The 1992 NHL Draft is kind of like eating canned soup when your power is off and there's nothing else to eat in the house. It's not great, it's not horrible, but it had some ups and downs. This draft has yet to haul in an NHL Hall of Famer, and the chances at this point of someone making it appear to be slim.
But the 1992 NHL Draft wasn't like the 1999 or 2000 Draft, where most of the picks ended up being complete flops and very few selections turned out to be superstars. The 1992 Draft brought over a ton of talent from Canada, the United States, and all over Europe, especially Russia. Some of these picks helped set the stage for more teams to draft beyond North America, and the NHL has not looked back.
There were plenty of steals, misses and gems in the 1992 Draft. So how would it all go down if teams had a time machine to re-do it all? Here's a look at how the 24-pick first-round of the 1992 NHL Draft should have gone down.
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36 Alexei Yashin, Tampa Bay Lightning
Original Pick: Roman Hamrlik
Alexei Yashin was unquestionably the top pick of the 1992 NHL Draft. The Senators shall always feel blessed that he went to them. Because here's what happened: He took an expansion team and helped them become a powerhouse during the late '90s and early 2000s. He then got traded which eventually brought Zdeno Chara and Jason Spezza from the New York Islanders.
The Lightning should have taken Yashin, who would have easily had 1,000 points in the NHL. He left the league in 2007 with 337 goals and 781 points in 850 NHL games. Yashin registered 70 points on six occasions throughout his career. The slick Russian was the complete package that you ask for in a forward. Of course, his attitude ran him out of Ottawa and eventually the NHL.
But there's no doubt the Lightning would have been a huge winner if they took Yashin. Roman Hamrlik was good. But as they say, good is good but great is better.
35 Nikolai Khabibulin, Ottawa Senators
Original Pick: Alexei Yashin
The guy Ottawa ended up taking with the second pick was a superstar, but he had to be number one on our list. But if the re-draft ever happened, they'd surely be happy with The Bhulin Wall, one of the NHL's top netminders throughout the 2000s.
Khabibulin was a four-time All-Star and was the Tampa Bay Lightning's hero during their 2004 Stanley Cup-winning season. Khabibulin played on two Winter Olympic teams for his homeland, Russia. Another admirable thing about him was his ability to carry really bad teams. He won 30-plus games during his three years in Phoenix. In 2006-07 and 2007-08 when Chicago was among the worst teams, he still hit 25 and 23 wins, respectively.
Khabibulin finished with 333 career wins. Though Ottawa had a star in Patrick Lalime, he was known for his playoff meltdowns. Perhaps Khabibulin would have been the goalie to get them over.
34 Jere Lehtinen, San Jose Sharks
Original Pick: Mike Rathje
Jere Lehtinen was one of the most overlooked players during his prime. He wasn't drafted until 88th-overall by the Stars, who were based in Minnesota at the time. Lehtinen had problems sticking out on a star-studded Dallas team that had Mike Modano, Bill Guerin, Ed Belfour, Jamie Langenbrunner, Brendan Morrow, Sergei Zubov and other talents.
Lehtinen still did his due in Big D. He scored 20 goals and 52 points in their 1999 Stanley Cup season. He hit the 20-goal mark seven times and was a force throughout his career, scoring 243 goals and 514 points in 875 games. We love the idea of him going to San Jose and shining with Owen Nolan and Teemu Selanne.
Instead, the Sharks wound up with Mike Rathje, who was a solid blueliner but never turned into a star the way Lehtinen did.
33 Michael Peca, Quebec Nordiques
Original Pick: Todd Warriner
For a team that had drafted Joe Sakic, Eric Lindros, Owen Nolan, and Mats Sundin, you'd think the Nordiques would have been able to stay in Quebec. But financial problems led to them eventually moving to Denver in 1996. Oh, what could have been if they stayed in Quebec and drafted Michael Peca at number four instead of Todd Warriner at left wing.
Peca was a bit of a late bloomer in the NHL. He was drafted by the Canucks in the second round, but it wasn't until his fourth year in the NHL that he started to become a star. He scored 20-plus goals 40 times and had a career-best 60 points with the New York Islanders in 2001-02.
Peca would have been a star on the Nordiques with their supporting cast. But Peca never got the chance to shine because of the awful supporting cast around him for most of his career.
32 Roman Hamrlik, New York Islanders
Original Pick: Darius Kasparaitis
Roman Ramrlik was the first pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1992 NHL Draft. The Islanders wound up selecting Darius Kasparaitis with the fifth pick. In a re-draft, Hamrlik would fall right to them. He wasn't quite first-overall pick-worthy, but he definitely enjoyed a solid NHL career.
Hamrlik was a sure bet to threaten for 40 points during his career that lasted two decades. He scored 16 goals and 65 points with the Lightning in 1995-96. He was a three-time NHL All-Star and won an Olympic gold medal with Czech Republic at Nagano in 1998, helping his squad shutdown the Canadian and Russian powerhouses in the tournament.
Hamrlik's career is probably just going to fall short of reaching the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he was a very good defenceman. The Isles would happily take him here in our re-draft.
31 Cory Stillman, Calgary Flames
Original Pick: Cory Stillman
The Flames actually took Cory Stillman with the sixth-overall selection, and we don't see much reason for them to regret it. Stillman played seven seasons with the Flames. In 1997-98, he scored 27 goals and 49 points. He followed it up with 27 goals and 57 points. Stillman scored 21 goals and 45 points with the Flames in 2000-01.
He wound up defeating his old team in the 2004 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he scored 25 goals and a career-high 80 points. Stillman came out of the lockout with 21 goals and 76 points, winning his second cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Stillman enjoyed a respectable career of 278 goals and 727 points in 1,025 games.
Yes, the Flames probably should have kept him. He could have shifted the power in the 2004 playoffs. But we find no reason for them to select anyone else. Stillman was great for years and put the Flames on track to being that Cup contender in 2004.
30 Anson Carter, Philadelphia Flyers
Original Pick: Ryan Sittler
Remember Anson Carter? As a guy who grew up watching the Vancouver Canucks a lot, I sure do. You know, the guy who was taken 220th-overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1992? Scored 33 goals with the Sedin twins in 2005-06, but didn't come back because he wanted more money? Ah, good times.
Carter really was one of the most underrated players during his time in the NHL. He was a five-time 20-goal scorer and scored the infamous overtime winner for Team Canada at the 2003 World Hockey Championships against Sweden. Carter was a flashy right winger who starred as long as he had a quality centre.
Anson Carter deserved to go much higher. Imagine him on that Legion of Doom line in Philadelphia with Lindros. What could have been. The Flyers opted for Ryan Sittler again. He never played an NHL game.
29 Adrian Aucoin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Original Pick: Brandon Convery
Adrian Aucoin was another star blueliner who somehow fell all the way down the ladder. He wasn't selected until the Vancouver Canucks were on the board at 117th-overall. Aucoin became a steady presence on the blue line. He scored 23 goals and 34 points with the Canucks in 1998-99. He ended up with five seasons of notching double-digit goals. Aucoin also played in the 2004 All-Star Game as part of the New York Islanders.
The Maple Leafs blueline left much to be desired in 1992, so it would have made sense to take a guy like Aucoin. He would have ended up on a team with Sundin, Domi and other stars. They ended up with Brandon Convery, who also didn't do much with his team. Aucoin could have been a serious impact player on the Leafs during the '90s, but it never worked that way.
28 Marcus Ragnarsson, Hartford Whalers
Original Pick: Robert Petrovicky
Marcus Ragnarsson wound up being one of the steals of this draft, going 99th-overall to the San Jose Sharks. His pro career lasted 10 seasons, and the Swedish blueliner wound up playing in the 2001 NHL All-Star Game.
Ragnarsson didn't score a whole lot. He protected his net and was a solid all-around defender. He did have a trio of 30-point seasons, but it was all about how well he played at his own end of the rink. Ragnarsson kept the Sharks in playoff contention during his tenure there. He last played in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2004 before travelling oversees to Europe.
The Whalers wound up moving to Carolina. Perhaps drafting a player like Ragnarsson coul have made them relevant before the move. But it was all too late. Their ninth-overall pick, Robert Petrovicky, left no impact on the team.
27 Craig Rivet, San Jose Sharks
Original Pick: Andrei Nazarov
The 6-feet-2, 207-pound blueliner, like so many defenceman we talked about on here, did not score a lot. But Craig Rivet was one of the NHL's premier shutdown defencemen. He played 12 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and was one of the leaders that was instrumental in making them a constant playoff team in the 2000s. Rivet then played two seasons with the San Jose Sharks before finishing out his career with Buffalo and Columbus.
Rivet did post a career-best 35 points with the Sharks in 2007-08. He was capable of shutting down some of the league's best forwards and was a key cog on the Habs' blueline.. He would have at least turned out better than Andrei Nazarov, who struggled with the Sharks and was on a new team by 1998.
26 Ian Laperriere, Buffalo Sabres
Original Pick: David Cooper
The Sabres used this pick on David Cooper, who played in 30 games and scored three goals and 10 points. However, he never played a game with the Sabres and was out of the NHL by 2000-01, struggling to find a full-time roster spot.
Ian Laperriere had a solid career from 1993-2010. He scored 121 goals and 336 points. 2005-06 was a career-year for Laperriere, scoring 21 goals and 45 points. That would be his best season. But that team also included Joe Sakic, Alex Tanguay, Andrew Brunette, Milan Hejduk and Marek Svatos.
Basically, Laperriere showed his full potential in that ONE season he had great supporting linemates. He was still a solid checking forward for most of his career. If the Sabres took him, perhaps he would have been able to shut down the Dallas Stars' prolific offence in the 1999 Stanley Cup.
25 Andrei Nikolishin, Chicago Blackhawks
Original Pick: Sergei Krivokrasov
Andrei Nikolishin's NHL totals weren't all that impressive, but they probably would have been on another team, like the Blackhawks. This was a team that featured talents like Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Eric Daze, and Keith Carney. If you slotted Nikolishin with one of those guys, then he could have been a star.
Nikolishin's career-best season was with the Washington Capitals in 2000-01, scoring just 13 goals and 38 points. Nikolishin played on some awful teams and last played in the NHL in 2003-04, scoring five goals and 12 points with the Colorado Avalanche in 49 games. Nikolishin had all of the makings and potential to be an NHL superstar. But everyone needs some supporting players and the right cast.
He just never had that, but he would have if he went to Chicago.
24 Valeri Bure, Edmonton Oilers
Original Pick: Joe Hulbig
The brother of Pavel Bure was nowhere close to being as flashy as The Russian Rocket, but Valeri did enjoy some success in the NHL. He would have been a nice fit on a rebuilding Oilers team that had long moved on from the Stanley Cup dynasty of the '80s.
Bure fell 33rd-overall to the Montreal Canadiens in the draft, as every team took a pass on him. In his second NHL season, the speedy sniper scored 22 goals and 42 points. Bure scored 26 goals with Calgary in 1998-99, 35 goals and 75 points in 1999-2000 and 27 goals in 2000-01. Sadly, Bure suffered a knee injury the following season when he was traded to Florida, and his career was never the same.
If he was in Edmonton and avoided the injury, the Oilers would have had a sniper for the ages by their side. Hey, maybe he would have been that last piece that would have won them the Stanley Cup in 2006.
23 Manny Fernandez, Washington Capitals
Original Pick: Sergei Gonchar
Manny Fernandez deserved to last longer in the NHL. He went 143-123-24-11 with a .250 GAA and .912 save percentage. Like most guys on our list, he was stuck on rather mediocre teams and didn't get to last that long. He was a standout on the Minnesota Wild in 2005-06, posting a 30-18-7 record with a 2.29 GAA and .919 save percentage. Fernandez's last NHL game was in 2009 with the Boston Bruins, even though the stats show he was one of the better netminders of his generation.
The Capitals had Jim Carey and Olaf Kolzig in the '90s, but they weren't able to compete for that long with either. Perhaps Fernandez would have been the real net detective to take them all the way.
Mind you, Washington ended up with Sergei Gonchar, who was one of the NHL's best blueliners in the 2000s.
22 Darius Kasparaitis, Philadelphia Flyers
Original Pick: Jason Bowen
Darius Kasparaitis' scoring totals don't suggest he was worth a top-15 pick in the NHL. He did only score 27 goals and 163 goals in 863 points. He scored no more than 19 goals in a season, but he was still effective at his own end of the ice in a pro hockey career that lasted two decades.
Kasparaitis was part of the 1993 New York Islanders team that shocked the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs. That team was trying to three-peat and boasted Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy and other superstars. Sadly, Kasparaitis mainly played on terrible teams. He was on the Pens in the late '90s when they struggled and finished his NHL career with a mediocre New York Rangers team.
The Flyers could have used his defensive skills after lacking talent on the back end all those years.
21 Sergei Brylin, Boston Bruins
Original Pick: Dmitri Kvartalnov
Sergei Brylin was a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the powerhouse New Jersey Devils in 1995, 2000, and 2003. Let's go ahead and remember that his Devils eliminated Boston in the 2003 playoffs, a reminder that the Bruins missed out on a man that would end up falling to 42nd overall.
Brylin didn't stand out on a Devils team that had Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer, Bill Guerin, Patrick Elias, Jamie Langenbrunner and others. But he definitely was a key part of their championship teams. He scored a respectable 129 goals and 308 points in 765 games, and was capable of shutting down some of the NHL's top scoring lines.
The Bruins took Dmitri Kvartalnov instead, and he only played 112 NHL Games. They sure could have used a champion like Brylin.
20 Jim Carrey, Winnipeg Jets
Original Pick: Sergei Bautin
No! We are not talking about the guy from Ace Ventura, The Mask, Batman Forever or Dumb and Dumber, even though they are some of the greatest movies ever. However, Jim Carrey, the NHL goalie, was given the nickname "Net Detective," parodying "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective."
Carey only played in the NHL from 1994-1999, but his name and the fact he won the Vezina in 1996 assured we remembered his short-lived career. Carey wasn't selected until 32nd-overall, and the Jets missed out on a golden opportunity to find their franchise netminder.
Carey went 79-65-16 in his NHL career, finishing with a 2.58 GAA and .898 save percentage. They aren't numbers that'll blow you away, but the Jets did have some quality teams during the '90s that lacked a reliable net detective. Carey could have been the one.
19 Robert Svehla, New Jersey Devils
Original Pick: Jason Smith
Robert Svehla fell all the way to the Calgary Flames, 78th-overall. The slick Slovakian blueliner was one of the best at his positions early on in his career. Svehla was one of the top puck-moving blueliners, scoring 57 points in his sophomore season with the Florida Panthers.
He followed it up with a career-best 13 goals (and 45 points) in 1996-97. Svehla won bronze at the 1992 Winter Olympics and 1992 World Hockey Championships as well. He scored a total of 68 goals and 335 points in 655 NHL games. Svehla, unfortunately, was forced to play on mainly awful Florida Panthers teams.
Imagine Svehla playing on a New Jersey team that featured Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer. Perhaps the legend of Svehla would be well-known to the kids of today.
18 Nikolai Borschevsky, Pittsburgh Penguins
Original Pick: Martin Straka
So we know that Martin Straka had an excellent career with the Penguins, but it only lasted so many years and it didn't result in a Stanley Cup. We're gambling that Nikolai Borschevsky would have been an ultra star on a Penguins team that featured Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and Ron Francis.
Borschevsky's rookie season was memorable with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored 34 goals and 74 points. He'd go on to only play 162 NHL games, scoring 49 goals and 22 points. Injuries, the 1995 lockout-shortened season and his commitment to Russia held back a potential Russian superstar in the NHL.
It's hard to imagine anyone leaving for Russia if they had the chance to play with Lemieux. Borschevsky is at least cemented in Leafs lore. He scored the Game 7 overtime winner against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1993 division semi-finals.
But we should have been able to see more.
17 Kirk Maltby, Montreal Canadiens
Original Pick: David Wilkie
Kirk Maltby wasn't a Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Sergei Fedorov, Chris Osgood, Nicklas Lidstrom or Tomas Holmstrom on the Detroit Red Wings. He wasn't reliable to score a whole lot, but he formed the infamous Grind Line, which led the Wings to Stanley Cup titles in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.
Maltby, Joe Kocur, and Kris Draper got the "Grind Line," moniker after shutting down the Philadelphia Flyers top line of Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg in the 1997 Stanley Cup Final
The four-time Stanley Cup champion only had 128 goals and 260 points in 1,072 NHL games, but he revolutionized checking lines and proved that it takes more than scoring to win titles. Maltby could have been a nice fit on a Montreal Canadiens team that was too reliant on undersized scorers in the '90s and 2000s
16 Mattias Norstrom, Vancouver Canucks
Original Pick: Libor Polasek
Mattias Norstrom, if you remember, was captain of the Los Angeles Kings from 2001-2007. Now, the man was far from being an offensive defenceman. In 903 career games, he scored a grand total of...18 goals and 164 points. But Norstrom was very solid in his own end, despite playing on some awful Kings teams during the 2000s. The Canucks had Mattias Ohlund, another slick Swede on the blueline.
Ohlund is easily recognized as the Canucks best blueliner ever, and the pairing of him and Norstrom is one only Canucks fans can dream of. Norstrom accomplished a lot on Team Sweden, representing them at the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics . He also won a pair of silver medals at the World Hockey Championships.
The Canucks instead chose Libor Polasek, who didn't suit up for one game. Norstrom wasn't selected until 48th-overall.
15 Boris Mironov, Detroit Red Wings
Original Pick: Curtis Bowen
Boris Mironov was originally selected by the Winnipeg Jets 27th-overall, but there's no doubt that he should have gone earlier. The Red Wings could have used a solid stay-at-home defenceman. The 6-feet-3 Russian blueliner also had decent scoring abilities, totalling 76 goals and 307 points in 716 NHL games. Mironov played over two decades of professional hockey, but only a decade in the NHL.
He was also one of Russia's top hockey players, as he was on the silver medal 1998 Olympic team in Nagano. Mironov also won bronze with his homeland in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
The Red Wings instead selected Curtis Bowen, who struggled to find playing time in the NHL. Considering how much of a force Mironov was on the blueline, there should be no questioning that he would have been an ideal fit with the Red Wings. He and Nicklas Lidstrom could have formed a pairing for the ages.
14 Martin Straka, Toronto Maple Leafs
Original Pick: Grant Marshall
The Maple Leafs used this pick to select Grant Marshall, who was nothing more than an enforcer during his career. He scored just 239 points in 700 NHL games, but never suited up in a game with the Leafs. So just about anyone they could have taken would have ended up a better investment, anyway.
Martin Straka enjoyed a solid NHL career and was one of the league's more underrated players during the '90s and 2000s. Straka scored 257 goals and 717 points in 954 NHL games. He scored 30-plus goals twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had 30 goals and 64 points in his rookie season, 35 goals and 83 points in 1998-99 and hit the 70-point mark in his first two years back from the NHL lockout while playing with the New York Rangers.
Imagine Straka on a Leafs team that featured Mats Sundin, Tie Domi, Tomas Kaberle, Gary Robert,s and others. That would have been a super-team for the ages.
13 Sergei Zholtok, New York Rangers
Original Pick: Peter Ferraro
Sergei Zholtok was actually taken in the third round, but the flashy Russian centre displayed so much skill during his brief NHL career, that it's hard to understand why he was taken so late. Tragically, Zholtok died from heart failure during a game in 2004 while he was playing in the Belurussian Hockey League.
Zholtok enjoyed some good seasons in the NHL. In 1999-2000, he scored 26 goals and 38 points as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. Zholtok scored 19 goals and 39 points in 2001-02 with the Minnesota Wild. He followed it up with a career-high 42 points, guiding Minnesota to its first-ever playoff appearance.
He would end up scoring 111 goals and 258 career points in 588 NHL games. The Rangers wound up selecting Peter Ferraro instead, who managed to play in just 92 games. No doubt Zholtok would have been the better selection for the Blueshirts.
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