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20th Overall Picks From The Last 20 Years

by Katlyn Gambill / Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild is currently slated to select 20th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Level Draft. takes a look at some of the top-producing 20th overall picks in the past 20 years.


The Chicago Blackhawks selected Nick Schmaltz, forward out of the United States Hockey League (USHL), after he posted 36 goals, 79 assists (115 points) over two full seasons with the Green Bay Gamblers. Currently playing for the University of North Dakota, Schmaltz is expected to develop as an offensive forward capable of generating consistent offense.


Scott Laughton was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers after registering 53 points (21-32=53) in 64 games for the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in the 2011-12 season. He made his NHL debut at the age of 18 before returning to the OHL. As a two-way center, it appears Laughton could land himself a third-line role eventually.


Beau Bennett, drafted by Pittsburgh, made his NHL debut in the second half of the 2012-13 season with 14 points in 26 games. Hampered by injuries and a case of the mumps, Bennett has yet to prove his offensive abilities in the NHL, but his stickhandling skills could prove him to be a consistent contributor for years to come.


New Jersey selected center Travis Zajac with the 20th pick in 2004, and he’s gone on to be a reliable force down the middle for parts of the past nine seasons. In the 2014-15 season he posted a 53.4 faceoff win percentage.


Brent Burns drafted as a right wing by the Minnesota Wild in 2003, but was put back on defense during his first season in the NHL. Spending some time with the Houston Aeros during the 2004-05 lockout, Burns solidified himself on the blue line, and earned himself a regular spot with the Wild. Since being traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2011, Burns has played both forward and defense and signed a five-year contract extension with San Jose.


Denis Gauthier was known for his physical and defensive game with open-ice hits that established him as a threat on the blue line. He made his NHL debut in 1997, and played 554 games in the NHL for the Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings.

20+: 1990

Probably the most notable 20th overall pick was Martin Brodeur, selected by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 1990 NHL Entry Level Draft. Brodeur would go on to set the NHL record for most games (1266), most wins (691), most shutouts (125) and helped the Devils win three Stanley Cups.

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