Noah Hanifin – 2015; First Round; Number 5
The 2015 draft had debatably what will be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport in Connor McDavid. Past that, there is a talent drop-off, but like the dropoff is from what could be the next greatest to still generational talent.
Hanifin still wasn’t that though. In fact, he wasn’t even elite talent. Despite being ranked as the top defensive prospect in the draft, Hanifin has not proven to be capable of running a blue line in his first five seasons in the NHL.
Scouts praised him for his size, skating and mostly his defensive positioning, but he only got an All-Star bid thanks to his early goal production in 2017, as defensively he was a career -53 in his time in Carolina.
Despite having drafted a defenseman the year prior and having much greater forward talents in the draft, Francis yet again took a blueliner in the first round (He would do it again in 2016 as well with Jake Bean).
While there is still time for him to develop, that time is quickly running out. Did the Canes ruin his development with poor coaching and rosters or was he never going to be what he was supposed to be?