Greatest Players Drafted – 1st Overall

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Mario Lemieux

Drafted: 1st overall (1st round), 1984, Pittsburgh Penguins
Amateur Team: Laval Voisins
Born: October 5th, 1965 in Montreal, Quebec
Position: Centre
Teams: PIT
Number: 66
Shoots: Right

Career Statistics

Regular Season                    Playoffs

GP: 915                                   GP: 107
Goals: 690                              Goals: 76 
Assists: 1033                          Assists: 96       
Points: 1723                            Points: 172    
Goals/Game: 0.754                 Goals/Game: 0.710  
Assists/Game: 1.129              Assists/Game: 0.897  
Points/Game: 1.883                Points/Game: 1.607                     

Awards/Honours

1997 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee
2x Stanley Cup Champion
2x Conn Smythe Trophy winner
6x Art Ross Trophy winner
1984-85 Calder Memorial Trophy winner
1984-85 NHL All-Rookie Team
4x Ted Lindsay Award winner
3x Hart Memorial Trophy winner
1x Lester Patrick Trophy winner
5x NHL First All-Star Team
4x NHL Second All-Star Team
1x NHL Plus/Minus Award Winner
1x Bill Masterton Trophy winner
10x NHL All-Star


No honourable mentions this time. There have been a ton of players drafted first overall who’ve had incredible careers, some of whom are still playing and will one day be counted as legends of the game. You’d think having all those options would make this spot difficult to select. It did not. 

Depending on who you ask, there are four contenders for the best player to ever play the game. Looking at Mario’s stats, you can easily see why he’s one of them. I like to compare him to Steve Yzerman, one of my favourite players growing up, a guy who played in the same era, and one of the best players ever. Mario did everything Steve did, but he accomplished it in 600 less games, losing many to injury and cancer while in his prime. Imagining what he could have done in 1500 games instead of 900 boggles the mind. And yet the lost opportunity doesn’t even sting all that bad because of how much he managed to pack into a shortened career. He won two Stanley Cups. He led the league in scoring six times. He had six seasons where he averaged more than 2 points-per-game. He’s one of three guys to score more than 80 goals in a season, and scored more than 60 four times. He’s one of three guys to put up 100+ assists in a season. He’s also the only guy other than Gretzky to even come close to scoring 200 points in a season. A dominant player, maybe the most dominant one-on-one player of all-time, and the only choice for greatest player drafted 1st overall.