Mr. Goalie didn't think much of Martin Brodeur.
That was in 1990, mind you, 100 or so shutouts and three Stanley Cups ago, and the great Glenn Hall was then the goaltending guru for the Calgary Flames.
It is why general manager Cliff Fletcher traded up -- with New Jersey of all teams -- in order to select the first goalie in the draft, Trevor Kidd.
"Our scouting department, and in particular Glenn Hall, really loved Trevor Kidd," Fletcher said. "I think most people in hockey did. Glenn thought he was going to be a superior NHL goaltender. He was so high on him. We went into that draft thinking we had no chance of getting him."
The Flames had the 20th pick in first round of that entry draft.
"Bobby Clarke was the general manager of Minnesota (North Stars) and he told me he was taking the goaltender with the eighth pick. I didn't think we had a chance of getting him where we were. (Clarke wound up picking defenceman Derian Hatcher instead.) Then Washington, I think, picked John Slaney and nobody really saw that coming. Then it was the Leafs turn, and they picked Drake Berehowsky. And with Kidd still available, that caused a lot of commotion at our table.
"Our scouts came to me and said: 'You have to do something, you have to try and move up to get Kidd.' It all happened very fast. It happened after the Leafs picked. I only had a few minutes. I went over and made a deal with Lou (Lamoriello). I gave him our second-round pick and we flipped his first-round pick for ours."
With the Devils pick, Fletcher's Flames selected Kidd and thought they'd hit a home run.
With the Flames pick, Lamoriello selected Brodeur and many wondered why.
"He wasn't really on our radar," Fletcher said. "And if you went back and looked at the lists of most teams, he wasn't on their radar either. A lot of people saw him as a second or third-round pick. That was the consensus. It was a very astute pick by the Devils because he wasn't even rated that high by a substantial number of teams."
Kidd played in 387 NHL games: Brodeur has won 552 himself.
"Goaltenders," Fletcher said. "I've been in this game five decades and goaltenders still confuse me."
The draft of 1990 is a fascinating study almost two decades later. So many of the players drafted still are in the news: Owen Nolan, the first-pick overall, still playing for the Minnesota Wild. Jaromir Jagr, selected fifth, still making headlines in the Kontinental League. Brad May, taken six picks before Brodeur, is rapidly approaching his 1,000th game. Drafted one pick before Brodeur, Keith Tkachuk still is scoring goals -- 521 career -- now with the St. Louis Blues.
It is 19 years later and Keith Primeau and Mike Ricci have retired and Petr Nedved's comeback attempt failed this year and Berehowsky is an assistant coach in Barrie of the Ontario Hockey League and Darryl Sydor is back with the Dallas Stars.
Even some picks after Brodeur are surprisingly around: Slava Kozlov still is going strong with the Atlanta Thrashers. He was a third-round pick. Sergei Zubov, a Hall of Fame defenceman in my mind, was taken in the fifth round. Craig Conroy, still talking fast in Calgary, was a sixth-round pick of Montreal. And the ninth-rounder Ken Klee still is hanging on by his finger nails with the Phoenix Coyotes.
None of them -- not even the future hall of famer, Jagr -- surpassed the brilliant career achievements of Brodeur.
"The stat that totally amazes me is that he won 239 or something one-goal games," Fletcher said. "That is mind boggling if you think about it. That, more than the wins, more than the shutouts, tells you about this guy.
"He has the most unbelievable makeup to be a goaltender. Bad performance doesn't bother him. Bad goals don't rattle him. He's not uptight. He's as normal as you can be."
If only Mr. Goalie had known.