June 20, 2007
Top 10 draft-day bustsDaigle rated worst No. 1 pick
By SUN MEDIA
Ah, the joys of the annual inexact science.
With the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft less than a week away, what better time to look at the Top-10 busts and Top-10 bargains of all time.
While we're the first to admit drafting is always easier with the help of hindsight, there are some classic names on the list and some others you've likely never heard of.
Let the debate rage on.
10. C NEIL BRADY, NEW JERSEY DEVILS (3RD OVERALL, 1986)
Although he was a solid two-way contributor in the minors, Brady never found his stride in the NHL, as his nine goals and 31 points in 89 games would confirm. Vincent Damphousse (6th), Brian Leetch (9th), Craig Janney (13th), Adam Graves (22nd) and Teppo Numminen (29th) all had solid careers.
9. LW DAVE CZYZOWSKI, NEW YORK ISLANDERS (2ND OVERALL, 1989)
His prolific 56-goal season with the Kamloops Blazers made him a high pick but didn't translate into NHL success. He reached double digits in goals eight times in the minors but only managed 15 goals and 31 points in 126 NHL games. Mats Sundin was the first overall pick that year and other prominent names include Stu Barnes (4th), Bill Guerin (5th), Bobby Holik (10th), Mike Sillinger (11th) and Olaf Kolzig (19th).
8. RW DANIEL DORE, QUEBEC NORDIQUES (FIFTH OVERALL, 1988)
The QMJHL sniper had only two goals and five points in 17 career NHL games with Quebec, who could have gone with Martin Gelinas (7th), Jeremy Roenick (8th), Rod Brind'Amour (9th) or Teemu Selanne (10th).
7. C STEVE KELLY, EDMONTON OILERS (SIXTH OVERALL, 1995)
The Oilers couldn't resist drafting the fleet-footed Kelly, a junior star with the Prince Albert Raiders. The problem was that he only scored nine goals and 21 points in 147 NHL games and the guy chosen next, Shane Doan of Halkirk, Alta., is coming off his seventh consecutive 20-plus goal season. Other options included Edmonton product Jarome Iginla (12th) and J-S Giguere (13th).
6. LW ALEX STOJANOV, VANCOUVER CANUCKS (7TH OVERALL, 1991)
We'll never fully understand how the Canucks turned Stojanov into current captain Markus Naslund in a deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that's one of the steals in NHL trade history. Stojanov's NHL numbers include two goals, seven points and 222 penalty minutes in 107 games and he finished his playing career in the Central Hockey League with the New Mexico Scorpions. Aside from Naslund (16th), some of the players the Canucks originally passed on included Martin Lapointe (10th), Brian Rolston (11th), Phillipe Boucher (13th), Alexei Kovalev (15th), Glen Murray (18th) and Ray Whitney (23rd).
5. C SCOTT SCISSONS, NEW YORK ISLANDERS (6TH OVERALL, 1990)
Another junior star in the WHL that never found his way, Scissons had no points in just two NHL games. The top-five selections -- Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau, Mike Ricci and Jaromir Jagr -- all had success. Among those chosen later were Darryl Sydor (7th), Derian Hatcher (8th), Keith Tkachuk (19th) and Martin Brodeur (20th).
4. JASON BONSIGNORE, EDMONTON OILERS (4TH OVERALL, 1994)
You might make a case that two players chosen before him (Oleg Tverdovsky and Radek Bonk) belong on the list as well but neither of those two were ever compared to Mario Lemieux. His three goals and 16 points in 79 NHL games are somewhat shocking. The Oilers got their second first-round pick right with Ryan Smyth, but they missed out on Jeff O'Neill (5th) and Mattias Ohlund (12th).
3. C GLEN WILLIAMS, DETROIT RED WINGS (4TH OVERALL, 1976)
The high-scoring forward from the Saskatoon Blades never found his form in the NHL and was limited to two goals and seven points in just 44 games during his one and only season in The Show. His Blades teammate Bernie Federko (7th) had a much better career. Second-round steals that year included Brian Sutter (20th) and Randy Carlyle (30th).
2. LW BRIAN LAWTON, MINNESOTA NORTH STARS (1ST OVERALL, 1983)
This high-powered agent had some solid years and was a serviceable NHLer with 112 goals and 266 points in 483 games, but was cursed by those who came after him in the draft in 1983. How might the history of the NHL have changed if Pat LaFontaine (3rd) or Steve Yzerman (4th) had gone to Minnesota?
1. C ALEXANDRE DAIGLE, OTTAWA SENATORS (1ST OVERALL, 1993)
Among his many indiscretions was saying that nobody would remember who was chosen No. 2 that year. A bold statement, especially when Chris Pronger was the man selected behind him. Daigle deserves credit for getting back to the NHL after spending time out of the game and in the minors. He even managed 20 goals and 51 points in 78 games with the Minnesota Wild in 2003-04 and finished with 129 goals and 327 points in 616 NHL games. Others chosen behind him that year include Paul Kariya (4th), Rob Niedermayer (5th), Jason Arnott (7th), Saku Koivu (22nd), Todd Bertuzzi (23rd), Brendan Morrison (39th) and Bryan McCabe (40th).
TOP 10 BARGAINS
10. C Pavol Demitra Ottawa Senators (227th overall, 1993)
9. RW Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators (133rd overall, 1994)
8. G Nikolai Khabibulin Winnipeg Jets (204th overall, 1992)
7. D Gary Suter Calgary Flames (180th overall, 1984)
6. RW Steve Larmer Chicago Blackhawks (120th overall, 1980)
5. RW Dave Taylor Los Angeles Kings (210th overall, 1975)
4. RW Theoren Fleury Calgary Flames (166th overall, 1987)
3. C Doug Gilmour St. Louis Blues (134th overall, 1982)
2. G Dominik Hasek Chicago Blackhawks (207th overall, 1983)
1.LW Luc Robitaille Los Angeles Kings (171st overall, 1984)