The 1995 NHL draft will go down as one of the most disappointing in NHL history. Not only was the top flight talent well short of elite but there was no depth whatsoever. A total of 234 players were drafted into the NHL during this draft, but just 112 of those would go on to play at least one game. The career average is 110 points in 300 games. Stats pumped quite high because of players like Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan and Daymond Langkow.
One player would go on to never play a single game in the NHL (no.12 Teemu Riihijarvi) and two others would play under 10 games with hugely disappointing results (no.8 Terry Ryan and no.17 Brad Church). Jarome Iginla and Shane Doan highlight the best of the original first round picks.
This re-draft features a lot of players picked well after round 1. Filip Kuba was picked in round 8, Brent Sopel was selected in round 6 and both are featured in this re-draft. Fellow defenseman Aki Berg selected at no.3 however does not. We had four goalies go in the 1st round, but the best goalie in the draft was drafted at no.116 in Miikka Kiprusoff.
If I had to sum up this disappointing draft it is that there was a limited amount of All-Star quality talent and then the rest of the draft was filled with role players, grinders, 2nd/3rd pairing defenseman and backup goaltenders. Looking back on this draft it is hard for teams to be disappointed on missing out on anyone as after the top 10, the talent pool is pretty dried up.
So let's sit back and revisit one of the worst drafts in NHL history as we take a look at the disappointing 1995 NHL draft.
26 Ottawa Senators - Jarome Iginla
Back in 1995, Jarome Iginla went 11th overall to the Dallas Stars. There is no doubt now looking back that he would be the no.1 player from the 1995 draft. Iginla currently plays for the Colorado Avalanche, and still performs at a decent level scoring 47 points in 82 games last season. Iginla has 1,273 points (including 611 goals) in 1,474 games. He ranks no.1 in points from his draft year and has proven himself as the best player by a wide margin. Original pick Bryan Berard had an injury stunt his career. However even at his best, Iginla was just that much better.
25 New York Islanders - Shane Doan
In 1995 the draft was held in Edmonton, Alberta. The local fans were chanting for the Oilers to select Doan 6th overall (we will get into this more later) In a re-draft, Doan isn't available at no.6 as he goes here to the Islanders second overall. Shane Doan has been a stabilizing force as a member of the Arizona Coyotes (formerly Phoenix Coyotes/formerly Winnipeg Jets).
From 1999 until today he has only failed to reach 20 goals on three occasions. Doan has been one of the biggest draws for the Coyotes since they debuted in Arizona. Wade Redden went no. 2 back in 2005 and despite being a solid defenseman it is clear that Doan is the better player. Doan is one of the rare players to only play for one franchise in their entire career.
24 Los Angeles Kings - Miikka Kiprusoff
Miikka Kiprusoff was the steal of the 1995 NHL draft. Originally drafted at no.116 in 1995, Miikka jumps up to #3 here. San Jose wasn't sure of what they had when they traded Kiprusoff to the Flames. All but 13 of Kipper's 319 career wins came with the Flames. He retired after the 2012-13 NHL season and he currently sits 26th all time in wins for a goaltender. Pretty damn good for a player selected in the 5th round of his draft year. He ended his career as the Flames' franchise leader in wins (305), shutouts (41) and games played by a goaltender (576).
23 Anaheim Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Jean Sebastien Giguere was initially drafted 13th overall by the Hartford Whalers (Carolina Hurricanes). However Giguere would have his best years as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. It would have made much more sense for the Ducks to cut out the middle man and take JSG here instead. JSG won the Conn Smythe trophy back in 2003 in a losing cause to the Devils. He won a Stanley cup with the Ducks in 2007.
22 Tampa Bay Lightning - Petr Sykora
Back in 1995 the Tampa Bay Lightning made Daymond Langkow the 5th overall pick. Langkow would go on to have a long career as a grinder/high energy player. A better choice would have been Petr Sykora. Sykora was drafted 18th overall in 1995. Sykora was a stable influence on the Devils and Ducks early in his career scoring a career high 81 points in 2000-01. Towards the end of his career Sykora was a "hired gun" for teams making a playoff run as he joined three teams in his last four NHL seasons. Sykora retired with 721 points(323 goals) in 1,017 career games.
21 Edmonton Oilers - Daymond Langkow
In 1995 the fans' boos drowned out the announcement of the Oilers original pick of Steve Kelly. The fans wanted the hometown boy Shane Doan who went 2nd overall in this re-draft. Steve Kelly amounted to nothing in the NHL, scoring only 21 points in 149 career games and he was constantly going from the NHL to the AHL. The Oilers would have been much better suited taking a member of their longtime rivals (Flames) Daymond Langkow.
Langkow carved out a niche role for himself in the NHL as a grinding forward that could chip in offensively. He hit career highs in points in 2006-07 scoring 77 points in 81 games. Langkow had more points in one season than Kelly had in his whole career.
20 Winnipeg Jets - Marc Savard
The Jets scored big drafting Shane Doan, a player that still plays for the franchise (albeit in Arizona now). In this draft he is long gone so the Jets will have to settle for Marc Savard. If Marc Savard didn't suffer a career ending concussion I would expect him to be much higher on this list. Drafted way back at no.91 by the Rangers in 1995, Savard exceeded everyone's expectations of the diminutive forward. Savard hit career highs in 2005-06 with 97 points.
He was on his way to being a huge performer for the Boston Bruins when he suffered a career ending concussion in 2011. Savard never played again and was forced to retire on March 16th of that year. He ended his career with 706 points in 807 career games.
19 Montreal Canadiens - Wade Redden
Wade Redden is a tale of two careers. As a member of the Sens he was a dominating offensive defenseman. He reached career highs in 2005-06 with 50 points in 65 games. However when he signed with the Rangers it was all downhill from there. He was toiling in the AHL by 2010 and only played 29 games NHL games since then. Maybe as a member of the Habs he would have stayed at a higher level much longer playing on a deeper defensive corps. On 1995 the Habs drafted Terry Ryan who only played eight career games and scored no points in the NHL. A true disappointment for a eighth overall pick.
18 Boston Bruins - Bryan Berard
Boston did an alright job in 1995 picking defenseman Kyle McLaren at no.9. He was a very serviceable defenseman for the Bruins. However here in 2016 there is a better d-man available. In 1995 Berard went first overall to the Ottawa Senators (a team he would never play for). Berard seemed on his way to having a great career when disaster struck on March 11th, 2000. A wayward stick hit Berard in the face and detached his retina and he was never the same. He needed a special contact lens just to fit the league minimum for vision (20/400) There is no telling how good Berard could have been but for this year he ranks as the 9th best player.
17 Florida Panthers - Martin Biron
Biron initially went 16th overall to the Buffalo Sabres in 1995. Here due to the weakness of the draft he doesn't even reach 16. Biron had a decent career as a goalie in the NHL. He came into the league in the 1995-96 season but firmly established himself as a big league goaltender in 2001-02 picking up 31 wins which was his career high. Biron started for the Sabres for four seasons, and then two with the Flyers before finishing his career as a backup for the Rangers. Biron retired with 230 career wins which ranks him 61st in all time goaltender wins.
16 Dallas Stars - Sami Kapanen
Dallas hit a home run in 1995 drafting Jarome Iginla at no.11, even though they traded him almost immediately. In this draft he is long gone so the Stars will sadly have to settle for Sami Kapanen here. Kapanen was a speedster, twice winning the fastest skater at the All-Star game. Kapanen was initially drafted way down at 87th overall back in 1995 to the Hartford Whalers. Before joining the NHL he played seven seasons with KalPa of the Liiga league in Finland, a team he would rejoin in 2008 after his NHL career came to an end. Kapanen retired with 458 points in 831 career games.
15 San Jose Sharks - Radek Dvorak
Radek Dvorak carved out a decent career as a third line player in the NHL. In most drafts that wouldn't be worth a first round pick but in 1995 it does. Dvorak hit career highs in 2000-01 as a member of the New York Rangers scoring 67 points in 82 games. The Sharks struck out in 1995, drafting Teemu Riihijarvi who would never make it to the NHL. Needless to say even though Dvorak wouldn't have been a home run pick, he is still a huge upgrade. Dvorak retired after the 2013-14 season with 590 points in 1,260 career games.
14 Hartford Whalers - Michal Handzus
Back in 1995 the Whalers did alright for themselves picking Jean Sebastien Giguere in this spot, however he went 4th overall in this draft. The Whalers (Carolina Hurricanes) still do okay picking up versatile winger Michal Handzus in this redraft. Handzuz initially went 101st overall, so he jumps up the draft board here. He hit career highs in 2003-2004 as a Flyer scoring 58 points in 82 games and added 82 PIM. Handzus ended his NHL career in 2013-14 as a member of the Blackhawks, totaling 483 points and 498 PIM in 1,009 career games.
13 Buffalo Sabres- Jochen Hecht
Jochen Hecht joins the list of players who no one expected to ever be featured as a 1st round pick. Hecht had a decent career, mainly playing with the Buffalo Sabres. He was a good 3rd line/4th line option throughout his NHL career. His best season came in 2006-07 as a member of the Sabres, scoring 56 points in 76 games. The Sabres picked Jay McKee back in 1995 but they would have been better suited selecting Hecht. It seems Hecht was just destined to be a member of the Sabres.
12 Toronto Maple Leafs - Stephane Robidas
Stephane Robidas has been proving scouts wrong since the day he entered the NHL. Originally drafted way down at no.164 overall, Robidas has been a decent offensive defenseman throughout his entire career. In 1995 the Leafs selected defenseman Jeff Ware (who?) who was a colossal disappointment and not what anyone expects to get from a 1st round pick. Robidas eventually made his way to the Leafs in 2014 but his shot sure would have helped during their string of playoff appearances of the early 2000s.
11 Buffalo Sabres - Brian Boucher
In 1995 the Buffalo Sabres used their second 1st round pick on goalie Martin Biron who went at no.10 in this re-draft. Looking back now the Sabres take the next best goalie available in Brian Boucher. Boucher was a reliable backup goalie during his time in the NHL but he shocked the hockey world when he had five consecutive shutouts during the 2003-04 NHL season. Boucher ended his NHL career after the 2012-13 NHL season after playing four games with the Flyers (his 3rd stint with the team) Boucher retired with 120 career wins in 328 career games.
10 Washington Capitals - Filip Kuba
Filip Kuba makes the biggest jump in this redraft, going from no.192 all the way to 17. Kuba was by no means a star in the NHL but his gritty play earned himself a long career in the NHL. Kuba reached career highs in points during the 2008-09 season scoring 40 points in 71 games. Filip Kuba did more than what shows up on a score sheet however. His physical play helped his teams immensely by opening up space on the ice for his more talented teammates. Kuba retired back with the Panthers(who drafted him) in 2013.
9 New Jersey Devils - Brent Sopel
Brent Sopel is another player who makes a huge jump from his original draft place. He went 144th overall back in 1995 but comes in at 18th here. Sopel is most remembered for his time with the Vancouver Canucks. He scored 42 points in 80 games for the Canucks during the 2003-04 season which was his career best. Sopel was a much better passer than shooter, scoring 174 of his 218 points via assist. Sopel left the NHL after the 2010-11 NHL season and played three seasons in the KHL.
8 Chicago Blackhawks - P.J. Axelsson
P.J. Axelsson is far from what I consider being worthy of a 1st round pick but this is what we have to work with from the 1995 draft. Axelsson played his entire NHL career with the Boston Bruins after playing for Frolunda HC of the SEL. Axelsson was a 4th line energy player for the Bruins hitting a career high 36 points during the 2002-03 NHL season. Axelsson left the NHL after the 2008-09 season and returned to Frolunda HC. The Blackhawks orignal pick in 1995, Dmitri Nabokov, was a huge bust so I bet they would have preferred the consistent play and team loyalty of Axelsson much more.
7 Calgary Flames- Georges Laraque
How ironic is it that big Georges Laraque ends up going to the Calgary Flames here in the re-draft? Laraque made it his job to demolish the Flames as a member of their hated rivals the Edmonton Oilers. For someone who did most of his work with his fists he showed he could also put the puck in the net, scoring 13 goals during the 2000-01 NHL season. Laraque spent most of his time in the "sin bin" spending 157 minutes in the penalty box during the 2001-02 season. Pretty safe bet the Flames would have rather had the big guy on their side than against them.
6 Boston Bruins- Jay McKee
Jay McKee doesn't fall too far in this re-draft as he was originally selected 14th overall back in 1995. McKee was a steady defenseman for most of his NHL career, primarily playing with the Buffalo Sabres. McKee's talents wouldn't show up on the scoresheets as 17 points was his career best. McKee was a stabilizing force on the backend for some very successful Sabres teams, which freed up his teammates to take more chances. Winning teams need a player like Jay McKee and the Bruins would have happily had him instead of who they initially drafted (Sean Brown).
5 Philadelphia Flyers - Marc Denis
The Philadelphia Flyers always seemed to be looking for their next franchise goalie. They selected Brian Boucher in this spot back in 1995 but he is gone at this point. The Flyers take the next best goalie available taking Marc Denis. Denis struggled at the NHL level as he played on some very weak Blue Jackets teams in the early 2000s. His highest win total came during the 2002-03 NHL season when he won 27 games. Unfortunately he played in 77 games that season. Denis may not have been the answer in net, but on a better Flyers team he could have done better.
4 Washington Capitals- Jan Hrdina
Miika Elomo...does the name ring a bell? I didn't think so, That is who the Capitals selected back in 1995 and he sure didn't amount to much. Looking back, they should have taken Jan Hrdina, who went 128th overall in 1995. Hrdina was a serviceable player in the NHL. He didn't really excell at anything but he was solid all around. Hrdina left the NHL after the 2005-06 NHL season and went over to play in various leagues in Europe. He retired from the NHL with 297 points and 341 penalty minutes in 513 career games.
3 Pittsburgh Penguins- Vesa Toskala
We all remember Toskala's shockingly bad goalie gaffe but some forget he was a decent goalie at one point. Toskala was drafted 90th overall back in 1995 by the San Jose Sharks although he wouldn't play his first game until the 2001-02 NHL season (literally only one game that season). He had a decent run as a back up with the Sharks before becoming a starter with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2007-08 NHL season when he won 33 games.
2 Colorado Avalanche- Brad Isbister
Brad Isbister went 67th overall to the Winnipeg Jets in 1995. In a career highlighted by his 22 goal season during the 1999-00 season, Isbister was a third line energy player for the majority of the teams he played for. Brad Isbister scored 222 points (including 106 goals) in 541 career games. By no means is he an elite player but he qualifies as a first rounder here. Getting solid NHL player is better than getting someone who never contributes to your team.
1 Detroit Red Wings- Peter Schaefer
Back in 1995, the Detroit Red Wings made a rare first round miss selecting Maxim Kuznetsov who would go on to score only 10 points in 136 career games. Peter Schaefer on the other hand was selected 66th overall by the Vancouver Canucks. Schaefer earned a reputation as a strong two-way forward during his time in the NHL. He retired from the NHL during the 2010-11 NHL season totaling 261 points in 572 games.