The NHL Entry Draft is a time for stars to be picked and shine. Whenever the draft is coming up you always hear about the players who will make the greatest impact for the team they get drafted to.
Stars like Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel all were big names going into their draft year. For Ovechkin and Crosby, they have done nothing but excel for their teams. McDavid and Eichel have proven themselves so far into the rookie careers.
After the big stars get drafted you then deal with the late first and second round players. These players will also play a crucial role for the team they get drafted to. They may not put up the numbers night to night, but they contribute to the team.
Derek Stepan, Ryan O’Reilly and Travis Hamonic all are second round picks in their respective drafts and they are a key role on their teams.
Stepan is a big point getter and center for the New York Rangers while Travis Hamonic plays a major role on the blue line for the New York Islanders. Hamonic is averaging over 22 minutes for time on ice this season.
Then there is the third round picks and on. Most of the time these picks have to prove themselves to make the team. Yet, that doesn’t mean they won’t. There is always that chance that late rounder could be something special.
What do you get when that happens? You get, “A Diamond in the Rough”, or a steal. In today's NHL, you need those steals more than ever. If you're a good team, you're not picking in the top-5, meaning you can't draft a McDavid or a Crosby and you'll have to find a gem later on.
With no more delays here are the top 15 NHL draft steals in history.
15 Ľubomír Višňovský - 4th round, 118th overall, 2000
Ľubomír Višňovský is an NHL defenseman out of Slovakia. The 39-year-old is currently playing for the New York Islanders, however, he has been on the injured reserve list since the playoffs of last year.
Višňovský was a late draft pick for the Los Angeles Kings in 2000 as he wasn’t picked until the 4th round. Nonetheless, he didn’t let that affect his game.
14 Rick Tocchet - 6th round, 121 overall, 1983
Rick Tocchet, 51, is a retired forward who played 18 seasons with six different teams. His NHL debut was in 1984-85 season, he scored 39 points his rookie season with 14 goals and 21 assists. He is also a part of the 100-point season club scoring 109 points in the 1992-93 season.
Tocchet was picked in the sixth round of the 1983 NHL draft and was a steal for the Flyers. The 121st overall pick is a four-time NHL All-Star and has won a Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992.
13 Jonathon Quick – 3rd round, 72 overall, 2005
Jonathon Quick is an American-born NHL goaltender, who has been a mainstay in net for the Los Angeles Kings since 2007. He wasn’t picked too late in the draft, yet, these goaltenders were picked before him: Tyler Plante, Jeff Franzee, Pier-Olivier Pelletier and Kristofer Westblom. Do these names sound familiar? Probably not, because they have not played a single NHL game.
The 30-year-old has struggled early in the regular season, but when he and the Kings sneak into the playoffs they are hard to beat.
12 Johnny Gaudreau - 4th round, 104 overall, 2011
The American-born NHL forward is proving critics wrong so far. Playing 81 games his first two seasons in the league the 22-year-old had 25 goals and 40 assists. At the writing of this article his 2015-16 season numbers are 57 games played, 22 goals, 35 assists, and 57 points. Johnny Gaudreau is making a name for himself in Calgary and the NHL.
11 Pavol Demitra - 9th round, 227th overall, 1993
Pavol Demitra was a Slovakian born player who completed 16 seasons for five NHL teams. The three-time NHL All-Star was not picked until the 9th round of the 1993 NHL Draft. The only player from that draft that had a better points-per-game average than Demitra, who scored 768 points in 847 NHL games, was Paul Kariya. Kariya was selected 4th overall.
Demitra was fifth in St. Louis Blues’ all-time scoring list – 204 goals, 289 assists, 493 points in 494 games.
10 Daniel Alfredsson - 6th round, 133rd overall, 1994
The former Swedish-born NHL forward was one of the greatest players ever to wear an Ottawa Senators sweater. Yet, at first he had a lot to prove. Alfredsson was not picked in the NHL Draft until the 6th round at 133rd overall.
He was the captain of the Senators from 1999 to 2013 and has been compared to former Detroit Red Wing captain Steve Yzerman in his value during his tenure as captain. He holds all major franchise records for the Senators with 426 goals, 682 assists, and 1,108 points with 1,178 games played.
9 Henrik Zetterberg - 7th round, 210 overall, 1999
The Swesish born center has been playing in the league since 2002. The captain of the Detroit Red Wings has won the Stanley Cup in 2008 while also receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The 35-year-old was part of the 2006 Ice Hockey World Championship and the 2006 gold medal winner in the Winter Olympics, part of the first team to ever win both tournaments in the same year.
8 Ryan Miller - 5th round, 138 overall, 1999
This American-born goaltender was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 5th round at 138th overall. Maxime Oullet was the goalie drafted in the first round of the 1999 draft by the Philadelphia Flyers.
Ryan Miller won a silver medal as the starting goaltender for team US in the 2010 Winter Olympics. In the same year Miller went on to win the Vezina Trophy. In 2014 he became the 30th goaltender in NHL history to win 300 career games.
7 Theo Fleury - 8th round, 166 overall, 1987
Known as one of the smallest players of his generation, the former Canadian-born player spent 17 years on four different teams. The onetime Stanley Cup champion in 1989 was not selected until the 8th round 166th over in the 1987 draft. Yet, he is a team-leading forward in point-per-game.
Fleury represented Canada twice at the Winter Olympics, winning gold in 2002.
6 Patrick Roy - 3rd round, 51st overall, 1984
Not many will think that being selected in the third round is that late in the draft and could be considered a steal. Yet, that is not the case for Patrick Roy. Selected in the third round and 51st overall for one of the best goaltenders in history was a steal for the Canadiens.
In the second round, the New Jersey Devils selected goaltender Craig Billington. Billington would go on to win 441 fewer games than Roy.
Roy is one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. He would win four Stanley Cups (two with the Canadiens, two with the Colorado Avalanche). He played 19 years in the NHL winning 551 total NHL regular season games and 151 playoff games.
5 Pavel Datsyuk - 6th round, 171st overall, 1998
Among the league’s most elite group of NHL Players, Pavel Datsyuk wasn’t selected until the 6th round at 171st overall in 1998. No one thought the Red Wings were going to get a dynamic scorer, player maker and a defensive forward.
Datsyuk, also known as “The Magic Man”, has been playing in the NHL since the 2001-02 season. Since his emergence in the league he became a four-time NHL All-Star and has won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings twice.
4 Henrik Lundqvist - 7th round, 205th overall, 2000
The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner wasn’t selected until the 7th round of the 2000 NHL Draft and do you know who was selected 1st overall that year? With the first pick of the 2000 draft, the New York Islanders select Rick DiPietro.
Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history to win 30 or more games in his first seven seasons prior to the second lockout. He also is the first NHL goaltender to start his career with 11 straight, 20-win seasons, and the 15th goalie overall to have won at least 20 games in a season 11 times.
3 Luc Robitaille - 9th round, 171st overall - 1984
The Los Angeles Kings seem to know what they are doing when it comes to late round drafting. This is the third time they are mentioned on this list, this time it’s Luc Robitaille who waited nine rounds to hear his name.
The Canadian-born star is 21st on the NHL career point-scoring list, scoring more than 40 goals or 100 points four times in his career.
The 171st overall pick played in eight All-Star games and won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in the 2001-02 season. His no.20 jersey was retired by the Kings and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009.
2 Brett Hull - 6th round, 117th overall, 1984
Another team with great late round picking in the drafts, the Calgary Flames. Unfortunately this time around, the Flames didn't see it pay dividends for them. Brett Hull is another star that was selected late in the 1984 Draft.
Hull, Canadian-American NHL star played in 21 NHL seasons where he played for five teams. He is most noted for his time on the St. Louis Blues and his short stint with the Dallas Stars. The Flames got impatient with Hull in 1988 and traded him, along with Steve Bozek for veteran help in Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley.
He is an eight-time NHL All-Star and has won two Stanley Cups, one with the Detroit Red Wings and one with the Dallas Stars.
1 Dominik Hašek - 10th round, 199th overall - 1983
The six-time Vezina Trophy winner waited to hear his name get called in the tenth round of the 1983 draft. Hašek played 16 seasons in the NHL for four different teams.
While the Blackhawks were the ones that drafted him, Hasek was never a top option for them. It was during his time he Buffalo he developed the nickname ‘The Dominator.” He is a six-time NHL All-Star and won the Stanley Cup twice with the Detroit Red Wings.
To add to his amazing tenth round resume he has won the William M. Jennings Trophy three times.
Hašek may be the greatest goaltender in hockey history, and is now an NHL icon 33 years after he got selected 199th overall. The 10th round selection was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.
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