First round draft picks, particularly top 10 draft picks are expected to be sure fire bets to be NHL studs. However, the draft is not an exact science and there’s no precise formula to pick the next superstar for you team, that is unless you have the number one pick with Ovi, Sid the Kid, or McJesus. There are countless “experts” that have their own draft boards and there is usually a bust or two in the first round. It just so happens that players picked in the lower rounds can become this NHL stud or at least a top 6 players.
Teams will not always pick the best player but rather the player that best fits their needs. For example, if a team has a great Blueline, then there is no sense drafting a defenseman unless the D-corps is on the older side. Rather the team that has a solid Blueline will draft the best available forward or in the case of Edmonton, who are stacked up front – they draft a generational talent in McDavid.
Every year there are fans in any sport that complain about who their team took when X, Y, or Z was still on the board and then their thoughts are nullified or they are confirmed. No team is immune to the fan outrage caused by these draft blunders either. First rounder’s usually turn out like they are supposed to, either elite NHL players or above average players, but in some cases fans are left scratching their head thinking why in the world would he be drafted? Now we explore the drafts of the past 15 years and each year’s worst dud.
Besides, getting drafted isn’t it is cracked up to be – just ask guys like Oates, St. Louis, or Dan Boyle, to name a few.
ATTENTION GMS: Stay away from first round goalie picks!
15 2000 - Rick DiPietro
As a Rangers fan I have nothing but love for this bust being an Islanders pick. By far the worst number one overall pick - ever. If Mike Milbury could have redone this one, I certainly think DiPietro would not have been picked at all. Players drafted after DiPietro: Gaborik, Hartnell, Vermette, Kronwall, and the list goes on.
14 2001 - Dan Blackburn
Apparently, in the new millennium drafting goalies in the top 10 was a thing. The New York Rangers also have a terribly tough time drafting (See 2003 Bust). This one didn’t pan out the way the Rangers wanted it to. Dan Blackburn played a whopping 63 NHL games. He was the heir to the throne after Richter, but injuries shortened his NY as well as his NHL stay.
13 2002 - Petr Taticek
The 9th overall in the 2002 draft - Petr Taticek. You would think a sure-fire bet to at least be a NHL regular. The only regular thing he did was sit in the press box - in the AHL. He only played in 3 NHL games - THREE. He did not produce in any league that he had played in and had Scott Luce (current scout) been apart of the Panthers staff during that time, they would’ve had a guy that’s still producing for them today.
12 2003 - Hugh Jessiman
As a Ranger’s fan this hurts to have yet another player on this list, however this dud is more than deserving. In a draft class that was absolutely stacked, it seemed near impossible to not pick a stud. “When there’s a will, there’s a way” - NY Rangers motto. Hugh Jessiman played in only 2 NHL games, and none were for the Rangers. He bounced around from minor league team to minor league team while he last played in Europe.
11 2004 - Cam Barker
There are several deserving candidates, but I couldn't bare to put another NYR draft pick, Montoya, in this list. However, Cam Barker was chosen 3rd overall who certainly didn’t even live up to all of his hype.
He had the numbers of a mid to late round draft pick - 310 games played while totalling 96 points and a minus 29. He had all the hype of a potential top-two D Blueliner but never even amounted to much more than a bottom pairing guy. Most laughable fact: He has his name on the Stanley Cup (2010).
10 2005 - Sasha Pokulok
The Capitals drafted Pokulok who stood at 6’5’’ and 230 lbs. He had all the tools to be a bruising NHL power forward type player. Survey says - wrong.
Sasha Pokulok might be one of the best ECHL players ever. That’s a joke too don't worry - he was an average ECHL player and for those that don’t know, the ECHL is below the AHL - essentially D3 pro hockey. Usually, draft busts hang around the AHL and barely crack the NHL lineup. He didn’t even get a wiff of an NHL bench. In 137 games, Sasha tallied only 65 points in the coast.
9 2006 - Riku Helenius
There were several deserving candidates for this year's dud but Riku Helenius certainly deserves this. We don’t understand why goalies are drafted so high especially with the high risk associated with them.
Riku was chosen because he has a perfect save percentage as well as goals against average in the NHL, but more importantly, he has played only 7 minutes more than any other bum (like yours truly). He has bounced around in the minors for a while and he currently plays in the KHL.
8 2007 - Zach Hamill
In a year when Patty Kane, JVR, and Pacioretty were drafted, the B’s didn’t pick a good year to pick a sour lemon. This year was surprisingly a stacked draft class, and there have been many diamonds in the rough from the later rounds.
7 2008 - Nikita Filatov
Another Russian draft pick that was just blah. Columbus selected Nikita Filatov as he was hyped up to have all the tools to succeed in the NHL but he never really brought his game to the that level. He was a force to be reckon with in Russia, like most Russian prospects, but his best years were before he turned 18. He had 47 points in 23 games for CSKA Moscow 3 before his draft year.
6 2009 - Scott Glennie
Along with many busts mentioned before, injuries have been a problem but being healthy is a skill in any pro sports. And Scott Glennie was no different - he simply didn’t have the NHL skill or even the “health” skill.
5 2010 - Jack Campbell
Could it be that Dallas has back to back draft busts? It certainly has the making to be. It is increasingly tough for a goalie to hack it in “Big D” with two number one’s between the pipes - Niemi and Lehtonen. He was splitting time with another tendy for quite a while but just never managed to run away with the starting job.
4 2011 - Duncan Siemens
The last time that the name Siemen’s actually was meaningful was when there was the Siemens cell phone. I'll cut to the chase and tell you the 11th pick of this draft didn’t change the relevance of the name Siemens.
3 2012 - Griffin Reinhart
He was drafted 4th overall and has only played 21 games in NHL. Griffin Reinhart was projected to be a top pairing defenseman, and while he doesn’t have one part of his game that is dazzling, he certainly doesn’t show anything to be more than average.
2 2013 - Jonathan Drouin
Jonathan Drouin - The most talked about player (aside from John Scott) the past few months. His career hasn’t been sunshine and daisies to start. In his 89 game career in the NHL, he is averaging less than half a point a game - not screaming 3rd overall pick.
1 2014 - Jake Virtanen
Picking a bust two years removed from a draft is particularly tough. Guys usually play out their days in juniors and develop or they jump right into The Show and get it goin’. Then there is Jake Virtanen. He is one of those guys that played juniors for a bit but decided to get his career going sooner rather than later.
Sure, he’s in "The Show" but he isn’t exactly producing like a top 6 pick. 4 points in 26 games is an OK start to your rookie season. However, Canucks fans shouldn’t expect anything more than a role player as he only averaged a point a game in juniors. Then again, junior stats don’t always tell the tale of your NHL career. Virtanen is the front-runner for the 2014 draft bust.
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