With introduction of the salary cap in the 2005-06 NHL season, dynasty teams have become a thing of the past. The Chicago Blackhawks in recent years, have been the closest thing to a dynasty. They have won three Stanley Cups in the past six years. A huge reason they have been able to keep winning year after year is because of their talented core group of players. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford have all played integral roles in the Blackhawks winning Stanley Cups. What do those players all have in common besides Stanley Cup rings? They are all original draft picks of the Chicago Blackhawks. That goes to show you, drafting and developing your own players is a key for long term success.
The Blackhawks may have drafted a ton of fantastic players, but like every other team they are bound to make mistakes when it comes drafting. Every single player on this list had outstanding junior careers. However, as you will soon find out, having success in the junior system doesn't come close to guaranteeing success in the NHL. All of these players were also first round draft choices. Being a first round selection comes with a great deal of pressure to produce. It's clear that some of these players just couldn't handle that pressure. A few of these players went on to have long successful hockey careers when they left the bright lights of the NHL.
The worst thing about drafting players who turn out to be duds, is that sometimes the players you passed on drafting, turn out to be huge franchise changing players. It's very possible that the Blackhawks could have won even more Stanley Cups had they drafted (slightly) differently.
Here is the top 15 worst draft mistakes by the Chicago Blackhawks, since the introduction of the NHL Entry Draft in 1979.
15 Adam Munro - 2001
Adam Munro was drafted 29th overall after coming off an great season with the OHL's Erie Otters. In his draft year, he posted a record of 26-6-6 with a 2.31 goals against average, to go along with a stellar .920 save percentage. However, he was never able to come close to those numbers for the remainder of his junior career. Munro made his professional debut in the 2003-04 seas0n, playing in the ECHL, AHL, as well as the NHL. In his seven games with the Blackhawks, his numbers were poor to say the least. To be fair, Chicago was one of the worst teams in the league during that time. Munro would get into ten more games with the Blackhawks during the 2005-06 season, where his play was below average. He bounced around in the minors a few more years before trying his luck overseas. A couple of players that went after Munro in the early second round include Derek Roy and Fedor Tyutin.
14 Dmitri Nabokov - 1995
Dmitri Nabokov was playing for the famous Soviet Wings Club, when his play caught the eye of many NHL scouts, including those of Chicago. The Blackhawks used the 19th overall selection to take the skilled Russian. Before making his professional debut, he spent a year in the Western Hockey League to learn the North American game. It did't take long for Nabokov to get accustomed. While playing for the Regina Pats he would score an amazing 95 points in just 50 games played.
Nabokov had a lot of momentum going into his first professional season in 1997-98. He started the year with the IHL's Indianapolis Ice and played well enough to earn a call up. In 25 games with the Blackhawks, he recorded a decent 11 points. That would be his only season with Chicago as he was traded in the off season to the New York Islanders. He was never able to secure a permanent role with New York and by 2000 was back in Russia. The Blackhawks would have been better off taking Nabokov's former teammate Alexei Morozov.
13 Ty Jones - 1997
Ty Jones was the second player selected by Chicago in the first round of the 1997 draft, after they selected Daniel Cleary with the 13th overall pick. Jones, who went 16th overall, was a power forward with the Spokane Cheifs. He was great at putting the puck in the net, scoring 36 goals in his final full season with Spokane. He made his debut with the Blackhawks in the 1998-99 season. He went scoreless in eight games before being sent back down to junior. He wouldn't make back to the NHL until the final season of his career in 2003-04, with the Florida Panthers. He again failed to register a single point in six games. The Blackhawks missed out on drafting a couple solid future NHL players in Scott Hannan and Brenden Morrow, who went before the end of the first.
12 Eric Lecompte - 1993
Eric Lecompte was a big power forward, who played most of his junior hockey with the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his draft year he scored 33 goals and 38 assists for 71 points. That was impressive enough for Chicago to take him with the 24th overall pick. He had a pretty good first pro season playing for the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, recording 44 points in 79 games. Unfortunately, Lecompte's production would only decline from there. He was stuck in the minors for his entire time with the Blackhawks organization. He left for Europe in 1999 without playing a single NHL game. Jay Pandolfo and Jamie Langenbrunner, who went on to play over a combined 2000 NHL games, were drafted shortly after Lecompte.
11 Jerome Dupont - 1980
Jerome Dupont started his junior career with the Toronto Marlboros at the age of sixteen. He put up 26 points in 58 games, nothing too special. However, his second season was much better, recording 44 points. Dupont shown enough potential for Chicago to take him with the 15th overall selection. He would never live up to the potential he once showed. His career best season came in 1985-86, when he played 75 games and recorded 15 points. He would retire from the game just a year later. Chicago could have selected future Blackhawk Brent Sutter, who went to the New York Islanders just two selections after Dupont.
10 Bruce Cassidy - 1983
Bruce Cassidy put up huge numbers playing for the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The defenseman put up an incredible 246 points in just 165 games during his two and half seasons of junior. Chicago selected him with the 18th overall pick in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. Sadly for the Blackhawks, Cassidy was not able to translate his skills to the NHL. He was producing nearly a point per game in the minors, but his development came to a halt when he suffered a serious knee injury in 1990. He finished his career having played only 36 NHL games. The Blackhawks missed out on taking Jeff Beukeboom, a solid defender who played 804 NHL games with a +114 rating, who went a pick later.
9 Everett Sanipass - 1986
Everett Sanipass was taken with the 14th overall selection in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. He certainly earned his draft spot with the amazing season he had in 1985-86 with the Verdun Junior Canadiens. He recorded 94 points in 67 games to go along with a whopping 320 penalty minutes. He showed promise in his first full season with Blackhawks in 1987-88, recording 20 points and 126 penalty minutes in 57 games. Unfortunately that was the best Sanipass would ever do. Sanipass would have a brief stint in Quebec playing with the Nordiques but retired in 1993 due to back problems, never living up to his potential. A better pick would've been grinder Tom Fitzgerald, who went two picks later and played over 1,000 games in the NHL.
8 Jimmy Waite - 1987
After being taken with the 8th overall pick in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Jimmy Waite would go on to have a long professional hockey career. He played a total of 862 games in his hockey career, but only 106 of those games were played in the NHL. Waite had a hard time cracking the Blackhawks lineup in his first few seasons. A good reason for that, was the fact that Chicago already had two future Hall of Fame goalies in Dominik Hasek and Ed Belfour between the pipes. He the spent the majority of his NHL career bouncing up and down from the minors. His last NHL game action was in 1998-99, where he started 16 games for the Phoenix Coyotes. He spent the last six seasons of his career as a starting goalie in a German league. The Blackhawks could have had Joe Sakic instead, who went to Quebec with the 15th overall selection.
7 Pavel Vorobiev - 2000
Pavel Vorobiev was the second player selected by Chicago in the first round of 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The 11th overall pick honed his skills in Russia before making the trip over to North America. He made his debut with the Blackhawks in the 2003-04 season, suiting up for 18 games, recording just four points. He would spend the entire 2004-05 NHL lockout season in the AHL, putting up a decent 44 points. The 2005-06 season, would be the last that Vorobiev would play in North America. In 39 games with the Blackhawks, he put up a respectable 21 points. Obviously not the output you're looking for with a first rounder.
6 Mikhail Yakubov - 2000
The offensively gifted Mikhail Yakubov was taken 10th overall after a few great seasons in the Russian junior league. After being drafted, he came over to play a year of junior hockey in the Western Hockey League. Playing for the Red Deer Rebels, Yakubov had a fantastic season, recording 89 points in 71 games. He would make his North American professional debut the following season, with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL. He had a hard time adjusting to the pro game, only registering 11 points in 62 games. He would spend the next three seasons splitting time between the NHL and AHL, before heading back home to Russia. His final NHL point totals added up to an abysmal 12 points in 53 career games. Those are definitely not numbers you want to see from a top ten overall pick.
5 Ken Yaremchuk - 1982
Ken Yaremchuk was an elite player in junior while playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. In his three seasons of junior he recorded 424 points. It's safe to say the Blackhawks had high hopes for the 7th overall draft pick. His first season was a bit of a disappointment, scoring only 13 points in 47 games with Chicago. His production increased slightly in season that followed as Yaremchuck would score a career high of 34 points in 1985-86. Yaremchuk was traded to the Maple Leafs the following season but could not find a permanent spot in their lineup. He left for Europe in 1989 and that's where he stayed until he retired in 1999. The Blackhawks missed out on taking future 640 NHL goal man Dave Andreychuk, who went nine picks later.
4 Adam Bennett - 1989
Adam Bennett was a star offensive defenseman playing for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. He amassed 140 points in his three seasons of junior. The Blackhawks liked him enough to take him as the 6th overall pick. In his first pro season he managed to get into five games with Chicago, failing to register a single point. The following season in 1992-93, he would get into 16 NHL games, recording his first career points in the process. Bennett wasn't in the Blackhawks future plans, so he was traded to the Oilers in the offseason. It was in Edmonton where Bennett had his best season. He played a career high 48 games, recording nine points. That was the last time Bennett played in the NHL as he retired in 1996. Bobby Holik and Mike Sillinger were still on the board when Bennett was selected.
3 Jack Skille - 2005
Skille was drafted with the 7th overall selection after playing two years for the USA Hockey Development Program. Skille would play parts of five seasons with the Chicago organization. He spent the majority of those years playing in the minors and he was traded to the Florida Panthers in 2011, but couldn't crack their lineup on a consistent basis either. So far in his career, Skille has proven to be nothing more than a fringe NHL player at best. Skille has also spent time with the Columbus Blue Jackets and most recently with the Colorado Avalanche. Chicago missed out on drafting future NHL stars like Anze Kopitar and Marc Staal, who went within the next five picks.
2 Kyle Beach - 2008
Kyle Beach was a unique talent in junior hockey. He could score goals, but was also known for being great at getting under an opposing players skin. The Blackhawks liked that combination of skill and took him with the 11th overall selection. His first professional season took place in 2010-11, when he played 71 games for Chicago's AHL affilate in Rockford. He recorded 36 points and 163 penalty minutes, not bad numbers. Unfortunately, that was the best Beach would ever produce, as he battled injuries and inconsistency.
After the 2013-14 season, he headed off to Europe, having never played a single NHL game. Beach was a huge waste of a pick considering that Tyler Myers was the next pick. However, that doesn't hurt as much as knowing that Erik Karlsson only went four picks later. Ouch.
1 Cam Barker - 2004
Cam Barker was the highest drafted player on this list, as he was taken third overall in 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He was an offensively gifted defenseman in junior while playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers. He won gold playing for Canada at the 2005 and 2006 World Junior Championships. Barker spent his first few professional seasons splitting time with Blackhawks and their AHL minor league affiliate.
His first full season in the NHL came in 2008-09, where in 68 games, he recorded a very respectable 40 points. Barker's career would only take a downward turn from there. He would struggle mightily the following season and was traded to the Minnesota Wild. In 72 games with the Wild over two seasons, he only recorded a measly 12 points. He would have short stints in both Edmonton and Vancouver before heading off to the KHL. Two notable names were taken directly: future Blackhawk Andrew Ladd and current Winnipeg Jets sniper Blake Wheeler. They would've been terrific fits in Chicago.
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