The NHL entry draft has been around for one reason: to help organizations prepare for the future. Some of the players chosen are selected to become the new face of the franchise, while other players are drafted to fill future holes that may occur in the lineup. Since 1963, when the NHL adopted the draft, roughly 10,934 players have been selected. While some of these players grow to be some of the best the game has ever seen, some don’t pan out so well and end up doing quite the opposite.
The 90s era of the NHL saw an amazing amount of top tier talent come into the game. Players like Jaromir Jagr, Keith Tkachuk, Martin Brodeur, Eric Lindros, Peter Forsberg and Scott Niedermayer changed the game forever. Some selections don’t become much, regardless of draft position or how well they did in junior. While most of the players who didn’t meet expectations just retired and called it a career, there also some who decided to take a different route in the world of hockey. These are The Top 15 Worst Draft Picks Of The 90s and Where They Are Now.
15 Jesse Wallin, Selected 26th Overall in 1996 by Detroit
Even though Jesse Wallin was a first round selection in 1996, his career wasn’t much of a success story. Jesse would spend most of his professional time as an AHLer with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. He'd finally make it to the big show in 2000 and during his time as an NHLer, he would score a total of 2 points in only 49 NHL games. His AHL numbers weren’t much better, as in 233 contests he would tally up 52 points. Those are numbers no one wants to write home about, especially after being selected 26th overall.
So what is Jesse up to now? He was the head coach and general manager of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels before being fired mid-season in 2012/13. Now, he’s with the St. Louis Blues as an amateur scout.
14 Jaroslav Svejkovsky, Selected 17th Overall in 1996 by Washington
During the 1995-96 season with the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, Jaroslav Svejkovsky would score 58 goals in 70 games, leading him to look like a great choice at 17th overall in the 1996 draft by the Capitals. However, due to injuries and inconsistent play, Jaroslav wouldn’t become much in the NHL. The bulk of his success would come when he played for Portland in the AHL, scoring 85 points in 70 games, but he wouldn't be able to transfer that over to the NHL. In 113 games played, Jaroslav only managed 42 points and was a -22. He officially retired from hockey after the 2000-01 IHL season.
Svejkovsky has spent 10 years as a development coach for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, where he continues to coach. He’s also currently the head coach of a CSSHL Elite 15 team for the Delta Hockey Academy.
13 Scott Scissons, Selected 6th Overall in 1990 by New York Islanders
When you're selected 6th overall, odds are the team that drafted you is hoping you play more than two games for them. Sadly, that was the case for Scott Scissons, who was drafted 6th overall by the Islanders in 1990, only to play two total games for them and manage a single shot on goal. In fairness to the Islanders, Scissons seemed like a great pick, as he was a big center who excelled in the WHL, notching 250 points in 189 games for the Saskatoon Blades. Sadly, he couldn't translate that talent to the NHL level.
Scissons wasn't involved in hockey after retiring in 1994/95, as he began to work for the family business back in Saskatoon, dealing in mobile homes. However, he's back in the hockey world today, acting as a scout for the Regina Pats of the WHL.
12 Nolan Baumgartner, Selected 10th Overall in 1994 by Washington
Nolan Baumgartner was an amazing junior hockey player, winning 2 World Junior Championship Gold Medals, 2 WHL Titles and 2 Memorial Cup Championships. So when Washington chose him 10th overall in 1994, they thought they hit the lotto. However, like many other players, Nolan couldn’t transfer his junior success to where it really mattered. Every single year of his professional career was spent mostly in the AHL with the occasional NHL call up. But during the 2005-06 season, he somehow managed to stick it out for 70 games with Vancouver, scoring 34 points. Philadelphia thought his game finally got to where it needed to be and signed him. Unfortunately that was just a one off, as he would spend the next seasons of his career between the AHL and NHL.
Today, Nolan is back in the AHL, but as an Assistant Coach for the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks.
11 Pavel Brendl, Selected 4th Overall in 1999 by New York Rangers
Pavel Brendl was an absolute scoring machine for the Calgary Hitmen in the late 90s, scoring nearly a goal a game for them, with 172 goals in 178 games. When the Rangers took him 4th overall in 1999, many thought he'd be a top-six winger for them for the start of the new millennium. Instead, he never suited up for the team, being traded to Philly as a part of the deal that brought Eric Lindros to the Big Apple. Despite that trade, he wouldn't be great in any of his NHL stops (Philly, Carolina, Phoenix) and was finished in the NHL at the age of 24, scoring only 11 goals in 78 games. It was a far cry from what people were expecting of him.
After leaving the NHL, Brendl would play for a variety of teams in Europe, playing last season in the Slovak league with Skalica HK 36 and Zvolen HKm.
10 Michael Stewart, Selected 13th Overall in 1990 by New York Rangers
Michael Stewart was drafted 13th overall during the 1990 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers. Sadly for Stewart, he would never play an NHL game. All of his time as a pro would be spent in the AHL playing for Binghamton, Springfield and Rochester. In 255 career AHL games, Michael would only score 100 points. He would go on to spend the rest of his career playing for the IHL, EBEL, German and Austrian leagues. After the 2009-10 season in the EBEL, Michael would hang them up for good.
Since then, he's been an assistant coach for two different teams over in Europe. As of today he’s the head coach of Augsburger Panther of the German Elite League, while also lending a hand to Canada at the Deutchsland Cup as an assistant coach.
9 Daniel Tkaczuk, Selected 6th Overall in 1997 by Calgary
Daniel Tkaczuk was a very gifted offensive player in junior, scoring 334 points in 238 games during his four year career in the OHL. This made him a highly touted prospect, which Calgary selected 6th overall in the 1997 draft, hoping his offensive prowess would serve them good. Unfortunately, it did not. Daniel would spend the bulk of his pro career in the AHL, playing 286 games and totalling 168 points. He got called up to the NHL once, where in 19 games he had just 4 goals with 7 assists.
Daniel retired from hockey after the 2010-11 season. The following year, he would become an assistant coach for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. He would continue with them until the 2015-16 season, where he took another assistant coaching job, this time with the Kitchener Ranger of the OHL. This year, he’s now an assistant with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.
8 Michel Riesen, Selected 14th Overall in 1997 by Edmonton
Michel Riesen possessed amazing offensive talents that he would showcase while playing in the Swiss Elite League. So, Edmonton drafting him 14th overall in 1997 seemed like a good choice. However it wasn’t, as Riesen would spend all three of his pro years in the AHL playing for the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he dressed up for a total of 202 games, managing 137 points. While with Hamilton, his NHL debut would come during the 2000-01 season. During a short stint that lasted 12 games, he scored just a single point.
Riesen, who's Swiss, would go back home to continue his hockey career, spending a large chunk of time with HC Davos. Riesen eventually retired after the 2013-14 season, after spending 13 years back home in the Swiss League. So what’s he up to these days? He’s currently a development coach for the HC Davos U-17 and U-20 teams.
7 Josh Holden, Selected 12th Overall in 1997 by Vancouver
When Josh Holden scored 112 points in 70 games for the Regina Pats in 1995/96, everyone thought he was the next big thing. He was compared to the legendary Jaromir Jagr for his offensive abilities and all around game. However, despite the comparison, Holden couldn't bring that kind of skill to the NHL. Holden would play six pro years in North America, going back and forth from the AHL to the NHL. After three mediocre seasons, Carolina would pick him up in the Waiver Draft. He didn’t fair out much better there either, as he was eventually traded to Toronto before the 2002-03 season. After 60 career NHL games, Josh only scored 14 points, which is not amazing from a Jagr-like player who was drafted 12th overall.
Holden left the NHL after the 2003-04 season for the Swiss Elite League, a league where Josh Holden still plays to this day as the captain of EV Zug.
6 Robert Petrovicky, Selected 9th Overall in 1992 by Hartford
Robert Petrovicky had natural offensive instincts, he just couldn’t find them when he transitioned to North America. After being drafted 9th overall in 1992, he would start his professional career with Hartford right from the start. However, after scoring 9 points in 42 games, he was sent down to the AHL. The rest of his pro career followed suit, as he would go back and forth between the AHL and NHL. Petrovicky eventually left the NHL for good before the start of the 2001-02 season. Petrovicky would play in seven different leagues in Europe from 2001-02 to 2015-16, before retiring from hockey for good. A lot of bouncing around and inconsistent play from a 9th overall pick.
So where is he now? He’s an assistant coach for HK Dukla Trencin of the Slovakian Elite League.
5 Jamie Storr, Selected 7th Overall in 1994 By Los Angeles
Jamie Storr was selected 7th overall by the Kings in 1994, who thought he could be a rock in nets for them, since he came off a strong year with Owen Sound of the OHL. Storr also won two World Championship Gold Medals, but unfortunately, Jamie wasn’t able to bring that elite play to Los Angeles. He was eventually signed as a free agent by Carolina for the 2003-04 season, which would be his final NHL stop, as he went winless in 14 games played. Playing in 219 career NHL games, Jamie only won 85 contests with a 2.54 career goals against average and .908 save percentage. Definitely not elite play from a 7th overall pick with a lot of expectations.
Jamie retired from hockey after the 2008-09 season. Today he’s currently an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Junior Kings U-15 team. He also has his own goalie school in Los Angeles, dedicated to helping young goaltenders.
4 Drake Berehowsky, Selected 10th Overall in 1990 by Toronto
Drake Berehowsky, another junior All Star, was the 10th overall pick in 1990. His abilities in junior made him a player teams wanted badly, but his knee problems pushed him back in the draft a little. He would start his professional career the following season with Toronto, but after some inconsistencies, he was sent back down to Kingston of the OHL. Drake wouldn’t become an NHL regular until the 1992-93 season. The majority of his pro career was a lot of back and forth between NHL teams and their AHL affiliates. Drake would play 549 career NHL games, but only scored 149 points and most of this was due to his knee issues. Drake retired from hockey all together after the 2005-06 season.
Since then, he’s been an assistant and head coach for many different teams. This year he’s the head coach of the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL.
3 Alexandre Daigle, Selected 1st Overall in 1993 by Ottawa
When NHL fans think of NHL Draft busts and the '90s, the first name they likely think of is Alexandre Daigle. When the Sens selected him first overall in 1993, he was looked at as a saviour who was going to lead the expansion team into relevancy. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be for Daigle, who had two decent seasons for Ottawa, but could never become more than a 50 point player. Not only was he average offensively, he was horrible in his own end, leaving Ottawa in 1998 with a rating of -137 after four and a half years. He'd bounce around to a few teams after, but would never have a huge impact, leaving the NHL for Europe in 2006.
After finishing up his overseas career in 2010, he moved back home to Montreal to open up a real estate business, which he still operates today.
2 Aki Berg, Selected 3rd Overall in 1995 by Los Angeles
Aki Berg was the 3rd overall pick in 1995 by the Kings, as his offensive potential as a defenseman had him highly regarded. He didn’t reach those expectations though, turning more into a defensive defenseman throughout his years. His first pro season in 1995-96 saw him play a total of 51 games, only scoring 7 points and finishing with a -13 rating, which was a sign of things to come, as he's never really have a breakthrough season. In 2001, the Kings traded Berg to Toronto where he would finish off the rest of his career. For a third overall pick, Berg didn’t accomplish much, as he only netted 85 points in 606 games. He left for the Finnish Elite League before the 2006-07 season where he would play until retiring after the 2010-11 season.
Aki isn’t up to much these days, as he’s currently an equipment manager for TPS and Team Finland.
1 Patrik Stefan, Selected 1st Overall in 1999 by Atlanta
Patrik Stefan will unquestionably go down as the biggest draft bust of all time. Mostly due to the fact he was so highly regarded as a teenager, Atlanta drafted him 1st overall in 1999. He scored 15 points in 25 games as an IHL rookie and the next year he jumped up to 35 points in 33 games. His offensive talents were considered generational, but Stefan just couldn’t do it in the NHL. His highest point total as a pro came in the 2003-04 season with Atlanta when he scored 40 points in 82 games. However, his most famous moment came with the Dallas Stars, when he famously missed an open net on a breakaway, which led to the Stars losing the game.
Stefan would eventually leave the NHL after the 2006-07 season and his retirement from pro hockey would come after the 2007-08 season with Bern of the Swiss Elite League. Stefan could never match the hype behind him and isn’t just the biggest bust of the 90s, but easily of all time. He’s currently working as a player agent for the NHLPA and as a coach in California.