Top 15 Wastes of Talent in NHL History

Achievement in the National Hockey League requires that raw ability be trained from a very early age to refine the skills necessary to compete in the world’s most competitive hockey league. Players are scouted and monitored from the youth level to see if they have the potential to compete on that level. Even if they have the potential, a relentless work ethic is required to ensure that the most is gained out of the talent that a player possesses. Work ethic is a factor that can determine the course of an athlete’s future in the NHL.

Some athletes possess preternatural ability that allow them to succeed regardless of preparation. However, for the vast majority of athletes, the level of preparation necessary to succeed in the NHL is enormous. Players practice or skate virtually every day, including the morning of the day of games. Multiple sessions in the weight room and on the trainer’s table are needed to keep their bodies in condition to hold up to the demands that the sport takes on them. Life in the NHL can be a brutal grind for players unaccustomed to the 82 game regular season schedule.

There has been a long list throughout NHL history of players that had the talent required to be successful NHLers, but lacked the work ethic and determination to become legendary. Some have still managed to find success in spite of this lack of motivation, but have not risen to the level that would have made them a Hall of Fame player. This list will be full of those that never fully realized their potential, even though they had the talent necessary to achieve greatness in the league. We'll look at players who were lazy, crumbled under the pressure of being a topic, and some who tragically passed before they could become all-time greats.

15 15. Alex Kovalev

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14 14. Mike Ribeiro

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13 13. Alexander Semin

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

12 12. Pavel Brendl


11 11. Pat Falloon


10 10. Fedor Fedorov


9 9. Rick DiPietro

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

8 8. Andrew Raycroft


7 7. Tony Hand


6 6. Luc Bourdon


5 5. Brian Lawton


4 4. Alexander Radulov

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3 3. Bryan Fogarty


2 2. Pelle Lindbergh


1 1. Alexandre Daigle


There was tremendous hype surrounding Alexandre Daigle when he was taken with the first overall pick of 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators. The Senators tanked the previous season to acquire Daigle, but he never lived up to the potential he was expected to have. After being selected ahead of players like Chris Pronger and Paul Kariya, Daigle was outperformed by teammate Alexei Yashin during every year of their time together in Ottawa. Daigle then bounced around to several different NHL and AHL franchises, but only managed two campaigns during which he finished with over 50 points. He is still regarded as one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history.

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Top 15 Wastes of Talent in NHL History