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NHL DRAFT: Top 22nd-overall picks

As the Oilers prepare for the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago with the 22nd-overall selection, counts down some of the top players to be selected at that spot

by Paul Gazzola /

The talent in a National Hockey League Draft is omnipresent.

It can be found anywhere from Round 1 to 7 and if the Oilers decide to keep the 22nd-overall selection in the 2017 edition, based on prior Draft history, they will surely have plenty of promising skaters to choose from.

Here are some of the most notable 22nd-overall picks of all-time.


2012: Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh Penguins

Finnish defenceman Olli Maatta has become a fixture on the Pittsburgh Penguins blueline and already has two Stanley Cup rings to prove it. The defender was chosen 22nd-overall at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh and played his junior career for the well-established London Knights organization. With 220 games of experience in the NHL at only the age of 22, there's still room to evolve for the rearguard, who will surely be along for the ride in 2017-18 when the Penguins seek the three-peat.


2008: Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers

Jordan Eberle made quite the first impression.

The right winger displayed his offensive prowess in the first game of his NHL career after his amazing toe-dragging backhand bunk goal on Calgary Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff in the 2010-11 season. The 22nd-overall selection by the Oilers in the 2008 Draft has since maintained that flair for offence, scoring 20 or more goals five times throughout his tenure in the League. With 165 goals and 382 points in 507 career NHL games, Eberle sits third among his draft class in points behind only two players: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (586 GP, 321-261-582) and Ottawa Senators' two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson (556 GP, 117-339-456).


2007: Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens probably didn't know it at the time but when they called out Max Pacioretty's name at the 2007 NHL Draft in Columbus, OH, they adopted a future captain. The third American-born Canadiens captain and 29th in the club's history, nonetheless. 

Pacioretty has led the Canadiens to a number of post-season berths and hit the 30-goal mark five times in his career. The winger is in elite company when it comes to point-scoring among his draft cohort. In 562 NHL games, Pacioretty has 209 goals and 411 points, sitting fourth among his 2007 peers.


2006: Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

Another future captain plucked from the 22nd spot, Philadelphia Flyers centre Claude Giroux fortuitously fell to the Flyers in a deep 2006 NHL Draft. The 29-year-old has the second most assists among his draft class with 395 in 656 games behind sneaky setup man Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, who has 540 in 734 games. Giroux's best campaign to date was in 2011-12 when he put up 93 points in 77 games but not to be forgotten is his ability to contribute when it matters most. Giroux has 62 points in 63 playoff games for the Flyers. 

Now that's captain status.

1998: Simon Gagne, Philadelphia Flyers 

The Flyers seemingly have a knack for finding talent with the 22nd-overall pick, as that's where they also picked forward Simon Gagne, a veteran of more than 800 NHL games. The forward spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Flyers organization before moving on to play with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings - then back to the Flyers in 2012-13 - until he ended his career with the Boston Bruins. Gagne represented Canada internationally throughout his career, winning a gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.


1991: Dean McAmmond, Chicago Blackhawks

Suitcase or not, Dean McAmmond had a long NHL career. Over his 996 NHL games, McAmmond played for nine different NHL teams. The Chicago Blackhawks took the forward 22nd-overall in the 1991 NHL Draft but ended up having him play only five games before he was traded to the Oilers in 1993. Not the most prolific scorer - registering 448 points during his 18-year career - McAmmond continually provided his team with a healthy dose of responsibility and depth point production.


1989: Adam Foote, Quebec Nordiques

Life is but a circle. 

In the 2017 NHL Draft, many scouts have tabbed Adam Foote's son Callan to be chosen in the first round. In 1989, however, it was Adam who was being projected as a solid draft prospect, capable of one day becoming a long-standing NHLer.

Chosen by the Quebec Nordiques 22nd-overall (Round 2) of the 1989 draft, Foote became just that, winning two Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal amid his 1154-game NHL career. He sits behind Detroit Red Wings great Nicklas Lidstrom for most games played by a defender from the '89 class.


1986: Adam Graves, Detroit Red Wings

Another 22nd-overall selection with ties to the Oilers, Adam Graves played a lengthy NHL career and was typified as a rugged forward who would throw down when push came to glove. A two-time Stanley Cup champion - 1990 with the Oilers and 1994 with the New York Rangers - Graves played 1152 games in the League, ending his career with 616 points and 1224 penalty minutes. 

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