Late bloomers key

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

It's never over till it's over.

A lot of eyes glass over when teams begin selecting no-name players in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, but those seemingly meaningless picks can change a club's destiny.

Edmonton has the banners to prove it. In a seven-year span from 1979 to 1985, they scooped up the bulk of their dynasty talent in the second round or later: Glenn Anderson (69th), Mark Messier (48th), Andy Moog (132nd), Jari Kurri (69th), Steve Smith (111th), Esa Tikkanen (82nd) and Kelly Buchberger (188th).

Detroit has taken a similar path, getting Jiri Hudler (58th), Johan Franzen (91st), Henrik Zetterberg (210th) and Pavel Datsyuk (171st).

As far as impact D-men go, Shea Weber didn't get picked until 49th, Zdeno Chara was 56th, Andrei Markov (162nd) and Brian Campbell (156th). And in 2000, a year when Lars Jonsson, Nikita Alexeev, Brent Krahn, Krys Kolanos and Jeff Taffe went in the first round, defencemen Nick Schultz (33rd), Lubomir Visnovsky (118) and John-Michael Liles (159) were all passed over.

In goal, which of the following keepers went in the first round: Ray Emery, Cristobal Huet, Martin Gerber, Ilya Bryzgalov, Miikka Kiprusoff, Marty Turco, Tommy Salo or Nikolai Khabibulin? None of them.


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