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
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.
13 Ty Jones - 1997
12 Eric Lecompte - 1993
11 Jerome Dupont - 1980
10 Bruce Cassidy - 1983
9 Everett Sanipass - 1986
8 Jimmy Waite - 1987
7 Pavel Vorobiev - 2000
6 Mikhail Yakubov - 2000
5 Ken Yaremchuk - 1982
4 Adam Bennett - 1989
3 Jack Skille - 2005
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.
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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