In 1979 it was the first draft after the remaining teams of the World Hockey Association (WHA) were accepted into the NHL, so major changes were made to the regulations. The order of the draft resulted from the reversed final table of the past season 1978/79 , while the four WHA representatives were sorted behind all NHL teams. When the name was changed from “Amateur Draft” to “Entry Draft”, the fact that eight players could be selected from the WHA this year, who thus came from the professional and not the amateur field, was taken into account. In addition, the NHL was forced to lower the starting age for the draft from 20 to 19 years, as the WHA did not have a comparable age limit and had already used younger players in the 1978/79 season . As a result, all players who were born before January 1, 1961 were now available, as well as those players who had already gained experience in the WHA. However, the four WHA teams had the opportunity to protect two players from their squad in advance from a draft election, so that Wayne Gretzky could switch to the NHL without a draft. The officials of the league needed a long time for the entire negotiations, so that the draft did not take place until August - as late as ever.
All players in this draft year have ended their professional careers. The tables show the five best players in the categories of games, goals, assists and scorer points, as well as the five goalkeepers with the most wins in the NHL. In addition, 103 of the 126 selected players (approx. 82%) have played at least one NHL game.