Since the year 2000, most NHL teams (with the exception of the Winnipeg Jets who relocated from Atlanta in 2011 and the Vegas Golden Knights who were founded just this year) have had several opportunities to pick a superstar prospect player to add to their team (eighteen years from 2000-2017 with several draft picks in each year). And while many great prospects were quickly picked up such as Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Patrick Kane who were all drafted first overall, there were also definitely some draft busts along the way.
While each team’s management can’t know for sure which players will thrive and which ones will choke, their choices rely greatly on prospects who excel phenomenally in the minors and who have huge potential to become the next big superstars in the National Hockey League.
And while most teams have at least a few star players who they are extremely proud of picking in the draft, there are other prospects who have choked during their time in the NHL and some who hadn’t even played a game in the league, leaving the teams who chose them with undeniable regret. With that being said, here is my list of each NHL team’s most shameful draft pick since the year 2000.
30 Anaheim Ducks: Logan MacMillan
The Anaheim Ducks drafted Logan MacMillan 19th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. The season before he was drafted, in 2006-07, this center had produced 55 points in 68 games with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. In fact, during his four years in the QMJHL, he recorded a total of 145 points in 219 games between Halifax and Rimouski.
He never made it to the National Hockey League level and even had difficulty maintaining a steady spot in the American Hockey League. He spent three seasons from 2009-10 to 2011-12 playing for both the AHL (with the Abbotsford Heat) and the ECHL (playing for the Bakersfield Condors and the Utah Grizzlies). During his time in the AHL, he only tallied 12 points in 71 games.
Had the Ducks passed on MacMillan, they could have drafted a much better center, Mikael Backlund, who went 24th.
29 Arizona Coyotes: Henrik Samuelsson
The Arizona Coyotes drafted Henrik Samuelsson 27th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this forward spent a portion of the 2011-12 season playing in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings and produced 23 points in 28 games. As a matter of fact, in the three years he spent with the Oil Kings from 2011 to 2014, he racked up a total of 198 points and a +84 plus/minus rating in 162 games.
He made his NHL debut the following season in 2014-15 when he played three games with the Coyotes, but failed to produce any points and had a -2 rating. He also spent time in the American Hockey League and has been there ever since.
Assuming the Coyotes passed on Samuelsson, they could have picked a much better forward, Tanner Pearson, who was drafted 30th.
28 Boston Bruins: Zach Hamill
The Boston Bruins had the 8th overall draft pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and chose Zach Hamill. Before being drafted, this center spent four seasons from 2003-04 to 2006-07 in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and had racked up 187 points in 183 games.
On April 11, 2010, he made his NHL debut with the Bruins in a game against the Washington Capitals and recorded an assist. He played a total of 20 NHL games between the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons but tallied just four assists. Not what you’d expect for an 8th-overall pick. Instead, he spent the majority of seven seasons in the American Hockey League playing for several different teams.
Had the Bruins not picked Hamill, they could have chosen several other talented centers such as Logan Couture, who went one spot later as the 9th pick, or Mikael Backlund, who was drafted 24th.
27 Buffalo Sabres: Marek Zagrapan
The Buffalo Sabres drafted Marek Zagrapan 13th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this center spent his first season in the QMJHL with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and racked up 82 points in 59 games. In fact, in the two seasons he spent with them, he totalled a very impressive 169 points in 118 games.
He never did make it to the NHL but spent three seasons in the AHL and recorded 127 points, along with a disappointing -27 plus/minus rating, in 227 games. He then went on to play several seasons overseas for different hockey leagues.
If the Sabres would have passed on Zagrapan, they could have chosen a much better center, such as Martin Hanzal, who went 17th or T.J. Oshie, who was drafted 24th.
26 Calgary Flames: Brent Krahn
The Calgary Flames had the 9th-overall pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and chose Brent Krahn. Prior to being drafted, this goaltender played his first season in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and racked up 33 wins in 39 games.
After several seasons playing in the AHL, the Flames chose not to re-sign him and he ended up signing with the Dallas Stars in 2008. He played his one and only NHL game with Dallas on February 14, 2009 against the Chicago Blackhawks and it was definitely not the start he had in mind. He played just 20 minutes and let in three goals on nine shots.
If the Flames would have passed on Krahn, they could have chosen Ilya Bryzgalov who was drafted 44th, or reached for Henrik Lundqvist, who went 205th.
25 Carolina Hurricanes: Zach Boychuk
The Carolina Hurricanes drafted Zach Boychuk 14th-overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Before the draft, this forward spent three years in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and racked up 214 points in 194 games.
He spent parts of seven seasons (from 2008 to 2015) in the NHL, but for the most part he was playing in the AHL. In fact, his total for those seven seasons was just 30 points in 127 NHL games. That is definitely not what you’d expect to see for a forward who drafted 14th overall and had such great numbers in the minors.
Had the Hurricanes passed on Boychuk, they could have chosen other talented forwards such as Jordan Eberle, who was drafted 22nd or Derek Stepan, who went 51st.
24 Chicago Blackhawks: Kyle Beach
The Chicago Blackhawks had the 11th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and chose Kyle Beach. Before being drafted, this left winger spent three seasons in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and recorded 124 points, along with 422 penalty minutes, in 129 games.
Despite spending parts of six seasons playing in the American Hockey League, he never did make it to the NHL level. He definitely had disappointing totals in the AHL with only 83 points, along with 480 penalty minutes, in 208 games.
Although he thrived at junior level, Beach couldn’t produce at the professional level which is unfortunate for an 11th overall pick. If the Blackhawks were determined to get a physical left winger, they could have chosen Matt Martin, who was drafted all the way down at 148th.
23 Colorado Avalanche: Joey Hishon
The Colorado Avalanche picked Joey Hishon 17th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this center played three seasons in the OHL for the Owen Sound Attack and produced 168 points in 164 games.
He played 13 NHL games with the Avalanche during the 2014-15 season, but only tallied two points. He spent the remainder of his time playing in the American Hockey League and had put up pretty decent numbers there with 109 points in 174 games, but unfortunately he couldn’t produce at the NHL level.
If the Avalanche would have passed up on Hishon, they could have drafted a much better center, Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was chosen 26th and has thrived so far during his time in the NHL.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets: Alexandre Picard
The Columbus Blue Jackets had the 8th-overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and chose Alexandre Picard. The year before he was drafted, in 2003-04, this left winger racked up 80 points in 69 games with the Lewiston Maineiacs in the QMJHL. After playing one more season with Lewiston, he made his NHL debut with Columbus during the 2005-06 season. In five seasons from 2005-06 to 2009-10, he appeared in a total of 67 NHL games with the Blue Jackets but tallied just two assists and a -9 plus/minus rating. He also had just 53 shots on goal which averages out to less than one per game. That's definitely not what you’d expect from an eighth overall draft pick.
Had the Blue Jackets passed on Picard, they could have drafted a much better left winger, Wojtek Wolski, who was chosen 21st.
21 Dallas Stars: Jack Campbell
The Dallas Stars picked Jack Campbell 11th-overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. This goaltender put up pretty decent numbers in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires and Sault-Ste-Marie Greyhounds with 45 wins in 91 games.
He made his NHL debut with Dallas on October 20, 2013 in a game against the Anaheim Ducks, but unfortunately did not make a great first impression. He let in 6 goals on 47 shots and lost the game. Not good for the top drafted goaltender of that year. The only other time he appeared in a NHL game was with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2016-17 season.
If the Stars would have passed on Campbell, they could have received a better goaltender by choosing Petr Mrazek, who was drafted 141st.
20 Detroit Red Wings: Tom McCollum
The Detroit Red Wings chose Tom McCollum 30th-overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this goaltender played two seasons in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and earned 51 wins in 106 games.
He made his NHL debut with Detroit on March 30, 2011 in a game against the St. Louis Blues, but he played just over 14 minutes and let in 3 goals on 8 shots. He didn’t play again until the 2014-15 season when he appeared in two games with the Red Wings and earned one win. He has spent the majority of his career playing in the American Hockey League.
Had the Red Wings passed on McCollum, they could have drafted a much better goalie, such as Jake Allen, who was picked 34th, or Braden Holtby, who went 93rd.
19 Edmonton Oilers: Alex Plante
The Edmonton Oilers had the 15th-overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and chose Alex Plante. Before being drafted, this physical defenseman spent three seasons in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and recorded 42 points, 159 penalty minutes, and a +13 rating in 120 games.
He played a total of 10 games with the Oilers between the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons, but tallied just two assists, along with 15 penalty minutes and a -1 plus/minus rating. He spent the majority of his time playing in the AHL and had better stats with 43 points, 458 penalty minutes and a +17 rating in 212 games.
If the Oilers would have looked past Plante, they could have chosen several other better defensemen, such as P.K. Subban who went 43rd, or Jake Muzzin who was picked 141st.
18 Florida Panthers: Petr Taticek
The Florida Panthers had the 9th-overall pick in 2002 and chose Petr Taticek. The season before he was drafted (2001-02), this center played in the OHL with the Sault-Ste-Marie Greyhounds and produced 63 points, along with a +22 plus/minus rating, in 60 games.
He only played three NHL games in his career and those were with Florida during the 2005-06 season, but he failed to earn any points. He spent the rest of his time playing in the AHL and then went to play overseas in Switzerland and Germany where he is putting up much better numbers.
If the Panthers would have passed on Taticek, they could have received a great forward, such as Alexander Steen who went 24th, or Jiri Hudler who was picked 58th.
17 Los Angeles Kings: Lauri Tukonen
The Los Angeles Kings picked Lauri Tukonen 11th-overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. This Finnish right winger played just five games in the NHL with Los Angeles between the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, but failed to earn any points, had a -2 plus/minus rating, and only had two shots on goal. He spent the remainder of his time playing in the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs and was a fairly decent player there with 103 points in 185 games. He has since gone back to his native country of Finland to play in their professional league.
If the Kings were determined to have a talented right winger, they could have chosen a couple players selected soon after – Drew Stafford who was drafted 13th, or Alexander Radulov who went 15th.
16 Minnesota Wild: Colton Gillies
The Minnesota Wild had the 16th-overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and chose Colton Gillies. Prior to being drafted, this gritty center spent three seasons in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades and recorded 44 points, along with 213 penalty minutes, in 137 games.
He did play a total of 89 NHL games with Minnesota between the 2008-09 and 2011-12 seasons, but tallied just 10 points, 30 penalty minutes, and had a -9 plus/minus rating. He then went on to play for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but his numbers were not any better.
If the Wild would have passed on Gillies, they could have chosen a much better center such as Mikael Backlund who was drafted 24th, or Alex Killorn, who went 77th.
15 Montreal Canadiens: David Fischer
The Montreal Canadiens picked David Fischer 20th-overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this defenseman played three seasons with Apple Valley High School and recorded 78 points in 83 games. He then went on to play four seasons with the University of Minnesota. He then spent two seasons in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades where he put up decent numbers and also played two AHL games with the Houston Aeros but failed to earn any points. He has since been playing overseas in Germany and Austria.
He never did make it to the NHL level. If the Canadiens would have passed on Fischer, they could have chosen Jamie McBain who went 63rd and at least has pretty decent NHL stats.
14 Nashville Predators: Chet Pickard
The Nashville Predators had the 18th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and chose Chet Pickard. Before the draft, this goaltender played three seasons in the WHL with the Tri-City Americans and earned 72 wins in 119 games. After that, he spent time in both the ECHL (with the Cincinnati Cyclones and Bakersfield Condors) and in the AHL (with the Milwaukee Admirals and Oklahoma City Barons), but his numbers were definitely not great as he tallied more losses than wins and struggled to keep his goals against average under a 3.00.
He has not put up very impressive numbers, especially for being the highest drafted goaltender that year. If the Predators would have passed on Pickard, they could have chosen Jake Allen who was drafted 34th, or Braden Holtby who went 93rd.
13 New Jersey Devils: Adrian Foster
The New Jersey Devils picked Adrian Foster 28th-overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this forward put up fantastic numbers in the minor leagues, averaging well over a point a game. He then spent two seasons in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades and earned 8 points in 12 games. He did spend a portion of eight seasons playing in the AHL for several different teams, but he had a difficult time racking up points with just 89 points and a -28 plus/minus rating in 205 games. He never did make it to the NHL.
Had the Devils passed up on Foster, they could have had their choice between several talented forwards such as Derek Roy who was drafted 32nd, or Jason Pominville who was chosen 55th.
12 New York Islanders: Nino Niederreiter
The New York Islanders had the 5th-overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and chose Nino Niederreiter. The year before he was drafted, this right winger played one season in the WHL with the Portland Winter Hawks and produced 60 points in 65 games.
He played a total of 64 NHL games with New York between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, but earned just three points and had a very disappointing -30 plus/minus rating. He was definitely considered a huge bust for the Islanders. And although he was big disappointment for New York, Minnesota decided to take a chance on him and he is making a name for himself with the Wild. In the four seasons he has been with them, he has totalled 173 points and a +40 plus/minus rating in 325 games.
If the Islanders would have passed on Niederreiter, they may have had better luck with right winger Vladimir Tarasenko who went 16th.
11 New York Rangers: Al Montoya
The New York Rangers had the 6th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and chose Al Montoya. Prior to being drafted, this goaltender spent two seasons playing for the University of Michigan and produced 56 wins in 83 games. Although he never played a NHL game with the Rangers, he did spend three seasons with their AHL affiliate team, the Hartford Wolf Pack and recorded 66 wins in 119 games.
Then in February 2008, he was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, along with Marcel Hossa, in exchange for Fredrik Sjostrom, David LeNeveu and Josh Gratton. Not a fantastic trade, since only one of those three guys ended up playing for New York (Sjostrom) and his stats were less than impressive.
I think it’s safe to say that the top drafted goalie that year, Montoya, was a bust for the Rangers. Had they passed on him, they could have picked Devan Dubnyk who went 14th ,or Pekka Rinne who went 258th.
10 Ottawa Senators: Jakub Klepis
The Ottawa Senators chose Jakub Klepis 16th-overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. The year before he was drafted, this center played in the WHL with the Portland Winter Hawks and produced 64 points in 70 games. Before even playing a game with the Senators, they traded him to the Buffalo Sabres in 2003 in exchange for Vaclav Varada. He was again traded to the Washington Capitals which is where he played all 66 of his NHL games. Unfortunately, he was less than impressive on the score sheet with just 14 points and a -13 plus/minus rating. He has since gone on to play hockey overseas.
Had the Senators looked past Klepis, they could have picked a much better center by choosing Alexander Steen who was drafted 24th, or Valtteri Filppula who went 95th.
9 Philadelphia Flyers: Samuel Morin
The Philadelphia Flyers had the 11th-overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and chose Samuel Morin. Before he was drafted, this defenseman spent three years in the QMJHL with the Levis Commandeurs and the Rimouski Oceanic and produced a total of 36 points, 214 penalty minutes, and a +8 plus/minus rating in 144 games.
He spent the last two seasons playing for Philadelphia’s AHL affiliate team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and produced a total of 35 points and 247 penalty minutes in 150 games. He did appear in one NHL game on April 4, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils but failed to earn any points. In fact, out of the first 27 players drafted, he’s the only one who has played in less than two NHL games.
If the Devils were determined to get a better physical defenseman, they could have instead chosen Nikita Zadorov who went 16th.
8 Pittsburgh Penguins: Angelo Esposito
The Pittsburgh Penguins picked Angelo Esposito 20th-overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this center played two seasons in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts and racked up a very impressive 177 points in 117 games.
Unfortunately he never made it to the NHL. He did play a total of 124 games in the American Hockey League for a few different teams, but tallied just 38 points. After his time in the AHL, he went on to play overseas for a few different European leagues.
With his incredible stats in the minors, it’s quite disappointing that he ended up being a bust. Had the Penguins passed on Esposito, they could have picked a much better center such as Mikael Backlund who was drafted 24th, or Alex Killorn who was chosen 77th.
7 St. Louis Blues: Marek Schwarz
The St. Louis Blues chose Marek Schwarz 17th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. This goaltender played a total of 6 NHL games during his career between the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons (he played two games in each season). In those six games, he recorded no wins and two losses, along with a hefty 4.32 goals against average. He spent a lot more time in the American Hockey League, but his numbers were only mediocre with 37 wins in 77 games. After his time in North America, he went back to his native country of the Czech Republic and played in their professional league.
If the Blues would have passed up on Schwarz, they could have received a much better goaltender by choosing Cory Schneider who went 26th, or Pekka Rinne who was drafted 258th.
6 San Jose Sharks: Mike Morris
The San Jose Sharks picked Mike Morris 27th-overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this right winger spent two seasons playing for the St. Sebastian’s Arrows in Massachusetts and racked up a very impressive 106 points in 59 games. He then went on to play four years for the Northeastern University Huskies in Boston and continued to thrive with 108 points in 114 games. Unfortunately that’s where his amazing scoring ability ended. He spent two years in the AHL with the Worcester Sharks and tallied just 13 points 26 games. He never did make it to the NHL.
If the Sharks were just looking for a talented guy to play up front, they could have picked Matt Stajan, who was drafted 57th and if they were looking for more physicality, they could have chosen Jarret Stoll, who went 36th.
5 Tampa Bay Lightning: Alexander Svitov
The Tampa Bay Lightning had the 3rd-overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and chose Alexander Svitov. He played a total of 74 NHL games with the Lightning between the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, but tallied just 11 points. Then in January 2004, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Darryl Sydor and a draft pick. Needless to say, the Lightning didn’t get much in return for a guy who was originally drafted third overall with very high expectations. After his time in the NHL, Svitov went back to his native country of Russia to play in the KHL.
There were several other great centers the Lightning could and should have drafted, such as Mikko Koivu who went 6th or Derek Roy who was chosen 32nd.
4 Toronto Maple Leafs: Tyler Biggs
The Toronto Maple Leafs chose Tyler Biggs as their 22nd overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted, this right winger spent one season in the OHL with the Oshawa Generals and posted 53 points in 60 games. He then spent a portion of four seasons (between 2012-13 and 2015-16) playing in the AHL but failed to produce big numbers. And most recently, he’s been playing in the ECHL where he did not too bad last season (2016-17) with 32 points in 58 games with the Kalamazoo Wings. He never did appear in any NHL games. As a matter of fact, out of the first 27 players drafted that year, Biggs is the only one who hasn’t played in a NHL game.
Had the Leafs passed on him, they could have picked Brandon Saad (drafted 43rd), who is a very talented winger.
3 Vancouver Canucks: Hunter Shinkaruk
The Vancouver Canucks picked Hunter Shinkaruk 24th-overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to getting drafted, this forward put up fantastic numbers in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers with 219 points in 193 games.
He made his NHL debut with Vancouver on November 16, 2015 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens but failed to record any points. Then in February 2016, he was traded to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Markus Granlund. Between both teams, he has played in just 15 NHL games and tallied 4 points, along with a -7 plus/minus rating. Not very impressive for a guy who put up such great numbers in the minors.
If the Canucks would have passed on Shinkaruk, they could have picked the very talented Jake Guentzel, who was chosen 77th.
2 Washington Capitals: Sasha Pokulok
The Washington Capitals had the 14th-overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and chose Sasha Pokulok. This defenseman never made it to the National Hockey League. The furthest he got was playing a few games in the American Hockey League over the course of four seasons from 2006-07 to 2009-10. In those four years, he played a total of 68 games and tallied just 15 points, along with 58 penalty minutes and a +9 plus/minus rating. These numbers are not what you’d expect for one of the top five drafted defensemen that year.
If the Capitals would have passed up on Pokulok and were still determined to get a large defenseman, they could have chosen Adam McQuaid who was drafted 55th, or Cody Franson who went 79th.
1 Winnipeg Jets: Lukas Sutter
The Winnipeg Jets chose Lukas Sutter 39th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to being drafted, this center played three seasons in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades and recorded 79 points, 352 penalty minutes, and a +15 plus/minus rating in 148 games. The furthest he got was that he split one season (2014-15) between the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder and the AHL with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where his numbers were less than impressive. He never made it to the National Hockey League.
Although Sutter was a later draft pick who was chosen at number 39th, the Jets could have still picked up a decent forward by choosing Jordan Martinook who was drafted 58th, or Devin Shore who went 61st.