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  • David Pastrnak and other notable 25th overall picks from NHL Draft history

    Tim Rosenthal June 27, 2024

    For the first time in three years, the Boston Bruins will have a first-round pick at their disposal.

    Earlier in the week, GM Don Sweeney acquired the 25th overall pick as part of the Linus Ullmark trade to Ottawa that also involved goalie Joonas Korpisalo and bottom-six forward Mark Kastellic. On the surface, the return for the former Vezina Winner felt a bit underwhelming, given Korpisalo’s struggles last year and the limited cap relief following the transaction.

    Perhaps in a few years, the Bruins will significantly reap the benefits of the Ullmark trade if they select a top future talent. Yet, given the history of the 25th pick, the odds of choosing such a high-caliber prospect is a bit of a crapshoot.

    While the list of notable 25th overall picks is slim, the selection produced one gem and some decent contributors throughout the nearly six decades of the history of the NHL Draft. Ahead of the upcoming festivities at the state-of-the-art MSG Sphere, here’s a look at five noteworthy players selected with Pick No. 25.

    David Pastrnak (2014)


    Many draft pundits projected Pastrnak to land somewhere in the 20-30 range on this day 10 years ago. But in hindsight, Pastrnak turned into an absolute steal in a pretty loaded draft.

    For starters, the top four picks of the 2014 Draft, Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl and Sam Bennett, played significant roles for their respective squads during their runs to the Stanley Cup Final. Ekblad and Reinhart became cornerstones with Florida and Edmonton, respectively, while Panthers GM Bill Zito added Reinhart and Bennett in separate deals with the Flames and Sabres over the last two seasons.

    Other notable names from that 2014 first-round class include William Nylander, Nikolaj Ehlers and Dylan Larkin.

    But many teams would want a do-over with their selections after watching Pastrnak develop into a bonafide franchise talent. Pastrnak’s 348 career goals rank first among all 2014 classmates. His 727 points sit second behind Draisaitl’s 850.

    The Bruins hit a home run with their 25th selection a decade ago. And while the rest of the names on this list aren’t necessarily as elite, they still carved out a decent career in their own right.

    Cam Ward (2002)

    The Hurricanes waited until the 2005-06 season to debut their 25th overall pick. The initial results weren’t promising, as Ward sported a 3.68 goals against average and .882 save percentage in 28 regular-season appearances.

    Ward took over the top role from Martin Gerber during the postseason. The Saskatoon product shined during his first playoff appearance, backstopping the Canes to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history after posting two shutouts, a .920 save percentage and 2.14 goals against average en route to Conn Smythe honors.

    Ward helped lead Carolina to an unlikely appearance in the Eastern Conference Final following upsets over the Devils and Bruins three years later. He ended his 13-year tenure in Raleigh as the Hurricanes’ all-time wins leader (318) and finished his career in Chicago in a backup role in 2018-19.

    Along with Ward, Rick Nash, Jay Bouwmeester and Joffrey Lupul were the only other first-round All-Star selections. But second-round pick Duncan Keith became the standout of this class after anchoring Chicago’s back end to three Stanley Cup victories in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

    Brendan Morrow (1997)

    Morrow debuted a year after the Stars’ lone Cup win in franchise history during the 1999-2000 season. As a rookie, he played a supporting role in Dallas’ run back to the Final.

    As his career progressed, Morrow developed into a versatile power forward with a knack for scoring pivotal tallies in clutch moments, including his second-round series-clinching tally in the fourth overtime against the Sharks in 2008.

    Morrow took over the reins as team captain from franchise icon Mike Modano during the 2006-07 season. He sits 10th on Dallas’ all-time goals and points list. He spent one year each in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay before calling it a career after the 2014-15 season.

    The ’97 Draft produced an array of talent, including Joe Thornton, Roberto Patrick Marleau, Roberto Luongo, Marian Hossa and Andrew Ference.

    Stephane Matteau (1987)

    Matteau didn’t necessarily stand out with flash compared to the other names on the list. Instead, he carved out a role as a gritty middle to bottom-six forward in various stops for 13 seasons.

    The Rangers added Matteau specifically for his energy and hard-nosed work ethic during their 1994 Stanley Cup run. In turn, Matteau gave the club one of the more iconic goals in league history with his double-overtime series-clincher in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against the rival New Jersey Devils.

    The ’87 class produced multiple Hall of Famers in Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Pierre Turgeon and Theo Fleury. Other notable names from that class include John Leclair, Glen Wesley, Mathieu Schneider and Eric Desjardins.

    Gilles Gilbert (1969)

    Originally selected by the Minnesota North Stars, Gilbert arrived in Boston as a replacement for Gerry Cheevers when the legendary netminder departed for the World Hockey Association before the 1973-74 campaign. The transition went relatively smoothly as Gilbert backstopped the Big Bad Bruins to another Cup Final appearance during his rookie season.

    Cheevers and Gilbert formed a dynamic tandem upon the former’s return in 1975-76. Much like the last three years of the dynamic duo featuring Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, Gilbert and Cheevers complimented one another quite well for four seasons.

    Gilbert departed for Detroit following the infamous too many men infraction in Game 7 of Boston’s 1979 Stanley Cup semifinal loss to Montreal. He spent his final three seasons in the Motor City before calling it a career after the 1982-83 season.

    With 155 career victories, the late Gilbert still sits seventh on the team’s all-time wins list behind Tuukka Rask, Tiny Thompson, Frank Brimsek, Cheevers, Tim Thomas and Eddie Johnston.

    Bobby Clarke marks the lone Hockey Hall of Fame member from that 1969 class.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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