The NHL draft is one of the more exciting times of the year for hockey fans.
Granted, the pomp and circumstance does not rival that of the NFL or NBA, but the league has come a long way over the years, presenting a compelling viewing experience for fans as they follow the action over its seven rounds.
Each NHL team has a knowledgeable staff whose sole purpose is to analyze every draft-eligible player and come up with a list of young men that can help their team in some way.
Sometimes the team will draft the best available player regardless of position, while other times the team will have a specific need it's looking to fill and will draft a player to fill that need.
For all the research and time that goes into studying the players that head to the draft, it's still a crapshoot. There are no guarantees that the players the teams draft will ever play in the NHL.
What follows is a list of those players that just never panned out: the worst first-round pick in each of the past 25 NHL drafts.
*Note that the list ends with the 2009 draft, as it is very difficult to pick a single worst player from the last two drafts when so many players are still developing.
Chris Biotti is the only player selected in the first round of the 1985 entry draft to never play a single NHL game.
Biotti, a defenseman from Harvard, was selected with the 17th overall pick by the Calgary Flames.
Don't feel too bad for Biotti though, as he is currently a Senior Vice President with Neuberger Berman, an investment management firm.
How forgettable was Biotti? No photos of the player were readily available.
The New Jersey Devils used the third pick in the 1986 NHL draft to select Neil Brady.
Brady was a standout player for the Medicine Hat Tigers, scoring 81 points in 72 games. That performance had the Devils high on the young center.
Unfortunately, his WHL success did not translate into NHL success, as Brady only played 29 games over three seasons before the Devils moved him to the Ottawa Senators. Brady did not have much success with the expansion team either, playing 55 games and earning 24 points.
Brady would move on to the Dallas Stars for the 1993-94 season, playing five games and earning one assist.
Brady would do well in the minors but could never seem to make it happen in the NHL.
Who could the Devils have picked instead of Brady?
Vincent Damphousse was chosen by the Toronto Maple Leafs with the sixth pick. Damphousse would go on to play 1,378 games in the NHL, amassing 1,205 points.
In 1987, Wayne McBean was a solid defenseman playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.
In 71 games that season, McBean scored 12 goals and added 41 assists, while racking up 163 penalty minutes. His play earned him All-Star honors, and he was chosen with the fourth pick by the Los Angeles Kings.
Over parts of two seasons, McBean played 60 games for the Kings before being traded to the New York Islanders in a move that saw the Kings receive Kelly Hrudey in return.
McBean would play a total of 211 NHL games.
The Kings missed out in this draft, as Luke Richardson was taken with the seventh pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Richardson would play 1,417 NHL games.
Daniel Doré had two solid years for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL in the mid 1980s, putting up 64 points and 229 penalty minutes in 1986-87 and 63 and 223 in 1987-88. He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques with the fifth pick in the 1988 entry draft.
The Nordiques had to be even more excited when Doré put up 91 points and 236 PIM during the 1989 season in the QMJHL.
Sadly, those high hopes went unrealized, and Doré only played 17 total games in the NHL, spending most of his time floating around the minors.
Some wingers that were drafted later in the first round: Martin Gelinas, Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne.
Jason Herter was a "cup of coffee" guy, playing a total of one game in the NHL—probably not what the Vancouver Canucks expected when they drafted him with the eighth pick in the 1989 draft.
At one point during his 1988-89 season with the University of North Dakota, Herter had risen to the ranking of top draft-eligible North American player.
Herter's only NHL game came in 1995 when he earned an assist while playing for the New York Islanders. Most of his career was spent playing in the IHL and in Germany.
The Canucks were not the only team that missed the bus when drafting blueliners during the first round of the 1989 draft.
In fact, it wasn't until the first pick of the second round that a stud defenseman was drafted, as Adam Foote went to the Quebec Nordiques.
As a member of the Saskatoon Flyers of the SMHL, Scott Scissons put up 100 and 120 points in 1985-86 and 1986-87, respectively. He moved on to the WHL, playing for the Saskatoon Blades for three seasons, putting up no less than 77 points each season during that run.
His exceptional play helped Scissons get drafted at the No. 6 spot by the New York Islanders. The only centers to go before him were Keith Primeau and Mike Ricci. The centers that went after him in the first round include Keith Tkachuk and Bryan Smolinski.
Ricci, Tkachuk and Smolinski would all play more than 1,000 games in the NHL. Primeau would get close, playing 909 before concussions forced him to hang up his skates.
Scissons would play two NHL games.
As a side note, the Islanders general manager at the time was not Mike Milbury, but Bill Torrey.
This one was kind of difficult, as there were some players in the first round that did not play nearly as many games as Falloon did, but none of those players entered the NHL with the expectations that Falloon did.
Falloon put up 138 points with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL in his draft year. That performance saw him drafted second overall, behind only Eric Lindros. Adding to the expectations for Falloon was the fact that he was the first-ever pick of the expansion San Jose Sharks.
An 18-year-old Falloon did pretty well in his rookie season, scoring 59 points, a number he would never exceed during his NHL career.
The Sharks gave up on Falloon during the 1995-96 season, shipping him to the Philadelphia Flyers, but again Falloon failed to live up to expectations. Other teams that gave Falloon a chance were the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Falloon would play 575 NHL games, scoring 322 points.
A player that may have been a better choice to build the Sharks franchise around was drafted with the sixth pick by the Philadelphia Flyers, Peter Forsberg.
Sometimes having a famous father can put unrealistic expectations on a player, and when you are the son of perhaps the greatest captain in the history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, well, that pressure can be immense.
The Philadelphia Flyers had high hopes for Ryan Sittler, son of the famous Darryl, when they selected him with the seventh pick in the 1992 entry draft. Those hopes never became reality, as Sittler never played a single game in the NHL.
Sittler had his share of misfortunes on the injury front that are at least partially responsible for his pro hockey shortcomings.
In the end, Sittler would play less than 250 games in his professional career, splitting time between the AHL and ECHL.
Much like 1991's second overall pick Pat Falloon, Alexandre Daigle was supposed to be a player that the Ottawa Senators could build a team around.
Daigle was a can't-miss prospect that was compared to Jeremy Roenick, Steve Yzerman, Pat LaFontaine and even Maurice Richard.
Ottawa bought into the hype and rewarded the young player a contract worth $12.25 million over five years—the largest salary ever awarded to a rookie at the time.
Daigle never justified that deal, hitting a high of 51 points during his career in Ottawa. After parts of five seasons with the Senators, he was shipped to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Vaclav Prospal and Pat Falloon.
He tanked in Philly as well, and the Flyers shipped him to the Edmonton Oilers, who immediately traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning. From there, Daigle bounced to the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild organizations before moving on to the Swiss league.
In all, Daigle played 616 NHL games, scoring 327 points.
His most famous quote, which he probably regrets, came on draft day, when he said that he was glad he was drafted at No. 1 "because no one remembers No. 2."
The No. 2 pick of his draft class was Chris Pronger, while the No. 4 pick was Paul Kariya.
Don't let the photograph fool you.
Yes, that is Alexander Kharlamov at the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it is not him being inducted. His late father Valeri was inducted in 2005, only the second non-NHL player to be inducted into the Hall.
Alexander was drafted with the 15th pick in the 1994 draft, selected by the Washington Capitals. He would never play a single NHL game.
The Edmonton Oilers had the sixth pick in the 1995 NHL entry draft and selected Steve Kelly.
Kelly had finished the 1994-95 WHL season with 72 points in 68 games, and when he finished the next year with 101 points in 70 games while racking up 203 penalty minutes, it looked like Edmonton had found a promising player.
Sadly, Kelly never developed into much of an NHL player, and after just 27 games for the Oilers, he was moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning, finding little success.
Over the course of his career, Kelly bounced around to several NHL teams. He retired after the 2009 season, playing in a total of 149 NHL games and scoring 21 points.
There were several players Edmonton could have selected with its pick, such as Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla or Petr Sykora.
Are you getting the idea that the Washington Capitals had some first-round draft troubles in the mid 1990s?
Well, if you aren't, you should, as Alexandre Volchkov was the Capitals' first pick in the 1996 draft, chosen fourth overall.
Volchkov was a talented player. The problem with him seemed to be his attitude, something that caused the Capitals to give up on him rather quickly, trading him to the Edmonton Oilers after just three games in the NHL.
Volchkov would never get into another NHL game and returned to Russia for the 2000-01 season.
Two first-round selections that fared a bit better than Volchkov but were picked later than he was: Marco Sturm and Daniel Briere.
Daniel Tkaczuk put up 93 points in 62 games for the OHL's Barrie Colts during his draft year. Based on his dominance in the OHL, Tkaczuk was drafted with the sixth pick in the 1997 entry draft by the Calgary Flames.
Tkaczuk would spend two more years in the OHL, putting up seasons of 75 and 105 points before making the jump to the Flames' AHL affiliate, the Saint John Flames, scoring 66 points in 80 games.
Tkaczuk's chance to make the Calgary squad came during the 2000-01 season, but he just couldn't stick, suiting up for 19 games and scoring 11 points. Those 19 games would be his only NHL experience, as he played the rest of his career in the minor leagues and in Europe.
A better choice for the Flames would have been Marian Hossa, Daniel Cleary or Brenden Morrow.
In 1997, Michael Henrich was a member of the OHL All-Star team. He also received accolades for having the best shot and hardest shot in the league.
Henrich was one of those players that was supposed to be a can't-miss prospect, and like so many other prospects, he never lived up to expectations.
The Edmonton Oilers took Henrich with the 13th pick in the draft, choosing him over players such as Simon Gagne, who went to the Flyers with the 22nd pick.
Henrich does have one claim to fame: He was the only player in the first round of the 1998 draft to never play an NHL game.
Pavel Brendl took the WHL by storm in 1999, earning Rookie of the Year honors as well as the Bob Clarke Trophy for top scorer.
Brendl put up 134 points in 1998-99, and his stock could not have been higher when the New York Rangers took him with the fourth pick in the draft.
Brendl's sophomore season in the WHL saw his productivity fall a bit, but he still put up 111 points in 61 games.
Brendl would never suit up for the team that drafted him, as he was part of the deal that sent Eric Lindros to the New York Rangers from the Philadelphia Flyers.
Over parts of two seasons with the Flyers, Brendl would score 13 points in 50 games in Philly. He would later add nine more points while playing for the Carolina Hurricanes.
In total, Brendl played 78 NHL games.
New York Islanders general manager Mike Milbury was so high on Rick DiPietro that he traded Roberto Luongo to the Florida Panthers to make room for DiPietro.
That trade proved to be a colossal mistake, as did the 15-year, $67.5 million contract the team signed DiPietro to in September 2006.
Since putting his name on that monster contract, DiPietro has played just 172 games in net for the Islanders, as he has proven to be one of the most injury-prone players in the NHL.
DiPietro's contract runs through the end of the 2021 NHL season and comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million per season.
The Carolina Hurricanes drafted Igor Knyazev with the 15th pick of the 2001 draft and then rewarded the defenseman with a three-year contract that included a $900,000 signing bonus.
Knyazev was supposed to be a defenseman of the future for the Canes. Instead he never played a single NHL game.
One defenseman that was selected after Knyazev in the first round of the 2001 draft that has fared a bit better is Tim Gleason.
Petr Taticek scored at more than a point-per-game rate while playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, putting up 63 points in 60 games during his draft year.
Based on those numbers, the Florida Panthers took Taticek with the ninth pick in the 2002 draft, making him the third center chosen.
Taticek would play three games for the Panthers, cracking the lineup during the 2005-06 season. He would score zero points in those games, and to date he has not played another NHL game.
One offensive-minded player selected after Taticek was Alexander Semin.
Hugh Jessiman may be one of the most unfortunate draft picks in the history of the New York Rangers. The team picked the 6'6" winger with the 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft.
How misguided was this pick?
The Los Angeles Kings had the 13th pick, and they landed Dustin Brown. Other players selected after Jessiman were Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry.
Jessiman's NHL career numbers are two games and zero points, none with the team that drafted him.
This one can be confusing, as there are two Alexandre Picards currently playing, both being born in 1985. Luckily one is a defenseman, while the other is a left winger. The one we are discussing here is the left winger.
Picard was awarded the QMJHL stamp of approval in his draft year when he received the Mike Bossy Trophy, an award that goes to the best professional prospect in the league. The player that received the award in 2003 was Marc-Andre Fleury; the player that received it after Picard was Sidney Crosby.
Picard would be picked by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the eighth selection in the 2004 draft, playing 67 games for the team and scoring a total of two assists.
In the 2004 NHL draft, the Washington Capitals would use their first pick to select Alexander Ovechkin. The team would have two more picks in that round, grabbing Jeff Schultz at 27th and Mike Green at 29th.
Not too shabby.
The team didn't have the same luck in the 2005 draft, selecting Sasha Pokulok with the 14th overall pick and Joe Finley with the 27th. Between them they have played five NHL games, and those all belong to Finley.
Riku Helenius backstopped the 2006 Finnish team to a silver medal in the World Junior Championships.
On the strength of that performance, his stock was at an all-time high when the Tampa Bay Lightning selected him with the 15th pick of the 2006 entry draft.
The only goaltender to go higher than him was Jonathan Bernier, who was picked up by the Los Angeles Kings with the 11th pick.
To date, Helenius has played seven minutes of NHL hockey, making two saves.
Defensemen usually have a slower ride to the NHL than offensive players, so Thomas Hickey still has a chance to make it to the big leagues.
With that being said, when you are the fourth overall pick in your draft, expectations are higher than normal.
To add a bit of insult to this pick by the Los Angeles Kings, Karl Alzner was chosen by the Washington Capitals with the very next pick.
To date, Alzner has played more than 200 NHL games, while Hickey has played none.
Heading into the 2008 draft, Kyle Beach had a lot of buzz about him.
In his younger days he was perceived as a hothead, a player that oftentimes crossed the line, as his multiple ejections from minor league games attest.
Prior to the draft, it seemed as if every team had at least some interest in Beach, and according to a story in the Vancouver Sun, the Canucks, who had the 10th pick in the draft, were particularly high on him.
However, the 10th pick came, and the Canucks selected Cody Hodgson.
Beach didn't have to wait much longer after that pick, as his name was called by the Chicago Blackhawks with the 11th pick.
Perhaps they should have passed as well, as Beach has yet to crack the lineup for the 'Hawks.
It's probably a little early to call Scott Glennie a bust, but when every player selected before him in the 2009 draft has played in the NHL, well, that shines a spotlight on him.
Another reason Glennie gets the nod here is the fact that his teammate from the Brandon Wheat Kings, Brayden Schenn, picked three spots ahead of Glennie in the same draft, is looked upon as one of the future stars for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Glennie was chosen by the Dallas Stars with the eighth pick in the 2009 draft.