How long does it take for a first overall pick to win the Stanley Cup?

With the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup win this season, two first overall picks won the Stanley Cup for the first time: Nathan MacKinnon and Erik Johnson. On the other side of the ice, another first overall pick in Steven Stamkos was denied his third Cup after winning it for the first time in 2020.

Going back through NHL history, we took a look at how long it usually takes for a first overall draft pick to win the Stanley Cup.

YearTeamFirst Overall PickFirst Cup WinYears Since DraftWith Drafted Team?
1963Montreal CanadiensGarry Monahan
1964Detroit Red WingsClaude Gauthier
1965New York RangersAndre Veilleux
1966Boston BruinsBarry Gibbs
1967Los Angeles KingsRick Pagnutti
1968Montreal CanadiensMichel Plasse19735Yes
1969Montreal CanadiensRejean Houle19712Yes
1970Buffalo Sabres‡Gilbert Perreault
1971Montreal CanadiensGuy Lafleur19732Yes
1972New York IslandersBilly Harris
1973New York IslandersDenis Potvin19807Yes
1974Washington CapitalsGreg Joly
1975Philadelphia FlyersMel Bridgman
1976Washington CapitalsRick Green198610No
1977Detroit Red WingsDale McCourt
1978Minnesota North StarsBobby Smith19868No
1979Colorado RockiesRob Ramage198910No
1980Montreal CanadiensDoug Wickenheiser
1981Winnipeg JetsDale Hawerchuk
1982Boston BruinsGord Kluzak
1983Minnesota North StarsBrian Lawton
1984Pittsburgh PenguinsMario Lemieux19917Yes
1985Toronto Maple LeafsWendel Clark
1986Detroit Red WingsJoe Murphy19904No
1987Buffalo SabresPierre Turgeon
1988Minnesota North StarsMike Modano199911Yes
1989Quebec NordiquesMats Sundin
1990Quebec NordiquesOwen Nolan
1991Quebec NordiquesEric Lindros
1992Tampa Bay LightningRoman Hamrlik
1993Ottawa SenatorsAlexandre Daigle
1994Florida PanthersEd Jovanovski
1995Ottawa SenatorsBryan Berard
1996Ottawa SenatorsChris Phillips
1997Boston BruinsJoe Thornton
1998Tampa Bay LightningVincent Lecavalier20046Yes
1999Atlanta ThrashersPatrik Stefan
2000New York IslandersRick DiPietro
2001Atlanta ThrashersIlya Kovalchuk
2002Columbus Blue JacketsRick Nash
2003Pittsburgh PenguinsMarc-Andre Fleury20096Yes
2004Washington CapitalsAlexander Ovechkin201915Yes
2005Pittsburgh PenguinsSidney Crosby20094Yes
2006St. Louis BluesErik Johnson202216No
2007Chicago BlackhawksPatrick Kane20103Yes
2008Tampa Bay LightningSteven Stamkos202012Yes
2009New York IslandersJohn Tavares
2010Edmonton OilersTaylor Hall
2011Edmonton OilersRyan Nugent-Hopkins
2012Edmonton OilersNail Yakupov
2013Colorado AvalancheNathan MacKinnon20229Yes
2014Florida PanthersAaron Ekblad
2015Edmonton OilersConnor McDavid
2016Toronto Maple LeafsAuston Matthews
2017New Jersey DevilsNico Hischier
2018Buffalo SabresRasmus Dahlin
2019New Jersey DevilsJack Hughes
2020New York RangersAlexis Lafrenière
2021Buffalo SabresOwen Power

Of the 59 first overall picks in NHL history, only 18 (~30%) have won a Stanley Cup.

Among the first overalls to win the Cup, it has taken on average eight years for them to win the Stanley Cup. The shortest time a first overall pick had to wait to win the Cup is two years; Guy Lafleur won his first Cup with the Montreal Canadiens just two years after he was drafted. The longest time a first overall pick has had to wait, not including those who haven’t won a Cup at all, is 16 years when Alex Ovechkin won for the first time in 2019 with the Washington Capitals.

The first time a first overall pick won the Cup was in 1973 when Michel Plasse won it with the Montreal Canadians, just five years after he was drafted.

The most recent first overall pick to win the Stanley Cup is MacKinnon, doing so nine years after he was drafted. No picks since—including Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews—have yet to make it to the Stanley Cup final.

Many of the more recent first overall picks have teams that are poised to challenge for the Cup in the next few years including Aaron Ekblad with the Florida Panthers, McDavid with the Oilers, Matthews with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Lafreniere with the New York Rangers.

In just one week’s time, it looks like one of Shane Wright or Juraj Slafkovsky will be the 60th first overall pick in NHL history. Only time will tell if they will join the 18 other first overalls to win the Cup, or if they will fail to do so like 41 that came before them.

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