The draft is considered the lifeblood of teams in the NHL. In every sport the draft process is a bit of a hit and miss proposition. If a team struggles for any period of time then usually people look back and blame bad drafting. For the most part, but when you get a high pick in the draft it is considered more of a sure thing. Even then there have been huge mistakes. Number one picks have even been made a mess of. These players are supposed to be the answers to teams’ problems and instead they become problems for the teams. Here are ten draft picks that are remembered for the wrong reasons:
10) Brett Lindros: Team Who Drafted Him: New York Islanders. Year of Draft: 1994. It seemed like a wise thing at the time to draft the younger brother of superstar Eric Lindros using the ninth overall pick. He was a big body like his brother but really not his equal in regards to skill. He managed only seven points over 57 NHL games before he retired due to multiple concussions.
9) Alexander Svitov: Team Who Drafted Him: Tampa Bay Lightning. Year of Draft: 2001. Selected third overall due to his size and perceived scoring talent. It did not work out at all in the NHL for the Russian player. He was too slow to have any kind of impact. After only a couple of seasons with Tampa he was traded to Columbus for Darryl Sydor. Just after signing a new contract with the Blue Jackets he ran off to the KHL.
8) Al Montoya: Team Who Drafted Him: New York Rangers. Year of Draft: 2004. It is considered a risky move to draft a goalie with a high pick. While that might not always hold true it is in this case. The Rangers took Montoya, the first Cuban-American to play in the NHL, with the sixth pick overall. After a great university career he fell flat in the NHL. Never really able to make the Rangers line-up he spent most of his time in the AHL. After being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes and only lasting there a couple of years, he was signed by the New York Islanders. Didn’t work out for him there either. He is now with the Winnipeg Jets as a back-up. All in all he has only managed to see action in 89 NHL games.
7) Pat Falloon: Team Who Drafted Him: San Jose Sharks. Year of Draft: 1991. Selected second overall as the first draft pick ever by the expansion San Jose Sharks, there were some expectation heaped upon this young man. It seemed like the Sharks had done something right when he scored twenty-five goals in his rookie season and led the team in points. Unfortunately for him and the Sharks that was the pinnacle. Expectations remained and he did not meet them and his weight ballooned. Falloon managed to stay in the league for around a decade but certainly did not have a career worthy of a second overall draft pick.
6) Nikita Filiatov: Team Who Drafted Him: Columbus Blue Jackets. Year of Draft: 2008. This Russian winger was drafted sixth overall and the hype around him was big. At eighteen in the AHL he scored just under one point per game. Then he went to the KHL for a season and replicated that success. When he arrived in the NHL as a twenty-year-old he totally underachieved. He couldn’t even stay in the NHL in his rookie season and was sent back to the minors. Then to make matters worse he was traded before the next season to Ottawa. Filiatov did not even finish the season with the Senators and decided to go back to the KHL. Even back there things did not go well.
5) Patrick Stefan: Team Who Drafted Him: Atlanta Thrashers. Year of Draft: 1999. Patrick Stefan was selected first overall in his draft year with the Sedin twins being selected right after him. The Sedin twins have gone on to great careers with the Vancouver Canucks. After 455 games played he only has 188 career points.
4) Alexandre Daigle: Team Who Drafted Him: Ottawa Senators. Year of Draft: 1993. Alexandre Daigle was tagged as a can’t miss prospect that would set the league on fire for years and that is why the Ottawa Senators selected him first overall. As a junior player he was compared to other francophone greats like Pat Lafontaine, Maurice Richard and Joe Sakic. After decent rookie season that saw him score 20 goals and 31 assists it went downhill quickly. He never got more than 26 goals in a season and was out of the league after 616 games. What made things more painful was that the player selected right after him ended being Hall of Famer, Chris Pronger.
3) Doug Wickenheiser: Team Who Drafted Him: Montreal Canadiens. Year of Draft: 1980. Yes, even the Montreal Canadiens make big mistakes. Doug Wickenheiser was their last number one pick and probably their worst. The media in Montreal was irate that he was selected over Denis Savard. A lot of pressure for a young man. It only got worse as time went on and he did not produce as expected. He ended up only playing 556 games and notching 276 points.
2) Rick DiPietro: Team Who Drafted Him: New York Islanders. Year of Draft: 2000. Selected first overall, DiPietro is not only a bust but a hugely expensive one for the Islanders. He did play well early in his career. Well enough to earn a ridiculous fifteen year contract for $67.5 million. To be fair the goaltender had a slew of injuries over his career. He hurt his hip, knee, groin and had concussions. The Islanders finally resorted to buying out his contract in 2013.
1) Brian Lawton: Team Who Drafted Him: Minnesota North Stars. Year of Draft: 1983. He ended up only playing five seasons with Minnesota after they selected him first overall (ahead of Steve Yzerman). Over the course of his 483-game career he only managed 266 points. Players selected after him include Yzerman, Cam Neely and Pat Lafontaine. Some have said that if Minnesota had selected Yzerman that the team would have never left Minnesota