionne with the second selection of the 1971 NHL Draft after an outstanding junior career that saw him score at least 100 points in his final three seasons with the St. Catherines Black Hawks of the Ontario Hockey Association, including 62 goals and 143 points in 46 games in 1970-71.
Dionne had two 40-goal seasons and scored at least 90 points twice in his first four NHL seasons, topped by 47 goals and 121 points in 1974-75, when he won his first Lady Byng Trophy. However, the Red Wings missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs each time.
On June 23, 1975, the Red Wings traded Dionne to the Los Angeles Kings, and it was as the center on the famed "Triple Crown" line, flanked by Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer, that Dionne emerged as an offensive star.
In his first season with the Kings, Dionne had team highs of 40 goals and 94 points, and the following season he was second in the League with 122 points and third with 53 goals. He had 12 penalty minutes and won his second Lady Byng.
He scored a career-best 59 goals in 1978-79, second in the League to Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders (69), and Dionne's 130 points were second behind the Islanders' Bryan Trottier (134). Dionne was second in the League with 19 power-play goals (Bossy had 27) and was awarded the Lester B. Pearson Award as the League's best player as voted by the players.
He raised his point total in 1979-80 to a career-best 137, tied with Gretzky for the League lead. Dionne was awarded the Art Ross Trophy by virtue of scoring 53 goals, two more than Gretzky, and won his second straight Pearson Award.
In 1980-81, Dionne was second in the League with 58 goals and 135 points, and scored his 1,000th career point. He extended his streak of 50-goal/100-point seasons to five with 50 goals and 117 points in 1981-82 and 56 goals and 107 points in 1982-83.
In 1984-85, he had 126 points, but the Kings failed to advance past the division semifinals, marking the 10th straight season Los Angeles did not qualify for the playoffs or lost in the first round.
The Kings missed the postseason in 1985-86 despite Dionne's 94 points, and he was traded to the New York Rangers in March 1987. He played his final two seasons with the Rangers, highlighted by Oct. 31, 1987, when he became the third player to score 700 goals.
He played his last game March 18, 1989, and retired third on the all-time scoring list, behind Howe and Gretzky.
Dionne's 731 goals rank fourth on the all-time list, and his 1,771 points are fifth. His eight 100-point seasons are third-most in League history, and his six 50-goal seasons are tied with Lemieux and Guy Lafleur for third-most.
Dionne was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 and was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for contributions to hockey in the United States in 2006.
Dionne might have been overlooked during his career because of his time on the West Coast and his teams' lack of playoff success -- he skated in the postseason nine times in 18 seasons -- but seven members of NHL.com's Dream Draft panel recognized Dionne's legacy, voting for him ahead of likely Hall of Fame members Chris Pronger and Brendan Shanahan.
"Marcel Dionne was a dominant player the moment he entered the NHL in 1971," NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor Brian Compton said. "Granted, there are many other worthy candidates to choose from at No. 2, but Dionne is one of the top offensive players to ever play the game. He scored over 700 goals and had 100 points in a season eight times. Only three players in the history of the League have scored more goals than Dionne. For me, that separates him from the rest of the pack."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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