Besides the injection of talent that the NHL Draft gives the league every season, it also gives hockey fans years of topics to debate. While the frenzy to figure out who "won" each draft moments after its conclusion is rash and completely unwarranted, looking back years down the line can be a legitimate debate. The issue of enough evaluation time is of no concern on this list because all of these skaters were selected 17 to 27 years ago.
There are busts, near misses and strange coincidences of players taken with the top two picks of the NHL entry draft during the 1990s. Some became teammates, some became rivals and others have been forgotten by hockey fans almost entirely. But, whether they were an eventual Hart trophy winner or a dope that never loved hockey, all of them get compared against each other here.
This list is a ranking of each of those 20 players' contributions to hockey and where they rank against one another. Their statistics were compared relative to their positions and length of time on the ice. Like usual when comparing modern day athletes and their accomplishments, winning the Stanley Cup and performing at a high level in the playoffs and delivering memorable clutch performances go a long way to slide a player up, or down, this list.
So, if you feel like watching "Friends" or listening to Grunge music after reading this list, forgive us, we only wanted to take you back to the 1990s, for a moment.
20 Andrei Zyuzin - Sharks - #2 in 1996
19 Alexandre Daigle - Senators - #1 in 1993
18 Pat Falloon - Sharks - #2 in 1991
17 Patrik Stefan - Thrashers - #1 in 1999
16 Roman Hamrlik - Lightning - #1 in 1992
15 Wade Redden - Islanders - #2 in 1995
14 Chris Phillips - Senators - #1 in 1996
13 Bryan Berard - Senators - #1 in 1995
12 David Legwand - Predators - #2 in 1998
11 Oleg Tverdovsky - Mighty Ducks - #2 1994
10 Petr Nedved - Canucks - #2 in 1990
9 Alexei Yashin - Senators - #2 in 1992
8 Ed Jovanovski - Panthers - #1 in 1994
7 Owen Nolan - Nordiques - #1 in 1990
6 Vincent Lecavalier - Lightning - #1 in 1998
5 Daniel Sedin - Canucks - #2 in 1999
4 Patrick Marleau - Sharks - #2 in 1997
3 Eric Lindros - Nordiques - #1 in 1991
2 Joe Thornton - Bruins - #1 in 1997
1 Chris Pronger - Whalers - #2 in 1993
There will be a few players that will cringe to see Chris Pronger as the top player on this list because of how dirty he was considered on the ice. However, no matter what your feelings are about the massive Canadian defenseman, he had the best career of any skater under consideration. Pronger went to the Finals three times and hoisted the Stanley Cup with the 2007 Anaheim Ducks. He was a five-time All Star and won the Hart Trophy after the 1999-2000 season. He is still under contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, but hasn't played since 2011 because of post concussion symptoms.
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