Love it or hate it, the draft is certainly entertaining, especially when looking at some of the selections years later. Teams like Detroit have thrived in finding late round gems in Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist in the last decade, while some other teams, as you will see in this article, have flopped time and time again.
A popular draft year in this article comes from the 2008 Draft which produced some horrific picks despite a pretty nice crop of talent. Just to put things into perspective, players like Erik Karlsson, John Carlson, Jordan Eberle, Roman Josi, Jori Lethera, Adam Henrique, Brayden Holtby and Gus Nyquist were all overlooked for some bad, bad players, as you will see in this piece.
It’s almost impossible to predict, but it's plenty of fun to look at the fortunes and misfortunes of teams throughout the last couple of years. This article will document some of the worst cases in the last decade starting from the '06 Draft. We will look at every pick starting from number 15 by choosing which team took the worst player in that selection. We will also take note on which players certain teams passed on with the bad pick.
So without further ado, let us begin!
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15 Riku Helenius
Pick number 15 has provided some of the most entertaining players in the game today. Recently Dylan Larkin was selected 15th overall, while Erik Karlsson is another tremendous alumni chosen in that slot. The same cannot be said for a handful of players and this pick in particular goes back a decade to the 2006 NHL Draft. Starving for any type of consistency in net, Tampa opted for a goaltender coming out of Finland by the name of Riku Helenius. He would never pan out, playing just one NHL game. Ouch. It's hard to believe Tampa passed on Semyon Varlamov who was chosen just eight picks later at number 23.
He looked like a promising prospect at one point, he continued to play in Finland after his selection and was eventually offered a two year contract. He failed to climb up the depth charts with the team and was eventually terminated in a mutual agreement between himself and the Lightning. It would take a trade for Tampa to finally solidify that position by adding Ben Bishop.
14 Zach Boychuk
This was a tossup between Zach Boychuk and the Dallas Stars draft pick of Jamie Oleksiak, but given how high the ceiling was for Boychuk, he gets the win... if you can call it that. Boychuk was selected in the 2008 NHL Draft, the same year that Stamkos and Doughty went one and two respectively. The Hurricanes were very excited with their selection, as Boychuk put up some tremendous numbers in the WHL as a member of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Like so many others in the past, his talents would not translate to the NHL with, as his most promising seasons were down in the AHL with Charlotte, putting up an impressive 36 goal campaign. Despite this number, he still cannot crack the big club and remains in the AHL to this day, now with the Bakersfield Condors.
Players that went after Boychuk in the draft include highly skilled forward Jordan Eberle, who went 22nd, and a pair of terrific offensive defensemen in John Carlson who went 27th and Erik Karlsson who was selected after Boychuk at number 15. When looking at the Canes' current d-core, they certainly could of used one of these studs.
13 Colten Teubert
Unlucky number 13 proved to be just that when the LA Kings selected Colten Teubert, again coming out of the 2008 NHL Draft. Not sure what the scouts were thinking that year passing on so many great players. A stud of a defenseman like Roman Josi wasn’t picked until the second round.
In fairness to the LA Kings, Teubert was at one time considered a massive prospect. Some even labelled him as the next Chris Pronger due to his rough style of play at the back. This label was quickly removed after Colten failed to play a single game with the LA Kings. He was later shipped off to Edmonton in hopes of a new start with a younger group, although that eventually did not pan out either. He would end up leave North America in 2013 and join the Iserlohn Roosters in the German DEL league. To this day, he is still playing abroad.
Don’t feel too bad for the Kings, as they had two first round picks that year, taking Drew Doughty with the second overall selection.
12 Calvin de Haan
The number 12 pick has been stacked with some great talent, including the most recent surging star in Max Domi who was selected in that position during the 2013 NHL Draft. Judging by his last season, he's going to be an absolute stud.
The same could not be said for the Islanders selection in 2009 in Calvin de Haan, although he is finally starting to show that he is NHL worthy. The former 12th overall pick finally played most of a season last year, participating in 72 games with the Islanders. His stats weren’t explosive by any means, as he only scored two goals, but he did manage to become a reliable face on the back end.
The defensemen class was quite thin that year, so the pick wasn’t really all that bad. The most notable picks in terms of defensemen were Victor Hedman and Oliver Ekman-Larsson who were off the board by pick number six. Islanders shouldn’t feel too bad.
11 Kyle Beach
A rare blemish on the Chicago drafting resume, the team opted to pick Kyle Beach in 2008, one of their worst selections in the last decade. Again, the 2008 draft made another team look very silly with a lackluster first round pick and if the Hawks could do it over again, and still wanted a forward, I’m pretty sure they’d rather opt for Jordan Eberle who went 22nd or even Gus Nyquist who somehow wasn’t picked till the 121st selection.
For Beach, teams were already hesitant to pick him up because of his behavior on and off the ice. He would never reach the heights of his WHL days, where he would put up over 50 goals with the Spokane Chiefs in 2009/10. Kyle spent the majority of his pro career in the AHL and later would play in Austria with the EBEL and the East Coast Hockey League. Still only 26, Beach is playing in the EBEL today with Graz 99ers.
10 Keaton Ellerby
In a draft stacked with some serious snipers in 2007, with the likes of Max Pacioretty, James van Riemsdyk and the number one pick Patrick Kane, the Florida Panthers, who have a weird draft history, went another route and selected defenseman Keaton Ellerby, who spent the bulk of his WHL days as a member of the Kamloops Blazers. He was by no means an offensive d-man, as his numbers indicated that he was a rough defensive defenseman.
The vision the Panthers had for him did not translate and it's hard to believe they opted for him rather than Ryan McDonagh who fell inton Montreal’s lap two picks later at 12th overall. Don’t feel too bad though Panthers fans, as the Habs ended up trading him for Scott Gomez. The Habs would manage to have the last laugh, however, by stealing Subban later in the draft 43rd overall, but again they traded him, so that laughter only lasted a few years. It's crazy to think they could have had Subban and McDonagh together for years manning the points, but they ended with none of them somehow.
Anyway, back to Ellerby, he’d bounce around several teams after Florida which included the Kings and Jets. He left the NHL last season and is currently playing for Barys Astana of the KHL,
9 Jared Cowen
Jacob Trouba and Bo Horvat were the most recent notable names to get selected in this spot, though not all teams were as lucky. The Sens are probably the most unlucky when looking back at the last decade, landing lackluster d-man Jared Cowen in the 2009 NHL Draft.
Cowen officially hit rock bottom this season after the Sens traded him away to the Leafs. He was immediately sent down to the AHL after joining the Leafs.
With an annual contract term of $3.1 million, his future remains up in the air at this point. Other notable defensemen Ottawa passed on that year includes Ryan Ellis who went 11th, Nick Leddy who went 16th and Simon Despres, who was the final pick of the first round.
8 Scott Glennie
We had another tossup at this pick, this time between Scott Glennie and 2007 draft pick Zach Hamill. Scott wins the battle simply because he's played less games in the NHL, getting just one career game with the Dallas Stars and spending the majority of his run down in the AHL with the Texas Stars trying to find his game.
The pick never panned out and the Stars opted against a contract renewal after the 14-15 season. The Stars certainly regret this 2009 draft pick, especially when you consider the crop of forwards that went after Glennie, which includes Chris Kreider, Marcus Johansson, Kyle Palmieri, Jakob Silverberg and Ryan O’Reilly just to name a few. One of the biggest misses in the draft was Tomas Tatar, another fantastic pick by the Wings who went at the end of the second round.
7 Colin Wilson
The number seven selection has given us an abudance of snipers over the last few years, with picks like Jakub Voracek, Nazem Kadri, Kyle Okposo, Jeff Skinner and Mark Scheifele.
Wilson is by no means a bad player, but he hasn’t lived up to the expectations the organization once had for him. In six seasons with the team, the power forward has only managed to crack the 20 goal mark once in his career, scoring 20 in the 14-15 campaign. His last regular season was by far his worst. Playing in 64 games, Wilson struggled to find a role on a team that is now filled with depth up front. He notched six goals in that time frame, the fewest for his career.
On the bright side, Wilson did manage to pull it together during the playoffs, as he was arguably the team’s best forward, putting up 13 points in 14 games. With such an up and down season, it’ll be interesting to see what the 16-17 campaign bring for the 26 year old.
6 Nikita Filatov
When the Blue Jackets selected Nikita Filatov sixth overall, many believed they truly drafted someone very special. Some went as far as labelling the Russian as the next Sergei Fedorov. To put things into perspective, Filatov was looked at so highly that he was the second forward selected in the draft after Steven Stamkos.
The hype was not met early on and he’d spend the first half of his North American career bouncing around the NHL, AHL and even KHL. Columbus would finally give up on their once highly scouted prospect by dealing the forward over to the Sens.
After getting sent down, Nikita left North American and opted to go back home, joining CSKA Moscow of the KHL. He spent the 12-13 and 13-14 campaign in the KHL as well playing with Salavat Yulaev Ufa. To this day, Filatov is regarded as one of the biggest busts in NHL draft history. The jackets would make up for this selection two years later, taking Ryan Johansen fourth overall in the 2010 draft.
5 Luke Schenn
The number five pick has produced some huge stars, which include recent Stanley Cup winner Phil Kessel, who was selected in 06’ draft by the Boston Bruins. Interestingly, Luke Schenn and his brother Brayden went number five in back-to-back drafts. The younger brother Brayden is enjoying more success, just signing a new deal with the Flyers worth $20.5 million over the next four years. The forward had a breakout season with the Flyers scoring 26 goals, along with 33 assists.
Luke hasn't enjoyed the same success, although he is a defenseman that plays a different kind of role. Drafted by the Leafs, Schenn showed flashes of brilliance, although he was later traded by Toronto, accepting an offer they simply could not refuse for forward James van Riemsdyk.
He played alongside his brother for a little while before he was once again dealt, along with Vinny Lecavalier, to the LA Kings. Just this offseason, Schenn secured himself a new deal signing a two year, $2.5 million dollar deal with the Arizona Coyotes. This will be his third team in the last seven seasons.
4 Thomas Hickey
Evander Kane was a serious contender for this less than prestigious choice, judging by his terrible off ice decisions over the last couple of years, but Hickey’s lack of real NHL impact gave him the upper hand in this tilt.
The Islanders were extremely cautious with the young defender, who spent an overwhelming amount of time down in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs. He stayed with the team from the 08’ season up until the 12-13 campaign where he finally made his NHL debut.
He had a decent season last year, playing in 62 games with the team. He isn’t a bad player, just nowhere near worthy of being selected fourth overall. Hickey was the first defenseman picked in the 2007 Draft and he was selected before the likes of Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk and PK Subban. Hearing these names, it’s rather obvious Hickey is nowhere near the level of these studs at the back.
3 Zach Bogosian
It only makes sense that one of the worst selections from this entire list came from the 08’ draft, which we’ve mentioned time and time again in this article. The talent was there, but the scouting clearly was not. How Bogosian got selected before the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, Tyler Myers, Roman Josi and Erik Karlsson is truly beyond me. The Thrashers had a string of bad picks following this one, taking Evander Kane in the first round the next year followed by Alexander Burmistrov in the 2010 draft, who they picked eight overall.
Bogosian unfortunately takes the cake when it comes to bad picks from this franchise. He never lived up to anything close of the expectations and was later dealt alongside another lackluster pick in Evander Kane over to the Buffalo Sabres. It's quite fitting that the team passed on Tyler Myers, but ended up getting him back in this trade. At least they can hang their hat on that factor.
2 Ryan Murray
Jack Eichel has been the latest breakthrough player to enjoy some serious success after being drafted in the number two slot. The pick has produced some fantastic players in the last decade, which includes Aleksander Barkov, Tyler Seguin, Victor Hedman, Drew Doughty and Gabriel Landeskog.
Because of some terrible injuries, Ryan Murray has become one of the worst second overall picks in NHL draft history. Selected in the 2012 draft, Murray was quite the prospect, putting up some nice numbers in the WHL with Everett. Once he got to the big leagues, injuries hurt the prospect, as he failed to play a complete season until this past one, where he finally played a full 82 game schedule.
He played well, putting up 25 points. We truly hope he can stay healthy and make a sustainable impact at the back for the Jackets, who are desperate need for a breakout defenseman to take the reins opposite of Seth Jones.
1 Nail Yakupov
It should be pointed out that this was a close race between Nail and 06’ first pick Erik Johnson. Just for the reason that Erik eats a lot of minutes per night, Yakupov is the winner.
The Oilers are still waiting for several of their first overall picks to pan out, as RNH still hasn’t become a dominant player, while Hall was recently dealt this past offseason in order to help the team's lackluster d-core. McDavid is going to be the face of the league one day, which leaves us with Nail Yakupov.
His will and enthusiasm are appreciated, but he has yet to do anything noteworthy. It's hard to believe that in four seasons, he has yet to score over 20 goals. Last season was by far his worst, scoring just eight goals in 60 games. This from a guy who almost scored 50 with Sarnia during his OHL days in just 65 games. We hope for the best for Nail, but at this point, it seems like a fresh start somewhere else might be the best option.
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