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Every NHL Franchise's Worst First Round Pick

There has been a huge number of NHL players who have been picked high in the draft, been hyped by the media, and then have been utterly disappointing.

If you take a look at the NHL's recent Stanley Cup-winning teams, you'll notice that they largely have one thing in common. Most of the league's most successful teams were built through the draft, and rely heavily on players that they picked early in the first round. While it is possible to build a good team through free agent signings and trades, the foundation of a great team is usually in players that have been drafted into the system and developed. For the Pittsburgh Penguins, it's guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. For the Chicago Blackhawks it's Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Brent Seabrook. Some teams, like the Detroit Red Wings, have historically drafted very well and managed to be playoff contenders year after year by restocking their prospect pool as they go.

It can be hard to predict how teams will draft, and even harder to know which picks will end up becoming draft steals. But some teams have constantly drafted terribly. If you look at, say, the Arizona Coyotes picks over the past decade or so, they've pretty much blown it year after year. The same goes for the Vancouver Canucks, who are almost incapable of making a good first round selection, although they've improved a little lately. Some teams, like the New York Islanders, almost seem to want to punish their fans with totally illogical picks. Over the years, there have been a huge number of players who have been picked high in the draft, been hyped by the media, and then have been utterly disappointing.

Some of the picks on this list have been disappointing in comparison to the expectations laid out of them. Others have failed to put up points, or to even play in the NHL at all. Let's take a look at the absolute worst draft pick in each NHL team's history.

31 Anaheim Ducks - Logan MacMillan - 19th Overall In 2007

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The Anaheim Ducks' 2007 pick is particularly disappointing because of what a good draft year 2007 was, as many consider it to be one of the strongest draft classes of all time. Take a look at some of the players that went just after Logan MacMillan. Max Pacioretty, who is now the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Michael Backlund, David Perron, P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Jamie Benn. There has been no shortage of solid NHL players who went shortly after MacMillan in the draft, and that has got to sting for the Ducks, considering that MacMillan never even put on an NHL jersey. He spent some time in the ECHL, and now the 28-year-old is toiling in the Elite Ice Hockey League in England. Maybe the Ducks picked him because his dad Bob was a solid player who played over a decade in the NHL. Maybe they were so happy about the Stanley Cup they'd just won that they didn't care who they picked.

30 Arizona Coyotes - Too Many To List

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The Arizona Coyotes might be the worst team in the NHL right now, and a big part of their inability to ever elevate themselves into a good team is largely based on how badly they have drafted over the last decade. Because they've been so bad, they've had a lot of really high picks. They got Kyle Turris third overall and traded him. They got Dylan Strome third overall and he has only played seven games so far. They got Blake Wheeler fifth overall and traded him, and now he's an amazing player for the Winnipeg Jets. They got Peter Mueller and Mikkel Boedker as top ten picks, and neither of them play for the Coyotes now. Of course they have had a couple of stellar picks like defensive powerhouse Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Clayton Keller, who is having a great rookie season. Overall, though, the Coyotes may be the worst team at drafting of all time, and so to pick only one worst pick would be impossible and misleading.

29 Boston Bruins - Gord Kluzac - 1st Overall In 1982

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That's Gord Kluzak second from left in the photo, standing beside Mike Milbury, who will actually come up later on in this article. As a general manager, Milbury has been responsible for some of the worst draft decisions of all time, but more on that later. Gord Kluzak was drafted by the Bruins first overall. There's a special kind of pressure that comes with a first overall pick, as teams know they could get a Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin-type player if they play their cards right. In the Bruins' case, they played their cards terribly, picking up Kluzak before players like Scott Stevens, Doug Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, and Phil Housley. The 1982 draft was kind of amazing, actually. Fifteen players from that draft played over a thousand games, and five players put up over a thousand career points. Kluzak had a really disappointing career, never getting more than 40 points in a season. He had chronic knee problems and had 11 surgeries, which is his most impressive statistic.

28 Buffalo Sabres - Marek Zagrapan - 13th Overall In 2005

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Like the Arizona Coyotes, the Buffalo Sabres are another example of a team that has been disappointing for years and hasn't managed to get any better through the draft. The Sabres picked up Zagrapan thirteenth overall in the 2005 draft, which was a strong draft year that featured players like Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, and Anze Kopitar. The Sabres drafted Zagrapan above, for example, T.J. Oshie,  James Neal, Kris Letang, Jonathan Quick and many more. It's safe to say that they could have used any of those players more than Zagrapan, who has never suited up in a single NHL game, and at this rate probably never well. He's currently 31-years-old and playing in the Slovakian league, which is only the fifth best league in Europe, so it was definitely a mistake for the Sabres to have thought of him as an impact player at the NHL level.

27 Calgary Flames - Brent Krahn - 9th Overall In 2000

via calgaryherald.com

These picks from older draft years don't sting quite as bad as the more recent picks. A player drafted in the 2000 NHL Draft would be nearing the end of his career anyway. Still, Brent Krahn was an absolute dud of a pick by the Flames, considering that they could have picked up an impact player like Justin Williams with the pick, or an actually decent goalie like Ilya Bryzgalov or, if they had been lucky, Henrik Lundqvist. Picking a goalie in the first round is always a risky proposition, and there has been no shortage of high first round goalie picks that have bitten teams in the ass. Brent Krahn played a whopping ONE NHL GAME, and it wasn't even for the Flames. He has a career NHL goals against average of NINE, and a save percentage of .667, which have to be some of the worst numbers ever seen. Aside from his big one NHL game, he played in the AHL a bunch, suffered constant injuries, and retired in the year 2000.

26 Carolina Hurricanes - Philippe Paradis - 27th Overall In 2009

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Philippe Paradis' nonexistant NHL career thus far is slightly more excusable than others on this list because he was drafted so late in the first round. But it still has to hurt for the Carolina Hurricanes, who have had no shortage of bad seasons since that Stanley Cup win way back in 2006. It is kind of surprising that Philippe Paradis—who is from Normadin, Quebec—was even drafted in the first round, given that he never was even a point per game player during his junior years. After drafting him in the first round, the Hurricanes traded him almost right away to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Jiří Tlustý. By the looks of things, Paradis is pretty much finished playing hockey now, as his last season was for the AHL's Syracuse Crunch two years ago, and his point totals in four years with the Crunch were pretty dismal. The Hurricanes' management must be kicking themselves for picking him up over guys like Ryan O'Reilly, Anders Lee, and Jakob Silferberg, who have had solid careers so far.

25 Chicago Blackhawks - Kyle Beach - 11th Overall In 2008

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It seems as though, in the year 2008, the Chicago Blackhawks were probably a little overconfident in their drafting abilities. This is a team that drafted Dominik Hasek, maybe the greatest NHL goalie of all time, in the 10th round back in the '80s. In the '00s, they nabbed sure-thing picks like Kane and Toews with high picks, and they won their first Stanley Cup of several  in the last decade in 2010. Kyle Beach looked to be a great pick, which is why they took him over Erik Karlsson, who is probably the best defenseman in the world. Can you imagine if the Blackhawks had had Karlsson all this time? Oh man. It would have been nasty. They could have got Roman Josi or Tyler Myers, too. 2009 was a great year for defensemen. But the Blackhawks didn't know that, so they drafted Beach, who has never played an NHL game. He played in the AHL for a long time, and now he's in the Austrian hockey league, which is no proud place to be a for a former first round NHL pick.

24 Colorado Avalanche - Conner Bleackley - 23rd Overall In 2014

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Conner Bleackley has had such a non-career so far that his name is spelled incorrectly all over the place. He occupies a strange place on this list in that he is the only double draft bust. The Colorado Avalanche picked him up in the first round in 2014, based on some decent showing for Team Canada in international competitions. However, the Avalanche never signed him to an entry-level contact, which meant that he was eligible to be re-drafted,  so he was drafted again, this time 144th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2016. So far, the draft pick hasn't panned out for either team, but he's still only 21-years old, which means that he still has a shot at turning things around. He has had some serious injuries that have held him back so far, after all.

23 Columbus Blue Jackets - Nikita Filatov - 6th Overall in 2008

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I am willing to admit that I, like a lot of people, was wrong about Nikita Filatov too. He was such a promising hockey player, putting up big numbers in the AHL as a teenager, and he was scary good for the Russians at the World Juniors too. With Filatov, it never seemed to be a lack of skill holding him back, but rather a lack of determination and devotion. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a team that haven't drafted all that well in their history, and picking Russian players high in the first round is always considered to be a risky move, because often they'll just go play in the KHL instead, handcuffing their NHL team. Filatov seemed committed to succeeding in the NHL though, and people were impressed by his fluent English. However, he only ever played around 50 games in the NHL. He scored six career NHL goals, the same as his draft number. He went back to the KHL in 2012 and now seems to have retired from professional hockey, making him easily one of the most disappointing hockey players of all time.

22 Dallas Stars - Scott Glennie - 8th Overall In 2009

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The Dallas Stars are generally a pretty solid drafting team, and they can't really be faulted for this pick either, as there were tons of disappointing players in the first round of the 2009 NHL draft, including Zach Kassian, Jordan Schroeder, Jared Cowen, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and more. All of these players were projected to be difference making NHLers, and all of them have been disappointing so far, and even Matt Duchene, who the Avalanche picked up third overall, hasn't been quite as good as people expected, resulting in his being traded recently. Glennie was a really good WHL player too, putting up over a point per game at that level. He has played a grand total of one NHL games for the Dallas Stars, in which he got no points and two penalty minutes. Last year he had an okay season for Manitoba Moose of the AHL. He's still only 26, but it seems safe to say that Scott Glennie is a big time bust.

21 Detroit Red Wings - Tom McCollum - 30th Overall In 2008

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tom McCollum definitely counts as a big time draft bust as he has only suited up for three NHL games for the Detroit Red Wings. On the other hand, he did go pretty late in the draft, and goalies are notoriously hard to draft, which is why many teams tend to draft them later on instead of wasting their first round picks on risky selections. The next player to go in the draft was Jacob Markstrom, who, though he's no Vezina Trophy candidate, has done a great job as the Vancouver Canucks' starting goalie this year. They also could have picked up Braden Holtby, who actually did win the Vezina two years ago. But they went with McCollum, who is a back-up AHL goalie, which means his chances at an NHL job now are slim to none.

20 Edmonton Oilers - Nail Yakupov - 1st Overall In 2012

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The Edmonton Oilers are another team where it's hard to say who their worst first round draft pick has been, because they've had so many high ones in recent years that have been disappointing. The Oilers have probably been the worst and most disappointing NHL team overall over the last decade, although things are finally looking up for them, as their draft picks are finally starting to pan out. However, Yakupov may be the biggest bust on this list, providing a further example of why it can be risky to draft Russians high in the draft. The Oilers thought they had a sure thing in Yakupov, and in the 2011 season their fans started the slogan "Fail for Nail" to describe deliberate tanking efforts in order to make sure they could draft him. However, he has been a total disappointment at the NHL level, only playing one full season so far, and never getting more than 35 points, leading to him being bounced around the league in recent years.

19 Florida Panthers - Erik Gudbranson - 3rd Overall In 2010

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More like Erik Badbranson. Gunbranson looks like the kind of player that could really help a team out, as he is a tower of a man, at 6'5" and well over 200 pounds. He often has a nice moustache too. What the Florida Panthers probably saw in him was a kind of Chris Pronger-like hulking defenseman who could solidify their blue line and lead them to playoff success. What they got instead was a turnover machine who they ended up trading to the Vancouver Canucks for spare parts. Panthers fans will be distraught to see who ended up getting drafted slightly after Gudbranson. The Hurricanes got the speedy Jeff Skinner. The St. Louis Blues got Jaden Schwartz, who puts up great numbers lately. The Blues also got Vladimir Tarasenko, who is one of the best goal scorers in the world. But the Panthers ended up with the infinitely disappointing Gudbranson.

18 Los Angeles Kings - Lauri Tukonen - 11th Overall In 2004

via tps.com

Wait a minute, who? Unlike the others on this list, I had never heard of Lauri Tukonen in my life before researching for this article, but apparently he has played in one NHL game, for the Los Angeles Kings, who are generally a pretty good team when it comes to drafting. Tukonon was picked up over players like Alexander Radulov, who is an absolute sniper, albeit an inconsistent one. He was taken over Cory Schneider, one of the league's best goalies. It's hard to know exactly what the Kings saw in him in order to draft him so high, as his numbers weren't great prior to being drafted. Maybe they had a weird hunch or they were going for a kind of fluke pick. Whatever it was, it didn't pay off, as Tukonen is now in his thirties and playing in the Finnish league.

17 Minnesota Wild - Benoit Pouliot - 4th Overall In 2005

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Benoit Pouliot is still playing in the NHL, which is more than can be said about most of the other draft busts on this list. What makes him so disappointing, though, is how high he went in the 2005 draft. After all, the Wild were still a fairly new franchise in 2005, so they definitely could have used many of the players who went later in the first round, like Carey Price, Anze Kopitar, or Marc Staal. The 2005 draft was like a game of minesweeper for draft busts though; the Wild also would have been disappointed if they had picked up guys like Gilbert Brule or Jack Skille. Pouliot has bounced all over the league in recent years, and is currently putting up better-than-average numbers for a bad Sabres team.

16 Montreal Canadiens - Terry Ryan - 8th Overall In 1995

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It really says a lot about Terry Ryan's sad career that most images available of him are of him talking or doing things other than playing hockey. The Montreal Canadiens decided to pick him up eighth overall back in 1995, above future Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla. Yikes. 1995 was a really deep draft too, with all-star players like Marc Savard and Miikka Kiprusoff going in the later rounds. Terry Ryan, on the other hand, played only eight NHL games before he hurt his ankle really badly and had to stop playing in the NHL, although he has played in some minor leagues and won some ball hockey championships since then. He seems to have a good sense of humour about his disappointing career, though, as he wrote a popular book back in 2014 called Tales of a First Round Nothing. Apparently he has been trying to make a career in stand up comedy happen lately. You've got to admire the hustle.

15 Nashville Predators - Brian Finley - 6th Overall In 1999

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What is it with first round goalies that makes them so hard to draft well? Brian Finley was a huge disappointment in 1999 for the Predators, as they took him as their sixth overall pick. However, they weren't the only team that messed up badly that year. The Atlanta Thrashers drafted Patrik Stefan first overall, who is one of the worst draft busts in NHL history and is most famous for missing and falling down with an open net. In 1999, the Predators could have had Ryan Miller, but intead they took Finley, who only played a handful of games for them. However, they probably aren't too worried about it. A few years later, they made up for their stinker pick in Findley by picking up Pekka Rinne in the eighth round of the 2004 draft. Rinne getting up there in terms of years now, but he's a giant in the crease and has been among the league's best goalies for years.

14 New Jersey Devils - Neil Brady - 3rd Overall In 1986

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Usually, when we look back at these more historical picks, it's because they represent high draft picks that turned out to be duds in years wherein there were all-star or Hall of Fame caliber players to be had. Here are some of the players that the New Jersey Devils could have drafted instead of Neil Brady. They could have had Brian Leetch: one of the highest scoring defensemen of all time, and, according to Mark Messier, the greatest New York Ranger player ever. They could have had Vincent Damphousse or Adam Graves, too, both of whom had good careers and put up loads of points. Neil Brady is famous for scoring the first goal in Ottawa Senators history—which is what the above picture is —which is a cool accomplishment but doesn't mean he was a good hockey player. He played fewer than a hundred NHL game, and barely got thirty points in his disappointing career. He spent most of his time playing in the IHL, which is a now-defunct farm team league that was an alternative to the AHL.

13 New York Islanders - Rick DiPietro - 1st Overall In 2000

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Rick DiPietro is by no means the worst player on this list. He was a really promising prospect, and was a very good NHL goalie for multiple seasons. The reason that he is the New York Islanders' worst first round draft pick of all time is because drafting him made no sense, and was a classic idiot decision by Mike Milbury, who has got to be one of the worst hockey minds of all time. Only three years earlier, the Islanders drafted Roberto Luongo forth overall. At the time, Luongo was the highest drafted goalie in NHL history, but he was replaced in his honour by DiPietro, of course. The Islanders knew Luongo was a great goalie, but they had to trade him to make room for DiPietro, who ended up being injury prone and disappointing, and played just over three hundred games in the NHL, playing his last NHL game in the 2012-2013 season. In 2006, the Islanders signed him to a 15 year contract, the longest contract in NHL history. They've since bought him out, but still have to pay $1.5 million per year against the salary cap. That's about as badly as you can possibly screw up a first overall pick.

12 New York Rangers - Pavel Brendl - 4th Overall In 1999

Via Aftonbladet

As has become clear over the course of this list, 1999 was a big year for NHL draft busts. The top overall pick, Patrick Stefan, was one of the biggest busts in NHL history. The next two picks, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, obviously worked out very well for the Vancouver Canucks. Aside from them, though, there were a whole lot of duds, and Pavel Brendl was definitely one of them for the New York Rangers. He seemed like a great pick, putting up huge numbers for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, consistently over two points per game in junior. He has the Calgary Hitmen records for most goals and most points in a single season, so he seemed like a sure thing. However, when it came time to play in the NHL, he was never able to get it done. He played less than eighty games, and only got twenty two points in total. He spent most of his career bouncing around the Russian league, the Czech league, and the Slovakian league. Now, he's thirty six and retired from hockey.

11 Ottawa Senators - Alexandre Daigle - 1st Overall In 1993

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Alexandre Daigle is easily the Ottawa Senators' worst draft bust of all time, and he may be the biggest draft bust in NHL history. He was hyped up as a kind of future superstar before he joined the NHL, and was considered by many to be a can't-miss prospect. Many Senators fans have credited Daigle's extremely disappointing play with the team's failure to ever win a cup. This is made worse for the Senators by the fact that the 1993 draft is one of the best draft classes in history. The Senators could have had Chris Pronger, who went next. They also could have had Jason Arnott and Todd Bertuzzi. What those players have in common is that they were big, tough players, whereas Daigle was pretty weak and ineffective at the NHL level. He did have a few twenty goal seasons, which isn't bad, but just really wasn't what anyone expected from someone who got 137 points in 53 games while he was in juniors.

10 Philadelphia Flyers - Maxime Ouellet - 21st Overall In 1999

Via Arctic Ice Hockey

Here we have yet another big time dud of a pick from the 1999 draft year, this one courtesy of the Flyers. The 1999 draft, aside from the Sedins, is said to be perhaps the worst draft year of all time, and so it is forgivable that some of these teams ended up with such awful first round picks. Maxime Ouellet only ever played twelve NHL games, and he only has two wins, which is a dismal record, of course. He was traded around, usually for draft picks, and he spent most of his time in the AHL. He was actually a pretty good AHL and holds some records in that league, but when you pick a guy in the first round, you expect for him to get it done to some degree at the NHL level, which just wasn't the case with Ouellet.

9 Pittsburgh Penguins - Angelo Esposito - 20th Overall In 2007

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For a period of time, Angelo Esposito was the top ranked prospect in the world. Maybe people were attracted to his name, assuming that he was related to Canadian hockey legend Phil Esposito. He isn't. He had played well for Canada at the national level, and was a well-liked and high performing prospect. But his status started to free fall before the draft, and fans wondered why. Going into the draft he was ranking eighth overall, and he ended up falling all the way to twenty, getting drafted by the Penguins. As such, even though he was a total bust of a first round pick, you can't really fault the Penguins for giving him a shot. He has never played a single game in the NHL. He had some injury trouble, but it's hard to say exactly what went wrong for Angelo Esposito. Maybe his heart wasn't in it, or maybe his skills just didn't translate to the big stage. He took some time off hockey, and now he's playing in the 2nd best Czech league, which is a pretty sad place to be for a former projected first overall pick.

8 San Jose Sharks - Teemu Riihijarvi - 12th Overall In 1995

via iltalehti.fi

Literally who? There almost seems to be an inverse relationship between how talented a Finnish player is and how high they are drafted. Jussi Jokinen was picked up the sixth round. Goalies Pekka Rinne, Vesa Toskala, Mikka Kiprusoff, and more were all drafted very late. I doubt that you could find many people who aren't bitter San Jose Sharks fans who have any idea of who Teemu Riihijarvi is, but he was picked only a few spots ahead of some reliable NHL contributors like J. S. Giguere and Petr Sykora. Looking at his numbers, he was never even an effective player in the Finnish league, and he has been retired since 2006. It's hard to get a sense of what the Sharks were really thinking with this pick. The 1995 draft was known to be a pretty bad draft year, so maybe they were trying to get extremely lucky by going off the board and having an unlikely pick pay off. Maybe they had an insider tip from someone with knowledge of the Finnish league who ended up being wrong. Whatever the case, Teemu Riihijarvi will likely go down as one of the least-known first round picks of all time.

7 St. Louis Blues - Marek Schwarz - 17th Overall In 2004

Via Canadian Olympic Committee

Another team, another absolute dud of a goalie taken with a first round pick, resulting in a regrettable draft bust. At this point, teams must realize what a big gamble it is to use your top pick on a goalie, as their careers can be so hard to predict. After he was drafted, Marek Schwarz spent some time in the WHL and then in the AHL. Over his NHL career—if you can call it that—he has played a whopping four NHL games, with a goals against average of nearly five, and a save percentage of under .800, both of which are disgusting. It seems like he has been retired from hockey since 2008, only four years after he was drafted. I am going to start lobbying against teams drafting goalies in the first round unless they are absolutely sure, because it so rarely works out well. 

6 Tampa Bay Lightning - Brett Connolly - 6th Overall In 2010

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Things could be worse for Brett Connolly, and it's a testament to the Tampa Bay Lightning's good drafting over the years that their worst first round pick is a guy who still has a job in the NHL. However, for someone who went sixth overall, Brett Connolly has been super disappointing to fans. For context, the next year they drafted Nikita Kucherov late in the second round, and he is now the top goal and point scorer in the NHL, scoring at an incredible pace of almost a goal a game. Connolly, on the other hand, has barely scored at all, with barely forty goals in his entire NHL career so far, although he did have a surprisingly good year last year with the Washington Capitals. He's on pace for an OK year again this year, too, but when you take a player at sixth overall, you don't want to end up trading them a few years later for some draft picks.

5 Toronto Maple Leafs - Tyler Biggs - 22nd Overall In 2011

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Tyler Biggs is a particularly disappointing player for Leafs fans because they really thought they had something in Biggs, considering his great international play for the US national team when he was a teenager. The Leafs took bigs over players who have gone on to be all-stars in the NHL because management liked his size and aggression, but he has been unable to prove himself worthy of a shot at NHL success so far, as he spent last season with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL and didn't put up very many points there at all. Luckily for Leafs fans, though, they've got a whole bunch of recently-drafted young talent in the organization now that will be good for years to come, so they aren't really hurting even though Tyler Biggs failed to live up to any of the expectations that were placed on him.

4 Vancouver Canucks - Too Many To Count

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As is the case with the Coyotes, the Vancouver Canucks are just so bad at drafting that it isn't really possible to pick their worst franchise first overall pick, because so many of their picks have failed so horribly. Maybe their bad luck started in 2005, when star defensive prospect Luc Bourdon died in a tragic motorcycle crash. Their next first round pick, Michael Grabner, was traded away before he had a chance to succeed, but he has been great for the Rangers lately. The next year's first round pick, Patrick White, never played an NHL game. Since then, they've had a string of disappointing or outright terrible first round selections, although things have been getting better lately, as 2013 pick Bo Horvat is doing a great job centring the top line and seems like future captain material, and 2015 top pick Brock Boeser is an early Calder Memorial Trophy candidate.

3 Vegas Golden Knights - Not Really Applicable

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The Vegas Golden Knights had three first round draft picks this year, but it would be ridiculous to attempt to judge them against one another, since none of them have had a change to perform at the NHL level yet. The NHL entry draft wasn't the only draft that the Golden Knights participated in this year, of course, as they also selected their entire roster during the expansion draft. Now, many critics were saying that, given the rules of the expansion draft, it would have been nearly impossible for them to build a team that would contend, and many had them finishing at the bottom of the league this year. But those critics have been consistently proven wrong so far, as the Golden Knights got off to a hot start and haven't really taken their feet off the gas pedal. They currently hold down second place in the Pacific division and seem poised to make the playoffs in their inaugural season. As such, they may be the best drafting team of all time.

2 Washington Capitals - Alexandre Volchkov

via mtv.fi

It really says a lot about the kind of career that Alexandre Volchkov had that the only images you can really find of him online are blurry photos of hockey cards. In more recent years, the Washington Capitals have had a whole lot of success drafting Russian prospects with their high picks, but that wasn't the case with Volchkov, as he only ever played three games for the Capitals and spent most of his career in the Belarusian Extraleague, which I had never heard of before today. The 1996 draft wasn't a particularly good one, and many teams missed the mark with their picks, but some of the players that the Capitals missed out on include Tomas Kaberle, Daniel Briere, Pavel Kubina, and Zdeno Chara, who is regarded as one of the best late-round draft picks in NHL history. Volchkov, on the other hand, is now forty and retired from professional hockey.

1 Winnipeg Jets - Aaron Ward - 5th Overall In 1991

Via TheScore.com

Maybe if the Jets had been trying to draft a hockey broadcaster and not a hockey player this would have been a decent pick. But even then, they would have been second guessing themselves after Ward was accused of the assault of multiple women in 2015, which lead to the suspension of his on-air appearances. The charges were later dismissed. The Jets took Ward‚a large, slow defenseman—over players like Peter Forsberg, Alexi Kovalev, Zigmund Palffy, and Marcus Naslund. Apparently 1991 was a great year for drafting European scoring forwards, in a very good draft class that also included Eric Lindros and Scott Neidermeyer. In fact, it had one of the best first round groups of all time, which is what makes the Jets pick so bad. Ward bounced around the league a lot and played over eight hundred games, but he makes this list of bad first round picks because of the kinds of players the Jets could have had instead.

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