Quick: name the best draft class in NHL history. If you’re a millennial, you might lean toward 2003, and you’d have a decent case. But most people will instantly answer 1979.
It’s tough to argue against what the ’79 talent pool gave the NHL 40 years ago. The class included five Hall of Famers: Ray Bourque, Mark Messier, Mike Gartner, Michel Goulet and Glenn Anderson, and could’ve netted a sixth, for all we know, had goaltender Pelle Lindbergh not died months after winning his first Vezina Trophy in 1985. The class netted 17 players who skated in 1,000 or more NHL games, seven 1,000-point scorers and eight 400-goal scorers.
The 1979 draft is the gold standard. It also holds some advantages over every other draft. Not only did the league lower the eligibility age from 20 to 18 that year, b...
About the Author
Matt Larkin is a senior writer at The Hockey News and has been part of the team since 2011. He's your one-stop shop for deep-dive player interviews, predictions, statistics, fantasy player rankings, player safety and hair tips. Catch him weekly as host of The Hockey News Live and The Hockey News Podcast.