NHL Draft

Looking back at past 12th overall picks in NHL draft history

Assuming they hold onto their pick, the Calgary Flames will select 12th overall in the 2021 NHL draft. To see how the history has been for those taken in the middle of the first round, I took a look back at past drafts to see what the 12th pick has yielded for other teams and what what Flames can expect with the player they take at that position.

Demographics of the 12th overall pick

The NHL has featured at least 12 teams since 1968. That was the first year the 12th overall pick was in the first round, and that’s where our data set begins. Since the 1968 draft, 53 players have been selected with the 12th pick. Of those 53 players, 34 have been forwards and 19 have been defensemen. A goalie has never been selected 12th overall (since 1968 at least).

27 different teams have selected at 12th overall. The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens lead the way with five 12th overall selections.

The overwhelming majority of picks have come out of the OHL; 16 total selections since 1968. The WHL and OHA (Ontario Hockey Association, the predecessor to the OHL) are next with eight 12th overall picks.

Calgary Flames history

The Flames have only selected 12th overall once in the history of the franchise, but it was a good one. In the 1984 NHL draft, the Flames took a left winger from the OHL’s Ottawa 67s by the name of Gary Roberts. Of course, Roberts is a Flames legend, playing 10 seasons as a Flame and helping them win the Stanley Cup in 1989.

Getting the same type of success with this year’s 12th overall pick would be phenomenal, though Roberts is probably an impossible bar to surpass.

Top scorers among 12th overall picks

The top 10 scorers feature some true NHL greats.

YearTeamPlayerPositionDrafted FromGPGAP
1997OttawaMarian HossaRTrencin Dukla [Slovak]13095256091134
1984CalgaryGary RobertsLOttawa 67’s [OHL]1224438471909
1998ColoradoAlex TanguayLHalifax Mooseheads [QMJHL]1088283580863
1983NY RangersDave GagnerCBrantford Alexanders [OHL]946318401719
1974MontrealMario TremblayFMontreal Red White and Blue [QMJHL]852258326584
1981ChicagoTony TantiLOshawa Generals [OHL]697287273560
1979AtlantaPaul ReinhartDKitchener Rangers [OHA]648133427560
2006AtlantaBryan LittleCBarrie Colts [OHL]843217304521
2001NashvilleDan HamhuisDPrince George Cougars [WHL]114859297356
2010AnaheimCam FowlerDWindsor Spitfires [OHL]73572252324

On average, the 12th overall pick has scored 71 goals, 119 assists, and 190 points over their career. The top-10 features several players who have suited up for the Flames, including the aforementioned Roberts, Alex Tanguay, and Paul Reinhart. Only one 12th overall pick has ever hit the 1000 point mark in Marian Hossa.

Cam Fowler is the only active player among the top-10 scorers.

The most recent 12th overall picks

As scouting has improved over the past decade or so, the 12th pick has been a decent slot for teams to get bonafide NHLers.

YearTeamPlayerPositionDrafted FromGPGAP
2020FloridaAnton LundellCHIFK Helsinki [SM-liiga]0000
2019MinnesotaMatthew BoldyLU.S. National Development Team [USHL]0000
2018NY IslandersNoah DobsonDAcadie-Bathurst Titan [QMJHL]8041721
2017CarolinaMartin NecasCBrno Kometa [Czech]125314879
2016New JerseyMichael McLeodCMississauga Steelheads [OHL]8591120
2015DallasDenis GurianovRTolyatti [Russia]141333063
2014ArizonaBrendan PerliniLNiagara IceDogs [OHL]239463076
2013WinnipegJosh MorrisseyDPrince Albert Raiders [WHL]34428101129
2012BuffaloMikhail GrigorenkoCQuebec Remparts [QMJHL]249265076
2011CarolinaRyan MurphyDKitchener Rangers [OHL]17583543

Standout players include Jets defenseman and Calgarian Josh Morrissey, Hurricanes centre Martin Necas, Stars sniper Denis Gurianov, and Islanders’ defenseman Noah Dobson. Dobson was taken with the first round pick traded by the Flames to New York in the Travis Hamonic deal.

Especially recently, the players taken at 12 look to be fairly good overall. It’s a little early to judge Matthew Boldy and Anton Lundell, but both look like surefire NHL players and are top prospects for their respective teams.

Not on the lists above, but there are three other active players taken at 12th overall that have been minute muching stalwarts on the blueline: Calvin de Haan (2009), Ryan McDonagh (2007), and Marc Staal (2005).

What can the Flames expect in 2021?

Because this draft is going to be much more chaotic and unexpected than those in the recent past, anything could happen by the time the 12th pick rolls around. Whether or not it’s the right pick, the Flames will likely be able to select someone they really like at 12, and hopefully, that player turns out to have a similar career as those listed above.

Take a look at TWC’s draft profile series for more information on potential targets for the Flames in the first round.

Who do you think the Flames will take? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

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