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Sixth overall pick produced talented NHLers over last five years

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames hold the sixth overall pick at the 2016 NHL Draft -- a spot highly-talented NHL players have been selected at over the last five years.

Four of the last five players drafted sixth overall have played at least one full NHL season and last year's pick, Pavel Zacha, made his NHL debut in the 2015-16 campaign. Three of those five players have taken on big roles with their respective clubs and Zacha and 2014 pick Jake Virtanen are poised to become leaders on with their teams.

Here is a breakdown of the players recently selected sixth overall:


Pavel Zacha was limited to 37 games in his freshman OHL season thanks to two suspensions and an elbow injury but the New Jersey Devils saw enough in the forward to take him sixth overall last summer. During his rookie year with the Sarnia Sting, Zacha scored 16 goals and ended up with 34 points in the regular season. He chipped in with three points in five games during their 2015 playoff run.

The winger spent the 2015-16 season in Sarnia, amassing 64 points in 51 games, and led the Sting in scoring in postseason with 13 points in seven skates. He ended up making his NHL debut on Apr. 9, 2016, picking up two assists against the Toronto Maple Leafs.


The Vancouver Canucks went with homegrown talent in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, nabbing New Westminster, BC's Jake Virtanen. The then-Calgary Hitmen forward had made a name for himself in the WHL with his skill and physical play, scoring 45 goals and 71 points while earning 100 PIM during his draft-eligible season.

Virtanen spent one more season in the WHL before making the Canucks roster in 2015-16, playing 55 games in Vancouver last year. In his first full pro campaign, the winger scored seven goals and put 13 points in 55 NHL appearances.


Mony Mony.

The Calgary Flames went with Ottawa 67's centre Sean Monahan with their first of three first round selections in 2013 and it has proven to be a wise choice. The Brampton, ON product made the Flames opening night roster in 2013-14, a rare feat for any 18-year-old, and has been in Calgary ever since.

Monahan has played 237 NHL games, which is second behind only Seth Jones from the 2013 draft class, and leads all players drafted that year in scoring with 80 goals and 159 points. He has scored 20+ goals in his first three seasons and surpassed the 30-goal mark in 2014-15. The 21-year-old was second in team scoring in 2015-16 with 27 goals and 63 points.


With the likes of Morgan Rielly, Mathew Dumba, Cody Ceci, Jacob Trouba, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Colton Parayko taken, 2012 was a banner year for defencemen at the draft. Anaheim, who held the sixth overall pick after finishing 13th in the Western Conference in 2011-12, may have nabbed the top rearguard of that class in Hampus Lindholm.

Drafted out of Rogle BK in Sweden, he made the jump to pro hockey in 2012-13 when he was assigned to Norfolk Admirals in the AHL. Since then, he's been a regular in Anaheim, dressing for 236 games over the last three years while amassing 23 goals and 92 points. He leads all defencemen in the 2012 class in scoring and is tied for third in NHL games played out of any player drafted in 2012.


With their first round pick back in 2011, the Ottawa Senators selected centre Mika Zibanejad out of Djurgardens IF Stockholm in the then-Swedish Elite League. The Huddinge, SWE native ended up playing a nine-game trial with the Senators in 2011-12 before heading back to Sweden to play for Djurgardens.

Zibanejad's first full NHL season came in 2012-13, when he suited up for 42 games in the NHL. That year, he scored seven goals and registered 20 points during his time with the Senators. He now has played 281 games for Ottawa, netting 64 goals and 151 points. He put together a career season in 2015-16 with 21 goals and 51 points in 81 skates.

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